AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2020 + The Veronicas @ AO Live Stage, January 2020

Today could have potentially turned into a massive disaster with the discovery of my recent Medicare rebate claim getting rejected this morning. The letter I received from Medicare read “We received your claim for Medicare benefits. There are no benefits to be paid for the claim for the following reasons…Reason code 141 – No benefit payable for services performed by this provider.” I was gobsmacked and confused by this information as nothing was fully explained to me plus I thought I ended everything correctly into the mygov claim form.

Mum suggested a trip down to our local Centrelink / Medicare office in Cranbourne. It turned out to be huge mistake as a) it was packed to the rafters with other customers b) the woman servicing me was a useless cow and made me feel more agitated. At this point I figured that I typed something wrong on the claim form or was missed something. Then I approached my counselor Judie via text message for answers as i was getting stressed out and at the end of my rope. Thankfully after looking into it, she discovered that my GP wrote the wrong provider number on the invoice. So now it  should hopefully get resolved!

I think my stress and conflicting thoughts on the problem were trying hard to ruin my day. It’s crap that really I shouldn’t have to be dealing with. But in this situation I’m in with my new counselor, I have to figure out the Medicare claims process myself and hope tat I don’t mess it up. It’s a very unforgiving systems through mygov which if you fail to provide all the information or type something incorrectly on the claim form, you’re basically screwed! And so I was ruminating on this bullshit all morning and I hoped that attending the Australian Open this afternoon would help giving me some positive distractions.

When Mum and I arrived at Flinders Street station just after 3pm, my energy levels suddenly plummeted through the floor! I was clearly not quite feeling 100%. I needed to sit down again. MUM TO THE RESCUE! She bought me a bottle of water and an apple cake to share. I couldn’t help feeling like a burden though. I had so much anticipation about going to the Australian Open today and yet my stress, fatigue and anxiety were making it very difficult.

We ended up catching a tram to Collins Street then walking towards Elizabeth Street and dropping into The Block Arcade. There was a massive group of people lining up to get into the very popular Hopetoun Tea Rooms. But Mum needed to buy a special birthday card for her sister’s 50th birthday coming up at Card & Caboodle! Next we had coffee together whilst admiring The Dr. Seuss (Cat In The Hat) art collection in front of us. We also got to witness the Royal English clock chime indicating that it was now 4 o’clock!

Fatigue was trying hard to bring me down again but I was determined to stay awake and focused. Eventually the buzzing energy from my coffee began flooding through my body as the peak hour crowds were building on the streets of Melbourne. I was trying my best not to bump into anyone as we navigated down Collins and Swanston Streets but it wasn’t easy.

After we arrived at Flinders Street, we discovered that tram number 70 can take us directly to Rod Laver Arena. They had a fun and amusing recording playing on the tram which informed us of he three tram stops available that are relevant to the Australian Open. After finding the Garden Square entrance, it was a little misleading and confronting working out where to lineup as a Grounds Pass ticket holder. We went through the usual bag checking, wand body scan and ticket checks before finally entering inside the Australian Open.

Being our first time at the Australian Open, there was a lot to take in and process. After grabbing a map from the information desk, I noticed that the layout resembled a village which included the large arenas (Melbourne Arena, Rod Lave Arena, Margaret Court Arena) plus retail shops like Adidas and Chemist Warehouse, various food outlets, several sunscreen lotion and hydration stations, the showcourts practice village, AO Ballpark and AO Live Stage.

Inside the AO Gift Shop, Mum and I were approached by no less than six young salespeople with the typical polite questions “Can I help you? Are you looking for anything in particular? Do you need any help?” Not that I can blame them for doing their jobs and what they had been trained to do but it was a little overbearing considering we were literally just browsing the shelves. I did end up buying myself an official Australian Open shopping bag plus a pen and later on a program on the event. Being our first time ever at an Australian Open, I really didn’t want to walk away from the event empty handed.

Next we decided to watch one of the tennis matches that was in progress! We asked a young girl named Sarah to help find our way towards the showcourts. Eventually, we made our way over to showcourt 19 and sat down in the stands. It was Andrey Rublev from Russia taking on Yuichi Sugita of Japan. There was a loud cheersquad in the back cheering and applauding every time Sugita won a point. It was actually quite funny and entertaining in a way. I was just thankful that we got to see some tennis action. https://www.atptour.com/en/news/rublev-sugita-2020-australian-open-second-round

After grabbing something to eat at one of the food outlets inside Rod Laver Arena (super expensive mind you), it was finally time to make our way towards the Live Stage where The Veronicas will be performing! We did get a little lost getting there but eventually we were heading in the right direction. The one thing we didn’t anticipate was how long the walk would be, especially with the dozens of tennis fans you have to navigate around also.

When we arrived at the live stage, it was already packed and crowded. We were very lucky to find a couple of spare seats to sit on.

THE VERONICAS put on a very nostalgic and entertaining 45 minute performance, even though they did start a little late. They performed a mixture of earlier songs plus a couple of more recent tracks. Even when the dark overcast clouds were rolling in and the temperature dropped, it certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of the audience who were singing and dancing along! I was so glad that I was able to finally see them live on stage. It was definitely worth it! Set List: Take Me On The Floor, Everything I’m Not, Hook Me Up, You Ruin Me, Ugly, In My Blood, Mother Mother, 4ever, If You Love Someone and Untouched (Please stand for the national anthem!).

Here are some tips if you ever plan on going to the Australian Open in the future:

Pack For All Seasons – Melbourne’s weather forecast can be very deceiving from strong gusty winds to showers to overcast and humid! So be sure to pack a raincoat, poncho, jumper, umbrella, a hat, sunglasses, beanie and scarf.

Bring Extra Money – The food and drinks at the Australian Open are all overpriced and very expensive (e.g. ice-creams $6.50, water $5.00, small tray of fish & chips $12.80). Be sure to bring loose change plus have money on your eftpos cards ready to go!

Do Your Homework – Make sure you check out the Australian Open website, download the app onto your phone, look up the map of the area plus any train and tram timetables you may need to get to the Australian Open! https://ausopen.com/

Plan Your Day – As Mum and I quickly discovered, it’s practically IMPOSSIBLE to fit everything into your schedule if you only have 2 or 3 hours! Unfortunately we missed out on seeing the ANZ Hot Shots and didn’t make it to the AO Ball Park in time! You really need to attend the Australian Open from 10am if you really want to make the day out of it!

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