Archives for posts with tag: Melbourne

This week’s travel theme from Ailsa’s blog ‘Where’s my backpack?’ is Metal. There are so many metal objects that I photograph on my travels that this was difficult to trim down to a select group of 10. So my criteria was cool, unique and very metal.

My first photo is from my home country, but not my home city. This is the Opera House in Melbourne which always gets overlooked by the Sydney Opera House (and rightly so!). Its metal spire is fantastic and tall. I love its geometry.

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Going to North America, I remember my trip to visit my brother in Toronto where I took my son for a walk in his pram to the Distillery District where I found this rusting hulk of a truck. I love the character.

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Still in North America, but across the Southern border is the fabulous New York City where there is metal everywhere. This sculpture in front of the UN Building says a lot as to what the true purpose of the UN is. Maybe the Security Council should have this sculpture placed right in its centre. I love its message.

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Washington DC is the home of the Smithsonian Institute and in my humble opinion the best museum in the world is the Air and Space Museum. My jaw dropped when I entered the foyer and looked up. The Bell X-1, SpaceShipOne, and the magnificent North American X-15. I love its speed… anyone say Mach 6.7!

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In Asia, on one of my numerous trips to Singapore I spied my dream car parked out the front of my hotel. I wanted to take it for a spin, but the owner took the keys. The McLaren MP4-12C is a magnificent beast made of exotic metals (and some carbon fibre no doubt). I love McLaren orange.

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I have posted this photo from Tokyo, Japan before. I don’t know the name of the building other than the writing that is on the front of its metal cladding… the NOA building. I love its architecture.

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Over to Europe, and on a dinner night out with work colleagues I took this photo in Paris, France. I am not going to tell you where this is – you can try and guess. I love the lines.

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Over to the UK and in London, I took this photo of the gates out front of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. A place that was the equivalent of the Pentagon in its days. I love the detail.

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Up to the university town of Cambridge was this motley collection of student transport. There were definitely no carbon-fibre steeds in this bunch. Apparently at the end of every graduating class the town council has to go and cut a whole heap of dumped bikes from their moorings. I love two wheels.

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And finally the geek in me had to come out. Everybody knows that the real galactic hero of the Star Wars saga is this little chrome dome. This was taken in Sydney at the Powerhouse Museum when they had the travelling roadshow of the costumes and props from the movies. I love R2-D2!

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This week’s travel theme from Ailsa’s blog ‘Where’s my backpack?’ is Rivers. Really late to the party this week. Work has been busy and a quiet Friday night in at home is allowing me to finally post.

I am going to start in the USA first with the river that defines the Big Apple – The Hudson River. They even land jumbo jets on it… This was taken from the top of the Empire State Building about 5 minutes after the viewing deck had opened, and we were blessed with a phenomenally clear day.

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One of the many work trips that I took was to Pittsburgh, and I had the fortune of going on a sunset dining cruise with my American work colleagues on the Monongahela River in the city of steel.

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Over in China, and we went to Shanghai for our honeymoon a few years back. It is a crazy, bustling city, which has created its own version of New York in Pudong on the banks of the great Yangtze River. The river is naturally brown with sediment, but that brown haze in the air is pollution.

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One of the other stops on our honeymoon trip was to the town of Porvoo in Finland, located on the Provoonjoki River. The red painted houses are famous for the honour that was paid to the visiting Swedish King over a century ago.

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Zurich in Switzerland was a city that I briefly visited. Located on the Limmat River, it is the home of Swiss banking, but not really all that interesting a city for tourists.

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Paris in France is so popular for tourism, particularly along the banks of the Seine River. But this photo is one that most tourists are unlikely to ever have the opportunity to shoot. It is taken from the top of the offices of the Mairie de Paris (Mayor). I had the opportunity to attend a work meeting on the top floor to which our meeting hosts ensured that we took photos from the unique balcony position. Too bad about the grey sky, but you can’t have everything.

