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Down Under…

In case you don’t know already: I am in Melbourne, Australia.. the country of the kangaroo, koala and apparently also the miniskirts…
Well.. that last might have got something to do with the fact that is spring here, and closing in on summer.. judging by the temperatures we have here already though, I doubt I still want to be here once summer really starts.

So why am I here.. for work primarily, but who could say ‘no’ when they ask you if you are willing to go to the other side of the world for some time.. even if it s mainly for work! Getting here was a bit less appealing: 23 hours on a plane. In the end it wasn’t even half as bad as I had expected though: I travelled in premium economy which meant I had some leg room – I think nobody will disagree I need a fair bit of room here – and a better service too! After boarding the plane I was treated to a glass of sparkling wine or some other drink and a little snack. I was lucky enough to have a free seat next to me so I didn’t even have to get up allthe time to let someone pass.. that changed though after re-boarding in Hong Kong.. I ended up next to an elderly Chinese guy who didn’t speak a word english and was dazzled by the complexity of the on board entertainment system.. Guess in the end I was lucky he didn’t understand english.

Stops in London and especially Honk Kong were a bit of a nuisance though, because, even when you have to re-board the same plane, you have to go through the security clearance again.. and in Honk Kong I had this lady who didn’t seem to trust my insuline supply… she kept me waiting for like 15 minutes while she was doing paperwork.. and more paperwork.. and even more paperwork… must be government officials I guess…

Arriving in Melbourne.. there wasn’t much to see. since with a 10 hour time difference I arrived in the evening, so even after sleeping for like 20 hours in a plane, I got to go to my hotel and sleep some more..

I stay in a hotel in the buness district of Melbourne.. and it shows.. I ve never see so many penguins (default blue shirts, black pants with tie) on the street as here, even with these relatively high temperatures.. either they are extremely conservative (or insecure) here or they all have the same bad tailor. Apparently that s the norm here though.. so that kind of poses a problem for me since, even at home, I don’t have a single piece of clothing that conforms to this standard.. the only shirts I wear that come closest to it are khaki, though I did manage to get a matching leather tie. Next problem was getting that tie in a knot.. quite a challenge for someone who s only worn one once before.
By now I think you can image that I am sort of an obvious outsider among all these typical business people..
I don’t know if it s just as bad in cities like brussels, but it does make me miss Helsinki.. there I never had the feeling that while walking through the city I was surrounded by a legion of bad copies of an already boring original..

There is an upside to this as well though.. The women also go to the same tailor. Though for women the only thing on the menu seems to be miniskirts or anything else mini..! (at least up to a certain age 😉 ) And unlike in europe it s actually a sight for sore eyes: here the people wearing them are the right people, whereas in europe, you just wish the few people that wear them wouldn’t..

This brings me to another topic: the “mini” mania seems especially strong among the asian people.. There are so many people of asian origins here though that if someone would have dumped me on the streets of Melbourne and asked me which country I was in, I would have guessed Hong Kong or Singapore.. anything but Australia. I guess that s a more of a percetion problem we have about Australia in Europe. And don’t get me wrong , this isn’t a complaint.. given their clothing habits I wouldn’t mind seeing even more asians 😉

As for the city itself.. I don’t like the business district itself. Too much high rise, almost no restaurant or cafe outdoor sitting.. too business like (hence why it s called the business district i guess). Once you get outside it though, it s much much better.. walking past the Yarra river, in one of the parks, or even along one of the green avenues is a lot more pleasant. Makes me wonder why they build those skyscrapers at all.. they are plain ugly and only cause huge traffic jams when everyone tries to get to work in the morning or back home in the evening.

Guess I d better stop writing now.. I still want to go back home in one piece..

Posted in Australia, Travel

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