As you are all probably aware by now, Melbourne has been our home for the past 10 months. With it’s utterly wacky weather, incredible diversity (of people and, more importantly, food!), cracking craft beer, and plenty to keep even the most boring of people entertained, Melbourne has lived up to the reputation it has built itself over the past few years as the World’s Most Liveable City.
The Melbourne story so far as seen crystal meth addiction (not mine!), parties, festivals, unemployment (briefly), homelessness and much more! An all round fun and eye-opening experience I would have to say!
Since my last Melbourne update – prior to my trip to New Zealand – I recapped on the trials and tribulations of the first few months of living in Melbourne; from the “interesting” landlord in mine and Soph’s first Melbourne “share house”, to tackling the job search – and both nailing it to be fair! – there was plenty to keep us on our toes whilst trying to settle in…
Since returning from the land of Kiwis back in October, I have spent the last 3 months working my latest job with Backpackers World Travel, which has given me another great insight into the travel industry as well as the weird and wonderful people that loiter around in Melbourne CBD. Working on Flinders St – opposite Flinders St Station, in the heart of Melbourne CBD – the clientele is what can only be described as a mixed bag. Indians working for IBM who can’t drop their native roots and haggle every price given to them, Filipino families who seem to have far too much money for their own good, French backpackers who want to “do it all themselves” but will still waste your time for hours just to bleed you dry of all the information they need – this is a travel agency NOT an information centre! – and then you have the charming elderly people who just need somewhere to park their zimmer frame while they go and get a haircut two doors down. What a wonderfully interesting world…
Besides working, we have had some time free to explore more of Melbourne and the surrounds. Restaurants, pubs and bars galore, and of course the small matter of Christmas and New Year festivities.
Christmas Day in Melbourne was the hottest in 18 years, with our garden reaching the dizzying heights of 37 degrees C. So what does a rather sweaty Englishman in 37 degrees call for, yep that’s right, a paddling pool. So Christmas Day was spent melting in my garden, with my feet splashing around in a kids’ paddling pool adorned colourfully with racing cars. That scene, plus a hearty BBQ – which did certainly not help the already scorching heat of the day – followed by lots of cheese, wine and chocolate, completed a rather backwards Christmas!
New Year was spend guzzling large quantities of alcohol in what I can only describe as the largest beer garden I have ever set my eyes upon – The Village, St Kilda. All you can eat BBQ and all you can drink beverages, overly cheesy music (which after a few beers does the trick to be honest), a ticket price of $130 (which is far from cheap, but nothing is in Melbourne – apart from Chinese and Vietnamese food), and a 5 hour time frame to make the most of the edible offerings – I like to think we did ourselves proud!
Other fun has included Pleasure Garden festival in St Kilda – a big day of great music, boozing, and generally behaving myself (obviously) – trips to the Hanging Rock Reserve and also down to the spectacular Wilson’s Promontory.
Note: I fucking hate Australian flies. Unlike many other flies I have encountered in my life, Australian flies have a tendency to fly directly into your face, eyes and mouth, and when ushered away, just return again with even more irritating persistence. They are a very quick-witted bunch and can avoid a swatting with ease, making them a very infuriating opponent. Particularly irritating when: going for a run, cycling (although you can usually out-pace the little bastards on a bike) and exploring rural areas, such as National Parks – Wilsons Prom was a absolute nightmare. These flies are one of the things I will NOT miss about Australia.
What next then? (You may ask…) Well, I now only have 6 weeks left until I am officially unemployed again, when I will be spending a couple of weeks back in the UK, then back to Australia to gather my belongings, before jetting off to Chiang Mai in Thailand to kick-start some more adventures. Plans are generally vague from that point, but we should be exploring national parks, avoiding too many temples (due to my allergy to religion) and wallowing on some picturesque Thai beaches, before then scooting off to Singapore to watch the HSBC Rugby Sevens on the 15th/16th April…
And there you have it. A little round-up on life so far. Here’s some photos: