The woman next to me in the tram smelled like processed garlic salami. The kind you get in the big tube and cut for your crackers and cheese. I quickly moved. I have this theory about smells. If the smell makes sense, I.E. the woman next to me was eating processed salami and I could see it, it might actually smell good. It might even make me hungry. But the fact that she didn’t have any salami on her, and she was old and weird looking, made it not make sense. And then the same smell that could smell good in certain situations smelled ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING.
So anyways, I’m back in Melbourne. What have I been up to these past few days? Well, you may remember Mikael, the Swedish guy I met who worked for the hostel I’m staying at. He has a car, and wanted to do the same trip I did up the coast. So we threw some stuff in his car (he has a tent and stuff) and took off up the coast. We got pretty far the first day and made it to the 12 Apostles and the next day, headed up to The Grampians national park where we saw some really cool Australian country side and wild life. There were kangaroos all over the camp site and tons of other animals and birds all over the place. It was really awesome and the sunsets were incredible. There is something just so Australian about red desert dotted with Eucalyptus trees and just a few clouds in the horizon as the sun lays itself down. Absolutely incredible. Mikael and I got along great, and had a great time traveling together. It’s really cool when you travel with someone and everything works out well. Swedish people are cool.
So anyways, Mike and I concocted a plan. He has a car but can’t go with me on my tour of Australia. But he won’t need his car for about a month so I am going to get it certified for him (you have to get it certified before you can sell it) then borrow it for about a month. When I get back, he will be able to sell it because it will be certified. So my plan is to go to Adelaide, find some people willing to share gas costs and then head up the center of Australia, through the outback, to Ayres Rock, then Darwin, then head back down the East Coast. It should take me about 35 days or so, assuming, of course, the car doesn’t blow up (in which case, under our agreement, I have to fix it up and somehow get it back to Melbourne). You gotta love adventure. When I got to Australia, the customs lady asked me a few questions.
“So how long are you in Australia?”
“I’m not sure. Maybe a month and a half.”
“Do you have your plane ticket leaving Australia?”
“Nope. But I printed out my bank balance to show that I have sufficient funds.”
She looked it over and nodded in approval.
“Where are you going to stay?”
“I’m not sure yet, I’ll just find a hostel somewhere.”
“What are you going to do in Australia?”
“I don’t really know. Just kind of feel my way around.”
“……so you really have absolutely nothing planned, do you?”, she asked with a look of confusion.
“Nope”, I replied with a smile.
And she let me pass.
So today, I just got done applying for my visa to China. I was reading up on it and it looked like a daunting task.
Do it 3 months before you leave your home country.
Have a printed itinerary from your travel agent.
Type a letter of intent.
Americans must fill out two applications with two passport photos attached.
You must wait four working days (which I didn’t have).
I did it all. I made an itinerary based on hostels and sights from my lonely planet, made a letter of intent, had some passport photos made and filled out the applications. I took the tram (where the salami woman was) to the embassy and stood in line for an hour. They took one of my applications. They didn’t ask for anything else. And for $20 bucks more, it will be ready tomorrow (bringing the total up to $100 bucks for the 90 day, double entry visa)! Right on. I’m all set, just gotta go pick it up. I then stopped in at a travel agent and found out that my ticket to Beijing was only going to cost about $700 bucks. Right on! Everything is going perfectly. In a few days, I’ll have my own wheels (assuming the car inspection goes well) and have Australia all to myself for a month, then head down to China for the experience of a lifetime (yeah, I know. As if what I’ve done so far hasn’t been).
This is cool.