November 8th, 2019

Phoenix

Hobart Nov 7-8

I've slept really well the past two nights, much better than usual. Maybe it's the quiet street, or the soft bed (not quite too soft), or the naturally cool room. Or maybe I'm being drugged by the VOCs: there's a strong chemical smell, especially with the windows closed. The host has no idea why, "no one has complained before, we didn't paint or put in new bedding" but the handyman who came by to open my windows (painted shut) could smell something too.

Yesterday I went out for lunch, some Vietnamese food, then walked down to the city center. Elizabeth is like the main street; a street parallel to it looked more like the street of car sales lots. Got down to the coast (of a bay). It was cold (8-10 C) and frequently rainy, often with sun (fellow guests said today they saw a rainbow, I hadn't even thought to look.)

I'm hear for a week and I'm thinking it'll be just a week, I'm not feeling an urge to hang around. Unless it was a lot cheaper than alternatives, but it's not... though my smelly room *is* larger than I've gotten used to.

Found a game and book store, though not game events I can go to before I leave (D&D wednesdays). Warhammer store right across from it, lol.

Had dinner at Sakura, a cheap and highly rated 'Japanese' chain, more like Japanese/Chinese melange: sushi, dim sum, various Japanese and Chinese dishes. I had beef noodle soup (basically light ramen), was decent.

Wednesday night I'd been heading to a nearby grocery store but was caught in cold rain in my T-shirt and shorts and went to a convenience store instead, which cost a lot more than I thought. Yesterday I took a bus back and got to the first destination, and discovered that "Hill Street Grocer" is actually an IGA, a full supermarket, though with some local quirks.

I also had a quest: finding some place to fix my luggage. Somehow, I suspect security opening my bag, the zipper got in severe trouble. The handle of my canvas shopping bag somehow got threaded *through* the zipper. I suspect the zipper backed over it, then pulled it forward; I can't see how it would be possible otherwise. I noticed no difficulty when I packed, which is why I suspect security or JetStar. I tried cutting the handle and pulling it out, but that just broke the other side, leaving a bit of cloth still jamming the zipper. Tried pulling, nothing; tried oil, nothing.

I was going to ask at a dry cleaner, but a friend had suggested a shoe repair store. I looked one up, and they said "nope but try Country Leather". Went there, and they said they'd take a look.

So today I emptied my luggage and took it down, and wow, he fixed it in two minutes.

He pulled at the cloth a bit with pliers, then did something to pull the zipper last leaving the cloth in the zips.
Then poked at the cloth with a pokey thing, until the zips opened up and the cloth could be removed.
then push the zipper back past the loop and everything's back to normal.

Didn't even charge me, though I ended up buying a new hat (not leather).

I'd realized on the way that the luggage has two zippers, so even with a jammed one, I could have forced it down and used the other zipper, at the risk of having the closure point on the bottom (letting things fall out if the zipper caught and opened). But it's nice to recover full functionality and have redundancy in store against a future break.

Otherwise I've been sitting at a cafe with my laptop, not wanting to drag even empty luggage around, and not wanting to camp out in my VOC room.

My host offered to let me cancel with a refund, and I said I didn't need that, partly because I feared moving with broken luggage. But now I have options... we'll see how things develop.

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Phoenix

More Hobart

Looking at Wikipedia, Hobart is cool but very rarely gets cold; the record low is -2.8 C, and monthly minimum rarely go negative. Sea level snow is a once in 15 years event.

Cars seem more colorful than I'm used to, like more red and blue cars relative to the white/gray dominance.

Yeah, the street parallel to Elizabeth, sampled further down, was car rental and hospital and university. No reason for a pedestrian to be there. Hobart is like 240,000 people, and I recall yesterday trying to get to the Cenotaph and found myself walking along a near-highway (with sidewalk) out of two. So like a small town core and then lots of blah.

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CrashMouse, food

slip lanes serendipity

So there's a kind of intersection I've been seeing a lot of in Australian cities. There's be a fast turn lane, then a pedestrian island, usually no light (let alone a stop sign) before the curve, and repeated. So to cross the intersection you go across the turn lane, press a light button on the island, wait, cross to the opposite island, then cross that turn lane.

I think I've seen this in the US -- one obnoxious intersection on the east side of Bloomington IN comes to mind -- but very rarely, not common enough to be a thing. Here it's definitely a thing.

In one of those odd moments of serendipity, I have very recently been reading about slip lanes, which is what these are, including a piece today on slip lanes, safety, and speed. Apparently they're pretty common in the USA; I guess I only live in older places where they're not. Even the parts of LA I'm familiar with (Pasadena, Glendale) don't have them much.

Wiki

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