Tuesday 31 December 2019

Silver Muse cruise, Day Eight - Goodbye 2019

With thanks to Silversea for this cruise
There are thousands of people not so far from where I am who have been driven down to the beach by the horrific bush fires in East Gippsland, and are stranded there right now in hellish conditions, the sky deep red, the sun blotted out, the air thick with smoke. It's terrible.
So it seems very trivial to complain about being lost in Melbourne this afternoon - but I will. That's 'lost' in the transitive verb sense, you see. I didn't lose myself, my so-called guide lost me. And, worse, didn't find me again.
We arrived early in the city which, in typical Melbourne fashion, had temperatures of 40+ yesterday but this morning was barely scraping 17. So I scuttled off to the National Gallery of Victoria to get some indoor culture. It's a really well done museum - big, modern, airy, arty design - and has some great works in its collections. Naturally I walked past the Colin McCahon gallery without a sideways glance, and concentrated on the traditional masters - Turner, Manet, Constable, Picasso - which were beautifully displayed. I really liked one room where there were dozens crammed in together without labels, making the whole thing an artwork in itself. Though this painting, titled 'Anguish' was tough to see.
They had a gorgeous collection of Venetian glass, too, quite exquisitely delicate and detailed, and full of beautiful pieces. My favourite though was this modern work by Richard Marquis, pleasingly titled 'Non-functional teapot'. 
I was delighted to see women's fashion included too - extraordinary clothes designed by Rei Kawakubo that could have come straight out of a WOW show but apparently were part of actual fashion parades.
"Goodbye - we hope you found something to love" said the sign by the exit, and I certainly did. Well done, NGV.
When I came back outside, the sun was shining, it was hot, there were people in holiday mode everywhere, in cafés, along the Yarra River, walking, sitting and all enjoying themselves against the background of impressive skyscrapers.
It was the enclosed, rather than the exposed, that the afternoon concentrated on, though: an Arcades and Alleyways tour arranged through Silversea. There were only seven of us in our group and our guide, from Chicago long ago, took us first onto one of the city's efficient network of modern trams into the heart of the CBD. She led us through a series of wonderfully ornate Victorian (in both senses) arcades, and along grungier laneways full of street art and eateries. 
We heard history, got some architecture info, had public artworks pointed out, passed by the statue of my hero Matthew Flinders, and were generally getting on pretty well.
And then, dear reader, Joy said "Have a look at the Christmas display in Myers as we go past, before we go into another alleyway to our coffee stop." Look, I've re-enacted it since - I looked away from her umbrella for no more than TEN SECONDS at the slightly creepy display of a koala dressed as Santa, and then when I turned back, it was gone, she was gone, the others were all gone. Gone!

So, not being able to identify the alleyway, I stood in the middle of that pedestrian street, in the sun, in the open, waiting for her to come looking for me, as she had for another group member who'd strayed earlier. And waited, and waited, for a quarter of an hour, and she never came. So - fortunately knowing what to do and where to go from this morning's gallery visit - I lit out for the shuttle bus back to the ship, which was due to sail in not much more than an hour. Black mark for Joy, I reckon (and a grey one for myself, of course.)
We joined another Team Trivia group this afternoon since our own had dwindled, presumably through lack of success, to just the two of us - and did much better: 16/20 and came third. Rather easier questions today included: what does eg stand for; which pop icon died in August 1977; what two letters of the alphabet both mean 1000; which English queen had 17 children; and what's the capital of Libya?
The Christmas decorations had been modified with black, white and silver balloons for New Year's Eve, and we duly all dressed up ourselves (as much as I ever do - but there were plenty of sequins on display). Dinner was with a big media group and conversation included Jacinda Ardern, evaluating the payback from advertising, keeping anonymous on famils, and women changing names, or not, after marriage.
The Châteaubriand was exquisite; and afterwards for those who had room there was a huge range of chocolate desserts on the pool deck, a dj, prize giveaways, and dancing - all of which we, of course, observed from a distance. 
Pleasingly, though we had left our mooring, the captain anchored Silver Muse out in the harbour so we could watch the midnight fireworks display over the city in comfort - and it was good, if a little distant. Many of the fireworks were red, though, which was an uncomfortable reminder of what those poor East Gippsland folk were seeing, hunched on their beach, no doubt hoping for better in 2020.


the queen said...

I would be very annoyed to have been overlooked.
Ag is silver, maybe eg isssssss ... what ... do you mean e.g.? For example in Latin? Est generis? Elvis, M and K, and Victoria!

TravelSkite said...

Yes - turns out I"m so insignificant that my absence wasn't noticed till, at the cafe, they found they had one (pre-ordered) coffee over. They looked for me then, but by then, pissed off, I had pissed off.
Eg meaning for example - exempli gratia in Latin (got that); yes;yes; and no, we thought so too, but it was Queen Anne, poor thing.


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