I have just purchased tickets to the Mona Gallery. This is one of the things that the flight attendant who brought me down here from Melbourne told me I had to see. She told me to make sure I come with an open mind. That makes me wonder what she’s talking about.
My mind is open to a whole mess of things (probably more than it should be) as most minds are open in this day and age. A small part of me wants to jump online and find out exactly what she was talking about. But I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
I am standing on a memorial walk at the Hobart Botanical Gardens. This walkway has been planted with so many trees. Each tree has been placed for a soldier who died in the first world war- it’s very moving. Some of the trees are younger because the original tree has died, but they keep replanting new ones when that happens. I just came across a plaque/ directory of the names of these soldiers. My eyes scan these names for someone who might possibly be a very distant relative. The directory tells me that tree #160 has been dedicated to Spr. Alfred Ernest Watson.- that’s the tree I need to find.
For some reason, I’m very emotional while I’m looking for this tree on the memorial walk. I am wondering who his descendants are and if they’ve come to visit him lately. Is someone bringing him flowers? As I approach the plaque, there is a black and white bird perched atop it. I tell the bird that he needs to leave because I’ve come to speak with Alfred. The bird looks at me and understands and leaves (ok I know the bird actually was afraid of me, but I’m choosing to believe he was flying away because Alfred and I needed a moment).
Alfred (who I’m nicknaming Alf- since I have now decided that he is family) was a carpenter by trade. He was the son of Joseph William and Very Mary Gaunt Watson and his brother was Charles Watson of Port Esperance (later Geeveston). He was a Roman Catholic and he enlisted the 5th of January, 1915, embarked on April 19th of that same year. He was with the 2nd Tunnelling Co. Aust Mining Corps and was accidentally killed on the 17th of September, 1916.
Accidentally killed? What happened to him? Maybe some sort of mining accident? Did a tunnel collapse? Further investigation tells me that he was accidentally killed on railway line near Laventie.
I’m reading this information and for some reason, I’m close to tears. This is stupid. I don’t know this guy- maybe I feel this attachment because he’s the only Watson on the list. That must mean his is/was a good person. All of us Watsons are great- some greater than others. I need to know all about this man for some reason. I need to do some digging. I wish I would have brought flowers to leave next to his tree.
Arron gave me an assignment before I’d left Brisbane. He told me that while I was in Melbourne I needed to go find the brightly colored bathing boxes at Brighton Beach. These are quite the tourist attraction and he told me that they sell for about AU$200,000.
I think they’re fun, but they’re definitely not worth that much money. Maybe there’s a supply and demand thing going on? Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely… I guess I could set up a lemonade stand or some such nonsense. For more info, check out http://www.brightonbathingbox.org.au.
I just got back from my free breakfast upstairs. It was a bowl of Rice Krispies. They may have been the generic version, but I’m not sure. They were good. I’m thankful that the hostel provides it for us.
In less than an hour, the hostel will give a free walking tour of the city. I think I’m going to join them. My driver from the airport told me that downtown Melbourne is 9 blocks by 9 blocks and is 2km by 1.9km or something like that. This means there’s a lot to cover and I’m curious as to what I’ll learn about the city. Since I don’t know very much, I guess anything I learn would be good.
I had a fun night last night- I went on a long walk with one of my hostel roommates, who has a name, but I can’t remember it. He’s from Malaysia and is here visiting a friend who is going to school in the city. My other roommate is from France, also a very nice guy, whose name is Pierre (of course it is).
I opted to not go on the free walking tour. The boy from France asked me if I wanted to go explore with him. This was his last day in Melbourne before he leaves for New Zealand and he told me that he wanted to walk to the bay. It is such a nice day and we had a great time! We walked out on some pier and took pictures.
A sign told us there would be little penguins, but they must have all been out finding food. We fed some black swans instead. We found a cafe for lunch- he had a salmon pizza and I opted for the lamb. We put in the miles today!
This is the reason I love to stay in hostels- You never know who you’re going to meet. After our walk, I felt like I deserved another massage, but decided not to get one. If you recall my experience in Sydney, you understand why.
Tonight I helped Pierre drag his stuff to the bus station. He was grateful and I’m going to miss him. I gave him an American dollar and told him that he needed to return it to me someday, but it can’t be returned via mail. One of us will have to travel. Kind of a cool idea, if you ask me. I should be spreading out U.S. dollars to everyone I meet. Maybe this will get me to travel more often.
The first thing I have to say is that I love this hostel. It’s a prime location in the city and it’s right above a police station- that’s always good! Last night I asked one of my hostel mates about places to go jogging in the city. I decided that I am going to return to Brisbane in a couple weeks and I’m going to be skinnier than I was when I left. I must impress Arron and Brendan. This is my new life-goal.
Here’s the problem- my hostel room has no windows. I thought I was waking up early but I realized that it was already after 09:30! Still, I didn’t lose hope that I would get a decent jog in. Someone told me that the Botanical Garden was a good place to run. There was some charity run for children going on- or such some nonsense. There were so many people in the garden that it was impossible to get moving at all- I did get a fairly decent jog in though.
I am some kind of idiot: I left my camera on the plane yesterday and I was going to just take my iPhone and take pictures with that. Arron told me I needed something better quality than that and I wholeheartedly agree with him- I’ve gotten ahold of Virgin Australia’s lost and found department and they said that nothing had been turned in from my flight but I should check back again this afternoon. This is so frustrating to me! Why am I so scatter-brained that I’m doing things like leaving my camera behind? For now I’ll just take pictures with my iPhone.