As there are no direct flights to South America from Singapore, I had a choice of either flying into Europe or Australia and then onwards to Santiago, Chile, and then return via the other way, i.e. Australia or Europe, respectively, this being round-the-world ticket.* Given the choices, I figured making Australia my first stop rather than last would make more sense, especially because of Australia’s stringent customs check – what if I want to bring some exotic food back from my trip? It would be totally wasted if the customs confiscated them.
Australia is a pretty expensive place and actually not one of my target destinations on this trip. However, as I had 4 free segments in Australia/Zealand on my ticket*, I figured I could make a few stops along the way. Plus I could also run some errands**. Another plus: I had always wanted to witness the famous scenery on the Great Ocean Road. AND yet another plus: I could also catch up with friends, some of whom I haven’t met up in a very long while!
So that’s how I made Melbourne my first stop (Technically, Adelaide is my first stop, as my ticket only allowed me on a particular economy class, and therefore a direct flight was not possible on the dates I had chosen. But I had chosen to skip staying over one night in Adelaide. Hence, Melbourne is, realistically, the first destintation on this trip).
In order to save money whilst in Oz so that my trip could last quite a while, I had chosen to stay in backpackers hostels. In Melbourne, I chose the cheapest one with the most convenient location. Suffice to say, there’s a reason why it is “budget” priced. I would very much like to upload some photos just to demonstrate just how “budget” it is – but I am actually typing this on the internet computer at the very same hostel, so I think I had better not, for the time being at least.
The bathroom next to my room was dark, damp and smelly. Luckily someone told me about the girls’ bathroom, which is infinitely better, even though it is on another floor. The last time I stayed in a place like this I was in my early twenties, in an ex-refugee-camp-turned-backpackers-hostel in Zagreb, Croatia. And even so, I heard that place had undergone a massive renovation.
No photos for now, but just to give you an idea, this is what I overheard the lady at the reception said, when checking-in a new guest:
Lady: “This is a very friendly place. Just that it is a dump.”
I was already having a headache. After I put down my things, got new (presumably clean) sheets and a phone card, I took a quick nap. Luckily, I felt much better after the nap, and got ready to meet SF who came to pick me up as we head off for a yummy satisfying French meal at Brasserie, at Crown Casino.
*More on my research on flights here.
** More on that in the next post.