One latte a day


Into the city 19.06.07

It's quite neat to cycle your way off a ferry and suddenly find yourself on some suburban street in Melbourne, wondering where on earth you need to cycle to find your friends' house, on the other side of the city. Happily, Melbourne's got that many cycle paths I found one by accident, and despite plonking myself amongst the morning traffic on Spencer Street, I made it to Nick and Graeme's with no accidents.
The Exhibition building

Two weeks in Melbourne

Ah, what to say about this city? I've spent a lot of time here before, and there's such a lot going on - perhaps that's the appeal of the place. The city is everything I could be doing if I wasn't cycling - both a good place to have a spell but also a hard place to leave.

Nine o'clock on the first day greeted me with the vast expanse of a double bed rather than a thermarest, and a toasty flanalette cotton doona instead of my sleeping bag. The residents of Melbourne had already crammed themselves on to their morning trains and were sitting bleary at their computer screens; I ate pancakes made by my friend Nick as quickly as he made them, savouring the taste of the maple syrup and the fact that they appeared magically on my plate at intervals with no effort on my part.

A lingering laziness from a long cycle and a long snooze made it into a funny sort of day. I wandered around bike shops and ate. In Gopals, a cheap Hare Krisna restaurant, the cheesy richness of a lasagne taunted me. It didn't let me down, with a great ooze of golden hot cheese and sweet tasting tomato sauce, bobbed with juicy eggplant. Sago pudding, looking like fisheggs or tiny eyeballs, sprinkled with crunchy toasted almond. In the corner, a trendy looking girl sat with her iPod headphones blarings in defiance of the never-ending devotional chant played in the room. On the other side, a pudgy man sat self consciously practising chinese tones and phrases.

In the Melbourne Times, the religion page is devoted to AFL. On a train, I heard a man and woman discussing the performance of a particular player in the conversational tones normally reserved for discussions of the finer points of Shakespeare's plays. "But he just hasn't had possession. Look at last season..."

Later in the day the music at a favourite bar caught my fingers and my feet, and they began tapping in time with the smile dancing on my face. It was good to be in Melbourne.
Mike & LauraAilsaMat - he doesn't always hide in the bin.
The second week I spent with Laura, Michael, Matt and Ailsa, who put up with me occupying their spare bed (I had to promise that I'd keep riding though and not stay in Melbourne. "If we can't go cycling ourselves, we can at least live vicariously"). It was a great week of lots of music and laughter. I was waiting on a package too - my front pannier racks. Unfortunately, they went to Tanzania, instead of Tasmania...I think England needs to brush up on its colonial geography. A new package was sent and arrived that week.

Bikes at homeMelbourne meant a rest, but more so a contemplation of what lay ahead on my journey and where on earth I'm headed, not just to Helsinki but in my mind, too. I sat, I walked, I caught up with friends; mostly, I just watched and looked and absorbed a city I like a lot and thought of a life I could live, but not quite yet.


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