Playing it cool, Melbourne. Australia

June 12, 2010 at 4:49 am 2 comments

At 11am on a Thursday morning we had expected Melbourne to be dead apart from the odd yummy mummy balancing a baby in one hand and a Miu Miu tote in the other. Maybe there would be a scattering of school kids smoking cigarettes and staring challengingly at any passersby whose eyes accidentally met theirs. There may even be the odd suit-clad worker ambling from one appointment to the next. What we hadn’t anticipated and what we found was a city brimming with life and colour. Narrow walkways like Degraves St buzzed with a population whose only occupation was to look beautiful while sipping skinny mocha decaf frappachinos. At this odd hour of the morning it seemed that every footstool, chair and bench was warmed by a sexy art student bum.

Picking our way past the crowds through air heavily laden with the aroma of brewing coffee and freshly baked bread we sought out a handful of Melbourne’s other distinctive quirks. In dark corners and grungy backalleys across the city painted faces were twisted into menacing grimances, scantily clad women flashed their thighs and tortured young souls declared their undying love for each other. Among towers of green and red plastic milk crates Melbourne’s artistic souls stencilled, sprayed and splashed to their hearts content leaving behind them a trail of social commentary, portraits and the occasional scrawly profanity penned by an angsty pre-teen.

Graffiti is an important part of Melbourne’s street scape, albeit a part that is less than valued by many of the older residents and counsellors. The city was lucky enough to have a total of five works penned by London’s famous graffiti artist Banksy. The city council recently painted over the last of the five, the iconic image of the rats parachuting.

Although it may not look like much at first sight, Melbourne is an intensely satisfying city to explore. A seemingly endless network of nooks and crannies, it’s not hard to find a corner of the city of your own – a crumbling redbrick wall decorated with a beautiful stencil; a covered arcade full of decadent chocolate shops with gold plated windows and stained glass buisness names; a hole-in-the-wall cafe where the spartan seating is artfully scattered across an unassuming laneway; the perfect boutique filled with clothes that seem to have been designed just for you; a casual bar where the music matches your ipod playlist perfectly. There’s no question about it – despite trying so hard, Melbourne is undeniably cool.

Speaking of cool, we were lucky enough to arrive in Melbourne and run straight in to the ample bossom of two old friends – Megan (pronounced MEE-gan) and Boden of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam fame. You may remember them from a messy messy New Year’s Eve on Cat Ba island that ended in the four of us squeezing into one bed for a half hour’s sleep before our 7am start. Well back then we shared our bed with them so we reckoned they owed us one. Being the gracious hosts that they were they cleared their schedule for three days of intense shopping, zoo visits, lesbian concerts, take-away dinners and talking over each other excitedly.

As always MEEgan was the centre of proceedings spewing gems like “I thought that when you crossed the equator the north and south pole switched places” and “So, what part of England is Ireland in?” Then there was the time that a little girl came up to us on the street with her dog saying “This is Teddy!” Not missing a single beat MEEgan spread out her hands and replied “And this is Roisin and Gary.” Harsh. We’ll see you in the southern hemisphere.

Coming to the end of our Oz trips we realised that it was time to get our priorities straight. Before we left we had to had to had to see and eat a kangaroo. In the absence of a ute and an open stretch of road (I hear they are magnetically attracted to the bonnets of utes) we opted for a trip to Melbourne Zoo where they also have lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

After a long day of goading drunken koala bears, laughing at the ridiculousness of ‘roos and mimicing everything we saw, we trudged back to MEEgan and Boden’s place where Boden rustled us up the most scrumptious kangaroo steak ever to grace a frying pan.

When all was said and done, we were going to miss Oz a lot. The east coast is a fantastic place to visit. Pity about all the Aussies though (joking. Kind of.)

There are more pictures from Melbourne available in the gallery

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Entry filed under: Travel. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chelsea  |  June 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I love Melbourne! It’s one of the best cities in the world. Great food, coffee, scenery, art…they have all these amazing street art. And the people are great too! Glad you have fun in Melbourne as well.

    Reply
  • 2. Sarah Reilly  |  June 17, 2010 at 5:16 am

    It was much better the first time I read it!! lol excellent post!! especially the ending!!! xxx

    Reply

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