After such a long dry period, today it just pissed down. There, I am getting better at bad language in my writing. Pity my writing is not improving too.
Today had been set aside for shopping for gifts for the UK rels when we arrive. We ought not have celebrated the forthcoming weekend last night with Mr 700 mil Ballantyne. At our local tram stop, Bowen (no relation) Crescent, things were in chaos with trams and buses everywhere, people confused and wet and heading in all directions and many staff aimlessly milling around. This is just an impression. Perhaps it was organised chaos. This was because of some grand tram and public amenity works happening near the Arts Centre. But as we were going to Victoria Market, we walked on in the rain to the Domain Interchange and caught a West Coburg tram to Vic Market.
$180 later, we have an amazing amount of absolute crap to take with us as gifts. Keyrings, tea towels, pens, umpteen kiddies tees........if it had an Aussie theme and cost under five dollars, we bought it. Exceptions to under five dollars, were the koala, later mentioned, and a battery powered kangaroo that hops, although not quite like a real one. We drew the line at the kangaroo that could do somersaults.
The cold was seeping into our ageing bones so we caught a lovely warm tram to the Post Office for more crap, photographer Steve Parish kids books. A break for refreshment at a French deli place in Bourke Street, fully staffed by Asian students (Indochine rules ok), and onto more souvenir shops in Swanston Street. More crap bought.
We had a good laugh in a duty free shop in Swanston Street when even more crap was bought. R managed to upset a display of fluffy koalas and a Japanese lass customer helped him put it right. I think she may have just wanted to touch the koalas. But she was very polite and constantly bowing and nodding. By the time the display was right, R was nodding back to her.
Does our friend in Japan nod and bow now? Or is it bad for geng, ah, gwi, ah farang to do that? Think I asked her that the last time we saw her, ever so long ago now.
Better still was when we chose a gorgeous fluffy koala and the sales assistant was very helpful, pointing out that they all had different faces. They did too. How will we fit all this into our suitcases, R complained. The sales assistant slammed her hands together with the koala in between and viscously spat out, squish.
I lasted about thirty seconds before I broke up into laughter. Fortunately by then we were trailing her to the counter.
We bought some flowers for home at Flinders Street Station, and then a luxury tourist coach gently and graciously transported us home. I quite like the tram replacement vehicles.