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My last trip to the UK was also the first opportunity that I had to visit the venerable university town of Cambridge, located on the River Cam. The students gladly made some money by driving the gondolas for visitors.

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Finally back home in Australia and the iconic river of the city of Brisbane – the Brisbane River. This river flooded to catastrophic consequences a couple of years back. The boardwalk that I shot this photo from was ripped away from its position among all the other flotsam.

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Tennis fans would be familiar with the Yarra River in the city of Melbourne. It is the traditional bath for the winner of the Australian Open. There are cycling paths along the river for many kilometres and rowers ply their trade up and down on most mornings.

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Finally, one of the best things I have ever done as a traveler was to take an open door helicopter ride over Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. Running North to South is the East Alligator River, which is full of… crocodiles. This was one of the most fantastic experiences that I have ever had as a tourist and the camera didn’t stop shooting while we were flying.

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So while the state of NSW was under the threat of burning down, I headed to Victoria for my fourth go at the Around the Bay ride. This time round my Brother, our riding buddies Carl, Pete, “Liberace” Dave and myself set out to take on the 250km in the anti-clockwise loop. The challenge was to ride from Melbourne via Geelong to Queenscliff, then across the ferry to Sorrento, then back to Melbourne via Frankston – all in a day. This would turn out to be the longest ride that I have ever done, and boy do I feel it in the legs at the moment.

But this year was not as fun as previous years and there were a number of hiccups along the way. We set off from my Brother’s place at 5:30am to meet up with the crew that we were to ride with. The crew was 20 strong, but only 5 of us were planning to ride the longest circuit. But the crew were late and when they did meet up with us we had to motor to get on the back. But we all climbed the West Gate Bridge together, only problem was that the windy conditions did not offer us the fun of a rapid (70+kph) descent off the bridge. By the time we hit the M1 out to Geelong, those of us doing the 250km decided to breakaway so that we could all meet together for the ferry crossing – after all we had to put down an extra 40km to meet at Queenscliff.

Hiccup #1

We set off but this is where the first hiccup fell on my shoulders. Riding at pace (35-40kph) on the freeway and incurring several bumps from debris littering the road shoulder caused a minor mechanical. I didn’t realise it at first, but I started feeling very sluggish and felt my legs deaden pushing the pedals. I went from riding at pace to struggling to ride above 20kph. My lungs were heaving and I pulled over to check my gear. Sure enough the bumps had caused my rear brake caliper to budge with the pad rubbing on the rim. I was riding with the rear brake half on. Quick mechanical adjustment, back to normal and back with the group. The five of us rotated through taking turns till we got to the hilly stuff. That is when Pete and ‘Liberace’ Dave started cracking. Dave no longer had his old bike, the Candelabra, but was riding a newfangled Focus Izalco carbon beast (in his own words “I can’t keep up with you guys when I am riding a bike made out of wrought iron!”). At this point I ended up pulling some big turns on the front and felt surprisingly strong going up the bumpy bits. This was surprising because the week previous I was on a week’s worth of anti-biotics to shake my lingering chest infection (or were those horse pills disguised for humans?).

The worst of the bumpy bits over, we stuck together through some beautiful beach side towns. It was at that point that Dave caught whiff of some brewing coffee beans which prompted us to stop at Portalington. A few brews and a couple of sausage rolls consumed by Carl, Pete, and Dave and we were rolling again onto the ferry stop at Queenscliff. This is where we were to cop…

Hiccup #2

As we rocked into Queenscliff at the same time as a whole bunch of the 210km riders we got to the ferry stop at just after 11:30 only to be informed that we would not be able to get on a ferry till 2pm. From a ride organisation point of view, this was crap. The ride organisers are normally pretty good, but to make the riders wait for what would be close to 3 hours (if you included the ferry transit time) was just not fair. We had another 110km to go on the other side and I had a plane to catch back to Sydney to get home. So the conundrum was do we wait or ride back into what would inevitably be a strong headwind on some crappy roads? My brother Marc made the call and I had to agree with him, scoff lunch down and ride back on the West side. It was here that we parted ways with Pete and Dave, with Carl choosing to ride with us. The three of us did not want to seize up and we had ridden some tough rides together as a trio before. So our choice was not to loop the bay. This is where I contributed to…

