Melburnian for a Week

22 Mar

Need I say more?

Oh, I do? I do of course yes, of course  sorry I was distracted by the photo, hypnotized, my taste buds suddenly salivating.

I mean the main reason I went to Melbourne for the second time this year and the fifth times since exactly a year ago has nothing to do with the delicious treats one can find in Australia’s chocolate capital. Nothing.

The reason why I spent a week in Melbourne.

No, it’s not that I needed company to indulge in my addiction either. Maureen has a great influence on me because she’s not a chocolate person or even a sweet person at all… No, she is very sweet, but doesn’t have a sweet tooth in her mouth. But like many of my friends, she’s been dragged to unfamiliar and sweet-smelling places, in this case a chocolate temple in the Royal Arcade.

Maureen and I are colleagues and gym mates in Vanuatu but she is on secondment in Melbourne. So for three months I go to the gym all alone and she is experimenting living alone in a big city for the first time. I had to visit her so we could spend quality time in the basement, she on the bicycle, me on the treadmill… No photo of that — You’re welcome.

I also felt obligated to show her my favourite corners in and around the city so that she would enjoy her stay a bit more. There is more to life than work, people!

For example, we took the Circle Line (free tram!) to do some window shopping in Harbour Town.

There is also a little amusement park if you like kids screaming in delight… or fear.

I had both screams when I passed by fun-house mirrors (they transform your shape). Here is the delighted expression… Next top model Vanuatu!

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who has the longest legs of them all?

I had to show Maureen where she can buy amazing things to eat… or put on her shelves to gather dust: beautiful Queen Victoria Market.

We took advantage of the Sunday pass (AUD 3.50 to go anywhere you want on the tram/bus network) and hopped on a tram to St. Kilda.

A woman and her daughter asked us — us!– for direction. They were from a small place in South Australia, and felt confused by the tram map. Thankfully, I am an expert in Melburnian public transport… not! But I did know in which direction the CBD was. Ha!

In St. Kilda, we walked along the windy pier…

… along the beach…

… along Acland Street, which looks like any street with cake stores…

… except if you look up!

And we walked around Luna Park…

And we practically fell asleep on the tram ride back. Too tired to take a photo of that! Sorry.

We did some shopping for our friends and colleagues in Vanuatu: clothes, shoes and essential foods (pasta, olive oil – I don’t judge what others consider essential), even some garlic pills (ok that was for me to fight off mozzies).

I had to buy a suitcase to carry all these things. Since I hate travelling heavy, I bought a small one and there wasn’t enough room for the items on MY shopping list. That will teach me… to buy things for friends. No more!

Except for chocolate, bien sûr. I had a return visit to Koko Black to get a few treats for “later”. I am still enjoying them slooowly.

We also spent time at Max Brenner, where Maureen drinks her fancy coffee every morning before attacking the tough world of regulation.

I made quick visits at Theobroma and Chocolateria San Churro for a boost. I can still taste the avellana hot chocolate – yummy. I wasn’t a good patriot and didn’t buy anything at Lindt. But we admired their Easter window.

On Tuesday (discount day at the cinemas!), we saw The Vow — I cried… several times. The incredibly cute couple has a car accident and SHE has amnesia, not remembering the last five years, including how she became estranged from her family, met and married HIM. HE is crushed and tries patiently to make HER fall back in luv. I had no idea it was based on a true story and she never actually recovered her memory. Made me want to cry even more. Sigh.

We did socialize a bit, for example we had pizza with her new colleagues in Carlton Gardens.

We made some new friends too, not very talkative but quite animated. For example, we met Happy Feet and his crew.

But it was lunch time and there was an awkward moment so we moved on.

A visit at the Aquarium felt like speed dating (not that I ever ever tried it).

Some were friendly…

Some talkative…

… or rude, hard to tell sometimes.

A few seemed up-side down, or inside out, somehow overwhelmed by life … or just having tons of fun.

In general, they were intriguing…

… or down right frightening.

In the end, it is a fascinating world and you wish you could stay longer.

Life can be exhausting in a big city — ask Maureen, but not right now: she’s still recovering from my visit! Big crowds everywhere, zig-zagging is good cardio.

And all you want is a quiet corner to look upon the world, maybe reading Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy in the garden.

Maybe taking a bath without fishes ready to eat you. Nice, huh? Maureen lives in a luxurious serviced apartment right in the CBD.

Maybe cooking a home-made meal… yes, it is fish! In this world, you have to eat before you get eaten by the bigger fish; I have learned that at the Aquarium.

Or just maybe, all you need is a friend to share it all with 🙂


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