Hello from Melbourne. We arrived at noon Monday the 8th, 4 hours late, to a warm, hazy day. We left LA 4 hours later than scheduled due to the storms in the East. Our flight was a Qantas- American Air. American had a plane full (180) which originated in New York to transfer to our flight and ours being the one flight to Melbourne each day, the powers that be, decided to wait for our New York "friends".
Our flights went okay. LA to Melbourne was very long (15hrs), but we had good movies to watch, stories to listen to, and the food was fine. We ended up with a 10 hr layover in Los Angeles, but kept busy reading, playing on the computer, and watching the people go by.
So far we are pleased with Melbourne. We got a sightseeing trip in from the airport as our shuttle stopped at several hotels before it got to ours. We thanked our driver and told him what a nice city he lived in. He informed us that Melbourne has been chosen as the most beautiful city in the world for 5 years in a row, and another pole naming it the best place to live.
Melbourne is a big city with 4 1/2 million residents with 48% of residents being born overseas. It has a modern skyline with many skyscrapers, and a very efficient transportation system of trains, trams, and buses. All transportation in the city core is free.
Tuesday evening we went to see the Fairy Penguins come ashore The social acceptable name is Little Penguin, but the locals still call them by their traditional name, "Fairy Penguin". Southwest of Melbourne on Phillip Island, a colony of these engaging birds come ashore each night after sunset as they return to their nesting borrows. They go to sea before sunrise and spend the day fishing and then come back in groups after dark to avoid predators. As we sat on the boardwalk at twilight, we saw a large group of them appear in the surf, creep ashore, then when they felt the coast was clear waddled up the beach into the brush-covered shore. They were the cutest little things of about 12 in high. Upwards of 2000 come ashore this time of the year.