Hiccup #3

I don’t like Powerade – full stop! It is a sugar drink and that is all. I had discovered Hydralyte sports drink mix over a year ago and it has all the essential electrolyte chemicals. Plus, I can’t consume a drink that is blue (why is it always a blue fluid that is used to demonstrate the absorption characteristics of female hygiene products?). But my mistake was that while I discarded the Powerade, I did not drink anything else. I was dehydrated! As we headed back to Geelong from Queenscliff I hit the wall. Instead of riding at or near 30kph I was struggling to get over 24kph. That was coupled with the bad combination of rough roads, temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius and what I later found out was headwinds of 40kph. My bro and Carl were struggling too, but they were plugged in and pushed on. They hauled me along pulling at the front, and for that I am so grateful. I was craving fluid and then I thought back to watching pro cycling races where sometimes in the musette bag there is a can of Coke. We stopped in a service station at North Geelong and I grabbed a bottle of ice cold water and a can of Coke. My bro did the same. After a few minutes the magic dark fluid felt like someone plugged me back into the wall socket – power on!

The Freeway Run Back

From this point the cards started falling back in our favour. The wind died down a bit, and we saw a group of about 10 other riders in front of us. We hauled butt to get on the back of these guys and take advantage of the train. This lasted maybe half an hour at most, but they were too slow for us now and we had a target in mind – get to the finish line. We managed to squeeze past this crew and started hammering again at 32+kph, and I was back contributing to taking turns again at the front. We had one more drink stop before we made the final 30km dash. Mentally this is where I got a boost, because I was doing the calculations in my head… just over an hour worth of riding at the average pace we were pulling. With all the hiccups we just missed out on the cut-off for returning back over the West Gate Bridge and were relegated to crossing the Yarra River by ferry. At Port Melbourne we parted ways with Carl who rode home along Beach Road and ended up doing an extra 15km more than we did. My bro and I headed for the finish line, and we wanted to finish strong so we hammered in at 36kph. My bro’s wife Sal and her mother Di cheered us on as we came into the finish (as they have done every year for the past 4 years).

We set out 12 hours earlier that day and ended up riding 265km, the longest ride I have ever done. We averaged 27.8kph (17.3mph) for the whole ride, not bad considering the return conditions and marginally faster than last year too. My legs, feet, hands, wrists, butt, and back were aching, but we finished the ride with all its challenges. Did I enjoy it? Not sure. Am I proud of what I trained for and achieved? Definitely. And I got to share the experience with my brother and Carl along with a Pete and Dave for half of the way. Next year will be a different set of riding challenges.

Unusually I didn’t take any photos of the day, but here is my GPS trail of our ride, including the wrong turn for a few kms coming out of North Geelong on the A10.

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Thanks Marc, thanks Carl for the ride.

I always love going to visit my brother and sister-in-law down in Melbourne whenever I get the chance. It is always good for a laugh and we have a fun time telling stories or picking on each other. Since they got married last year, they have been steadily outfitting their house with decorations that are unique for them. This post is not a “Better Homes and Gardens” house showcase, but a couple of photos showing their unique taste in furnishings.

My sister-in-law is an avid reader with a wide and varied taste in literary genres (her taste in pay TV shows is another matter, and should never be published on the interweb). They have a massive bookcase surrounding the TV, but what is the highlight of this shelving unit is the top right corner where there is an unlikely grouping of books. Bill Clinton, The Holy Bible, Heineken, and the Oxford English Dictionary should never be bedfellows.

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They both found a poster that makes them happy to fill a long vacant void in their kitchen. They are not millionaires but this poster makes them feel happy, and me too, every time they walk past it.

