Monday, April 11, 2005

The o/s visitors

They arrived as predicted and while we were feeling a little guilty in advance about not inviting them to stay with us, it quickly became clear that they would have declined. Like us, they like their own space. After check in at their accommodation, a neat little studio opposite the Prince of Wales in Acland St, St Kilda, we brought them back to our place for dinner and had a nice drink, meal and chat.

Of course they are very nice, but like many English people, god how they can talk. Actually, they are from Jersey, which is quite different to England.

We put them in a cab to go home. I told the driver where they needed to go and he nodded knowingly. I told them it would be around $10 and it was, but only because they are seasoned travellers and noticed when he drove past where they were going. I am guessing that he was going to take them in the other end of Acland St and drop them off and thereby add another $3 to the fare. I know Melbourne's taxi driver's shamelessly rip off tourists constantly. This is not the first time I have knowledge of it.

Today I went by tram to collect them and we went into the city so that they could get an idea of the layout of the city and how to use the trams. The tram system did let me down a bit. The 16 was late, we waited around 15 minutes and then there was a delay at the barracks with a broken down tram

We hopped off at the Concert Hall and walked across Princes Bridge and caught the City Circle tram. As we walked past Flinders Street Station, we got mixed up in a gang of black fellas, druggies and weirdos. Not a good start, but it was uphill from there. They observed the sights along the city circle route, combined with my commentary and the onboard announcements, and I learnt a couple of things I did not know about our city.

We did the full circle, arrived back at Swanston and Flinders St and proceeded to the Transport Bar for a cooling drink. From there we went to the tourist information office in Fed Square, and folks, it is a brilliant resource. I had no idea it was so good. Two different woman in our apartment block are volunteers there. I don't know if all the staff are volunteers, but it is truly great for visitors to Melbourne and even for local people too.

They caught the tram back to St Kilda for a late lunch and I went home.

The sun shone, there was a cooling breeze and I was proud of my city.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.