Going For Gold

Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
Trip End Oct 06, 2013

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Where I stayed
Carol's Place

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

So what's up with the spray painting in Melbourne??? I can only assume that the city fathers have significant financial stakes in local factories that are pumping out spray cans (presumably in amounts that could cover the Australian Outback in various pastel shades). Outside of war zones I don't think I've ever seen a city so badly hit with the overenthusiastic application of graffiti- if Joe's Convenience Store is ordering trailer loads of spray paint every week, should that not trigger an investigation? The current solution to the tagging and graffiti- more spray paint in the form of better quality murals which, in one of those bizarre criminal codes, usually prevents further defacing as the paint-toting chuckle heads wander off in search of a blank wall to tag.

Everything seems to get tagged- alleys, store fronts, banks, private residences, slow moving pedestrians... and there even seems to be some sort of strange support for this. In the finest tradition of governments spending money to research the blatantly obvious "the City of Melbourne has conducted research and community consultation which revealed that most people do not like graffiti ‘tagging’ (person writing their graffiti name or ‘tag’ on a wall with marker or paint)". But just in case any of these paint-sniffers actually vote, the politicians are quick to soften that harsh conclusion- "the City of Melbourne recognizes the importance of street art in contributing to a vibrant urban culture. Melbourne’s street art has become internationally renowned and has become an attraction for local and overseas visitors experiencing Melbourne’s creative ambiance."

In the immediate area of her Northcote address, Carol C claimed to have no knowledge of the "OMG I Won Gold" tags that were showing up at an alarming rate but does anyone really keep turpentine in the medicine cabinet?? Before settling into the Melbourne area, the OMG Tour did a victory lap that had us in Queenscliff for a couple of days and took us on a car ferry to Sorrento along with most of the Aussie "bikey" population. It turns out they were all headed for a weekend of motorcycle racing at Phillip Island but Carol was convinced that they were part of a motorcade for the OMG Tour so we let her have her moment doing the Queen's wave out the car window. The towns we stopped to visit all seemed to do an admirable job in maintaining their historical architecture and ambiance.

Back in Melbourne we did wander through the downtown area and ended up in the heart of the sporting complex that makes Melbourne, under those aforementioned gallons of spray paint, a very live-able city (the Sports Museum was well worth a visit despite making absolutely no mention of the Australian Ice Hockey Team). The riverside cafes and restaurants mixed nicely with rowing clubs, running tracks and various other outdoor options- they may be missing the boat with respect to rampant graffiti but the city fathers are doing a great job of building a city that supports work and play (and spray?) in equal measure. We did have one short circuit when the earnest staff at the Melbourne Aquarium refused to allow us to do their quasi-scuba underwater 'Walk With The Sharks' (after learning of the performance enhancing stimulants that Carol hadn't yet weaned herself off of??). I still think we would have got in if she had pulled out the gold medal she carries with her but she was afraid that somebody might insist she wear it underwater (no water, sunlight, wind, dust, fingerprints, etc allowed).

For DH, Melbourne was less about touring around and more about catching up with a good friend on her new home-court particularly after her monumental achievement in London (and holding an Olympic gold medal was a bonus- even if Carol did make us wear white gloves before touching it).
We had a good time in Melbourne and, after meeting a number of her new friends, we "reckon" we understand why Carol is so happy in her Aussie home.
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Carol C on

It was wonderful to have you here in Melbourne! We may have our share of graffiti but we still live I the World's most livable city ( as voted world wide!) and I loved showing you around! Come back anytime, missing you already!

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