Monday, May 16, 2011

Leg #1: Melbourne


I'm now in Sydney for the third and final leg of my trip to the other side of the world. I haven't had much free time (that I haven't filled with seeing the sights, that is), so I'll just cover my first leg in Melbourne in this post.

I left on Wednesday evening, May 4 in NY, and arrived in Melbourne after an over 24-hour travel time on Friday morning, May 6. Overall, it wasn't a bad time--had the seat next to me empty for both my flight to LA and then to Melbourne. I managed to sleep quite a bit, and also read and watched a few movies.

I was picked up at the airport by my friend and former colleague Antonella (an Australian who married an American, Chris. Antonella worked at Little, Brown in the production department) and her two young kids Ali and Thomas. We stopped at a cafe in the airport for coffee and a bite to eat.
Ali (with a straw mustache)
my veggie roll
my first cup of coffee in Melbourne. I needed it after my 24-hour journey!
 We headed into Melbourne to walk around and see the sights:

Stopped for lunch--I had a meat pie! (as I knew from my last trip to Australia ten years ago, meat pies are very popular and common in Australia...)
my first meat pie in Melbourne
I stayed with Chris and Antonella in their home in Geelong (a city about an hour from Melbourne). In the morning, I went for a run along the river.
magpie (saw many of these on my run)
saw lots of these signs, too. Didn't see any snakes, though! Thank goodness.
That afternoon, we went around the corner to a local school's "fete". The kids went on rides and got their face painted while us adults ate sausage and watched.

Ali and Thomas, looking quite serious for children who have just had their faces painted!
On Sunday morning, Mother's Day, we participated in a 4K walk to benefit breast cancer research. Aside from it raining at the end, it was a lovely walk.
these are actually BATS hanging in the trees in the park. (grey-headed flying foxes to be precise)
And then, after a nice brunch, we hopped in the car to drive on the Great Ocean Road.
driving (on the wrong side of the car) on the Great Ocean Road.
Antonella in the back seat with two sleeping children.

We ended up in a town called Lorne, where we stepped on the beach, played in a playground, and stopped in shops, including three bookstores.
Hey, look! FADE TO BLUE by Sean Beaudoin! In a bookstore in Lorne.
On the way back, we stopped by a golf course to see kangaroos in the "wild"--if seeing kangaroos on a golf course counts as the wild...

We ended the night with a huge fish n chips feast--an imported, but popular Australian cuisine. We had flake, which apparently is shark.
fish and chips. and a snack called "dim sim".
On Monday, I headed into Melbourne on the train to meet with author Karen Healey (Guardian of the Dead) and her Australian editors at Allyn & Unwin, Eva Mills and Susannah Chambers. (Karen is a New Zealander who is currently living in Melbourne.) Publisher Eva Mills gave me a quick tour of the offices, which were in a charming Victorian building. It felt quite homey, really.

Karen, Susannah, Eva, me
We went to a lovely lunch where we talked about the differences between Australian publishing and US publishing (the titles are different, mainly--senior editors there don't acquire books, they "just" edit. Commissioning editors and publishers acquire, and usually pass the book on to editors to do the juicy, hands-on editing. The Publishing Director in Australia would be the equivalent of Publishers in the States. Publishers in Australia are more equivalent to Senior and Executive Editors in the US.) We also talked eBooks, and also discussed the growing effect the website Book Depository (an Amazon competitor in the UK that offers free shipping) has had on the Australian book market.

After lunch, Karen and I walked to Lygon Street (down back alleys and through a park) where we had coffee and dessert.

nutella and strawberry pizza with ice cream on top!

Then it was back to Antonella and Chris's home for a home-cooked meal, and then my whirlwind Melbourne trip was over--it went much too quickly! I do hope to be back again soon.

Overall, I'm enjoying the trip immensely, meeting great people, seeing beautiful sights. It took me about three days to get over jetlag, and I'm still not used to being so far ahead in terms of the time difference (14 hours! I'm writing this around 5:30 pm on Monday evening, and it's around 3:30 am Monday morning in NY. I'm writing this from the future!).

Some tidbits:
-don't try to get into the front passenger seat of a car on the right side. I did that twice.

-raisins are called sultanas here. Raisins do exist here, but they are a bit bigger/plumper than ours.
-if an Australian ask if you're from Canada, that means they like you. Or, they've learned that Canadians get offended if thought to be American.
-Australians call treating for drinks, meals, etc. "shouting"--if you're out drinking with a group of six, you can expect to have six drinks, because each person will be expected to shout a round.
-Australians drink a lot.
-candy is called "lollies"--as in, "Can I have another lolly?" asked Thomas. "Can I have a lolly if I finish my dinner?" asked Ali. :)
-The $2 coin is small and fat, the $1 is larger and thinner. (it's the opposite in New Zealand, which was confusing)
-The temperature here is about the same as it is currently in NYC, but as it's late Fall here, the days are very short.

Next up...Auckland! To be continued...


Kelley Vitollo said...

Lovely pictures! This looks like such a great time, though the snake signs and the bats are scary. LOL.

Glad you're enjoying yourself!

Sangeeta said...

What a fun (and informative) post! Great photos. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

Naomi Canale said...

How fun Alvina! It's hard to believe that Fall is upon them there, very cool. And I love the part that candy is called "lollies." Fun :) Oh and the pictures/videos, nicely done.

Frances O'Brien said...

I was just wondering if " mainly--senior editors there don't acquire books, they "just" edit. Commissioning editors and publishers acquire, and usually pass the book on to editors to do the juicy, hands-on editing." is referring to Australia or the US??

alvinaling said...

Australia. We don't generally have the title of "commissioning editor" in the US.