Published: January 23rd 2011January 4th 2011
December was a much more social affair than the previous month. This was because I had started to settle into Melbourne more, and the fact that hours in the warehouse had completely dried up. Which although, was not good for my bank balance; in a way it forced me to go out and do things to fill my days. Although I did still have my friday bar shift once a week at the nearby Moone Valley Racecourse. It was here, early on in the month, that I became pals with an Oz girl called Ella (and before anyone comes to any conclusions, she has a boyfriend), but we immediately had a rapport. After the shift we went out for a few drinks, during which she promised that she would show me the real Melbourne. During this month, I joined her and a couple of her friends on a rather random night out in the city. During the night, we visited several lovely bars. One worth mentioning, was a very upmarket affair. The entrance way was so discreet, that you would of missed it, had you not known it was there already - obviously a place that only people in the know go to. Anyway, after enjoying our drinks in this oppulence, we all decided to call it a night.
The following week, again working at the races, during a shift on the bar, I became friendly with a couple of my colleagues - Dermot, an Irish lad travelling like myself, and a Oz student called Brent. We all got on immediately, and had some good banter during the shift. So much so, a week later the three of us went out together. We started the night down Brunswick Street way, before heading to a backpacker club in town, then finally the casino. The night was arguably my most enjoyable in Melbourne. Was a random, yet fun-filled evening. In short, we lied our way into a club we had previously been rejected from, ended up busking to passers-by on the street for a few songs, had a boogy, then I finished $60 up at the Casino.
That weekend, I had another social engagement. My friend Rhys was having a BBQ. Although we did not have glorious sunshine, it was warm with no rain in sight. During the course of the day I met several interesting individuals (including a girl who used to work at The Crieff Hydro!), and generally made a dent into the bottle of rum I had brought with me. As I was staying at Rhys' that night, myself, Jake and Rebecca (two of my travelling friends from Asia) were the last to go to bed.
During December, I also went to Victoria Night Market with my pal Nathan. It was good fun, pretty busy with punters doing some Christmas shopping and with stalls selling food from around the world. I also visited a Melbourne suburb called Williamstown. This place had a great beach, and lovely little cafes. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, and this place is certainly at its best in sunshine. However, I still had a good time. I went on a organised day tour down the Great Ocean Road too. It was long day, with us leaving Melbourne at 0730 and not returning until 2000. Nevertheless, it was an excellent day, with beautiful weather throughout. Amongst other things we saw the 'Twelve Apostles' and a glorious beach.
As my departure from Melbourne grew closer, my Oz social life continued unabbated. I met up ata BBQ with a friend from Crieff, James. He was over to OZ for 6 weeks with his girlfriend visiting her family. It was great seeing him, if a bit strange seeing someone who you usually associate with Crieff in Melbourne. Another time, I met up with my fellow traveller, Irish Dermot. We went to a 'rooftop bar' in the centre of town. I had been to it before, but this afternoon, the weather was absolutely amazing. As we sat there sipping cider, surrounded by the Melbourne skyline, and in the glorious sunshine we both felt reluctant to return to our respective counries with their atrocious weather and dire job market. As he had no money, I bid adieu to Dermot (who i'd be meeting up in Sydney with), and met up with Rhys and his friends. The night that followed was excellent, as Rhys and the boys were in a good mood as they were celebrating the beginning of their Christmas holidays. As she was going home for Christmas, I also met up for lunch and for a look round the many boutique shops on Smith Street with Ella. As Christmas approached, I had to say goodbye with many friends, most of whom I probably will never see again, although I hope that is not the case with all my Oz friends.
Christmas day itself was great, although not too different from the Christmas day I experience at home. The same itinerary of eating and drinking too much followed by a family game. Mind you, it was a nice change not having baltic weather conditions outside while enjoying dinner.
The few days before my flight to Sydney for New Year were relatively uneventful, except on the 27th I attended the 2nd day of the third test of The Ashes with friends of mine. We hit a few bars close to the MCG, and arrived at the venue early afternoon. We sat there for 2 hours and witnessed absolutely nothing of note. It was probably the most boring two hours I have ever experienced watching live sport. Even the Aussie cricket fans who I was with, told me that today was an awful day to be cutting ones teeth on cricket. It certainly reinforced my belief that cricket is mind-numbingly boring.
As I boarded my flight for Sydney, a couple of days later, I had a slight sad feeling, knowing that it would prob be a long time before i'd see Melbourne again, and that in the future, I will probably regret leaving the city so needlessly early. Nevertheless, although I worked for a good portion of my time there, the time I had had was fantastic.