OK, this is just a copy-paste from Facebook, but here's an update on Melbourne so far. First, here are pictures.
The trip here was LONG but uneventful, with a flight from RDU to DFW to LAX to SYD to MEL, with a long layover in LAX (6 hours) and 2 very, very short layovers that made us nearly miss connections (DFW and SYD). The kids were as good as you can expect a 9-mo-old and a 3-year-old to be. Better, really. Each of us got between 4-6 hours of sleep in that 36-hour period. The first day in Melbourne was a walking dream with sea legs.
Melbourne has more interesting architecture than I've seen anywhere. Even Barcelona doesn't really compare. I will take lots of pictures of the buildings and bridges and post them later.
The adult people are outstandingly friendly, and the teenagers are outstandingly surly. Must be some sort of caterpillar-butterfly thing to go from kid to adult here, because it's hard to imagine that these cursing, spray-can wielding, angry-looking people will eventually turn into the jovial and welcoming people who are just a few years older. But that's adolescence for you and that's why someone's teenage record shouldn't be held against them when they run for office someday.
Yesterday (today for you!!) we went to the Healesville wildlife sanctuary and pet some real kangaroos. We saw some of the world's deadliest snakes and got a lecture that made them sound sort of sweet and lovable. We also saw a birds of prey show, allthough I think that the birds of prey in the US are at least as interesting. We saw giant monitor lizards (Goannas, NOT Iguanas) eating giant possums (possums, NOT oppossums) for lunch. We saw platypus eating yabbies (yabbies NOT crawfish). Reptiles here are way cool and creepy.
We also went to the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere (Queen Victoria market) and I would believe that it is the biggest one in the whole world. The fishmarket section smelled like clean water. It was absolutely gorgeous. So far we've tried local snapper and basso. Australia also has TONS of free-range sheep, so the sheepmilk cheese is cheap and delicious. I hanker for some giant prawns. We will have lamb tonight. I love having a kitchen.
The hotel is a 3-bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, a balcony, and lots of space to spread out. Kids share a room. Life is good.
We cooked up giant prawns and a hostile alien species called Moreton Bay Bugs for dinner. Google those. They're delicious, and ugly. No surprise, they don't have Zatarain's crab boil here. We made do with a bunch of salt and green Tabasco sauce.
I am continually surprised at what a foodie's paradise Melbourne is. The food porn here is unreal. E-baby just had some of SNG's almond croissant from the bakery downstairs and said "it's so good, I couldn't believe my mouth!"