Sunday, May 13

Besides all the exciting things we're doing-


Mom gets to have Mothers' Day in Australia!  Of course, it's an American holiday so no one here knows what we're talking about, but TOO BAD!

The above is what I wrote before we left.  It turns out that today is Mother's Day here as well.  So to all mothers everywhere - Happy Mother's Day.  Today's page is PINK in honor of the carnations we should have gotten you but we've been away...

Today we also left Cairns' 84 degree weather for the 32-62F of Melbourne, which is on the south coast of Australia.  We're a little more west than Cairns, but on the bottom of the continent.  We were at about 17 degrees South Latitude in Cairns, we're now 37.5S in Melbourne.

Melbourne has been described as the most cosmopolitan, multicultural city in Australia.  Our hotel is right downtown (the All Seasons Welcome Hotel) at the corner of Little Bourke Street and Swanston Street (for those who are tracking us).  And downtown Melbourne reminds all of us of downtown New York, especially midtown on the west side.  Lots of skyscrapers, street level shops, restaurants, and some very strange people.  Sydney is supposed to be the liberal city with the vibrant gay and "bohemian" communities but our bus trip from the airport shows Melbourne has their share as well.

This morning's local political news show, which I watched in the airport, had interviews with Archbishop Pell who is the Catholic bishop who has just been installed as the Bishop of Sydney, moving up from Bishop of Melbourne.  The discussion was all around how he is the Pope's "enforcer" in australia, who opposes homosexuality and abortion and upholds all the standards that Rome has laid down, and while he was able to do that in conservative Melbourne, how well will it play with the folks in Sydney.  While I don't particularly care, being neither Australian nor Roman Catholic, it was interesting to see what the people think of their own cultural differences between the cities.

Anyway, we made it here for our last leg of the journey.  We're here through Thursday when we return to the North on another marathon plane ride.  We just hope the annoying old women who've been along on this package tour will just shut up for the rest of the trip....

Best to all -