Thursday, January 2, 2014

In Plain Sight

We finally got a grip on the tram system. It's great for the locals but less so for travellers passing through: you have to buy a card (which has no fares on it yet) and then fill and refill the card. The rides themselves are each reasonable, but if you're using it for a day only, for one or two trips, it's about the same as a taxi.
We took the tram to St Kilda anyway, which probably would have been a more expensive taxi ride.
It has a lovely esplanade (that it Cape Town would have been called the promenade) and the beaches are pretty but the weather was a little cool. Luckily not at all rainy.
Yeah, there was a guy doing this. Kind of flying on a jet of water. He would be vertical for at most two seconds while I was watching.
The St Kilda Kiosk was built around 1904 and seemed to have considerable local significance. I think they decorated it to welcome visiting (by sea I assume) dignitaries and so on. Either way, when it was destroyed by fire in 2003 they had it rebuilt and restored such that it looks just like the original architect's drawings.
This building was remarkable in no way except that I think it's from the same era as the beachside hotels where my parents would take me as a child. It was a seaside suburb of Cape Town, Muizenberg (translation: mouse mountain, I have no idea) where all the Rhodesian cousins (extended family from my mother's side) would rent apartments and hotel rooms and every summer's day there would be a huge semi-circle of beach chairs containing the aunts and uncles (Joy and Barbara would inevitably be in tiny bikinis, slathered with coconut oil, recumbent on a flattened cause longue, immobile all day except to turn over to bake the other side) and great-aunts and great-uncles and grandparents, while the children played in the sand in front of them. And swam and all that stuff.
At lunchtime there would be picnic baskets with cold roast chicken and fruit and salads and other snacks, and if the wind didn't pick up too much in the afternoon, we'd spend the rest of the day there. Sometimes we'd get to ride the little train that circled endlessly behind the bathing boxes, or if we were lucky one of the older cousins or parents would take us on the little motor-boats next to the trains.
That beach also had the very best frozen treats on a stick ever: Gatti's lollies which were lemon-shaped (but the size of an orange) sorbet on a stick. Lemon was good, orange was ok, but the best was granadilla (passion fruit). They were tangy and sweet and airy and cold but not too hard and never icy.
All that from an old hotel from another era.
The city of Melbourne is at first blush a little bland, but turn your head and you'll find a shop- or restaurant-lined alleyway, step into a shop and find yourself in a colossal mall

or a picturesque arcade.

Stuart found Degraves street with its myriad tiny restaurants and shops and well-graffiti'ed dead ends which prompted a photo shoot.

In the evening we ate on Lygon Street where possibly every single Italian restaurant in Melbourne can be found. Oh yes, and at least half the dessert restaurants - we counted two on one side of the street on a single block.

I liked this random wall art on the side of a building. Looks like barnacles.

And I finally completed another Kumihimo necklace.


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