After a tougher-than-usual yoga class, I got cleaned up and took the #8 tram downtown. I didn’t have a lot planned to do in the CBD, but knew that I wouldn’t be bored!
As usual, the streets were busy and everyone seemed to be out looking for a place for lunch. I headed for the laneways because that’s where the small cafes and delis are located and if they’re not good they don’t last. I found a place that advertised a Veggie and Lentil Soup special and that sounded good to me, so I found a table where I could do some people watching. One of the interesting aspects of living in a large, metropolitan city are all the languages that can be heard while sitting at a table in a busy laneway!
I went into some of the shops, including the GPO, a collection of high-end shops in the old General Post Office building. One of the women’s wear shops was named FAT – what kind of name is that for a shop for women!
So the GPO is another collections of shops that are way beyond my price range, but it is fun to look.
There is a big soccer game here as the world-famous team from Liverpool, England arrived in town last night to play a Melbourne all-star team tomorrow night. Local fans nearly closed down the international airport terminal here in Melbourne last night when they descended on the arrival area and were very vocal and enthusiastic when they saw the Liverpool team. Today I walked by a pop-up canopy that was selling Liverpool Football (soccer) paraphernalia and doing a good business! The Liverpool team wears red and that was noticeable color through the CBD area as the fans (local and from England) were out in force.
We have been here for some interesting sporting events between England and AU. A few weeks ago there was a 3-game rugby match played in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. When the game was in Melbourne, we were very aware of the 35,000 British fans walking around and then the following weekend they and us went to Sydney for the weekend. The Brits soundly beat the Aussies in Rugby. Most recently, the Brits and the Aussies have been competing the The Ashes Test series, a cricket competition and the Brits have beaten the Australian team in the first 2 tests (matches). It is a tough time to be an Aussie national fan! Jim and I are understanding the game of cricket a bit more, but there is still a lot that we don’t know!
After I got tired of shopping (which is after a pitifully short time!), I walked to the Ian Potter Art Museum. This is a different collection of art in a different building from where the Monet exhibit was housed. I love the fact that admission to these galleries is free!
This sculpture was greeting people as they entered the gallery which made for kind of a rough start!
But things got better! I toured the Aboriginal art exhibit and it was excellent. There were bark paintings from a variety of areas of Australia, so that the different styles of the Aboriginal groups were easily recognizable. In addition to bark paintings, there were collections of ceremonial sticks and totem pole-like sculptures. I enjoyed looking at the woven pieces that were on display as well as a 3-D woven self-portrait of the weaving artist.
The rest of the gallery featured a collections of Australian artists throughout AU’s modern history. It was fun to see painting from the late 1800’s of places that we have visited! There was also a modern art collection that mostly left me shaking my head, trying to “get” it!
From the art gallery I made my way to the Melbourne Visitor’s Center to pick up some more literature for our next guests who arrive on Friday!
The rain decided to return as I thought about heading home so I got back on the #8 tram for a dry ride back to Claremont Street (where we live!).
A few people have asked about prices here in Melbourne. As a general rule, we figure things will cost about twice what they do at home, and when they don’t, we think we are getting a bargain. From a fashion standpoint, we live in a high-end shopping area, like the CBD, so mostly I don’t buy clothes, unless they are on a fabulous sale, and there have been some good sales as the shops are transitioning out of winter clothes to spring clothes.
Right now the US dollar is very favorable to the AU dollar, which is good for our charge card purchases, but not as good for our AU per diem money. Yesterday I went to the grocery store (Woolworths) and will share the prices of some items I bought:
1 liter skim milk – $1.25
Baked beans, (one can, not as good as Bush’s) – $1.85
Capsium (red pepper) – $3.98/kg, about $2.20 per pound
Chobani yogurt – $1.99 each, but I could save $.50 each with my frequent shopper card!
Small yellow mustard – $3.43
Bananas – $2.48/kg, which is not the $.49 that I was used to at Weggies!
But fear not, we are not starving!
That’s all for now.