I am still horking up intriguingly-colored hunks of mucus and procrastinating finishing unpacking my pack and folding my laundry, but I thought I’d better start posting pictures as soon as I could because I’m already forgetting various parts of the trip—even parts that were, like, four days ago—and if I don’t get on it my trip entries will be like, “Uh, yeah. I did some stuff but I didn’t take a picture of it. And I met some people. And I walked around. The end.”
Although to be fair, this entry will sort of be like that anyway because as usual I have not taken pictures of the things I did most in Melbourne, which were a) attempt to correctly validate my tram tickets, b) talk to Georgina about boys, c) sit in Georgina’s living room in front of her heater drinking tea and reading her food porn magazines, d) talk to Sarah about bellydance, and e) shiver violently while wearing all of my clothes. You will just have to imagine my doing those things as I show you what poor photos I did actually take.
Okay, first of all, I don’t know if you remember my free haircut I got from a man who approached me on the street about how curly my hair was? Yeah, me neither, because my hair currently looks like it always does: about to stage a bloody coup. Oh, also? It has recruited a bunch more gray hairs lately, like a bunch more, and I don’t know what that’s all about. My hair, it is inscrutable sometimes. Anyway. Here’s a picture of me, freshly cut, with the lovely Adam, who really got me and my hair journey.
I have mentioned before that if I were going to live in Australia I would want to live in Melbourne because it’s got everything I like in a city: awesome music, cool arty stuff, public transportation that actually works, and great food, including places that serve international sauces:
Sadly, I never did go inside to find out what, exactly, these international sauces were–tzatziki? Harissa? Nam pla? It remains a mystery.
I spent a lot of time just walking around the city looking at stuff.
And some time at the Victoria Market as well, which was just as good as I remembered it being the last time I was there. George invited her friend (and mine!) Frances, who was also at the Octopus Resort, a year ago, now, over for a fantastic risotto dinner one night and I was in charge of getting the antipasti from all the fantastic Italian delis, which is just the kind of job I like.
Although there were some purchases I just couldn’t make.
I spent a whole afternoon at this market, wandering around freezing cold and buying fluffy socks with hearts and flowers on them, though I did manage—somehow!– to resist the siren call of the iconic Australian symbols piled up on the folding tables.
I had to tear myself away from this, as well.
I hung out in the city for most of the week I was there, but at George’s suggestion I did go for a day on the Great Ocean Road. She said she’d have taken me herself if she hadn’t had to go to work, that it was really special. I was a little doubtful at first because how great could this ocean road be, you know?
I had just come from my fantastic South Island trip and at first I was all sniffy and “eh,” even though it actually was quite gorgeous and cool. That’s the thing about living in New Zealand, though. You get spoiled.
But then it started to get really good.
It was burning cold that day but it was all so crazy and windswept and romantic—our cool tour guide told us all these stories about shipwrecks and white men who had escaped prison to live with aboriginal tribes—that I just wanted to stay there on the beaches or up on the cliffs forever, or until I physically froze to the safety railing, whichever came first.
Back in Melbourne, I had a chance to go out with Georgina and Frances and their friend Michael on a Friday night, which involved delicious Vietnamese food and a lot of discussion about being lawyers, as well as a lot about what Michael should wear to a fetish night (we all agreed on the chaps but there was some friendly disagreement as to the shoes).
And I also got to go out a couple of times with my beautiful Sarah, who not only took me to a very yummy Moroccan restaurant where we sat and discussed bellydance and boys for about three hours, but who also invited me to a really good dance class my last day there, which garnered my only picture of us together, in which we are both a little sweaty and giggly. This is right after my ass had been well and truly kicked by the fine ladies at Underbelly and right before we went for a chai tea and another couple of hours of deep discussion re: bellydance and boys.
It was a really good start to the trip, that week in Melbourne…as I think about it now, I wasn’t quite ready to jump back into the oft-vaunted backpacker lifestyle after having just quit my job and all that. It was nice to be doing fairly normal but very fun things in a city I happen to adore and always want to go back to visit. By the end of that first week I was definitely feeling myself to be on holiday and was ready to see what the rest of the trip would bring me, but there was still something so sweet about laughing and rolling our eyes at horrid, ridiculous Pretty Woman with George on her living room couch that last night, thinking about how lucky I am to be able to find my type of people, wherever I go in the world.