My Month in OZ!
The first two weeks
click the image to see the full-size pic!
First off, United Airlines is on my shit list!  This was an absolute trip from hell that could have been made a bit less horrible had the United Airlines representatives I came in contact with not been so rude and uncooperative!

But, after 32 hours, I finally arrived at Melbourne Airport!

The first two weeks were horribly tense, stressful and painful.  My (now ex-)gf didn't even pick me up from the airport!  Sheesh!  And, I didn't get a hug, much less a kiss, when I finally arrived at her front door!  To be brutally honest, she heaped a great deal of shit on me.  After two years of dreaming of my first visit to OZ, it was insult and abuse that greeted me.

During those first two weeks, I saw a great deal of my (now ex-) gf's back yard, listened to all my enya CDs over and over again, and drank a great deal of Victoria Bitters beer.

Finally, I was able to catch up with my former neighbors who had lived across the street from me for several years in Atlanta.    They've moved back to Melbourne to have and raise their beautiful new daughter,  Emily Georgia.

The second week, I was able to snag a copy of the Melway (a comprehensive street directory/map along the lines of the Thomas maps for Los Angeles.)

With the Melway tucked in my backpack and finally finding out which trams would get me back to the suburb my (now ex-)gf lives in, I was able to get around on my own!

 I was able to visit the Yarra River Park and the  Victoria Market and became very familiar with Coles (supermarket).
At the end of my second week there, wondering why the hell I'd gone to all the trouble I had to come to Oz, I decided to go see a bit of the country!   Sort of a walkabout if you will!
So, I contacted the Great Southern Railway office and found out, as an international visitor, I could avail myself of the FlexiPass rail pass for around $700AU!  That meant for six months I could travel, by railroad, anywhere in Australia!  So, here I am about to board the Overland train  for my 12 hour ride to Adelaide!
From Adelaide, I took the 22 hour ride on the Ghan.    The Ghan is named for the Afghan camel trains  that carried John McDouall Stuart on his exploration of Red Centre.
The original line followed the original trail along the base of the Flinders Ranges. The new track follows closely, 100 kilometres to the west!
nestled in my cozy berth,  enjoying the scenery.
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