Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 10 2001

I packed up once again this morning, stashed my st…

I packed up once again this morning, stashed my stuff at the hostel and set out to walk around the northern part of Melbourne. First I went to the Melbourne Gaol, a group of black stone buildings built in the 1840’s, where they are presently showing an exhibition on Ned Kelly, who is sort of an Australian folk hero. Some people speculate that Ned Kelly’s iron mask and armour were the inspiration for the character of Boba Fett in Star Wars, and I have to say I agree: The resemblance is uncanny. From what I could glean from the unorganized displays, Kelly did indeed commit quite a few crimes, from stealing horses to murder, but the state of Australia’s justice system at the time was present as a real tragedy of errors, and no doubt the sensabilities of the times were vastly different from those of today. The gaol itself was rather daunting, and I was glad to leave its dark stone interior. It was designed to depress, of course, and it definitely looked up to the task.

I then walked up Elizabeth to Melbourne University, which has some really nice old buildings, and then over towards Royal Park, but on the way in a heavy rain began to fall, so I decided to abandon my original plan of strolling over the hills and dales of the park, instead electing to walk around the lovely neighborhood of Parkville, which is full of beautiful old houses that seeming all have names, even the little, run-down ones. Very British, that. All of the houses have porches and gardens, and some are covered with ivy. The glass in the windows is often blurry because it is so very old. Almost no one was about. I had expected something more lively, considering the fact that a major university was located right near by. At least someplace I could eat, since I hadn’t eaten at all this morning.

I passed a bunch of ashes, broken glass and bits of what looked like bone on the sidewalk, looking for all the world as if someone had recently spontaneously combusted there. As I was pondering what caused people to spontaneously combust, speculating that various roaming cells of certain gases were to blame and thinking that perhaps there might even be one nearby, waiting for me to walk into it -BUZZ! It was just my cell phone, but it startled me nontheless. Shauna was calling, wondering what I’d like to do tomorrow when I am in Canberra. We chatted a bit, a few people beginning to appear on the street. She told me her cell phone number and I had to squat down on the street to write it down, just as one of the area’s denizens walked by, no doubt wondering what my particular brand of mental illness was.

After I hung up, the rain began in earnest, causing the street grates to overflow as leaves blocked them up. I passed a voting place, my hunger growing, but I had already walked back downtown before I found anything open. I think a front must have passed through, because along with the heavy rain, it’s gotten a lot colder as well. Still, even in this weather Melbourne seems a pleasant place, with it’s preserved buildings, lit up at night, public restrooms and baths from the 1800’s still in use, its trams rumbling up and down the streets, occasionally emitting blue sparks.

In order to avoid another lack of living arrangements when I arrive in Canberra at 4am tomorrow morning, I reserved a room at Canberra Central Apartments. Shauna said that she would get in touch as soon as she was finished sabotaging the elections. I’m not looking forward to an 8-hour bus trip, but at least I get to sample this particular mode of transportation in Australia while I’m here. Perhaps something interesting will happen.

posted by Poagao at 7:42 am  

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