Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
48Trip End Jul 17, 2006
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Where I stayed
Anyway, things got better from there on. One of the hostels had a rep at the airport who drove me into town free of charge, taking it upon himself to give me a running commentary on the city's ethnic diversity as a result of the gold rush at the end of the nineteenth century. Driving through the leafy suburbs past university buildings and churches took me back to that first glimpse of Oxfordia coming down the Banbury Road at the start of each new term
The next morning I checked out the Queen Victoria market and treated myself to some nice cheese and wine from the deli section. Apparently its against the law for cheese to be unpasturised in Australia, so I had to make do with a "safer" French brie and a nice bit of English stilton. I really enjoyed the Picasso exhibition at the NGV - I had no idea that his talent had so much depth, and that he worked with so many different styles and media. As a contrast I then hit the Crown casino on the south bank of the Yarra, and found it quite sad that there were so many people playing in the middle of the day, especially at $50 minimum bet tables. Gorging myself on cheese and wine later in the hostel I got some funny looks from the other residents. The travellers in Australia are much younger than I have been accustomed to for the rest of my trip, much more of a gap-year crowd, so roughly the same age as my youngest brother Adam
On my third and final day in Melbourne I visited the excellent Immigration Museum to learn more about Australia's patterns of migration, and was shocked to learn about the overtly racist "White Australia policy" and the resultant plight of the Aboriginals. I also wanted to check out the temporary exhibition of photos and short films about the Bollywood film industry, which did not disappoint. As if to continue a theme, I was given my first haircut in 7 months by a Pakistani immigrant, who told me the story of how she came to be here. In the few hours remaining before taking the night bus to Sydney, I took a stroll down trendy Brunswick street (think a classier Cowley Road) and warmed myself up with an "Azteca" (hot chocolate with chilli) from a Spanish chocolateria.