Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Melbourne on the Mind.....

My  first introduction to Australia, was when as a young girl , my friends and I used to pour over Lucy Walker books, which had young beautiful girls flying in to work  at a homestead in the Outback, say, as governesses to a motherless girl or an old lonely lady, and the place was always owned by the hero. A bit of growing up, and Nevil Shute took over.

In graduate school in California,  a colleague was from Australia, and  as folks who actually drove on the correct side of the road  (left)  compared to the US, we had a secret bond.

Then came the time my folks flew Mumbai to SanFrancisco, via Sydney, which was like flying Mumbai to Delhi via Sri Lanka. The fare was actually the best offered (compared to those who flew straighter), and they actually got a free stopover and saw the city.

Ever since then, I have had this great wish to visit  the country which celebrates Christmas in summer, cribs about cold in July, has amazing cricket and swimming teams, has towns called Woolongong , Alice Springs, Diapur (Victoria),Ozenkadnook, Mount Buggery, Poowong, Ugly Tom, Nar Nar Goon, and believe it or not, Mangalore.

Amazingly, there are also stately places named after stately British folks, like Lord Melbourne, and looks like , that would  be the place I would love to visit first.   

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently released the findings of the Global Livability Survey 2012, declaring Melbourne the most livable city for the second year in a row.   Not that I plan to live there , but who wouldn't like to visit and enjoy so many things the city would have on offer ?

- -  The Federation Square that is the cultural centre and houses the Melbourne Visitor Centre, Australian Centre for the Moving Image and National Gallery of Victoria's Ian Potter Centre. And the starting point for many trips and cruises....

--The University of Melbourne, the second oldest in the nation, and all built in sandstone in a good mesh of gothic revival and modern styles; a public University with the largest endowment in the country ! The Medical History Museum here would be of great interest ...with class photos of the earliest women medical students in 1887 !

- -The Queen Victoria Market, spread over 7 hectares, and having the largest collection of open air markets. Being earlier a meat market, an old 1868 mural here depicts a few lambs and cows ; though I have never figured out why you erect a statue before killing the animals....

-   The Yarra River at the Yarra Bend park. Melbourne being situated at the lower end of the river , as it flows down towards Hobsons Bay... Lovely parklands on its banks , giving you a country feel right in the middle of Melbourne, as you decide to indulge in cruise on the MV Melburnian in the Yarra .

--The imposing Victorian State Parliament building , which was supposed to have a huge 20 story dome, but they cancelled the idea, and now it is domeless. And the Exhibition Buildings , the last remnants of the major 19th century exhibition buildings in the world.

--I would love to do the Golden Mile heritage walk that would take me through the Royal Arcade and the Block Arcade, not to mention Melbourne's little shopping lanes...and would enjoy the year round fruits from the shops at the Queens Parade in Clifton Hill, along with the cafes.

--And how can we forget Cooks Cottage, the house owned by the parents of Captain Cook in England, sold to an Australian, and shipped piece by brick piece, along with the ivy plants , and reconstructed in Australia. The Cooks decreed that the house must stay in England, and some smart person got that amended to "Empire", and so it came Down Under.

--The Royal Botanic Gardens, The Luna Park , The Maritime Museum at South Wharf, and the Literature Lane  in the City, decorated with cover pages of some amazing Australian literary works.

-- Balloon trips high above Melbourne, taking in the CBD, the Yarra and the woodlands, floating above the Melbourne Cricket Ground , imagining visiting its Sports Museum, creating stories to bring home to 2 cricket crazy family members

There will be drives on Ocean highways, , operatic performances, musical programs, and celebrations in the city, but in any new place , what I look forward to , really , is the people.

Because, more than the Bricks and Mortar, the eats and the rides, it's the people who make a country and a city. 

Sometimes you meet interesting folks, sometimes you make new friends, and sometimes you simply look up amazing blog friends who have become friends with, without meeting, ever.

Like my blogfriend Lilly, who lives in Melbourne, and has an amazing connection to India, via her late Dad, who in his young days, came to the Royal House of Jaipur to manage their Horses and Riding. Naturally he also had a connection to cricket, having trained  for the Australian state teams, and when he was very old, and unable to see clearly, Lilly would read to him some fun stuff I wrote on cricket , which of course is like a religion in India. But he understood that. And I was the lucky person to receive best wishes from him. I would love to visit Lilly and pay my respects by garlanding his photograph.

Like my new friend Shruti, who with her family, has made  Melbourne  her home, and besides working in Education, she writes a wonderful culinary blog , with photographs that take her back to her childhood foods, and me to a poetic high with an Indian ethos.

Like my young friend who I worked with, who is now in Canberra, but am sure will meet when I am in Melbourne. What's a couple of air hours between the capital and Melbourne......

All of them , trying to convince me, saying " …it's your time to visit Melbourne NOW!"

Finally, not that it has any bearing on anything, but I have it from unimpeachable reliable sources, that Shane Warne  lives in Melbourne.

Just saying.

         

-This post submitted as an entry to the   "...it's your time to visit Melbourne NOW!" contest on Indiblogger.

33 comments:

  1. beautifully written.. and i do hope you visit melbourne fast.. :) best of luck for the competition

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  2. Nicely covered. Good luck for the contest. I hope you get to go on that balloon ride!

