Week's end in Melbourne

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

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, October 9, 2011

On Friday, we went to the Healesville Sanctuary , which is a zoo, but without the cages. It's quite good as you get to see the animals 'in the wild’, only the dangerous animals are kept in a natural pen behind fortified glass. Being Australia, of course, I was fascinated with seeing the ‘local’ animals; kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils and dingoes. I wasn’t disappointed.

In the evening we went to the Crown Casino. The Crown Casino is the largest casino in the southern hemisphere. In fact it’s a complete entertainment complex, with shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants, bars, night clubs, gaming arcades and, of course, the casino itself. The casino ticks all the right boxes – no windows or clocks so that the punters have no idea what time it is; a cheap(er) bar and restaurant on the casino floor so that the gamblers don’t feel the need to leave the floor and, of course, ATM machines on the floor, again, so that the punters can get more money out to gamble some more until they run out. The ironic thing is that there are signs/posters everywhere warning of the dangers of gambling. Riiiight.

Outside the casino, there is something called the Gas Brigades which is a pyrotechnic ‘show’ put on on the hour, every hour. Basically there are six columns along the South Bank of the Yarra that spit fireballs into the sky. Spectacular.

Saturday evening was unfortunate. It was the rugby world cup quarter-final between England and France. I say ‘unfortunate’ because England lost. If it wasn’t bad enough that I was in a pub full of Irishmen giving the English grief, but I was also being ragged on by rugby friends in Spain! Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

After that, however Alan took Erin and me clubbing. On the way to the clubs, I saw an interesting phenomenon. Something called the Party Bus. Imagine you get together with a group of friends and you decide that you’re going to go out and get wasted. The main problem is that there are so many bars in Melbourne and they’re too far apart. You’d spend all your time walking from pub to pub or club to club, right? Well, that’s where the Party Bus comes in. You hire the bus and it takes you wherever you want to go. Naturally, bars and clubs don’t particularly like this idea as this means that approximately 20 – 30 drunks turn up on their doorstep demanding entry. Not a pretty sight.

Anyway, we went to 2 clubs, KhokolatBar and Teeez Lounge. They were quite similar, but I wasn’t that impressed with the music in KBar, as it was commercial, modern R&B. Teeez, however, had a harder hip hop sound which was more in keeping with my tastes, not to mention that it was full of my Polynesian brethren – many of whom probably had been at Polyfest the week before. In KBar I was just another fat punter, in Teeez, I was one of the brothers. Wicked!

At Teez I have to admit, I saw, quite possibly, the worst pair of shoes ever. I don’t normally check out people’s shoes, but these leapt out at me. They were a pair of white Nike trainers on... high heels! I was taken aback, but I was later told that these shoes were actually quite fashionable amongst the Chinese (although it wasn’t a Chinese woman who was wearing them)

Melbourne appears to be (subconsciously, at least) racially divided and I am the dividing line. To the white Melbournites, I look like Carl Cox, but to the Islanders (Tongans, Samoans etc) I look like Cee Lo Green. Go figure! It had happened at Polyfest, but I took it as a joke, however, when I was pointed at and called Cee Lo Green in the club, I just wanted to shout "F*ck you!", but, then again, that would have only proved their point.

And another thing; guess what? Spain is not that famous. I was talking to an Islander and I mentioned to her that I was British (so far so good), but when she asked me about Britain, I naturally told her that actually I lived in Spain. “Spain? Where’s that?” – “... – Well, it’s below France in Europe” – “Oh, France! Tonga beat France in the rugby last week!” – “Erm, right. So, do you know where it is?” – “No. But where are you from really?” – “OK, my parents are from Jamaica” – “Jamaica! You’re from the Bahamas!” I’m assuming she was away on the day they did world geography at school.

Melbourne has been a blast and I have to thank Alan and Erin who have shown me a great time, as well as parts of Melbourne I might not have seen on my own.

Next stop: Adelaide.
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