Saturday, November 20, 2010

meandering melbourne

My brief visit to Melbourne is over and I have to say that I really liked the place. I was fortunate to have had mostly great weather which always casts a good light on any city.

But I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of green space I found in my wandering, and also at the general friendliness of the people. It made me realise we Sydneysiders are not a particularly friendly mob to each other or to strangers.

As per usual, my flights did not go smoothly - silly me naively thinking they would.

Boarding my Jetstar flight at Sydney went without a hitch, but then we had to sit an inordinate amount of time waiting to taxi out onto the runway.

An announcement informed us that our cabin crew was arriving on another flight which had been delayed. "But they are now on board and we are ready to depart." reported the Captain.

Then I noticed a passenger get up from her seat with her bag and head to the front of the plane.

Again, we sat sitting...waiting.

Eventually - "Sorry for the delay, but a passenger decided to leave the aircraft and we have had to wait for the airbridge to connect back to the plane. We will be underway shortly." ('Why did she leave? What does she know?? Did she have a premoniton about the flight???')

Another minute passed with quite a long line of its companions.

A further announcement:

"We apologise for the delay but the airbridge has become stuck and we are now waiting for the engineers to come and remove it from the aircraft."

But finally, about an hour late, we took off and arrived safely at Tullermarine on the outskirts of Melbourne city.

I found a basic hostel in St. Kilda which suited my price and purpose, dumped my bags and went for a wander to get my bearings.

the oslo hotel (web

the Oslo as it was in 1872

I didn't know anything about St.Kilda - but a website I've just come across has this to say:

"St Kilda is a remarkable place. It is situated on one of the most picturesque points of the Bay a short distance from the city, has safe sandy beaches, and yet for decades was shunned by Melbournites because it was the haunt of prostitutes and druggies."

So it's a lot like the place I live in here in Sydney!

Interestingly, there was never a 'St.Kilda' The name derived from a ship 'The Lady of St.Kilda' that was moored along the foreshore of the village of Fareham, by which the suburb was formerly known. The ship in turn was named after an archipelago in the Scottish Hebrides, from the Viking word "skildar" which means shield, and of which it is said the islands resembled.

However I found it a charming place, with many grand old houses, tree lined streets and some wonderful cake shops and cafes on Acland Street. St.Kilda also has its own Luna Park, and a delighful Botanic Gardens.

In the early afternoon I met up with me ol' china Scottwoz, over from Cambodia, for a long natter and catch-up. Later we had dinner and listened to some live bands at the Espy down near the St.Kilda beach on the Esplanade.

espy rock chick

The following day I walked into town, meandered around the National Gallery of Victoria, dropped into some independent galleries along Flinders Lane, and generally basked in the beautiful sunny day and friendliness of the locals. By the time I had walked home at the end of the day, then walked around St.Kilda in the evening a bit more looking for groceries, I've worked out I had covered about 18kms. That night my legs told me it seemed a lot more!

My third day I was able to catch up with my old friend Fols whom I don't see enough of. We go way back to the late '70's where we were at Art School together. She moved to Melbourne many years ago and this was the first time I'd managed to visit her on her own turf.

We had an enjoyable and relaxed day (despite it turning wet and cold overnight) checking out some contemporary art at The Ian Potter Gallery; a great Bill Viola Video work called 'The Raft' at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, and coffee at the landmark Pellegrini's Cafe at 66 Bourke St (which was redolent in atmosphere of Bar Italia in Soho, London - another coffee institution serving espresso when most other English cafes were still serving instant coffee.)

the raft - bill viola


In the evening, back in my hostel, I sat around with some randoms at the hostel - a favourite pastime of mine, and one of the reasons I still enjoy hostelling instead of the frigid formality of hotel environments. Many of the young'uns I met were here for a years working holiday, most appearing to have made Melbourne their arrival destination, with plans to then head East and then North up to Cairns.

I left to come home the following day, flying for the first time with Tiger Airways. They have a shed out the back of Melbourne airport and a Flight Schedule board that simply lies to everyone.

Waiting for my flight well past the departure time, the board continually informed me my flight was now boarding when it was quite obvious, due to the explosion of bodies lolling around the very much closed Gate, that the plane was not about to go anywhere. It was quite possible it had not even arrived.

After flashing "Final Boarding" for a while it then announced "Now Closed."
Several nervous people (myself included) approached an airport official who blithely told us not to pay any attention to the board ( it was obviously an attention seeker) but instead listen to the announcements.

Now let me say here that I feel that although I might not have perfect hearing, it is still adequate enough to serve me in most real life situations. Thus - the following is as accurate a representation of a Tiger Airways announcement:

"Would argle bargle bappenraps Tiger dabro woadle Sydblee barble darger boola and woaler woodle tuba to the bordle or da farso lah ti doh."

But eventually the gate opened, we boarded and took off. And only 50 minutes late.

Quite good really.

melbourne collage

airportcontainer cafe

oslo next door neighbour

curious headless woman

digital supermarket labels

1 comment:

jeepingetowah said...

@TC - good to see things are very interesting over in Austrailia. I am also very happy to have you following or shipping container blog. Good news and Bad news. Good news is that we are leaving to hike the Appalachian Trail 2172 miles for about 7 months. You can visit us on our hiking blog. THEN... after that we will return to build our container home at that time. Would you be interested to follow along with us on our journey through the forest for months on end, living in a tent? Do stop by for SURE!!!

Wallace & Annette