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.

Sent while mobile

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