A few things I’m noticing about Melbourne:
- Coffee. Everywhere. Even regular McDonalds here has baristas and proper machines, apparently. (Fun fact: the McCafe was invented in Melbourne.)
- Plus: a truly intimidating quantity and quality of bars and restaurants. My kinda place.
- The shopping area extends for miles in every direction – no matter where you walk, wall to wall shops, from quirky oddities to local fashion designers, to bog standard high street (ohai, Debenhams, didn’t expect – or want – to see you here. Damn. Thought I’d got away from the identikit British high street – depressing enough that it’s spread to Cork).
- Ugg boots are curiously popular. I’d always assumed they were for the export market – but dozens of Ugg shops here (versus none in Sydney). Do they have blizzards in Melbourne? Fun fact: ugg’s a style, not a brand name – so Australia is bordering on war with America, where someone has registered the brand name so they can’t export their uggs
- Melbourne has corner shops. Sydney doesn’t. Nope, no idea why.
- If I thought London was under construction – Melbourne has it beat; must have been over 20 skyscrapers going up just in the centre alone.
- Huge proliferation of tourists from various parts of Asia. Noticed it already in Sydney, but even more noticeable here. Also, oddly, a higher proportion of American tourists than normal; and relatively few European tourists. Proximity helps.
- In Sydney, the celebrations for Chinese New Year were huge and noticeable everywhere. In Melbourne – nothing, for that or for Pride. Odd! Going to the march tomorrow at St Kilda’s (which, happily, has fairy penguins too). Let’s see if they get those rainbows on.
- Good street art, tho.
By contrast with the (unused) Ugg boots – also saw the most Australian thing ever: a flip flop (or ‘thong’, if you speak ‘Strine) vending machine.