Saturday, January 16, 2016

Boat Cruise

This week was Daddy/Daughter Mumma/Bubba week. Allen took the girls to Uluru, and Shelly stayed home with the boys. It was only three days so we tried to enjoy the unique time together while we could.

After taking Allen's crew to the airport, Leo and Henry and I suited up for the local beach in Altona. I prefer that beach because (a) it's only 15 minutes away instead of an hour, and (b) it has far-reaching shallow sandbars that means Henry can walk all over it without making me super nervous for his safety, and (c) the shallow bay water is a lot warmer than the Southern Ocean water. 

Because Henry was sad he didn't get to go on a trip like all the girls, I told him he could ride the train. I intended to take him into the CBD (downtown, Central Business District) tomorrow, but he didn't want to wait. In fact, when he woke up in the morning the first thing he said was, "I wanna go on a train." So I put him on the train with Leo toward the beach and I took all the beach gear in the car and met them there. He was satisfied. 

An important fact about the day: It was 110 degrees. 

Also: When we arrived at the beach, the wind was blowing from the North (that equals HOT). When we left the beach the wind was blowing strongly from the South, (that equals COLD IS COMING). 

Pizza for dinner. They got to make their own. Leo is a capable chef. 

Over dinner we made plans to take a boat tour the next day through downtown Melbourne on the Yarra River. That meant we got to ride a train AGAIN! Happy Henry. 

Henry went to bed happily knowing the next day meant train and boat. And this time when he woke up, the first thing he said was, "I wanna ride on a boat."

Wish granted. 

Notice the boys are both wearing jackets. Today's temperature was 64 degrees. Stark contrast to 110 the day before. This kind of temperature swing happens all the time here. 

The tour guide had all kinds of interesting things to tell us about the area. I missed half of them because Henry decided to throw a little fit about something insignificant. He hardly ever acts like a full on brat, but this was one of his moments.

Facts I didn't miss:

• The boats on the river have to be short in order to fit under all the bridges. If the tide is particularly high some of them can't get through. 

• John Batman, a native of Tasmania, is a prominent figure in Melbourne's foundation. There is Batman avenue, Batman Hill, Batman everything. Well, apparently Melbourne narrowly escaped being named Batmania

• The materials for the famous Flinder's Street Train Station were shipped at the same time as a train station in Dubai, designed by the same firm, but the ships were switched. So the Flinders Street materials went to Dubai, and the Dubai materials came to Flinders Street. If you look at the top of the Flinders, you can see how the domes may have been intended for Dubai. I couldn't find any information online to corroborate this story, but it was interesting for a few moments, as maybe it is for you as you read this. 

This is why the area here is called "Docklands." These massive machines load and unload the cargo containers from huge cargo ships. They work round the clock. When we go to the beaches we see lines of cargo ships in the distance all in a line coming and going on the bay.


Yep, being a little stinker.

He really enjoyed getting some great city line pictures.

• To the left of this area is the giant Melbourne Star. It is a huge observation wheel intended to be a tourist attraction. They estimated it would cost $20 million to build. It cost $100 million. Just after it opened in 2009, the temperatures in Melbourne reached 46°C/115°F. The center of the ferris wheel developed a crack, which we were told is a bad thing for a ferris wheel. It was shut down just 40 days after opening 2 years behind schedule and didn't reopen until repairs were finished in 2013. 

We are planning to go in a couple of weeks. Heh.

Where is the toddler? Thankfully not overboard. What was I thinking.

• The townhouses on this side sell for about $2.3million. The townhouses on the other side are about $500,000. The difference is that one side is fully developed and the other side is in progress. The cheaper townhouse owners may see a change in their view, so the uncertainty is the price they pay for the cheaper mortgage.

Amazing views. You can have high rise buildings and waterfronts with yachts within yards of each other.

A bridge design that is an artful nod to the Aboriginal heritage of Australia. I missed the details.

Every bridge and feature in Melbourne has an artistic element to it. They don't do anything just for function. In fact, one bridge (I missed a picture), has HUGE pillars on either side of the supports that reach up to the sky 5 times higher than the bridge. Their only purpose is to look awesome, they aren't even attached to the bridge. 

The captain, Jeff, is from Cleveland, Ohio. Left the states 4 years ago for Tonga. Been in Australia one year and planning to apply for residency. Boys and boats. It's a strong pull. 

The tour guide was from Scotland. After the tour he told us about his friend who was headed toward the Southpole as we spoke. He was getting text updates from him. He's going unassisted, which means he's ALONE at the Southpole and has been for 40 days already. He'll be the first Scot to go unassisted to the South Pole. Apparently a near-death illness woke something within him to go even NEARER to death on purpose. 

Maybe this was the Aboriginal bridge. Hmmm. You see why I write down what I can or else in a years time I may not remember which continent we lived on.

On the third day, Henry woke up this day and said, "I wanna go on an airplane." He'll have to wait a couple of months. Instead, we cleaned up so it didn't look like it had been Boy Domain anymore. They had pizza for dinner every night and at lunch.

And when he went to bed he said, "I wanna go on the Star spinning wheel." He said this again and again and again. He's clearly getting used to this high adventure and big memories thing. 

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