Thursday, October 12, 2006


On to Detroit...

And on Thursday I will be making the lovely trip back to Detroit. 14 hours for the Melbourne to LA flight, a stop at the bar on my 3 hour layover at 8am, then a 4.5 hour flight from LA to Detroit. You'd think that the 14 hour flight would be the worst but, really, the 4.5 hour flight is hell. When I used to fly back from Singapore it would be 8hrs to Tokyo, 12hrs to Detroit, and 2hrs to Boston and the flight from Detroit to Boston was always the worst. For this trip I have the window so that I can get some sleeping in.



9/10 - 3.75; around the lake in Albert Park; some pain on the outside of the ankle, it cleared up after 1.5miles into the run.

10/10 - was scheduled to run but I wanted to run on Wednesday instead. Do you believe that? No? Neither do I. Really, I had a late lunch / early dinner, went back to the hotel, laid down just for a couple minutes.. Next thing I know I wake up, I don't know where I am, I don't know what time it is, I think I'm late for work - yeah, it was 9pm. There was no way I was going out for a run after that.

11/10 - 3.00; ran down to the ocean for one last look at the water and the city lit up at night. Let's see if I can get some running in in Michigan. And new running shoes should be coming this weekend.


Customer Service..

..For those traveling to Oz.

I still have some questions when it comes to what I'm supposed to do at restaurants and the like. Do I seat myself? Do I ask? Do they care? Important to me: give me my menu, ask what I want to drink, bring the drink, and I'll peruse the menu. But usually I'll order my drink and it takes a good 5 or 10 minutes for it to get to my table. And I'm not talking about letting the Guinness settle, these are bottles. Yesterday the waitress gave me my menu, took my drink order and in the time it took to get the bottle of beer, she got my silverware and napkin, took my food order, washed some tables, took orders from other people. I can go up to the bar to get it if you want. Then comes the European influence where they're around when you're fine, except that they don't ask how you're doing, but as soon as you need something they're nowhere to be found. Again, last night, I need another beer - she's by my table, cleaning off other tables but never looks at me. Lady! Just glance in my direction please. A few times I've ordered drinks from across the room by holding up the empty bottle. Although I still haven't come to the point of putting an empty bottle on my head.. which I've been known to do in certain situtations in the States.

Paying. I have no idea. Do I go up to the counter to get my bill? Are you going to bring it to me? When I finally get a hold of the bill (again, like Europe, a "yes, I'm finished" doesn't mean that I'm going to get the bill) do I go to the counter to pay? Do I give the money to you? As far as I can tell, it's all of the above.

This I know: when at a small cafe where you order, pay, and pick up at the counter it is still acceptable to not bus your own table but you can, of course, return your used plates and such to the counter if you wish. It's best to just look around and see what everyone else does - but what if the person that I take note of is a jerk and leaves his crap when he's not supposed to?
Tips. Do I leave it on the table? But sometimes there's a jar by the register. How much do I leave? I've been told 10% but I'm still on the 18-20% program and will probably stick with that. Who do I tip? When I was staying in the city at a hotel with mandatory valet parking I would tip about 50-75% of the time. Some were appreciative, some seemed to run from me before I could even give them money, and one seemed to want to give me a hug and a kiss he was so happy for the $2 that I gave him.

What got me to write this post was my coffee experience this morning. There's a cafe in my office building - $3 for what I get - and I have a 7am meeting so coffee is a good idea. But ATMs here love to spit out 50 dollar bills and that's all I had in my wallet. What happens when you try to break a 50 in the States? At best you get a dirty look. So I had to add to it - coffee, juice, muffin - 9 dollars. He rings it up. "Is it ok if I pay with a 50?" "Oh, yeah, sure, no worries." Ok. It's that easy? So I guess the service can go either way.

Reminds me of a story standing in line for tokens at the Kenmore T station - where the tellers are notorious for being the biggest jerks you've ever met and you wouldn't dare pay with more than a 5. This is when the tokens were 85 cents and the guy in front of me only had a 20 and he wanted 1, just 1 token. If I were in his shoes I'd at least buy 5 of them. After a brief exchange between the two of them where the teller expressed her displeasure of receiving a 20 I heard the guy say sarcastically, "Thank you for the two 5's, 8 ones, 4 quarters, one dime, and one nickel."

