Remembering MelbourneMy best friend’s got a new hobby, baking, which I wholeheartedly encourage because it means free dessert (apple crumble with vanilla ice cream) late at night (which negates all physical activity that I’ve taken up recently too… ah well).
She’s also flying off to Melbourne today, to which I feel a pang of regret of not going with her. Well, not so much on the regret since she’s travelling with family and a nun. I don’t want to sound sacrilegious yet how much fun could one have with a nun? Maybe the godly kind of fun, I don’t know.
Actually, I think I travelled with a nun once, to San Francisco. She came under the guise of my friend, who insisted that we visit every Catholic Church there was in the vicinity. Need I remind you that this was SAN FRANCISCO? There was a church on every block! The first couple of churches, I dutifully got on my knees and prayed. But after the 1025th church, my nun lighted candles for every possible saint and prayed on her knees, for her blasphemous friend snoring at the back of the aisle. Yeah, that was a lot of fun.
Ah Melbourne. How I enjoyed thee a couple of years ago. I ditched the nun and spent a couple of weeks in Victoria. It was fantastic because everything was paid for – I was accepted for this fellowship that got me up at 6 a.m. to work outdoors until 9 p.m. Seriously, that was one of the most thrilling things that I’ve done in my life. We stayed, I forget what it’s called but it was in the outskirts of Melbourne – past wine country and on this beautiful mountain park. I loved it loved it loved it.
It ended up snowing in the middle of the summer, which was something I wasn’t prepared for. I ended up rifling for secondhand warm clothing at the local Salvation Army store.
And Australians are SO NICE! Right from the friendly immigration officials to the sweet old ladies manning the Salvation Army. And this was in the midst where Malaysia had yet another spat with Australia and the local newspapers claimed that Muslims were being harassed in the streets of Australia. I was worried about my new friend, who is visibly Muslim (she wears a headscarf) but no, everyone was lovely to her as well.
After our programme, a small group of us spent about four days in Melbourne. The highlights for me were the Immigration Museum and the fresh strawberries from the Victoria market. And oh! The park in Melbourne. I so suck, can’t remember the names anymore. Ok, there was one church visit to St. Paul’s, which admittedly I enjoyed. It was around Christmas time and my friends wanted to experience a Christmas mass in Australia so off we went (leaving our Muslim friend in the hotel room). They had a boy’s choir that sounded – so sorry about the cliché – angelic. I had tears in my eyes.
I think the best part of the entire trip was that we all got along and became very good friends. We came from all over (Madagascar, Malaysia, Panama, U.S.A., etc..) and were of varying ages. Every day was full of laughter and good will; there was none of that – I can’t get along with her/him – shit. Most of us cried upon parting. We try to keep in touch through e-mail but you know how it is. Friendships on travel, while intense, have a short life span. And then you go back to your own life, with fond memories. I still keep in touch with my Muslim friend – she was and still is a kindred spirit.
I know that this reminiscence is rather vague. This is partly for a good reason, and partly because the holes in my brain are leaking again. Anyway, I wrote all about my trip in a past blog, and I can’t bore my friends by writing it all over again. Gotta have fresh material - I can’t drive away the regulars, can I? (I have regulars, right?)
So my friend asked what I wanted from Australia. I asked for a tall Australian surfer, vanilla ice cream on the side.