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The other poster in their place is one gained from when my Brother and I went to the Tour Down Under in Adelaide and met the greatest professional cyclist ever – “The Cannibal” Eddy Merkx! We waited for him to sign the poster for us and got a photo with him as well. Having said that, placing this in the corridor on the way to the WC is kind of intimidating.

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Lastly is their most recent addition. Every house needs a Dr. Evil chair. Where else in the house could you hatch plans for global or intergalactic domination. I found myself thinking evil conquering thoughts just sitting in it. It’s cool!

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The Emperor would be jealous, at least the lighting is better.

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Back to Le Tour.

I love going down to Melbourne, for a host of reasons. The main reason is to visit family, but my brother and I have a shared love of cycling. I have ridden with him and his riding crew quite a few times, and this weekend just gone gave me another opportunity to indulge in our shared passion. But best laid plans came undone from the time I touched down. No QANTAS didn’t lose my bike, but my brother was suffering from a serious case of man-flu – enough to keep him off the bike.

So it would be me riding solo to meet up with his riding crew. I knew that riding in Melbourne would require me to come prepared. This meant thermal tights and lots of layers. I was just hoping for little wind and no rain. Little did I realise that the city was experiencing its coldest weather spell of the year. Saturday morning and I was up at 6:15 to suit up for the ride. Did I say it was cold?

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Light on, liquid bottled, layers on, I stepped outside and BAM – it was 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). It was bloody cold. The normal gradual warm up for the first few kms was thrown out the window, I was spinning 110 rpm just to get warm. By the time I got to Beach Road (about 8km from my brother’s house), my average speed was up over 33kph. I couldn’t feel my toes, it was soooo cold! Getting to Beach Road on the weekend is always a sight. Waiting for the lights to turn green I estimated that at least 200 cyclists had ridden through the intersection in both directions. There wasn’t an event on, this is just Melbourne on the weekend – Australia’s home of amateur cycling. I would eventually ride past thousands of cyclists on this trip, and it makes you happy seeing so many people enjoying their two wheel freedom. They have even implemented a clearway on both sides of the road on the weekend mornings in acknowledgement of all the two wheel traffic. I rode the further 8km to Black Rock to rendezvous with my brother’s riding crew. First up was Mark and his wife Leslie, joined by their friend Darren who I would ride with for the first time. Darren had just acquired a new BMC Racemachine RM01 – SWEET! Next came Big Dave, who is always good for a laugh. He proceeded to remark that he thought he looked like Robin Hood in his winter tights and that it was so cold he nearly grabbed his skis instead of his bike. Next came Pete who had been off the bike for some time since his big ride on the 3 Peaks challenge. Last to arrive was Tall Dave, on his custom Ridley uber fast bike. One of the other regulars, Pete’s brother in-law Carl, had already set off to do some “secret training”. The group was assembled and we weren’t getting any warmer so off we went.

It was good to catch up with the crew most of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. Normally we have Big Dave’s wife Sue riding with us too, but she had succumbed to an injury with her hamstring. Bad enough to have her seeing an osteopath for treatment and no chance to go out for a ride. I have to admit that both Sue and Leslie are pretty impressive on two wheels. If we keep a pace no more than 30kph (18 1/2 mph) they can keep pace with us the whole way. I got the chance to chat with all the crew and catch up on what I had missed. They proceeded to tell me that my brother has been conspicuously absent from the weekend rides of late, so much so that they suspect that he has a mistress named Donna (which is a mis-spelling of doona, the Aussie word for duvet or quilt, which he has used as the excuse for being under rather than on his bike). I asked Mark where we were headed and he told me Two Bays. A quick calculation in my head, and I figured that I might be on a century ride for the day – cool. The ride to Two Bays involved riding down to Frankston and then climbing up the hills in the back country to get to Mt Eliza. The climbing was decent enough to challenge us, and I wanted to lead out as much as possible. Up the first steep incline, Mark wanted to show off his new Look bike and put the hammer down to go past me. Tall Dave followed him up, coming alongside of me. As we neared the crest, Tall Dave turned around at the same time as Mark began to peter out. Their wheels overlapped and then Tall Dave touched his front wheel against Mark’s rear. It all happened in slow motion in front of me, and Tall Dave nearly caught it but had lost too much momentum and went down. This triggered off a set of events that would unfold later in the day – but we were not to know at the time. Tall Dave had gone down reasonably hard on the palm of his hand – he is tall after all and fell from a greater height than I would have. He also bashed up his elbow, and his knee was letting out a bit of Claret. But he told us he was alright and he rode on gingerly never getting to the front again. We continued riding up the hills and Mark was telling me about the virtues of his new Look machine. It was at this point I heard someone yell out, “C’Mon Boys, get moving!” It was Leslie. Yes the sole lady rider in the group laid down the gauntlet. So off I went. I pulled up a few kilometres up the road to allow everybody to regroup and continue on to Mt Eliza together.

