|Big moths in Melbourne - they eat ferris wheels|
As blogged earlier, I’ve spend six of the last ten days in Melbourne.
Long enough, I reckon, to form an opinion of the metropolis on the Yarra, at the arse end of the country. (If you take exception to the last sentence, take a look at a map).
First of all, let’s deal with the clichés. They’re all true.
|Black everywhere - even in Chinatown|
Everyone wears black.
|Famous upside-down river|
The Yarra flows upside down.
Melbournians will attend any and all sporting events in droves irrespective of weather.
I have photographic evidence of each of these.
For some reason, my father hated Melbourne with a passion. He trained there during WW2 as a RAAF radio fitter, before he went to New Guinea.
He maintained that there were more anti-Catholic bigots per square mile in Melbourne than anywhere else in the country. There must have been an incident that generated this opinion, as my dad never spoke about any other place with such vehemence.
He also didn’t like the weather. I saw no evidence of bigotry, but he was right about the weather.
|From our apartment - the locals reckoned this was a nice day|
Another cliché is that the weather changes every few minutes. Based on last week’s experience, I can vouch for that. Problem was, it only ever changed for the worse.
The contact we had with Melbournians indicated to me that they are as a bunch, remarkably tolerant. They didn’t turn a hair at some of the outlandish behaviour exhibited by a group of veterans on the town, trying to recapture some of their lost youthful mojo, generally smiling fondly on us.
At least I thought the smiles were fond. I may have been wrong.
The exception to this tolerance was the taxi drivers or at least one in particular. Now I’m used to Indian taxi drivers – there’s plenty in Brisbane. But in Brisbane, they generally understand English, and know where the major landmarks are.
We found one who claimed he’d never heard of the Prahran RSL (one of the oldest in the city), and when one of my comrades said (and I quote) – “That’s bloody ridiculous”; he kicked us out of his cab for swearing. I kid you not.
In hindsight, there were four of us, and we were outside a hotel with over 500 veterans present, so we probably should have refused to budge. We could have held a sit-in. We did lots of things I hadn't done for over forty years. A sit-in would have taken me back.......
Later on, we found another driver who claimed to be ignorant of the existence of the Crown Casino. We found it for him on his GPS.
In summary then, Melbourne has some great restaurants, it’s well laid out with wide streets, the trams are great, and its cenotaph is a magnificent building.
But live there? Never in a month of Sundays. It is however, a great place for a reunion so long as you avoid taxis.