So here in Melbourne, we don't yet own a car. This may come later, but for now, we are regular users of the public transportation system. You know how when you ride on the metro or the subway a few times a year it just seems so cool and adventurous?? Okay, well at least that's how I feel. You get to play balance games with your friends, make a lot of noise because you're at a conference or on vacation, and rush to get the next train, but if you miss it it's fine because you don't have anywhere to be quickly and it's just funny when you run and embarrass yourself and STILL miss it.
So I feel a bit differently now that public transportation aids me in getting EVERYWHERE. I now play the balance game out of necessity because there are so many people that I don't have anywhere to hold on. I get really really excited when I know more than one way to get somewhere (like on two different lines) or when I know the times at a stop before I get there. And now I get quite the pout when I miss the tram! Surprisingly, I am almost silent on the tram, train, or bus (yes Melbourne uses all three, and I do too). After the first couple weeks of observation, I was astonished to find that people actually don't LIKE being on the tram/train/bus!! This of course was a revelation to me because in my previous life - being on public transport was exciting and fun. So once I realized this, I also put it together that people like silence around them when they are undergoing the drudgery of their day on the tram line. So now I'm quiet. I bring my Kindle, but so far I've only used it once because I just like watching. Oh no, maybe I'm THAT person on the bus that people are creeped out by?! Nahhh.
Anyway, so typically we have to leave about an hour before we need to be somewhere to make it on time. This is VERY painful for me because 1) I like sleep. 2) It took me 5 minutes to get to work in Blacksburg, including parking the car and walking into the building. and 3) I like to be as efficient as possible, and taking a bus, tram and train all in one morning to get to work just doesn't quite fit the bill. Here is a typical description. The bus comes at 8:26 actually just across the street from our apartment...SCORE: Public Transport - 0 and US - 1. We then take the bus down to the 55, which takes you directly into the city, if you're going to that side of the city, which today we aren't. Darn. Okay so the tram - the 55 - comes at...oh I can never remember this....SCORE: Public transport - 1 and US - 1. So we're waiting usually a few minutes but thankfully the 55 comes every 5-10 minutes. Then we ride that for a while, maybe 20 minutes, if people are quick and have their metcard out and ready, then stop at Royal Park and jump on the train, which comes at 9:05, hopefully we made it. Because if not, we must wait until the 9:25 train, which most certainly doesn't get us to work on time at 9:30. While riding, we cross our fingers and hope the train is going "the right way" around the city loop. If it does, we hit our stop second after coming into the loop. If it doesn't....well, we're going to be running to work. Anyway, we arrive into the station on time, about 9:25, go up 5 escalators...yes 5...out of the pit into the most amazing multi-dimensional, multi-leveled mall you've ever seen. We walk out the doors, cross the street, and here we are at our work place for the day...RMIT Uni. Whew!
here is the tram we caught...
I'll have to tell you about grocery shopping another time. But before we go, I'll just mention the most hilarious and miserable transportation experience we've had to date. Jordan and I went to IKEA, around 4. We left the building about 5:30 after I about lost it thinking about trying to get home with all the stuff we bought and stuffed into a GIANT ikea bag which now weighs 40-70 lbs. I have no idea how much really. All I know is that when I got home I had a strap shaped bruise across the top of my shoulder. Jordan was carrying a HUGE box with the desk chair we bought. So we cross the street from the mall...I am probably such a spectacle. Being a woman of wide hips, I decided the best way to carry the bag was of course on my hips. If this was a normal sized bag this would have been fine. But I probably looked ridiculous. So we ride the tram, train, and then bus home with this stuff. It took us an hour and a half, because since we're smart we came home during rush hour. And we just sat on top of our stuff, enduring stares. That trip ended with us standing at the bus stop for 20 minutes. Miserable but laughing. It was quite the experience. That was the second week we were here.
Hopefully this gives you a little look into our lives, and a good laugh this morning. Or afternoon, since it's four there now. Happy Thursday! It's already Friday here.