Robert Godden’s musings and rants

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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Three Cities in Two Days

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Wednesday morning traffic’s very light, probably because it’s 5:30am. Past IKEA, park near the doors; wander through the still-sparkling terminal; smiling Virgin Blue Service and I’m in Sydney.

The taxi driver is from Mali and plays bass guitar; I love the music of Mali and also play bass, so it’s a very enjoyable trip until his satnav packs up at Darling Harbour and it turns out he can’t read a map.

Do the business I need to in Sydney. Pass some quality time with quality people.

Sydney’s a harlot. Flirty and flash; you can’t help but enjoy the sensual thrill of the Sydney attitude: everybody’s welcome, exactly as you are. It’s an attitude that feels a little racy to the country bumpkinism of my long-distant upbringing.

I love Sydney, but it’s like the upswing of a manic depressive; and to live there, I think you’d see both ends. I like to visit, say hello, peck its saucy cheek and leave before I feel too comfortable or too uncomfortable.

Sleep in Chinatown’s heart; hit the airport as the sun comes up. Wander through Sydney Airport; aromatherapy shop provides the perfect olfactory breakfast, to supplement the meagre rations that my descent from obesity requires.

The bumpy takeoff, bumpy flight and bumpy landing don’t dissuade the all-male cabin crew, who are wonderfully gay in both senses but mostly in the Enid Blyton meaning of happiness and lightness of being; it’s almost like Sydney is with us on the plane.

Maybe they’re so happy because we’ll be staying in Melbourne and they won’t; like people are forcedly cheerful around the terminally ill.

And the terminal is ill – surely the most slovenly airport in Australia.

Outside to grey, grey wind; whereas Sydney’s rain had been sparse, warm and so strollable, Melbourne’s grimy atmosphere presses down like a musty blanket.

I lined up outside the taxi cab rank – a pompous official decided the line should move elsewhere which cost me 15 places – got in a worn-out taxi. The driver kept telling me he didn’t understand what I was saying – Collins Street – and then laughed. “I know”, he roared.” I was just showing what would have happened if you’d got one of those f***ing Africans”. So began my forty minute immersion if the problems of the taxi industry in Melbourne; the irony being the guy who had all the answers was not helping the Minister solve the problems, he was driving me to Collins Street.

More meetings and lovely hospitality; now I find myself with three hours to shop in Melbourne. Carrying an overnight bag and a laptop, the wind is so horrible that I have a bite then head to the airport three hours early. Didn’t think that through – four hours in Melbourne Airport. Get a good cup of tea.

More smiles and wings and as the sun sets over the Gulf I’m 500 metres above Adelaide Oval.

There is no place as beautiful as I touch down and am home.

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Written by robertgodden

February 29, 2008 at 11:55 am

Posted in Adelaide, Business, Travel

Tagged with , , ,