Has Caroline been arrested? And other adventures in Melbourne



Our day in Melbourne didn't go as planned.  We had scheduled a bike tour of the city, and in the morning we were each doing our own thing, with plans to meet up at 9 and disembark.  About 8:45, I was in our stateroom when the phone rang.  Not my cell phone, mind you.  We have our cell phones turned on "airplane mode" to prevent racking up roaming charges when at sea or nearshore.  The room phone rang... it must be Caroline, I thought.  Wrong.  "Hello?  Is this Mr. Robert?"  It was a member of the ship's staff.

The rest of the message was perplexing.  "There is somebody at the pier waiting for you.  You need to check in with the port authorities."


Where's Waldo?
WTF?  Nobody is waiting for me in Melbourne.  And where is Caroline?  She was going to do yoga then walk on the track on deck 14.  Wait... could she have left the ship to walk on the pier, without her passport, and can't get back through security?  Did the port authorities catch her with something that violated Australia's strict biosecurity laws?  Her backpack was still in the room.  I grabbed her passport and some cash (is there a fine to be paid?), got to deck 3 to disembark, and tried to figure out what was going on.  Ship's security didn't know.  The first person off the ship with "security" written on their vest didn't know.  The second port authority security person I talked with suggested I go to the end of the pier and check in at the guard house.  I hoofed it there, texting Caroline with a "where are you" as I walked.  At the guard house, I relayed the message I had received, and the guard there professed ignorance, but then asked, "Is your wife a nurse?"  "Yes!" I replied.  "A dialysis nurse?"  "That's right!" I confirmed.  "Well," the security guard said, "There's a former patient of hers waiting at the end of the pier.  He's been there for 2 hours."  The guard looked, and didn't see him at that moment.  I said, "If you see him again, tell him that Caroline will be there in 15 minutes."  As I walked back to the ship, I got a WhatsApp note from Caroline stating that she was in the stateroom.  I wrote back, "Come on out.  I'm outside.  Strange story.  Meet me at gangway."

So here's the deal.  Caroline had a patient with Dialysis at Sea last year in Europe, and he (Ron Liner) was from Melbourne.  Apparently, there was one of those "If you are ever in Melbourne, come see me" comments.  If you travel enough, you hear a lot of generous statements like this, but usually there isn't follow-though.  In this case, however, Ron figured out when the cruise was docking in Melbourne, and had been planning a reunion.  Unfortunately, his multiple attempts at email and phone never reached Caroline.

So, leave it to me to dream up worse-case scenarios.  And leave it to Caroline to develop such pleasant relationships with her clients that they work so hard to see her again!

Ron and Irina took us on a tour through the city, to Queen Victoria Market and the "posh neighborhoods," and finally treated us to a fabulous lunch at Richardo's.  We even visited the dialysis center that treats Ron MWF.




Dialysis machine in action.

In Australia, and Caroline is drinking a Mexican Corona!  Victoria Bitter for me.

Fresh mangos! Queen Victoria Market.

Garlic at Queen Victoria Market.



A huge poster seen in downtown Melbourne.

Ron and Irina dropped us back at the pier at 3, and we had time to walk up and down the coastal area for another hour before returning to the ship (and then playing table tennis).  We didn't get in a bike ride, and the city streets had bike lanes galore.  We also observed both docked and dockless bikes around the city.  Unfortunately, we didn't see any fruit bats at Yarra Park, and we didn't get a chance to participate in any of the events for the Moomba Festival.  In addition to being Australia's largest free festival, "Moomba" is officially translated as a native word meaning "let's get together and have fun."  Further research indicated it means something closer to "up your ass." The natives had (and still have) the last laugh here!


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PVC recycling at hospital.  Not in Logan!

Melbourne business district.  I think that is the Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium in the foreground.
Not an appropriate parking spot for a dockless bike, over the fence and on the dunes.

Nurse Donna explaining sodium bicarbonate mixing on dialysis machine.

Touring the "posh neighborhoods" in Melbourne.

No cats!

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