Wednesday, May 09, 2007


The view from the dorm window

Flinder St. Station

St. Paul's Cathedral (Anglican)

Federation Square. Ugh.

The Ian Potter Center.

Well from summer it's winter again. Or autumn at least. A three hour flight from a rainy (the last of the wet season before winter sets in) Cairns down the length of the country to the cold south. Well it's 18C (68F), and that's cold I guess. But definitely a contrast from the sunny north. Love the reversal of language and all that :) Jetstar is decent. Horrible legroom, but I moved myself up to an empty aisle in the emergency exit row. The Skybus got me downtown to Spencer St. Station (renamed Southern Cross recently after a facelift) in some 20 minutes and another 10 minutes for a free transfer to Urban Central in Southbank. It's a 6 floor hostel, with a decidedly urban-industrial flavor in its decor. Quite comfortable, and the dorm room has only one other guest, and is quite spacious.

It was about 4:00 pm by the time I checked in and walked up across the Yarra River and took a free tram (yes! They have trams. And they're clean and efficient and expanding!) across to the corner of Flinder and Swanston sts, to visit the hideous (HIDEOUS!) architectural nightmare that is Federation Square, right across from the unbelievablly beautiful St. Paul's (Anglican) Cathedral. (Separate post to follow on evensong at St. Paul's.) Wandered up the shops at Swanston St. a bit up to the Bourke St. pedestrian zone -- shops close by 6:00 pm here. So strange for a big urban city! But I guess they want the workers to have evenings off too? Target, of course, was open past 6:00 pm.

A cousin once removed (is that the proper terminology? He's my cousin's son. In India he's my nephew and I'm his uncle.) lives in Melbourne, so I met up with him for dinner at this Indian place run by the Hare Krishnas where the food was barely recongizable as Indian and I had the worst chai ever. What a waste of A$3!

I'm taken aback by the number of South Asians I've seen in downtown Melbourne -- while waiting for the cousin at Federation Square, two Gujarati boys where having a heated conversation behind me (in properly accented Surati dialect too), something about girls getting pregnant and other such juicy stuff. It was a bit surreal.

A couple of tram rides later and I'm back the hostel and meet the other guy sharing the room -- a very outgoing and friendly Singaporean Chinese fellow who's just moved to Melbourne for work. Turns out he was educated in (Catholic) missionary schools, so y'all know an interesting conversation about religion ensued ... :) [He's also letting me use his internet account as well. Thanks bud!]

If I'm back in this part of the world (I know I'd like to!), I'll have to devote more time to Melbourne. I like what (little) I've seen so far! Off early in the morning on The Overland to Adelaide.


assiniboine said...

Possibly not quite so empty otherwise than on a Wednesday afternoon. Are you sure it was Anglican chant you were listening to? It is so rarely heard these days, and it was the first liturgical music I learned to accompany (incorrectly, actually -- in the gabble-gabble-gabble style of the Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and Baptists of my childhood Presbyterian Book of Common Order -- till I was taught to do it properly for Anglican Mattins and Evensong in my adolescence). If only I had known: I have heaps of it on CD and you could have copied it. And S has a great deal more of it: he says it's the church music of his childhood in South India. It's a lost medium, though, really: it just doesn't go with post-16th century liturgical English. Perhaps I can organise ripping it from CD and emailing it to you, eh?

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

1. Yes, your first cousin's son is your first cousin once-removed.

2. The square suddenly makes the Stata Center at MIT look charming.

Mac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gashwin said...

I think it was more Anglicans chanting than Anglican chant, perhaps ... emails/rippings most welcome! :)

jane said...

I love Fed Square. Once you've been in it a few times during events, and felt how it operates as a civic centre, and how organic it is, despite all those hard surfaces, it really does grow on you. Static pictures don't do it justice - for me it's like wandering through a canyon, or at the foot of a cliff, or over sand, as you mingle where the other people are. It's such a versatile space... I've been there for peace protests, rock concerts, Australian Idol, Australia day celebrations, lunch time gatherings, spiritual remembrances, political protests. It's one of my favourite parts of the CBD.

UltraCrepidarian said...

The picture of Fed square looks like the architect's brain had a tornado during the design and he didn't clean up afterwards.