In my previous post, I promised to write about Melbourne. It’s been 8 months since we started living in this city. When I say Melbourne, I meant Melbourne(with 3000 zip code) and Inner Suburbs. It is the second most populous city in Australia and we choose to live here in spite of the fact that we do not have any friends nor relatives here. Why? You know the this-is-it feeling when you see something, that was what I exactly felt the first time we visited last year around this time. The cheaper rent(compare to Sydney) and the tram, to be honest, attracted me too.
The Place. There are very few malls or maybe none if I take Manila and Singapore malls as the definition of mall. It has a Munich, Germany feel: old buildings and structures, the smell of coffee and breads in the morning, the smell of beer in the beer garden at night especially on Fridays. Shops mostly close at 5pm. Melbourne is known for their arts that’s why most of the places have graffiti. Playgrounds have wood chips not rubberized. There are many beautiful parks which are perfect location for friends and family bonding. Our favorite is Albert Park and Lake being the one nearest from our apartment, just 20min walk. Libraries have many activities for the community from babies to oldies and most of them are free. Membership signup and borrowing books are free. They provide eBooks and renewal of borrowed items online. Melbourne is not as clean as Singapore. You can see trash everywhere, broken bottles, human’s spits, dog/birds’ poop and even leftover foods. But they are serious when it comes to segregating recyclables from general waste.
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The Food. Australia’s common foods are fresh salads, avocados, cheese, hummus, crackers, steaks, BBQ and sausages. I think every local household has cheese board. Woolworths, Coles and Aldi are the three major supermarkets and they already stop giving single-use plastic bags. People don’t care anyway if they bring the goods without any bag. They all have a wide-range of ready meals or ready-to-cook(with seasonings) foods which make working people’s lives easier. Perfect for mom who’s already juggling between work and home. Their favorite drinks are coffee and beers. Melbourne has a Colonial Tramcar Restaurant that goes around the city while diners are enjoying their meal.
The People. Ohhh they are so warm. Smiling and greeting a stranger is a common thing. They love dogs. Some shops have water bowls for dogs outside and drinking fountains in the parks and beaches. Black is their fashion color and fashion style is like European’s. And the look, I find them gorgeous but they are not brand conscious. They are friendly people and they greet people by saying, “Hi! How are you?”. I admit I found it awkward and unable to respond on the first few months. Should I answer? Then I only ended up smiling. But now, I am already used to it and adapting the same whenever I meet someone(except Filipinos). It’s is normal to see police officers in the city with their horses. With all the good things I said, you’ll see the opposite as well. There are homeless people who live in the street or in their car or yacht. There are also people who lose their minds and you’ll see them shouting or talking to nobody or simply talk to you without any sense. Some people are also asking for money from young to old. I got scared many times already but one person who saw me said, “Although Melbourne has people with special characters, they are harmless in general.” Depression seems like a normal topic. I already heard from few mothers I met that they experienced it and the community offers lots of support.
The Transportation. Melbourne is known for its tram network. There are also trains and buses but car is a necessity especially if you are living in the suburb or travels most of the time. One good thing is that you only need to use 1 card called Myki to pay for the public transports. However, I find their fare system a bit complicated. There are free tram zone. It means you don’t need to touch on or touch off. In tram, you only touch on on Zone 1. Touch off is not required unless you’re travelling to Zone 2. But for buses and trains, touch on and off are required. Daily fare is AUD8.60. Some may find the trains and tram’s seats dirty. But I think it is expected when the seat is padded and not easy to clean. There are many taxi companies too but you cannot hail them anywhere you want but the taxi stand. A 20-minute walk is near. Train and tram doors are not automatic. You have to press for the door to open or manually slide them sideways. Tram stops can have a proper station but sometimes they are in the middle of the road which are on the same lane as the cars. I’ve been to many suburbs, got lost a few times already when finding the stops but I still like taking the public transports. I like the view of trees, graffiti, houses and building structures.
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Melbourne iconic antique train. It took some persistency and luck to get both of them inline and under the light. Creating accidental image in a controlled condition is one of the approach I always use in my photography. What’s your approach? Let’s discuss down at the comment! 😊
The Weather: One word, as many people say, CRAZY. Now is sunny, later cloudy, then cold, then rain, then sunny. What do they say about it? Ah, four seasons in a day. Today’s weather prediction, may not be the same tomorrow. It is always advisable to carry a pocketable jacket and a sunscreen if you will be out for the entire day. But hey, don’t be discouraged to visit Melbourne. Although, the weather is crazy, it makes the place unique and it is not happening everyday anyways. In my 8 months here, I only experienced this kind of craziness twice. Also, it feels nice to be a bit colder early in the morning before it gets hot mid-day and then a bit cold again at night.
Our life is far from perfect but I can still say that we have a better quality of life here in Melbourne.
Disclaimer: All the information I mentioned are based on my observation only. Should there be any incorrect details, feel free to tell me.
Thank you for reading my blog.