Back on bottom of the world

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
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61
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Trip End Dec 13, 2012


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Where I stayed
Mardirossian family home

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Friday, January 21, 2011

It was a long time coming arriving in Melbourne.  I was literally going bananas on the plane, and just wanted to get out, but was border line delirious from exhaustion.   But just because the plane was landed, didn't mean that I was in the clear yet.  I was arriving in Australia, one of the toughest countries in the world for customs, bike in tow.  Sarah and I cleared customs after an hour of waiting in a very slow moving line and went to get our luggage.   Since she was traveling much lighter than I was, she collected her things much quicker.  We bid farewell, and I went to collect my things.  I was getting very impatient, but you have to keep your cool going through customs.  The last thing I wanted after a 30 hours of transit was an excuse for them to harass me, or worse.  Everyone was looking at me with my huge box holidng the box, including the customs officials.  Of course, of to quarintine I went for inspection.  I was pissed off because I felt like my cousins that were coming to pick me up had already been waiting more than long enough for me and I just wanted to get out to see them.        In the quarantine area, I noticed that many of the people that were there were ethnic.  Not a racial comment, just my main observation.  I quickly understood why too.  Many of the Asian people that were coming into the country were usually bringing all sorts of foods and even some with weird fruits and veg.   I am not saying they were the only ones, but I guess many were bringing things for relatives to bring a taste of home to them.  Not really a good idea here.  A customs officer waved me forward, and looked at my forms.  He asked what food I was bringing into the country.  Gummy bears, but I would rather play the safe side incase they busted me on it.  As for the bike, he just wanted to make sure that it was spotless without any soil contamination on it.  I knew it was good, so after my quick inspection, I got the green light to go.  Walking out those doors to see all the people waiting was like a small victory.  I was finally here, home free.  AUSTRALIA!
    Greeting me at the international arrivals were my cousins, Nayre and Aimee.  After being exhausted and through everything to get there, I was so happy to see familiar faces.  They looked just as a remember, just add 11 years.  It was funny too to have them now picking me up at the airport since last time, no one was even old enough to come out with me for a drink.  Now....They have their own children, drivers liscenses, a whole new ball game.  I still couldn't believe I was finally here, so we made our way to the car.  They were amazing, from the second we saw each other, it was like I was there only a few days before and hadn't missed a beat.  We got reaquainted in the car ride on the way home and brought everyone up to speed as to what has happened over the past 11 years.  

    Back at the family home, I got to see the rest of the gang.  Sylva, Vartan, Vanig (who was rougly 8 or 9 last time I was around) and now he towered over me.  I also met Harry, Aimee's little guy who was now 5 years old, and almost too smart for his own good.  Cute little guy, but as I would soon find out, wouldn't fall for any of my tricks that usually work on children of that age.  I was given a royal welcoming.  Made me wonder why I waited so long to come back.  And this was just one of many branches of the family I had to visit while down under.
      It was extremely difficult to get used to the time change arriving in Australia.  It wasn't a mere 2-4 hour time change, were talking nearly 12 hours.  I would usually be awake until nearly 3 am, chatting with people on facebook or skype, or going of for late night bike rides.  My first week alone I nearly racked up a 150 kms, doing on average 25 kms a night, usually after midnight when it was nice and queit out.  My aunt Sylva was always nervous of me going out late at night time, but I had to reassure her....I have been to much more dangerous places than Melbourne so far.   Harry my little cousin/nephew (not sure exactly what he classified as, but he's family!) would always beg me to go out for bike rides, and I was happy to do so.  It  was a way for us to connect, and make up for lost time.  I hope he remembers these memories when he's older, because I thought they were memorable moments.
   Nayre and Aimee were taking me out and showing me around with their other cousin, Sonia as well.  We went to Crown casino, the biggest casino in the southern hemisphere.  Not that much gambling when on there, but it was good times just to get out with the fam.   It wasn't the busiest week I have had traveling, but it was nice, because I needed to adjust my body to the super heat and time.  A nice way to ease myself in to Aussie life.  
    Funny enough as well, my travel mate from the plane ride to Australia, Sarah, was staying a little over a 30 min bike ride away from my families home in Rowville.  Since we exchanged emails, and were keeping in touch, we made plans to meet up and head into the city one day.  We took the train into town and with no plan what so ever, ended up having a nice day  roaming around getting our bearings and taking some pics.  We even stopped and grabbed some things to have a small picnic close to Federation square in the heart of the city over looking the river.  No doubt about it....Melbourne is a beautiful and fun city, even just to admire.  It was fun to see it with someone who is also new to the city.  Yes....I have been here 11 years ago, but I only remember vague details.  It was time to get reaquainted again with this amazing city.  I remember laying on the grass, in the sun during the picnic...thinking to myself....This could be a country I could easily call home.  But this was only the first stop of many, so I just stored that thought in the back of my mind......you never know......
    Now the majority of my family that lives in Australia, lives in Sydney area, so I figure heading up there next would be an obvious next destination.  I made some arrangements with Agatha, a cousin up in Sydney, for days that I would be coming up there.  It just so happen to work out perfect, that I would be arriving on her birthday.  Its funny how coiscidences work out like that.  
   Time to pack the bike up again and start to head up to the big city of Sydney.  Some where around flight 50+, but this was only going to be an hour ish.   Thanks for everything Melbourne and Mardirossians....I couldn't have done it without you!  
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