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I arrived in Melbourne about 10am Saturday morning after about 18 hours total flying time.  Things sure have changed since the last time I was here: I had to rent a phone for the week to be able to affordably stay in contact with folks at home.  Now, my Blackberry works: phone, email, browser and all.  I was able to call Julie within 5 minutes of landing here as if it were a local call.

One key to recovering from jetlag when traveling to Australia (and arriving in the morning) is to stay awake the first day and switch to a local timetable. I made a mistake last time I was in Sydney and took a nap in the afternoon - this lead to repeated awakenings in the night and another day of recovery. So, my colleague and friend Mike and I set out to explore downtown north of the Yarra River. What follows is a short photo journal of our day.

We started the day with a short walk to Flinders Street Railway Station. We had lunch and a beer across the street at Young and Jackson's.

Next we hiked west and rode to the top of Rialto Tower to check out the Melbourne observation deck. The views were stunning - clear, beautiful day with plenty of visibility. Here you can see (upper left) the Melbourne Cricket Ground and (middle right) the National Tennis Centre, home of the Australian Open.

Ahhh, a little slice of home.

So we're wandering down Swanston St when I happen to gaze across the street - lo and behold, a game store! Mind Games is a nice store - emphasis on family board games with a HUGE selection. I probably would have bought something if the prices had been more reasonable. I suspect they were 20% higher than retail in the US. I did buy 5 wooden d6.

While walking back to the hotel, we happened by a wedding at the Scots Church. Very cool bagpipes - how can you resist stopping and having a listen?

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