Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Freedman Down Under: peachy Melbourne

What can I tell you? Much as it has been a trauma for Wifey #1 to go and live on the other side of the world (I have still not taken the hint perhaps), now I am here, I can see why. Melbourne is one of those places that just works. It has a little of everything you'd want - beaches, weather, lovely people, good fressing, nice architecture, good countryside, culture, and a functioning public transport system.

Much like home, however, it has a losing cricket team; here's a pic from the final day of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, a real institution like the opening summer test at Lord's - and the first time in a generation that the Baggy Greens (that's the name for the Aussie cricket team, because of the cubscout caps they wear) have lost a Test series at home.

So far, I have been acclimatising, getting to know the city, and of course, eating plenty of hearty meals. I have decided to have a brief rebellious patch on the whole kosher thing, as it's not every day a nice chunk of marinated kangaroo is on offer. Still bizarrely avoiding pork and shellfish though, and this won't last beyond Oz, but it's nice to just kick back and be someone else for a bit. I think the strategy is that I get three wildcards for treif holidays, so I can experience all the stuff you can't get in Solly's before retreating to safe food beginning with K. To be honest, the yokmeat is all ok, but not so amazing that I couldn't live without it.

On that note, I went surfing the other day! Yes, me... drove down to Phillip Island with Wifey, Stitch (limber London linguist Lilo's little sister), and The Bull, stopping off on the way to meet some koalas, kangaroos and other domestic furries. Then got down to Smith's Beach, squeezed into wetsuits and plunged on in. The Bull was pretty good, having done this before (ie actually getting to her feet on the board), whilst Wifey and I managed a couple of bodysurfs and even got onto knees at one point. We went about recreating the dramatic closing sequence of Point Break - I especially enjoyed wiping out on some strategically placed underwater rocks a couple of times. The things we do for our sport, eh?

In the evening, we got back to Melbourne, devoured some more excellent food, and watched Frost/Nixon (very enjoyable), before visiting Stitch and The Bull's sweet townhouse, complete with basement cinema. That's about all I've got for the moment - Stitch is holding back the release of the pic of the four of us holding our boards and looking very professional, pending airbrushing of how skanky she looked, despite flaking out early from the surfing. Some of us have got it, honey, and some of us have not.

The rest of Melbourne in a nutshell (photos to follow): strolls around the botanical gardens with Wifey, beachfront and St Kilda Pier as well as hearty brunch with Bouncer, enormous meat fress at Limor's, pleasant coffee and nosh with Wifey's friends the Golden Couple, London-style sprint to move car and avoid parking ticket, usual collection of jokes about eating babies, helping Wifey with his eviction, and a cracking meal at the cool aunt and uncle's trendy designer house.

That's all for now... in Alice Springs but no time to finish posting properly, except to complain bitterly about having to fly low-cost to get here. Oh, and the fucking flies are everywhere. Why does nobody mention these? Maybe they are just drawn to me. Like flies to... um...

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