As we came up to the roundabout with Two Bays Road we saw Carl returning from his secret training run. He proceeded to swing around and join us and it was great to see him again too. I had a bit of a chin wag with him too on his Specialized speed machine. His brother in-law Pete came up behind me and told me to get on it again, but for a different reason – Carl’s only Strava KOM was on that stretch of road and he wanted me to go for it. But Carl took off like a bat out of hell and it was not going to be. My favourite part of this ride is the descent down Canadian Bay Road back to the Nepean Highway – it is a long descent with a left-right chicane down the bottom that reminds me of “Eau Rouge” at Spa-Francorchamps Race Course in Belgium. This was only the third time I had ridden this descent, so I didn’t go full belt and followed Pete who is a crazier downhill rider than I am. Getting back to the Nepean Highway we pulled up for a coffee at around 60km into my ride. This was needed as we were still in the throws of some very cool temperatures.

Did I say it was cold? I tried to wolf down my carbohydrate muesli bar, which was so cold that it was as hard as a toffee. We couldn’t have drunk our coffees any quicker because we needed to get back on the bikes to keep warm. A quick diversion down Old Mornington Road gave the guys another opportunity to stretch out their legs on one of their favourite descents, before we returned back to the Nepean Highway. My second favourite part of this ride is the downhill bombing of Oliver’s Hill where I always clock over 60kph. Back at Frankston, Tall Dave pulled the pin complaining of a sore neck. This was the second indication that things were not right for him. He gave his wife a call and told us to ride one because she would come and pick him up. We rode back at pace, and the weather was finally becoming perfect. The bay was flat as a tack, no wind, and the mercury was creeping back up over 7 degrees Celsius on its way to the 11 degrees that it would hit at the end of the ride. I stayed on the front setting the pace up around 33-35kph and I felt very strong. I looked back a couple of times to see that I was leading out a longer train with a few other groups tacking onto my tail. That was cool by me, because I was feeling strong. Gradually the rest of the crew all ducked off to their respective home destinations and I left Mark, Leslie, and Darren as the last ones as we neared Black Rock. They wanted a second bout of coffee, but for me I wanted the century. The remain 16kph I rode mostly at my own pace solo at or around 30kph. Glancing down at my Garmin I was keeping 28.5kph (about 17.7kph) for the whole ride, and I just wanted to maintain that pace. The challenge was going to be all the intersections and now busy Saturday traffic coming back into the city. But as I went through St Kilda on the way back to South Yarra I jumped back on the pedals and hammered it back to my brother’s place. Rounding the corner into his street ticked over the century mark at 100.1km.

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I felt very strong throughout this ride and was quite chuffed, and hungry, by the end. This is the second century ride that I have done in as many months but this one was definitely quicker and stronger. Now I have to maintain this base and build on it through the rest of the winter so I come into September with good lungs and legs. BTW – the average temperature for the whole ride ended up being 4 degrees Celsius. Here is the route that my Garmin captured.

