Welcome to Melbourne?

You take the good,
You take the bad,
You take ’em both and there you have…
…a trip to Australia.

Saturday was, by far, the worst day of my trip. I left the company of my wonderful hosts in Fernmount and got a free ride to the Urunga airport. It was raining like cats and dogs, which didn’t bother me because it makes the area so lush (contrasted to Melbourne, which appeared entirely brown from above). My flight was scheduled to arrive in Melbs around 4:15 PM and I was excited to check out a free outdoor music concert in the city at 7:00. The airport in Urunga was the smallest I have ever seen, yet Virgin and Qantas fly out of it so it’s great for the locals. You could literally stand in one spot, do a 360 panorama, and see the entire place, including both terminals. Easiest airport experience I’ve ever had, except for the 3-hour flight delay, which put me in Melbs after 7:00 so no concert.

After getting settled in with my Airbnb host I decided around 9:00 to head out, explore the area, and find a bite to eat. It’s not a shady neighborhood and there were plenty of people milling about on what seemed to be a popular street lined with shops and cafes. As I came to a T intersection a guy who I assumed to be homeless asked me for change. After replying “Sorry, I don’t have any change” and continuing on my way he asked, in a normal, conversational tone, “Hey, where are you from?” Since I’ve had lots of chats with strangers on this trip I stopped, faced him, and said “I’m from America.” I noticed he was approaching me in a non-threatening way so I continued “I’ve been in Australia for about three weeks…”. The next thing I remember is lying on my back, realizing that I had just been sucker-punched. No provocation, no shouting, no shoving, just a fist to my jaw.

Immediately after experiencing the worst of Australia I experienced the best of Australia. A group of 20-somethings nearby scared the guy off, attended to me, helped me get cleaned up, hailed a cab, and even paid the fare for my trip to the ER. They repeatedly said things like “Please don’t let that wanker ruin your impression of Australians. We’re not all like that.” Three hours and $415 later, with three stitches in my lower lip, I was on my way back to where I was staying.

So I had an unfortunate run-in with an asshole in Australia, but I guess that happens sometimes. The sore jaw, stitches, scraped up elbow, 400 bucks, and blood-stained clothes bother me, but the worst part is the hyper-aware feelings I now have of my surroundings. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy who takes things in stride and keeps a pretty positive attitude. I hate to admit that this experience has taken away a bit of my “spark”. I hope that continuing to meet good people and having great experiences will restore the old Scott.

Note: I have disabled comments on this post because I want it to be the last word on the subject.

This was one of my favorite t-shirts…


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