Melbourne City, Australia

I feel a bit of a fraud blogging about Melbourne. Here is where I finally put my foot on the breaks and took a breath for the first time in 4 months. It’s like I took a ‘holiday’ from travelling, and re-joined real life for a week. Well, I glimpsed at it again as a fly on the wall, and watched Joe & housemates Juliana & Felipe go to work, to the gym and things that grown up’s do. I slept till 10am & watched daytime TV. (The Morning Show and Days of Our Lives.) There are no words. Oh no hang on there are; bloody brilliant. Oz TV is either US acquisitions or it completely mimics UK shows. The news is hugely overly sensationalised, the presenters all shiny Barbie/Ken dolls, and the scripted product placement so blatant you are never sure if you’re accidently watching QVC.  I appreciate it none the less. It makes a change from snippets of BBC online watching UK Goes Ferrell, i.e you naughty lot looting and rioting, or whatever that oddness was.

It’s funny what you miss. I found myself having a lovely half hour washing up earlier this week. Smiling and humming away to myself I was, like I was in a Laura Ashley kitchen ad in House & Home magazine. Have a word.

In fact, I found getting too close to real life again is a slippery slope. I’m at dinner Tuesday eve with Joe and Kerrie – the girl with the cool Event Manager job. We ate in delish Chinatown, off Little Bourne Street in the City Centre. (Second day in a row, but shh.) She sat there talking clients, networking, freebies, invites to cool things. I felt like the Ghost of Xmas Past when he’s beamed up and gets a flash of his own life. I wanted to be her. In fact no, I WAS her, only 4 months ago. (Cept she’s much better dressed and also sounds waaay better at her job than I ever was, but you get the drift.)It made me miss you, my Leeds Wine Club musketeers. (Wistful voice…) It reminded me of a life when we’d be all over the opening of new sandwich shop/bar, and where WE were the ones with free drinks vouchers. A life made a better place with the invention of Groupon.  Ah Groupon.

I digress. Once I did venture outside of the house, here is what I can tell you about actual Melbourne:

Trams: Like all great cities – San Francisco, er Blackpool/Sheffield? – Melbourne has cute little trams tootling about to get you from A to B. The circle line around the main sites in the city centre is even free. It killed an hour in the rain. Even better, they are all easy to fare dodge. I only coughed up $7 (£5.50) for a whole week’s worth of stealth riding. You can take the girl out of Doncaster….

Victoria Food Markets: Miles of free samples. Why go to a supermarket when you can eat mini bites of cheese, bread, antipasti. Maybe because you fancy more than mouse size portions? Oh. Still fun though.

Continuing the food theme… We had a mini Yanapay reunion at dinner Thursday night, meeting up with Tim. He, I and Joe all volunteered at the same time, so we relive the Cuzco good times over $4 pizza. That’s super cheep (£2.50.) Plus, they were dead posh (the pizza’s). Gourmet, I would go so far as to say, with Salmon topping, nacho topping (prompting me to share my brilliant ‘nachooo cheese’ joke with the group/met with silence.) And for desert, the daddy of all pizzas; chocolate & mascapone (prompting my only other joke. Except I only know the punchline, something about horses and hiding…) you can work out the rest.

Great Ocean Road – So hyped up with sugar (and a few beers) we got carried away and decided to take a road trip! We’re off to Tim’s holiday home in Ocean Grove tonight. Cue Bridget Jones images of breeze in my hair cruising down the Great Ocean Road. Well, it will be night, and he has a 4×4 not a convertible, so maybe we’ll just drive the Great Ocean Road, but I’m still looking forward to it.

….And rightly so. Turns out Tim’s holiday home is straight out of MTV Cribs. I woke up from my room, stepped out my balcony onto the decking in my denim cut offs . It was so exactly like Kristen Cavallari in the opening credits of The Hills in her Malibu beach house. If only. Oh and the best bit. To give me an ally against the boys, Tim brought along Pixel, the world’s friendliest chiwawa. We were inseperable. You couldn’t make this stuff up. And yes CB – I know what a pixel is :)

Sydney Road Theatre – After 6 days of Family Guy, and a selection of cult movies: Wag the Dog, Anotherhood, Super 8, half of Horrible bosses – Joe and I dragged our square eyes to a play that his friend was in; The Second Coming of Madrigal Chi Tea. It was madder than a bag of frogs, but I enjoyed it a lot.

In a good day for art all round, probably the most interesting thing I saw here was not a conventional tourist site, but shop window. In the quite North end of Brunswick Street/Fitzroy hangs a poster asked people to simply write their confessions/secrets, and display them anonymously for passing voyeurs to see.

Lots were funny:

“I stole a dress today as it was so hideous I couldn’t bear that anyone would wear it…”

 Some were sad, some were harrowing. 99% of them were about love – unrequited love, cheating, guilt.   

It was all beautifully understated. People all stood reading for hours, laughing, and judging, but then of course thinking of their own.

Last but not least – St Kilda – whose delights are twofold; Beach and Cake. Ackland Street is lined with local bakeries, row after row, or should that be layer after layer, of Bavarian slices, vanilla slices and all their friends from the yummy puff pastry family. I plum for a blueberry and white choc scone. It was lovely in the sunshine, and because the beach is in such a deep bay, there are no waves, it’s completely still and chilled. Much like the rest of this city.

So the problem is this. I like it here. By the sounds of it I’d go so far as to say that in summer I might even love it here. Apparently all street festivals, open air rooftop cinemas, picnics in the parks etc. It’s just… Melbourne is a little too cool for school.  Or perhaps more accurately, I’m not cool enough for it. Melbournians have (eco recyclable) bags of style; they are ALL over the restaurant scene, In new music they trust.  It intimidates me just reading the free Beat Magazine, jammed with gig dates every night of the week for new bands I’ve never heard of. Yet I have love for their love for all this. If I ever develop credible tastes in music, (it could happen), and a new wardrobe, I’d enjoy trying to be part of the in crowd here.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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