Friday, 30 September 2011

London Versus Melbourne

There's nothing quite like a visit to the homeland to highlight the
differences between two homes. This time around it was related to
The very first thing I noticed coming out of Southern Cross station on
a Friday night, was that the city was empty. I was busy wondering
where all the people were. Not only that, but I noticed other side
effects as a result of the difference in population.

First, the public transport. We are spoilt living at a major public
transport junction in london, so were a little disappointed to learn
that trains were much less frequent from Boronia into Melbourne -
every half hour. I was also a little uncomfortable when I realised I
was the only person in the train carriage. In realistic terms though,
london has 6 zones of public transport, whereas melbourne only has 2.
Comparing frequency of trains in zone 2 Melbourne, to zone 2 in London
is not really fair.

The interior of the trains though are quite different. Where london
has overhead shelves and strangers' knees overlapping on facing seats,
melbourne trains have wide open space and wider spacing for seats.

One of the biggest symptoms of fewer people that I had previously read
about and didn't believe - Australians have a larger area of personal
space. You stand further away from strangers and even when talking to
people you know. It is, of course, less pronounced in the city, but it
is still present like a big bubble around every person.

It may be this bubble or maybe lack of practice but Australians are
unable to move through crowds effectively. It's difficult to get
anywhere at speed, as the people aren't great at the simple task of
getting past each other. The plus side of this is plenty more eye
contact, more smiles and as a result, a more friendly atmosphere.

The differences are not surprising, when you compare the population of
the two cities: Melbourne 3mil, versus xxmil in London; but they do
make for a nice study.

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Monday, 5 September 2011

Worth it

I am spoiled. I have spent the last week spending time with wonderful
people. It started with us being picked up from the airport by Dad
(who had already driven to Geraldton that morning).
Thursday we rallied to help mum with an excursion of her class out to
the farm. She had gone all out to organise fruit for morning tea, an
orienteering walk, egg and spoon races, sack races, a treasure hunt,
obstacle course, sand castle competition, sausage sizzle, as well as,
distress whistles for the parent leaders, a porta-loo (with water,
soap and towel) and transport for children out to our farm. My
favourite part was the treasure hunt because my team found a feather.

From there I raced up to Geraldton to join my fellow bridesmaids and
the bride, Amanda, for some pre-wedding primping and pampering.
Kristal gave us tans and we re-convened the next morning for nails.
The day was filled with haircut, eyebrow shape, church rehearsal,
preview of the reception venue, more tanning and topped off with a BBQ
tea with the Soulliers at Phillip's house.

The wedding day proceeded without any hitches. The only threat of
Bridezilla appearing was in getting to the church in time - it didn't
matter what we were wearing, even if it was nothing at all - so long
as we were on time. The two monkeys, Riley and Caleb were surprisingly
well behaved during the ceremony for their mum and dad. Head Monkey
Wrangler Uncle Phillip did alright - especially given that 2 days
previous Caleb hadn't even come near Phillip.

After a sleep in, we spent Sunday with Wayne, Vanessa, Bridget, may,
mum and dad. The highlight was watching the two girls hoon around the
playground on the foreshore.

After that we headed to see Rocco, rachael, Dakota and lyla. It was
the first time I had met lyla (lee had met her the previous day). She
was just beautiful, spending most of the time asleep.

We stayed the night and in the morning rocco took us to the sand dunes
with the motorbike. Rocco was working on the assumption that we could
both ride a dirt bike.. One that was not entirely correct - but we had
an awesome time nevertheless. (Rocco burnt more fuel in the 10 minute
ride home than we had in an hour on the dunes.)

Anyway, the extra time in WA was well worth it.

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