So I succumbed to the lure of the opals; I ended up preferring the white because if I wanted shiny-irridescent blue jewelery I'd get paua. (Paua doesn't do the thing with the red, but a proper black opal with red is not really in my discretionary budget.)
Then I got on a train out to meet deird1
. The countryside in this area feels much like Canterbury (in fact there's a town?/station called Canterbury, but that's a complete coincidence and of course I don't mean that one, nor the original in England, I mean Canterbury New Zealand as in home) except with vastly more eucalyptus / gum trees. We drove up the hill and it turns out that when there are lots of gum trees all together, being all forest-like and such, they grow straight instead of gnarly. It's a little strange and very pretty because gum trees have the most gorgeous bark with those patchy colours. --And then we had lunch, and then we wandered through all the crafty stores in the areas (there's a toy store with puppets and Sylvanians! I'd forgotten about the Sylvanians! also a lace store and kitchenware store and soaps-and-oils store and a place with those trees crafted out of wire and gems, and this great place with wooden chests and globes and magnifying glasses and rugs and all, you half expect to come across the wardrobe to Narnia). And we compared notes on childhood lollies and generally had a great time.
In due course I took the train back home again, which went well for the first few stops. Then there was apparently a power outage at some station so we were hanging around Ringwood station while they tried to arrange buses instead.
(Have I mentioned there's a bit of a heat wave going on here at the moment? The hotel has this electronic noticeboard that insists that the high is 32 degrees and the low 21 degrees -- however I've just noticed that it also insists that the date is Thursday 30th January. I remember Thursday. It was quite warm, but it's grown significantly warmer since then.)
Buses not being immediately forthcoming, after a while I decided to wander around Ringwood, to wit: walk ten minutes to the shopping mall which had air conditioning and a McDonalds, who sell this fantastic salt delivery mechanism they call 'fries'. Having been drinking substantial amounts of water and possessing a general awareness of cell biochemistry, this seemed like a good idea. I also got some grapes (I was right, fruit's cheaper in supermarkets that aren't in a train station in the Melbourne CBD) and drank more water.
I got back to the train station in time to squeeze onto a replacement bus. It was very much standing room only and hot enough that I had the sweat literally running down the backs of my legs. This isn't quite the first time I've had that, but it was probably the most dramatic and it's a really weird feeling, like someone's turned the tap and just opened up your pores.
So eventually we got back to a train station that had trains that a) could take us back into town and b) had air conditioning. Got back into town and my swipe card wouldn't let me out the turnstile. I don't know what the problem was (did it get confused at the 3-hour journey? did I fundamentally misunderstand the fare structure and overdraw the card? was it a random malfunction? no-one will ever know) because the nice Metro man just swiped me out with his card.
Upon which I came back to the hotel via a shop window which has these awesome shoes in it. You guys, I normally have real trouble shoe shopping. Currently I quite desperately need more sandals and I love that at the moment there are lots of sandals in nice colours (like, there are sandals in colours
!) and lots of sandals with low heels and in fact these two sets overlap a reasonable amount. Yet until now, all summer, I've been seeing pairs that have slightly too high of a price:motivation ratio. They look okay, they're just not convincing. But this
pair, love at first sight. Just as soon as I walk past this shop when it's open
, if they feel as nice on my feet as they look in the window they will be mine.
Back at the hotel I took a shower in my clothes which I've never done before but it was fantastic, I should do it more often when it's 40-something degrees out, and then I got into dry clothes and crashed on my bed.
When I woke up I felt cooler because air conditioning and it was late, so I put on my jacket and wandered out for dinner. Hahaha, what was I thinking? I so didn't need my jacket. But I got some fantastic kimchi soup in this restaurant playing a fantastic sequence of Korean pop and "Do you want to build a snowman?" and more Korean pop and "Unbreak my heart". I don't know who programmed that mix tape but they're probably going to be recognised as a genius by generations to come.
After depositing my jacket back in the hotel, I went to wander the South Bank (thanks deird1
for the tip!) Currently it's full of stalls with South-East Asian foods and plants and toys and fans and knick-knacks; and a concert going on and wow that woman can't hold a note to save her life but major props that she's managing to dance in this weather. On this leisurely wander of less than an hour I drank a third pint of water for the day (not counting soup or multiple glasses of water at meals): I'm staving off dehydration pretty well if I do say so myself, but my inner ear appears to be a little bewildered by the weather all the same.