Tuesday 1 December
Sunday we did some more wandering around Melbourne. Took of to find the Maritime Museum which was clearly shown on several maps. Alas when we arrived at the apparent site it was not to be found. It has been demolished, no sign no nothing. The Polly Woodside was looking very neglected in dry dock with a temporary fence around her. Her cordage was in disarray, her yards not squared, a sad sight. She will never sail again as there are now several bridges downstream of her. Went into the heritage listed Mission to Seaman which was an oasis of peace and tranquillity compared to the busy surroundings. Very wet and windy, not a “nice” day at all.
Monday explored more of Melbourne including the Victorian Museum. If anyone likes stuffed animals and old bones then they will love this museum. Took the tram to St Kilda. A new operator has today taken over operation of Melbourne trains. Their answer to overcrowding is going to be removal of some seating so that more people can be squeezed in. As you can expect this has been hotly debated on talk back radio.
Today we took a country train to Geelong. Very comfortable trains and not crowded like the suburban lines. It even had a buffet. About an hour to reach Geelong. Spent about three hours walking around exploring the city centre. Went into a shopping centre that was huge it just went on and on. There is a Bass Strait oil rig undergoing repair near Geelong and this was visible from the train. Coming back we got off the country train at Southern Cross Station and then caught a metro line to Flinders St to catch our train. It was rush hour at Flinders St. the platforms were packed. It was difficult to get off the train as those on the platform would not wait for passengers to leave the train but instead tried to push on whilst people were still trying to get off! Talk about herd instinct. The new train operator is putting on extra platform staff to help control this behaviour as it is a recognised problem. I would have tried to get a photo of this but I was a bit afraid that if I had lost my concentration whilst taking a photo I would be trampled underfoot!
Talking about behaviour, a significant number of train travellers seem to have a compulsion to use their mobile phones whilst travelling. So at any one time you can listen into one side of half a dozen conversations with the other half dozen conversations not being in English. Mind you the odd person is thoughtful enough to turn their speaker on so that you can hear both sides of the conversation! Its not even that the conversations are interesting, no salacious gossip at all. Why they cannot wait until they get home is beyond me. We still have this to enjoy on aircraft when they allow mobiles in flight. I shudder at the thought.
We have had an English couple camped next to us. A nice couple (different to the French on the other side but that is another story) in their early twenties. Talking to them in the camp kitchen last night they told us that today they were off to see the TV set of Neighbours as they had been watching it for 15 years in the UK. I had a moment of cultural cringe just thinking what Australia had imposed on them!