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Melbourne: Impressions Down Under

Been in the land down under for two days and I’m delightfully impressed with the country, the people, and the little things I’ve become aware of in our brief stay.

From our flight crew on Jetstar from Honolulu to the hotel and yesterday’s walking trip of the city, virtually everyone we’ve come into contact with has been remarkably nice.

I’ve not heard one car horn honking; music blaring or people making a spectacle of themselves. In a city of 3.8M people, one would expect a lot more of all three. Though some graffiti was in evidence, it’s pretty clean here too.

But what struck me were the little things I didn’t expect:

  • Prices on items like videogames, soda and gum are double what they are in the US (the US and Australian dollar are nearly at a 1:1 exchange rate). $25 per day ‘net access is also a huge bummer since I’m not about to schlep my laptop around to ‘net cafes and such as they’re too far from our hotel
  • All channels on the flat screen in our hotel are in HD…but that’s not the surprise. Instead, it was the volume of discussions about the world economy and the waiting for moves by the US Treasury and Federal Reserve due to the impact on Australia
  • The challenge in coordinating communications with folks in the US — even with today’s synchronous and asychronous ways of doing so — since it’s 3:41pm on Wednesday in Minnesota right now but it’s 6:41am on Thursday in Melbourne
  • How IMPERATIVE Skype has become in my travels. I’m sitting here now on the ‘net with my IPEVO phone plugged into USB. I transferred all my calls to my SkypeIn line so I have one place to retrieve voicemails.

Yesterday and today is our workshop, tonight a dinner, and then on to a few days of adventure before a looong trip back to the middle of the US. Sure wish I could stay for a month or more, see Tasmania and New Zealand, and have a complete experience in this wonderful place.