After leaving the park, Amy got us through the city to the rental car place with no hassle & plenty of time, and they called a cab for us, arriving just as Amy was settling up. We got to the airport, unloaded, then as the cab was pulling away Amy couldn't find her backpack! It wasn't in the cab, so she had the cabbie take her all the way back to the rental place while I stayed & checked in my bag. After all that, we were sure glad we had buffer time! Amy had done web checkin for us so we already had our boarding passes, we each got a muffin at the coffee shop, security was easy, and when we got to the gate we walked right on the plane. Whew! The flight was one of the noisiest flights kidwise I've ever been on, so very thankful for my earplugs, but I got to see a pretty sunset from the plane window.
We got the airport bus downtown which connected to a free hotel bus, and he pulled up to the Victoria Hotel asking what's going on, since there was a line around the block! Downstairs in our hotel are a lot of short performances for the comedy festival, so we plan to try to see Claire Hooper tomorrow night, someone Amy has seen often on TV here. Unfortunately the hotel desk didn't have a phone that would call international (?!?) so I had to use my cellphone to call to unlock my credit card to check in, taking so long it's probably to the tune of about $20 of international cellphone charges I'm afraid. Grrr...only one more time for that hassle at the hotel in Sydney, but since the two hotels are the only places in Australia who had access to the card number so are the most likely sources of the fraud, I do NOT want to give either of them any new card numbers!
By the time we got into our room it was almost 9pm, and with no breakfast & very little lunch, we were both starving. We strolled around downtown looking for places and ended up at an Italian place which was quite tasty, even if some of my fettucini noodles were neon green!
After dinner I suggested we walk down to the Yarrah River & see what we could see. Many people have told me that Melbourne is a lot like San Francisco, and I definitely agree. No hills, but the feel of the shops and the city is very similar, and even the distance from the equator is almost the same as SF so weather is too. Melbourne is nicely lit up at night, and even though it was cloudy tonight, it was a balmy night. We ended up strolling around a good hour until making it back to the hotel after midnight, even finding the Town Hall where the Claire Hooper's comedy show is tomorrow night.
One last observation for the evening...All through Australia so far I have been seeing Hungry Jack, the name for Burger King here, several McD's, KFC and Subway, but the first Krispy Kreme was in the Melbourne airport AND downtown, then across from fast food row on Swanston Street with all of those represented, plus 7-11s on every other corner, across the street was the first Starbucks I've seen in Australia! I was really hoping the Australians had been spared. ;)
It's almost 1:30am, the latest I've been able to stay up yet, but that's probably because Melbourne is 2 hours earlier than Perth. Since Amy had so little sleep yesterday, we're going to sleep in a bit, then walk around Melbourne, find some food, see the comedy show, then the next morning we're already on the way out of town. Not very long in Melbourne, only one full day, but there is so much more to see, including animal sanctuaries and wild kangaroos on beaches, that we'll keep going!