Melbourne and magic with m'bro - Part 2

M'brain went elsewhere in the last post about Melbourne.  Record scratch/rewind:  what happened in Australia?  LOTS!

After a long flight (turns out Oz isn't as close as it looks on the map), my favorite Australian picked me up at the airport and gave me a quick half-day-50-cent tour around the city, which was marvelous enough on 4 hours of sleep over 14 hours of travel.  First stop, VEGGIE BAR!  This man knew the way to my heart.  We ate <drooled> and stared out into Fitzroy on Brunswick Street and I immediately knew I loved this place.  It was almost as if he hired actors to walk by as we were eating, just to amaze me, it was that unreal.  What's that stuff called?  Character and charm?  Oh man.  This place has it...it reminded me of Deep Ellum, where I used to live in Dallas, but wayyyy better.  Naturally, my battery was totally die and I didn't get a chance to take many pictures.  I was also totally infatuated with my full belly, excellent company, and supreme surroundings.

That night and the next morning, I happily be-bopped around the city for more food, hopped a bus to Phillip Island where I checked Churchill Isle (I was kind of confused by this place, actually) a koala reserve, and saw a wallabe or two before we headed to the penguin parade.  The tour was alright...the bus driver disliked me and a fellow traveler because we were late getting back to the bus after a stop.  He legit yelled at us for being six minutes late.  He must have thought I was a total smart-ass when I just smiled big and laughed at him because it took me a good minute to realize he was actually yelling at us...that jolly Australian accent is so coated with pleasure. 

Aside from that, the penguin parade is quite possibly the most adorable thing I've ever seen in my life.  Over 1,000 Little Penguins came trotting up out of the water for us, following their little route home, as they do every evening.  The Little Penguin reserve takes precautions to preserve the sanctity of this nightly migration, so we watched from out of the way and weren't allowed to take pictures or video in order to keep from disturbing the Little Penguin's routine.  The place is totally non-profit and awesome and seriously the cutest little thing I've ever seen.  Check it out.  And take a jacket.  For whatever insane reason I didn't equate that penguins = cold.  Erghhbrrr.

Once M'bro and I met up, we zipped out to NSW for his show, I drooled over the scenery, and we slept hard that night.  Poor M'bro; his allergies were insane.  Poor me; we had to share the bed.  It was like sleeping with an epileptic goose all night.

His festival was ballin', and he is such a rock star.  He has fans!  And groupies.  It was totally weird. I love him and everything about him and what he does.  Hearts, M'bro, big hearts.  We travel really well together.

Of course, on our way back to Victoria, we were almost murdered and had clothes made out of our dead, murdered skin at a remote cactus museum we wandered in upon.  More about this later.

Other magnificent things about Oz with M'bro that would end up being you totally had to be there stories that anyone's eyes would glaze over at (so I'mma share anyway):

-Great Ocean Drive.  Hot damn.
-12 apostles.  Hot damn.
-Discovering hidden trails and salamander'ish'y things.
-Watching surfers from the edge of a cliff.
-Not falling off the edge of a cliff.
-Helping an Echidna cross the road (M'bro is definitely related to me). To get to the other side.  ba doop chhh.
-Winding through the forest.  Rookie right side driver. Screaming not to die.
-$17 chickpea burgers
-Hijacking the Marriot.  Learning that M'bro is a terrible liar.
-Treasury Park, as if we'd never seen ducks before.
-Afternoon beers, evening beers, night beers = drunk M'bro.
-Not getting a hug goodbye because of way-too-hungover M'bro.  Priceless and slightly disconcerting.

I sadly/miserably/tearfully left M'bro on a rainy Wednesday morning after getting him severely obliterated the night before, and hit up the airport for an 8 hour flight to Guanzhou, China, where I had a 14 hour layover waiting for me.  I definitely thought I would either A) be sleeping for 14 hours on the airport floor or b) shelling out like a mo'fo for an airport hotel.  Turns out, neither happened, because China Southern Airlines is the man.  They set me up with a temporary visa for the night and a shuttle to a hotel, where my room came with breakfast.  Breakfast a veg couldn't eat, but still nice.  I made friends along the way who were up for exploring Guangzhou proper for the night, for better or worse...

Dude, I know I shouldn't judge a country by one part of a city seen on one night, but I learned immediately that China is a whole different ball game from Korea.  A few hours in G-town was pah-lenty.  I'm surprised my feet are still attached to my body after crossing the street, and I'm no rookie to the "different country, crazy driving" phenom.  I've been around, yall, and this was nuts.  Naturally, my evening kicked off  with a giant disgusting truck full of sweet, beautiful, fat pigs going off to slaughter pulling up right alongside my animal activist self.  Damnit.  Also, I learned that veg-sushi in Guangzhou = spaghetti noodles on soy sauce.  Boom.  There were so many other aspects of this single-night experience that were disturbing and can't be put into words.  Some places just make you feel really uncomfortable and this was one of them for me.  Guangzhou, I am not a fan of you.  Get yourself together.

The rest of the trip back was seamless, and cold, because this effing place is cold and I'm really not sure I'm going to survive the winter.

And so, bam. Go Australia. It was quick, it was not Korean, and it will require faaaar more exploration at some point in my lifetime.  I say that about a lot of places (not Guangzhou, China), and this tops the list.  I'm enamored.

As for the job, I managed to work things out to stay in Korea for the next 6 months.  I'm relieved by this, as exciting and enlightening as it was to consider picking up and sailing away somewhere new on a whim...I'm glad my original plans get to stay intact.

Let me quickly point out (and stop quickly before this happens again...) that "relieved" doesn't mean that I'm happy or sad about staying...I just am.  It's good for a lot of reasons, but it's also blah for a lot of reasons.  I am toooootally grateful for the panic the brief job/country/life search caused me, as I uncovered some pretty awesome potential opportunities to consider for my "next step" after traveling next year. There are some really attractive options on my list to look into, all of which ensure that no matter what, I'll be embarking onward, somewhere with everything I desire to make me smile and breathe big and sigh and say "wowie-wow-wow!"  So, for that, word.

And so, bam. Go Australia.

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