Monday, July 26, 2010

Dame Edna's town

Tomorrow the Baby and I get up at ungodly o'clock again so she can drive me to the airport for the red-eye to Melbourne. The flight to Mauritius leaves early the following morning, so that's why the day in Oz. The cheapest flightst are the earliest ones; but it does mean I can have a day mooching around Melbourne, where I haven't stayed a night since 1980, although I have passed through several times since.
The first time was in 2003, when the First-Born and I were en route back home from Tasmania, my first working trip: it was brilliant, even if at times we were literally running to keep up with the itinerary. Best bits? So many: the fabulous white silica beaches on the east coast; all the animals on Craig's Pepper Bush Adventures safari; the old towns and bridges; the raspberries; the cute boutique hotel in Hobart; finding huge fields of opium poppies (Tassy supplies most of the world's morphine). We had a great time.
It was cool, though, even in December - but our day in Melbourne was at the other end of the scale, SO hot, the breeze like the blast from a fan-assisted oven. We watched a man making lettered rock, rolling out the candy on a heated bench, sweat (yuk) dripping freely. At 6pm it was still 30 degrees.
And then the next time was three years later, in November, en route from tropical north Queensland back to Tasmania again, and there was snow on the ground. Luckily I didn't get out of the plane that time, but the snow caught up with me at Cradle Mountain.
That's typical of Melbourne, though: very extreme in its weather. But also great for shopping and food and culture - tomorrow I'll go and get some of the latter at the National Gallery of Victoria, where they've got a special exhibition of European Masters. I know people who are going from here just to see it. I might even learn a bit more than just what I like.

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