One odd thing about Melbourne is… it’s kinda cold. Even when the temperature in the day was up to 33, in the wind and the evening it was pretty chilly. This might not seem like much, but when it’s the first time in three months (i.e. since being above 4000m in Nepal) it’s noticeable. And the Aussies give us stick about Summer. Pah.
Anyway, we spent three full days in Melbourne. The first day was spent wandering around downtown. We visited the Immigration museum, which was quite affecting. The bullshit surrounding the ‘terra nullius’ and ‘white Australia’ policies of the 19th and early 20th centuries is quite staggering. Even now it’s clear that the integration of races (races who are all working to build Australia, which is not a small country) is rough around the edges, and for every story of AFL teams in hijabs, there are protests against ‘lebbos’ and ‘wogs’. The language used is pretty shocking to my sensibilities, and this is before you get to the treatment of aboriginal Australians. One of the most telling stories was how they referred to papers they received only in the mid 20th Century as ‘dog tags’ – they needed pieces of paper to prove that they were Australian.
The next day I headed (with approximately 75k other people) for the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or the MCG (or just ‘The G’ if you’re a local). It’s an advanced level of abbreviation. Amongst the swirling wind, the overpriced food and beer and the stunning Australian wit (‘Oi! Kevin! You’re a wanker!’ ‘That’s not KP, that’s Stokes.’ ‘Ah. … Oi! Stokesy! You’re a wanker!’) I settled in for a day of watching cricket at the most impressive cricket stadium in ther world. The yin to this yang was the quality of cricket I watched, purveyed by a previously half-decent England team, being just about the most wretched I’ve seen live. It was almost enough to call them a bunch of wankers.
Amy, needless to say, wasn’t the least bit interested in this shower and had spent the day wandering the city centre in search of street art, vegan cream cheese and bagels. I returned to the house we were staying in and promptly passed out for 12 hours.
The next day we headed to Fitzroy for some coffee (Melbourne is famous for being coffee obsessed) and then on down to St Kilda. This is a lovely, beachy, hippy suburb south of Melbourne. Imagine Brighton without the feeling of impending storms and depression. Anyway, we spend a lovely afternoon wandering the esplanade, sampling the cafes and envying the kite-surfers. Then, soon, our time in Melbourne was up and early the next day we were headed for the airport and a flight to Brisbane.