Well I made it back…eventually. The trip over and the convention went smoothly. The return, as anyone who follows me on Twitter will know, was something of an adventure.1
Day 1 – Whose idea was it to backpack it?
To be fair if I hadn’t chosen to stay at the backpackers I probably wouldn't have been able to go. It was an experience and not one that I want to repeat in a hurry - the backpacking, that is.
I arrived the day before the convention, not out of any desire to see Melbourne, lovely though the city is, but because going on the Thursday enabled me to get the cost of flights down to $23 + frequent flyer points.
Travellers Hint: If staying in the city catch the Skybus, $17 may sound a bit steep for a bus ride but the taxi is quite a bit more.
Fear of Myki Card Failure 2 meant that I decided to walk everywhere and so I walked the manageable distance from Southern Cross station to Nomad Backpackers in A’beckett Street. I was accosted along the way by some English tourist roped into selling something and managed to practice some awareness tactics from my self protection training days.3
Upon arriving at Nomads I was pleasantly surprised by the reception decor - a mixture of funky lounge and bar, clean and professional.
I was less impressed with the fact that the security locker they had mentioned on the website was a) the size of a shoebox b) was bring your own padlock. That the wireless internet wasn’t complementary (though perhaps I was confused with the Convention Venue) was a bit of a downer too.
I had chosen an 8 berth suite and upon arriving in my room discovered it full and smelling of wet socks. I sat on what looked like the only free bed and pondered my predicament – having to repack all my valuables into the bag that I would carry with me all the time.
I would have to chance the possibility that there wasn’t a person around with a fetish for bonds underwear and leave my clothing case at the mercy of my room mates.
Upon pulling back the covers in an attempt to rest my eyes and rid myself of a troublesome headache, I discovered a dainty pile of nicely folded pink sleepwear. It appeared Goldilocks was sleeping in my bed. I traipsed downstairs (via the lift) and informed them that the Inn was full.
The receptionist ( who still strikes me as the splitting image of some Eastern European actress) investigated and I was shifted to another room. Here I must comment on the exceptional customer service, not to be expected from hotel staff let alone backpackers working for a few extra quid.
My new room, a 6 berth suite was largely unoccupied apart from Stu an English backpacker with whom I shared my only conversation with room mates for the entire time I was there.
It was still quite early and leaving my Bonds behind I ventured out into the city, hoping to catch a viewing of Prometheus before heading up to the convention site to test the walking time.
The walk it turns out was more interesting than the movie. For a good summary of Ridley Scott’s tribute to pissing on sci-fi go here.
On reaching the Rydges I found the bar, Cat Sparks, Jonathan Strahan, Kaaron Warren and Margo Lanagan, though it’s possible that I am conflating days and one or two of those people weren’t there yet - I was tired and may have had some Port.
Nonetheless I felt at home. That is until the hotel began their ruthless emptying of the bar at 11pm, a trend that was, along with chronic understaffing, to continue for the whole of the convention.
I returned home to a darkened room. Stu seemed to have found a companion for the evening and I flopped into bed pleased that the bar downstairs was quiet. The paper thin pillow and the light from yonder building through conspired to give me a rather restless night.
Not to be outdone by Thursday, Friday offered up the start of the convention and a bevvy of Nude Cyclists braving Lygon Street. But more of that later.
1. First the plane was delayed, then cancelled. Another 4 planes left for Adelaide before they were able to fit me on one. My wife had already left the homestead for the 2.5 hour trip to come and collect me. So in the end she ended up with a 5 hour wait and me 10 . I began to gain an appreciation of Tom Hanks’ character in The Terminal. ↩
2.Note this who evr runs the transport system. Issues with your travel system are so wide spread that some travellers will forgo using it just to avoid the hassle↩
3. Sort of like Mindful ignoring or deflection of her manipulative attempts at emotional manipulation↩
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