I’m slightly in love with St Kilda.
I’ve always wanted to go there- something to do with Paul Kelly, and The Secret Life of Us. And it didn’t dissapoint.
Beautiful coffee. Every type of food you can imagine. Cake shops that look like they were made by Willy Wonka. Funky op shops, hippy shops, clothes and shoe shops. People and babies and dogs and bikes and trams and buses.
Melbourne is a living, breathing space, like any major city. But it’s different to Sydney. Well set out, organised. The traffic flows smoothly, motorbikes park on the footpath. People use public transport because it’s abundant and easy.
This city works like clockwork.
It’s clean and it smells divine. Cold, yes, but again, different- without the wind coming straight off a huge open harbour, the cold is not as bitter.
And Melbourne doesn’t pretend. They know it’s cold here, and they work with it, unlike Sydney, where we all seem to ignore our discomfort for four months a year because we are, after all, a summer city. People in Melbourne dress for the cold. Cafes are equipped with well working cas heaters, and plastic enclosures to keep out the chill.
And it is a beautiful city. Sydney is dirty and grey, only it’s spanning bridge, fanning Opera House and the sparkle of blue water as it’s backdrop that makes it beautiful.
Melbourne makes itself pretty. Artwork is everywhere, quirky things to catch the eye, to entertain, whimsy to make you smile. Even the freeways are dotted with artwork, rather than a long stretch of grey carpark, no joy to be found in overpasses and green signs and graffiti. All of this on a 40 kilomtre drive that takes half an hour at 9am- in Sydney, it would be a two hour drive. I only wish I were exaggerating .
And the result of all of this is, I think, people in Melbourne are relaxed. They dress to match their background- rugged up for winter, but colourful and stylish. No one is overly friendly, but everyone treats you as if you visit their store every day. I apoligise for bumping against people in stores, and they look at me strangely. It takes me half an hour to realise this is not so much of a custom in Melbourne as it is in Sydney- personal space is not so revered, interfering with it less likely to cause tension.
Again, it’s that colour in the people. No arrogance or rudeness, living a bustling city life, but not constantly stressed by the grind of it, when the city works so well. It’s not quite the wet-dishrag-on-Valium relaxed of Perth or Darwin, but it’s lovely.
I don’t feel like a ghost here. But I’m not sure why.
I’ve spent months feeling like a ghost, as if I died the same time Tony did. (The day after he died… automatic doors, refusing to open for me. “Am I dead?” I ask my friend, “Did I die too, am I ghost?”).
A dose of Melbourne is making me feel alive again. I’m not sure why- there’s just a feeling that in Melbourne, every person has colour.
And I’ve been grey for quite a while now.