The day before 'the off.'

Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Friday, March 13, 2009

The last few days have been chaos.  A flurry of goodbyes and a great night out to an art gallery opening made me think about the things I love in Melbourne and gave me a few wobbles of doubt.  

In a stifling gallery on King Street I met friends, I quaffed bubbles and pretended I understood why a toy dinosaur was plugged into the mains, and pondered what a skeletal hand made from icing sugar could tell me about my own mortality.  Feeling cultured up, we wandered one of Melbourne's ubiquitous hidden alleys (down which everything worth seeing in the city can be found) to a cheap and cheerful noodle joint in Chinatown and slurped our spicy eggplant with the locals.  (Cultural note, eggplant not aubergine, capsicum not pepper.  Here the Australian police subdue criminals with capsicum spray.)  

With the heavens opening (the third season of the day making it's appearance - cyclones to be expected later in the evening) we hopped a tram up Brunswick Street.  Past the Comfy Chair (a pub that does exactly what it says on the tin) we went to a house party where some pretty chilled out looking geese acted as bouncers.   The beer was on tap and cooled by a complex tube-and-esky system that boggled the mind; the music was Marley and the Stones from a Buddy Holly lookalike with his pal on bass; the chocolate cake was at just the right stage of undercooked gooeyness and the dancing was uninterrupted by the drizzle.

Just as an hour before you're due at the hairdressers you start thinking 'actually, maybe my hair's looking pretty hot at the moment...' I was wondering whether I was deserting Melbourne prematurely.  Returning to the sofabed marooned beneath all my worldly possessions in the friend's spare room I was calling home was the wake up and encouragement I needed.  Besides, six months in Australia all spent in Victoria spells road trip in my mind.  Time to hit the road.
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