Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, October 2, 2011

After such a harrowing few days it was good to get some sleep and then wake up to sunshine – even if it was 3:30pm! Where did the day go? Well, it turns out that that night the clocks had changed for daylight savings. I'm assuming that it was the same in Europe, but here's the kicker – they went an hour forward. The mnemonic goes "Spring forward, fall back", which clearly applies here as we are now entering spring proper. So, beforehand Melbourne was 7 hours ahead of Barcelona, now it’s 9.

Anyway, Alan & Erin had the great idea of taking it easy on Sunday and going to a local pub to watch the rugby league final. The final was between The New Zealand Warriors and Manly. The highlight of the match happened before the match started. The Warriors are a club team and as such can’t perform the Haka, so to get around that a Maori warrior (in traditional garb) walked over to the Warriors’ supporters and led the Haka there. If you’ve seen the Haka, you’ll know that one person leads it (making challenges) to which the rest of the team respond. Well, in this case, the Maori warrior made the challenges and 15,000 people (every man, woman and child) performed the Haka in the stands. Impressive. Shame they got their butts kicked in the actual match.

Tattoos are big everywhere, but they are really big here. Granted most of the people I’d met /seen up till now had been Polynesians, but there was a strong sense of the tattoos being traditional Maori designs – men and women. At the pub, however, there was a man with more European style tattoos, except they were all over his face and head. I was caught in one of those odd situations where, you’re trying hard not to stare at someone, but you just can’t help yourself. That is until I was told that he was Chopper Read’s former bodyguard. Chopper Read is a famous former gangster (a film starring Eric Bana was made about him), who was a hard man. If he was a hard man and this was his bodyguard...I suddenly found it very easy to stop looking at him! Well, it just so happened that Alan knew him and brought him over to our table for a photo op. I tried to be Jack-the-lad and off hand about it, but I was a quivering mess when I shook his hand.

Other than being introduced to Chopper Read's ex-bodyguard, I was also introduced to Australia's typical dish - Chicken Parma. What's that? Well, it's a chicken schnitzel with a layer of ham, and bolognese sauce all covered with melted cheese. Delicious.

After the rugby, Alan and Erin took me for my first proper look at Melbourne. First of all, Melbourne is huge, probably almost as big as London in area if not in population. It takes 45 minutes to drive from Alan’s place to the centre on clear roads. The roads are essentially motorways in the city and there doesn’t seem to be any problem in traffic flow, so 45 minutes is a long way. Back to Melbourne, our first port of call was... Ramsay Street (altogether now, "Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours..."). It had to be done, I suppose. After a few photos of the Robinson house, we went into the CBD (Central Business District – every city centre is called that). By the time we got there it was night and it with all the lights it sure looked pretty. We had a look at AAMI Park and the Rod Laver Arena in the sports precinct. Alan tried to point out the MCG, but from our angle there were no lights and it was difficult to see.

Then came the iconic Flinders Street Station. It’s like Charing Cross or Plaša Catalunya. Busy, busy, busy. Everyone goes there, tourists, backpackers, locals – everybody. Next to Flinders Street is Federation Square, which is a comparatively new addition to Melbourne – some people think it’s a monstrosity but I like it. We also had a look at the South Bank from the bridge, which is a hive of activity. Finally, I managed to see the holy grail of Melbourne – the MCG at night. Purty!
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Joe on

So, that's two people who can strike fear in the Big Fella then - Asun and Chopper's ex-bodyguard.
Finally,.... what?
Where's your conclusion?

Kyzia on

Joe's quite right! Where's the conclusion? Or maybe now that you're upside down, there just isn't one?!? Maybe, it's jetlag?
Anyway, George, your writing is so good, we're waiting for , if not the conclusion, more!

georgegoode on

I had written it, but I hadn't copied and pasted it. Anyway, it's there now (just one sentence), thanx for pointing it out. Hope all is good back home.

georgegoode on

Kyzia, I hadn't copied it properly, but it's complete now. It was just one sentence, but you're right, every writing needs a conclusion. That's the teacher in us.

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