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    1. Richa, Thank you! And I hope they dont have weight restrictions for flying in the balloon.....:-)

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  3. Agree.I have visited Malbourne ,it is such a beautiful place.

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  4. Spectaculor post. My Dad would be so proud to have met you and he loved your writing and clever wit very much. You definitely must come here one day and stay with me and see all these wonderful places you have described so well. Melbourne is a lovely city it is true. and I really hope you win the contest!!!! How exciting it would be.

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    1. Lilly, Thank you ! I really would have loved to meet Des. Like I told Shruti , my other blogfriend from Melbourne, there is a very minute , like 1/200th of a chance of being selected, but nothing stops me from polishing the broom and getting ready :-)

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  5. Ha ha and by the way did you know Shane Warne just put his house for sale in Melbourne as I think he is moving to the UK with his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley. He only wants 20 million for his beautiful Melbourne home. Do you want me to put a deposit on it for you?

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    1. I guess I have to strike Shane Warne off the list . Maybe Brett Lee or Steve Waugh will buy the house from him. That too is OK by me. :-))

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  6. She hops onto her broom
    Vrooom vroom vroom
    And off to Melbourne flies
    To meet her friends and
    See sights for sore eyes

    She loves its history and style
    Many a building with gargoyle
    Museums and parks green
    Operas and balloon rides
    And a market fit for a queen

    Where folks are right on the left
    A city so cultured, crazy ‘bout cricket
    Beckons this lady witty and wise
    I do hope she wins this contest
    And the wonderful, generous prize

    Welcomed by buddies old and new
    Bloggers two, a motley crew
    She will love this foodie haven
    The city most friendly and liveable
    Our graceful, lovely Melbourne!

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    1. Wow, how clever is that - so very good!!!!

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    2. Shruti, Thank you ! What a wonderful poem for a lady flying on a broom. Feels like I am flying Business class !

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  7. Then came the time my folks flew Mumbai to SanFrancisco, via Sydney, which was like flying Mumbai to Delhi via Sri Lanka.
    LOL!!! What a comparison! :D


    Australia has been my dream destination. Sigh! Hope things work out someday :-)

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    1. Ashwathy, I was surprised at this flight offer too, but I guess Quantas then had a good deal on offer. And they were cheaper than all those via HKG/Singapore types. And my folks were actually delighted to visit a country they had not been to .

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  8. Lovely, lovely post, Suranga. I hope that you get to win this contest and vroom off to Melbourne to see all that you want and meet all the people that you know. Good luck for the contest.

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    1. Sudhajee, Thank you ! I read your amazing post on Melbourne too ! and hope you get to win too. (There is 1/200th of a chance for everyone, but one may always dream .....) . Good luck for the contest !

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  9. The blonde bombshell is one of my most favourite victorian ! :) :) :)

    I loved the post and it seems you are destined to visit Melbourne soon 1 :)
    :)

    For me Melbourne is all about MCG and Dean Jones and the Blonde Bombshell vonly ! :)

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    1. Hitchwriter, thank you ! Maybe we can share the prize. I will do the balloon trips, the ocean trips, eating trips, and you can parachute over onto the MCG ....:-)

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  10. hmmmmmmmmmm reading this post makes me want to go to oz once again , I was there a few years ago but now it feels a Long time back .. and you are right what you have described it is a beautiful country..

    all the best for the contest mam, and who knows you might be visiting the place soon .. I am thinking of going there next year , My sis and Mum are there in Oz so all the more reasons for me to go ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Bikram, Thank you ! And I hope you get to visit OZ soon. You have a bigger reason than all of us to visit ! :-)

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  11. Awesome post. But what got me hook, line and sinker, is your sense of humour! I have a sarcastic streak down my back, and am mostly patting myself on a joke well said (whenever I manage to remove the foot from inside of my mouth) - but am quite stumped by your post! Loved it, and am now stalking you! All the best!

    http://lafemmenirvana.blogspot.in/2012/08/vacation-fit-for-god.html

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    1. Nirvana, hank you!(Must show this comment to SOME folks)...:-)

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  12. It is a small world after all when you have friends all around the globe. Excellent post. All the best for the contest.

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    1. Rukshana Badar, Thank you ! And welcome to this blog!

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  13. You are one of the finest writers I have seen among my blogging friends. Even when you write for a contest, your posts come out amazing! I hope you will go ahead and meet your friends in Australia by winning the contest.

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    1. Farida, Thank you for this amazing comment ! There must be a 1 in 300 chance for folks to win this, so doing this just for fun, since one can always dream !

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  14. Hi Suranga, Nice posts ...looks like you will be flying to melbourne.... so you can meet one more blogger in melbourne :)

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    1. Akshaya Borkar, like I told Farida above, there is a remote se remote chance of going anywhere . But I am delighted to know that you too are in Melbourne ! And how do you know Shruti ?

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    2. Oh I know her daughters as they perform in Marathi Mandal functions here. So at next function I will introduce myself to Shruti :)

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  15. Hi
    I just happened to stumble upon and I am so glad that I did. This is a treasure trove! And after reading a sizeable number of entries I am sure you will be one of the two traveling to Melbourne! :) It is your time to visit Melbourne now.

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    1. Rajrupa Gupta, Thank you! And welcome to my blog. All I can say is "aapke mooh mein ghee shakkar ..." !

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