Monday, October 09, 2006


Some inspiration..

The Melbourne Marathon. Nice, small race.. only about 4000 people in the half, I didn't hear the number in the full. But it got me to miss racing so one of my top priorities when I move here (aside from the whole car and apartment thing) is to set up a race schedule, maybe join a running club and get down to business. And, as promised, get ready for Melbourne Marathon 2007.

And what did I do for a run with my new inspiration? Nothing. I took the day off. I felt it was a good time to rest so instead I to the tram into the city and read at a cafe. But it was a bit cold out with a nasty wind. Hopefully it's a little nicer today because I will be running.

More about Melbourne, gastronomically speaking:
Melbourne, like many large cities, has a very large variety of restaurants, you can get anything you want. It's not just in the city either, it's in the suburbs too. Especially Asian food since there is a large Asian population. The food is great, I haven't been disappointed yet. Most places are cafe types or take-away and almost every place has outdoor seating, even in the winter. One problem - the price of drinks; get a bottle of iced tea or soda with your meal and you're adding at least another A$3.

The coffee is awesome. It's European style, small and strong and they have so many different kinds. If I'm at work I'll get a long black (small, strong coffee), if I'm out then I'll get a cappuccino, if I'm hanging out I may get a flat white (coffee with milk). I had some Starbucks yesterday - not that good, not strong enough, although plentiful.

And the beer. Australians have a reputation of being big drinkers and that may be the case but the beer that they're drinking really isn't that great. Don't get me wrong, I like it, I can drink it, and I will but if you want good beer, go to Europe. I've tried a bunch, Carlton's, Boag's, VB, etc and I put it a notch or two below Sam Adams. And, no, I haven't even touched a Foster's here - I haven't even seen it too much (it was at The Hard Rock). As I've heard it said, "It's the crap that they send to the US so they don't have to drink it."

Saturday, October 07, 2006



5/10 - 4.00; around the Botanic Garden
7/10 - 3.75; around lake in Albert Park

Tomorrow I'm going to go watch the Melbourne Marathon, maybe I can get some inspiration so that I can get back on track.

Other than that, I have a little pain in the tendon in front of my ankle, I'm afraid that if I push any more than 4 miles at a time that I'm going to injure it enough that I'll se myself back. I'm confident that I'll be able to build it back up to full strength.



I'm here for work.. we'll go through the formalities of exactly why later. I'll be here for at least 2 years and while I'm here I will, of course, be doing quite a bit of traveling on this side of the world. First, let's look around Melbourne..

Where are we? First, Australia is a big country - the sixth largest by land, actually - but doesn't really have very many people - 20 million. Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia and is in the state of Victoria (see map). There are about of 3.5 million people in the Melbourne area - so it's a pretty good sized city with a good mix of people.

As you can see, Melbourne's on a bay, which is cool because I can live near the beach but the downside is that the water's very calm. So today I decided to drive down to find the ocean. I'm on the east side of the bay, just south of the city (my hotel's in South Melbourne - look at that) so I decided to take a drive along the coast down to.. well I wasn't really sure where I was going. So I just heading to a town called Portsea but instead found Rye Beach and there was exactly what I was looking for - the full ocean. If the world wasn't curved and my eyes were better I could see Antarctica - ok, ok.. Tasmania's in the way but the waves were big and people were surfing. Give me a couple of months and I'll be down here too riding the waves

The rest of the trip? Well, it was a bit uneventful except for getting lost a few times (I didn't have a map). I kept thinking, "Why don't they have any signs pointing to the city? It's the only other place for people to go." When I hit a different beach, actually in Portsea and where London Bridge is, I realized, "Maybe I did see some city signs and I was just looking at the back of 'em." And sure enough, after getting some pictures of the sun setting over London Bridge, I headed back and, sure enough, saw those "Melbourne" signs. In my defence, I knew I needed to head north, which I was doing, but I was just moving further down the peninsula.

Then on my way back, taking the highway, which kept turning into a 2-way road that had a ton of roundabouts I ran into a T in the road. What did the signs say? City to the left.. but then the other said city to the right. And, of course, I made the wrong decision but finally found my way back to the hotel.

