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Published: March 16th 2009
Melbourne skyline and Yarra River
That´s the Eureka Tower in the centre of the pic - tallest building in the Southern hemisphere so I believe.
Inasmuch that not even a technicolour troupe of all-singing all-dancing munchkins were enough to keep poor Dorothy from pining for her dear Aunt Em and a way back home, I was shocked (and am sure you´ll be astounded to learn) that after five months down under in a land affectionately known as Oz - enjoying glorious sunshine, golden beaches and phenomenal vineyards - I involuntarily found myself clicking my Merrell trainer heels and thinking, yup, Dorothy, you were right - ´there´s no place like home, there´s no place like home´!! Shockers, I know!!! :-0
What can I say?? Melbourne just ain´t home. I had a fabulous 5 months. I made some awesome friends. I seriously loved the cafe culture. And I was much impresssed by the vibrant arts scene - never done so much theatre and concert and gallery going in all my life! But home is home is home. And apart from the fact my dear mother would doubtless permanently estrange me for even vaguely thinking about moving abroad, the truth is Melbourne didn´t blow me away as much as I thought it might.
That's not to say Melbourne isn´t a fabulous city. Countless good times over the
course of 5 months makes it exceedingly difficult to produce a concise readable blog entry. There´s just so much to say. So again, and as Kerry complains, here´s my lazyman´s list of just a few of some particularly special moments/highlights. Enjoy!
MOST GRATEFUL FOR MOMENT: The wonderful Anna and Colin putting me up not long after I first arrived in Melbourne while I found my feet. It was amaaaaazing having my very own bedroom and bathroom in what must have been about 4 and a half months. Thanks soooooo much guys!!!
MOST CULTURED MOMENT: Kerry and I enjoying a picnic and wine in the Royal Botanic Gardens watching an open air peformance of Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew'. It was very special. Before curtains up, during announcements, front of house asked the audience whether anyone had any other business or 'proposals'. A guy, sat in front of us, shot to his feet claiming that he had a proposal. He then hauled his startled girlfriend to her feet while he sank down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. Awwww!
MOST 'WHY AM I HERE?' MOMENT: Bikram Yoga anyone? Heard of it?? No, neither had
The Nunnery Hostel, Melbourne
As the name suggests, this hostel is a converted nunnery. It´s where I spent my first cold draughty nights in Melbourne. I can´t say I was a fan.
I. A poor unsuspecting soul, I learned the hard way. Ninety minutes of yoga, yes, NINETY minutes, in a room, wait for it, heated to THIRTY NINE degrees centigrade. Bikram Yoga??! More like, mind the fiery furnace and welcome to purgatory, folks!! Ít´s twisted. Beware. Don´t say I didn´t warn you.
MOST LOVING IT MOM MOMENT: Mum and I up doing the Time Warp at The Rocky Horror Show. How does it go again?? "It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right, put your hand on your hips, you bring your knees in tight, but it´s the pelvic thrust (oo-er!), that really drives you insane, let´s do the time warp again". Go Frank N Furter!!. Yay - love ya, mom!
MOST HILARIOUS DAD MOMENT: My dad and flatmate, Jane, and their crazy shenanigans over Sunday lunch which culminated in dad asking to try on some of Jane´s lipstick. Don´t ask. Just don´t ask. Suffice to say that we were all in stitches. Cheers for the laughs, Da'! Oh and the pocket money too! :-)
MOST OZZIE MOMENT: Toss up between seeing koalas up a gumtree in the wild and drinking 'tinnies'
on sunny Appollo Bay beach. Oh and being wished 'G'day' and of course being referred to as 'mate'. All the time. "Want fries with that, mate?" "Mind where you´re going, mate." "So mate, where in Ireland are you from!" How many times?? "I´m not your 'mate' and I'm NOT from Ireland." Common mistaken identity down under.
MOST DIDN´T SEE IT COMING MOMENT: Kerry the Karaoke Queen hogging the mic in a Chinatown karaoke lounge. I tell you, she gave even me a run for my money. Lol! It was a great night. And Kerry was a total hit. I seem to recall we did a very sweet ABBA Super Trouper duet.
LEAST FAVOURITE MOMENT: Getting beaten up down at The Docklands. Yes, beaten up!!! Can you believe it?? Of all the places in the world... Your sympathy, please.
FUNNIEST THING ANYONE SAID TO ME: Sitting with friend and work colleague, Erin, over lunch she turns to me and says without any introduction 'Ross, I don´t think you are old or fat'. I almost choked on my lunch!!! 'What??! Erm... thanks!!'
MOST EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE: Discovering the wonderful world of internet dating with my fabulous flatmate, the effulgent
Freezing our flamin´ gallahs at the Chill On Lounge, Melbourne
The bar, the tables, the chairs and even the cups you drink from are all made from ice. It was certainly novel.
Jane. A star in every way, she added a lot of colour to my Melboure stay. I´d get the daily low-down on profiles, pics, emails and flirts. It was a lot to keep up with, let me tell you. Such demand! All I can say is I´m no longer as innocent as I once was.
MOST MEMORABLE SNAKE-HIPS MOMENT: Firm Christmas party. Cutting up the dancefloor with work pal Shiloh. Honest to goodness, my thighs ached for no less than 5 days after.
BESTEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WIDEST WORLD MADE: There was stiff competition but the award goes to the indomitable and spunky, mighty and charismatic, Mr Pierre the dog. Known to friends and loved ones as simply, Mr P, Pierre is a cross between a poodle and jack russell terrier (hard to picture, I know). He was the best of company. Favourite pastimes included playing with decapitated dollheads and de-stuffing the bowels and entrails of teddy bears. Good wholesome fun. Miss ya, man!
BEST FOOD MOMENTS: This has to be plural cos there were just soooo many seriously delicious food moments in Melbourne. One time, Kerry and I had a to-die-for Thai green curry in
a most unassuming little restaurant off Chapel Street. Another time, friends from work took us to an amazing dumpling restuarant, Shanghai Dumpling. The steamed veg dumplings were dreamy. More generally, I was an enormous fan of the sushi, especially for lunch. It's a big thing down under. But coming out tops, I have to say, so many food and culinary highlights actually took place in flatmate, Jane´s kitchen. She was a great chef and with me as sous chef we made a pretty darn good team!
WORST FOOD MOMENT: Cured kangaroo meat. It´s wrong I tell you. Wrong. Poor Skippy.
MOST BREATHTAKINGLY AWESOME LANDSCAPE MOMENT: Kerry, Wilma and I booked ourselves on a Wild Wombat Tour to explore the world famous Great Ocean Road. The rock formations and cliffs at the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge along with the rest of the coast and innumerable beaches were staggeringly beautiful. Picture postcard perfect. Wilma and Kerry wading nonchalantly into the sea, finding the waters icily cold and retreating as overcome by some demoniacal fit was a particularly amusing highlight.
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