I’m only saying that as it annoys her. I’ve been told to point out that Fiona is not posh – it’s me who’s common as muck and hence my mistaken impression. We’d arranged to meet just after lunch as Fiona was trying to sort a house or flat out, so I decided to have a further wander in the morning.
I slept in a little bit, so didn’t see Mari and Jesse before they left the house. A quick breakfast of orange juice and… more orange juice, and then I tootled off down the road to catch the convenient tram once again. I like this tram system. Frequent, clean, convenient and pretty cheap at $6 for a one-day zone one pass. Or you can fare-jump easily enough, though of course I’d never condone that *cough*
The city was heaving today as it was the day before the AFL grand final. A parade was scheduled for around 11am-1pm and I think I caught the last tram that guaranteed getting me into the city before they closed the roads off. I had the usual walk around and then headed up to AFL World to find out a bit more about that insane sport that nobody understands (except for possibly the Irish, who view it as “Gaelic football for poufs”). AFL World is worth a visit, especially if you get one of the tourist booklets with a 20% off voucher and more especially if you have kids in tow. There are very few actual exhibits on show as such, but a huge amount of interactive games. Kicking, handballing, virtual football, AFL on XBox, radio and TV commentary positions and so on. Tons for them all to do. As an adult, though, it was just fairly interesting.
I left in time to catch part of the parade wheeling past down the street, though by that time I wasn’t going to get a good view. The papers that night reckoned around 60,000 people were in the street to watch the teams go past. The atmosphere was great. AFL is a very family-oriented sport, much like rugby back home so despite the mix of fans in the city there was absolutely no tension. Just good-natured banter and the like.
Fiona called to say she’d be really late as the guy she was meant to be sorting the house out with hadn’t showed up, so I decided just to meet her then and we’d at least keep other company and grab some lunch while we waited for him to get in touch. He did, eventually, and we met him and his girlfriend for tea/coffee on the northern outskirts of the city. I think his name’s Mark and he was really pleasant, so we decided to get a lift off him to the house and check it out. It’s further out than Fiona was hoping, but it’s in a good location and has a huge room. It also comes with a wonderfully lovely and bouncy labrador! If it was me, that’d have sold me straight away. Mark was stupidly helpful – something I’ve found is the case with all the Aussies I’ve stayed with while I’ve been here – helping peg down bus timetables, showing us the nearest shops and bar, advising where cheap furniture can be bought and so on, and then driving us back into town.
After a brief walk around and some thinking, Fiona decided to take the room. A weight off her mind! To celebrate, and also as we were starving after walking around all day, we walked up Lygon Street and picked an Italian restaurant. Which wasn’t difficult as there’s pretty much nothing but Italian restaurants around there. Plus, anyone offering a free glass of (very nice) wine to convince you to take a seat is OK with me. A fine Aussie pizza and two lemon crepes later and my appetite was satisfied. Lovely.
A few doors up was a bar with some very comfy sofas where we sat and nattered for a couple of hours. At points, we had live music from a random guy with an acoustic guitar who was playing some good tunes. Eventually, tiredness started to overcome us so we walked back into the city centre and caught trams back to our respective domociles. I made it back just after midnight, so didn’t see Mari or Jesse all day. Oops!