Really, this story doesn't work without pictures but since I'm here for work and I only have my work computer, I can't download any pictures. So, I will leave you with a picture or two of Melbourne and will have to share more with you later.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Do I look left first or is it right?

4/10 - 4.00 miles; down Albert to the beach, Pickles and Dorcas back; a bit slow because the route gave a lot of street crossings, it was a little warmer than it has been, not to mention my body trying to learn how to heal again and being a bit stiff from not running yesterday.

So, I was running along the beach, a lot of people, along Beach Rd, which is 3-4 lanes in each direction - it's a busy place. I heard screeching tires over to my right and as I looked in that direction, I saw what looked like someone jumping out of a convertible. But as my mind started to process what I was seeing, I realized that the guy was doing a head over heels over the car and landed (maybe on his feet?) on the road behind. The driver of the car got out and ran over to the guy (who was running across the street on a 'do not walk') but the guy told him to go on (he did pull over). So a few people, including myself, went over to see if he was hurt, "Na, I'm alright." "Did you you hurt anything?" "I do have a bit of blood on my knee here." This guy flipped over the entire car and landed on the road - and I noticed that he was also able to recover his hat during the ordeal. I wasn't going to be much help and some lady was calling for help on her cell phone so I ran on.

A mile later I'm coming up on a roundabout where I turn left but across the way there was a crowd of people with some crouching down and focused on the middle of the pack. As I turned the corner I saw a woman sitting on the ground wearing a bike helmet and then I noticed her bike leaning against the building next to her. I suspect she had bit of bad luck trying to make her way through the roundabout.

When your a kid you learn which way to look when you're crossing the street. I forget what it is but I know it because I do it all the time. Down here they drive on the other side of the street so, of course, you look the other way instead. But it is still ingrained in my head to do it the American way so I find myself looking the wrong way or looking the right way and then jumping when a car comes up behind me even if I am in the right place.

One thing though; I've been doing it since I got here and I've never done it before but down here I've been running with my ID. Now it seems like an even better idea.


Could this be?!? I think it is! Yes.. yes it is! A new post!!

Alright, I'm telling you - I'm going to keep this up. I will. Starting now. Life is starting to calm down a bit (for now) so this'll happen. Plus, I kind of have to so that everyone knows what's going on - of course, I'm not sure how exciting 'I went to work, then went home, then worked from home' will be even if I am on the other side of the world but I can try.

Quick summary of my 2006 running season - big aspirations in January (of course), even ran a 20 miler, went strong for a bit, then a vacation - ran some short races - then work travel - ran a marathon, bad ankle injuries - then more work travel, then weddings, then more work travel - ok, ok, I've got a marathon and an ultra coming up, let's get down to business, doing well - OH SH@#$!! Broke my foot. Out for 6 weeks, then recovery, then training - marathon dropped out, ultra dropped out. Then new job - more work travel, wedding, more work travel...

Current status - with all of the traveling, lack of excercising, eating horribly, maybe a drink or two here and there; I'm sitting at 10lbs overweight and 15lbs over race weight, I run like a fish out of water, I'm weak, and I get winded from walking to get coffee in the morning.

What I'm doing about it - fighting back. No schedules right now - 2 days on, 2 days off; 3-6 miles at a time. We'll do that until I move to Australia, I just have to keep on trucking through work travel and a trip to Boston. Throw in there some bad ankles and a bad foot and it gets a little tougher. But I do have another summer coming up and a winter that is not completely anti-running. I can do this.

But, I need a goal - let's see, let's see - hey, look at that! The Melbourne Marathon is next week... umm, too soon - let's try Melbourne Marathon 2007. How'd that be? October something or other 2007 I will run the Melbourne Marathon.

That's some time away so we'll have to fill in the schedule a bit better, get some trails going, they have mountain running around here, running along the beach.. this should be fun.

And luck is with us again, distance measuring works over here.. sure you have to scroll half-way around the world but it's not bad.

What we've got so far:
28/9 - 3.15 miles; to the beach and back
29/9 - 3.84 miles; around the botanical gardens, along the river
1/10 - 3.75 miles; around the lake in Albert Park
2/10 - 3.75 miles; around the lake in Albert Park; felt strong, good speed

If I start to slack- in running or writing, feel free to give me an electronic kick in behind.

Melbourne post to come...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?