Second time in Melbourne, first chance to look around.
NOVEMBER 14, 2012 – WEDNESDAY – Early 8 am flight from Sydney to Melbourne. Upcoming schedule is pretty busy. Do the self-baggage check thingy at the airport and luggage comes in at 20.5 kg – go me! although that means I have two carry-ons to keep up with, the backpack and the Sydney Opera House bag. My preference is to travel with one carry-on so it can go down by my feet and I don’t have to worry whether or not there is room in the overhead bin or not. Waaay back in seat 53, but the plane has 3 columns, so it’s not too claustrophobic. Kind of semi-sleep, decent breakfast of muesli and a muffin, bit of turbulence almost sloshes my tea onto my lap. Almost done reading Kevin Hearne’s HAMMERED novel.
Taxi to the Novotel Hotel where the bed has a blue obi and the room is decorated in turquoise. Room is small but comfy with a defiant thermostat. Seriously, why is it so difficult to put an ON/OFF switch on a hotel thermostat? Rachel and Floss are off to do some interviews and say I can go take the free city shuttle tour.
Which I do, after a nap, because I’m suddenly shaky tired.
The hotel is attached to a mall, so a gyro and a Coke at the food court, a visit to the ATM, and then I’m on my way. Walk through narrow pedestrian alley streets full of food vendors with a median of tables and chairs that are completely filled with people. Right, lunch time for non-vacationing folk. Feels kinda European, kinda New York. Get out into the sunlight and orientate myself toward Federation Square. Stop and ask a red-vested city volunteer gentleman about the free city shuttle and he points me toward the correct spot.
Take some pics while waiting for the shuttle, including one of a huge Skyfall billboard which makes James Bond look like he’s shooting at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The shuttle is around 90 minutes and goes through 13 stops areound the city (actually 12 this time as one stop was closed for construction). A lot of art/culture/opera/theatre, and a sports stadium where we saw a couple of guys practicing cricket. Absafrakinglutely freezing on the bus and I almost exhaust my camera battery. After the shuttle tour, I walked around Federation Square a bit to warm up, do a food court run for a bottle of water and 2 desserts (raspberry and coconut with coconut baked so it was really good and not flaky, and a cherry bottom cheesecake) before going back to the hotel. The pedestrian street alleys were much less crazy as there were much fewer people.
Hang out in the room for bit, Rachel comes by to say the busy schedule for tomorrow has gotten more busy, and we head down to the lobby to met Floss, who says the more busy schedule got slightly less busy because the school visit got cancelled due to a timing conflict with a pre-scheduled interview. Have to be out of the room by noon, but it does mean Rachel will have a bit more writing time to add to the word count of the manuscript on deadline.
Walk almost next door to a mall where the bottom floor is Dymocks, a retail book seller. I take pics and video of Rachel’s event. Good turn-out of over 40 people. After her talk, Rachel signs books and gives out freebies and has her picture taken with fans. One young man of 17 is here to get a personalized autograph for girl he’s going to ask out (everyone say “awwww”). Mall closed and sky is dark by the time we’re finished, but it’s a crazy short walk to the hotel which is very nice.
Room service dinner, offload as much video as the camera decides to allow, and pack what can be packed.
NOVEMBER 15, 2012 – THURSDAY- The thermostat won, as the intuitiveness of the two button and a dial system escaped me and I was cold all night. Change of schedule, again, so I have the morning free. Felt like I saw enough of Melbourne yesterday, don’t want to shop, and not sure when I’ll have some downtime again, so I stayed in and had room service breakfast. Said good bye to the sparrow that hung out on my hotel window (I called him Jack), and went down to check out.
Have some time before Floss comes by to get us, so Rachel and I walk back over to the Dymocks and have lunch in their very nice cafe. Apparently chicken schnitzel sandwiches are a thing here – this is the third place I’ve seen have it on the menu. She’s writing so I wander the shelves and talk with the staff about their recommendations for AU authors. Found a children’s book title that would not survive the trip to some other continents: Noddy and the Magic Rubber. Look at, look away, look at, look away, pick up and know as soon as I see the inside illustrations and read the first three pages that I’m going to buy The Princess Who Had No Kingdom picture book. End up with that and more books so a bit of weight distribution may need to happen before the flight tonight.
Rachel lets me listen to one of her novel playlist songs – “Watchmen, What Is Left of the Night?” by the Greycoats – slow and mesmorizing, would make a good challenge for a fan music video. Not sure what show to use … yet.
Floss comes by and helps us take the tram to the new Penguin office which is in a newly developed area of the city, so there’s still a bunch of construction going on. Beautiful office, modern but with enough wood to feel comfortable, although I really don’t understand the waist high card-pass glass doors that could be stepped over. We get a small tour, then it’s time for Rox to film the interview and retailer spots. Head back down to the first floor for stock signing and to sign books for the school class we didn’t get to visit. Find out then that I’m in the dedication for Morganville #13: Bitter Blood (I’ve only read up to #9 … *0_0*). Got a bit of time so Rachel is back to writing and I catch up on my text file journal.
For dinner, Floss walks us down a few streets and an alley to a restaurant (seems to be a thing … down an alley to a restaurant). Semi-quick meal then to the airport with less than a minute to spare to check in.
Next stop … Adelaide & Supanova (again)