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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.

10 Things to Know About Melbourne

So, I promised another list, following on from the previous post that I did about things I do other than reading. I'll try and post lists like this about every two days at the least. Today's post is all about Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world (according to some) and at least the world's sporting capital. To me it's the best city in Australia that I've visited (not that I'm biased) and I fully recommend people trying to get down here anytime for the different things we have! 

10. Like most cities you don't want to drive into the city if you can avoid it. Of course, that said, you don't necessarily want to take public transport with the fact that our electronic ticketing system, Myki, has had so many stuff ups and cost more than any other ticketing system in the world to date. And it's still not working perfectly. In connection to the whole public transport and driving idea, we also do drive on the left hand side...

9. Beaches. We like to think that Australia has some wonderful beaches and in Melbourne one of the things to do is to make sure you visit St Kilda beach during the summer, play a bit of frisbee, go for a swim, play beach cricket and make sandcastles or dig holes. The water is generally coolish but there are almost no stingrays or jellyfish and so St Kilda beach is the one place you want to go in the evening to make sure you 

 

8. The rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne must be featured here. We constantly tell visitors that we are better than Sydney and the Sydneysiders tell others that Sydney is a better place. But honestly, Sydney doesn't even have a proper layout like Melbourne, because it wasn't laid out in a grid...

 

7. I also have to mention Melbourne weather. Considering that Melbourne weather changes like the hormones of any teenager it's crazy. We sort of have a saying that if the forecast is for sunny skies that you should bring an umbrella anyway because it still might rain. Right now we're having the coldest November in ages and we had the warmest winter in ages, but it's something that changes year to year...

 

6. Movember/November: In general November is a busy time in Melbourne whether it is the fashion statements that come out for the Melbourne cup around the first weekend of November, or the moustaches that the blokes start to grow for Movember, November is a typically exciting time. That said, so is December when we have the Christmas lights come out, the shop window displays and the Boxing Day sales on December 26.

 

5. Speaking of December 26, aside from January 26 and Christmas day, Boxing Day (December 26) is our busiest day. It's still a public holiday so the shops open up again to start the Boxing Day sales, getting rid of extra stock (or new stock) for cheaper prices to those with Christmas cash gifts, the traditional Boxing Day test is also on at the 'G (the MCG) that day for around 60 to 80 thousand people a year (this year it should be around 80 thousand with the Ashes going on). January 26 is a special day also, because for us it is Australia Day which means the traditional Australian Day one day match and the good old Australia Day bbq celebrations at home.

 

4. Wining and dining is again a big thing in Melbourne since we have a lot of great cafes and bars around. In fact we have a serious drinking culture in Melbourne (and Australia in general), but in Melbourne we connect that drinking to our sports. Our bars and pubs are regularly open and we don't have tips for drinks. But that said our drinks are pricier than elsewhere... Also you only need to be 18 to drink legally. In terms of food, well we have such a multicultural city that you can find food from most cultures somewhere around whether you want Filipino cosine, Indian, Malaysian, Italian, Greek and so on...

 

3. As part of our dining experience, coffee is of huge importance to Melbournians and it is a fact that homes close to a good coffee shop sell for more. I have to say that when I went over to the States I couldn't quite find coffee as good as back home (whether that's just a preference thing I don't know) but we do like our coffee made well by a barista. I knew a guy who made coffee for the coffee franchise Gloria Jeans (in Australia, we don't really have many Starbucks around because of Gloria Jeans and how we like our coffee done...) and won a competition to be named the best in the world at making coffee for this franchise. 

2. Despite claims from Sydney dwellers, I have to argue that Melbourne is the cultural hub of Australia. We have the wining and dining that I mentioned above, as well as the annual sporting events. We also have theatre shows, the Melbourne Zoo and the Melbourne Aquarium, the Melbourne Museum with its Imax theatre and we also have Melbourne's centre with Federation Square: a meeting point for concerts and events. There's also often regular festivals to celebrate different things like books, writers, food, multi-culture and so on...

 

1. The religion of sport takes number one for Melbourne however, because we do turn it into a religion. We celebrate the cricket with the Boxing Day test every year. We have the nearby Philip Island Grand Prix race, we host the Australian Open each year and we will be hosting the Cricket world cup next year. We also have rugby (both types) and the soccer (football to some) going on. However, the most important sporting event in Melbourne relates to our game: AFL. Aussie Rules Football as shown in the video, is a tough and athletic game which for the size of our country, has the highest percentage of attendance and following for any sport in the world. The biggest clubs have 60,000 members out of a country of roughly 22 million (4 million of whom live in Melbourne) and there are 18 clubs to follow with 22 games a year and 4 rounds of finals. Roughly 7 million people visit an AFL game each year, an average of 33,000ish a game. So, for us, the biggest event on the calendar is the AFL Grand Final, which 100,000 people visit each year, filling the 'G and cheering on the teams. Those watching at home grab a drink, have a bbq and generally do whatever else we want to do to celebrate (or ignore) the game.

There are many other things I could mention which are typical Aussie things, so perhaps I will make that my post for tomorrow or the day after...