Thursday, 12 March 2009

This computer is for family history research only...

Updating this was easy at my first 2 ports of call. Both Mrinal in Bombay and Colin in Melbourne had broadband, lots of laptops (Apple ones, which I hadn't used before - they required much use of expletives initially), and were generous with giving me access as and when required. It's not been so easy subsequently. Couchsurfing has taken off in such a big way here that potential hosts are pleading not to get any more short term requests, and the computers in the hostels and internet cafes cost money and don't give much access time.

But Hobart central library has lots of computers, no doubt meant for the use of locals, but currently full of scruffy travellers. And smelly ones in my case; I tried to cycle up Mt Wellington which overlooks the town today, but it's very hot for Scotsmen) and at half distance decided this was biting off too much. Especially since I can drive up it tomorrow, I've hired a car for the next 3 days, and hopefully will persuade some of the more civilised occupants of the hostel to join me for some or all of these. Plan is to do see a bit of the wilderness, albeit probably the bits with marked paths if that isn't a contradiction in terms.

Three day bus trip from Melbourne took me to the Grampian Mountains (amazing how many things here are named after bits of Scotland) and back along the Great Ocean Road. The forests in the Grampians were decimated by fire a few years ago and haven't recovered yet, it's been too dry, and the reservoirs there are very low. Enjoyed the walks we did there but I enjoyed a walk along treetop platforms (pictured) in some of the temperate rain forest further south more, much fresher cleaner air. Also saw the seacliffs of shipwreck coast, especially the 12 Apostles, though there aren't actually 12, they keep disappearing. Some say they collapse into the sea, attached photo suggests another possible explanation. Was underwhelmed by the supposed fantastic surf beaches - I guess you have to understand this sport.

Good trip overall, though the group (20+) was quiet; raising a quorum for the pub on the last night was tough, and many people spent the hours on the bus in their own little iPod world, emerging dutifully at the various photo stops to take a shot - I think some people spend so much time taking photos that they never actually look at the stuff they're seeing. Even the guide was finding them frustrating. Think I'm just about managing to blend in with these younger travellers; people keep asking my age and expressing surprise at the answer, which is nice!

I keep hearing that Melbourne is running out of water, and yet that the population is exploding and will overtake Sydney in the next few years. No one can use water for car washing or spraying gardens or sports pitches - some of the cricket was being played on dustbowls not much different to Bombay. And they're building a $3bn desalination plant - I thought only the Middle East went in for these things. Hobart's more attractive at first sight, probably because it feels so British. Which isn't always a good thing, today's been gorgeous but they're predicting rain for next few days. Don't mind it on Sunday afternoon - I've found out when the Scotland v Ireland game will be shown, now I just have to find a pub that takes Setanta.

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