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As for Tall Dave his fall might have been a small blessing. He went to the hospital to get checked out thinking that the accident, and it was a genuine accident because these guys are an experienced and safe bunch to ride with, might have caused his neck aches. The diagnosis was a lot more serious than we could have imagined. He had an aneurysm developing at the base of his skull. He was moved straight away to the best hospital in Melbourne, but we are all concerned with the seriousness of his condition. They have not operated on him yet, and will be conducting an angiogram tomorrow to determine the extent of the condition. It would appear that this had been developing for some time. My brother, the rest of the riding crew, and I are all concerned about what happens next. I could write something flippant like “hope he gets back on the bike soon” but I know how serious this is – and it is not about the bike. The good thing is they have detected it now and he is in good hands. I love riding and travelling, but I also like life and want my friends to remain healthy to enjoy their lives too.

Firstly, it has been a glorious Autumn weekend here in Sydney and the riding was awesome. Which brings me to my story, not related to riding.

My chief riding buddy is my brother Marc. Now that he lives in Melbourne we don’t get to ride together as often, as we are separated by some 900km. A year ago we all celebrated his marriage to my awesome sister-in-law. So it was a trip down to Melbourne that we all made looked forward to all year. For the wedding I was entrusted with only two tasks; witness the signing of the marriage certificate, and bring my brother and his future wife’s overnight bag to the wedding reception.

The first task was easy, I got a look from the newlywed couple in the church and that was my cue to issue my autograph. The church ceremony was beautiful and went off without a hitch.

We returned back to the apartment we rented for the trip to drop off the Pok with his babysitter for the evening. This gave me a chance to pick up their overnight bag and make our way to the reception by taxi so we could enjoy a few glasses of wine for the night. It was a great venue in the middle of Albert Park on the lake.

Carousel Albert Park

Arriving at the venue we were greeted out of the taxi by the venue staff and the other guests who would be celebrating the wedding. We were keen to jump out and get stuck into the festivities, it was turning out to be a great wedding. I got the chance to mingle and talk to some of my family members while waiting for the bride and groom to arrive. It was when I was talking to my Aunt that I realised mid sentence that I had left the bride and groom’s overnight bag in the boot of the taxi! Sh!t! I ran back to the doorman, leaving my Aunt to wonder what she must have said to offend me. By that stage 45 minutes had already passed.

So I told the doorman my dilemma, and he asked me how we had arrived? I told him that my mode of transport was a Melbourne taxi, and it was yellow. With that he let out a chuckle. See the image below.

Melbourne Taxis

So here is the thing, 99% of taxis in Melbourne are yellow! He asked me if I knew what taxi company it was from. Being from Sydney, I had no idea what companies operated taxis in Melbourne. All I knew was that it was a yellow taxi and it had a large boot with luggage in it.

The doorman said to me he would put a few calls out, but asked me to give him some time and don’t tell the bridal party just yet.

Marc and Sal arrived after we took our seats. I informed my wife who reminded me of how stupid I was (absolving herself of any shared culpability – it was my job after all). As the speeches commenced and the entrees were served I was sweating it. I was not enjoying the wait, with no promise of a good ending. I cast many glances over to the doorman who just shook his head, indicating no luck so far.

As soon as the entrees were finished and there was a brief respite in the reception ceremonies I rushed over to the doorman to get the latest update. He had managed to contact all the major taxi companies and they said that they would put out a call to their drivers. But I had no idea whether the driver would be working through the night or finishing his shift. A lot of weekend taxi drivers call it quits before the drunken idiots decide they need a lift home. The sweat continued.

The reception party continued with the speeches, toasts, and main courses served. I was not relaxed at all. My wife continued to enjoy the evening, and with a few glasses of wine under the belt the story began to spread. Thankfully my brother and his wife did not get wind of it.

By the time two hours had gone and I was “bricking it”. The music had started and I was thinking of all the negative outcomes, and there were many. Another half hour had passed and the doorman called me over to provide me an update. He started by saying, “We managed to find the driver, but…”. I could not believe what I was hearing! But he got the response that he wanted, it was a wind up. They did manage to track the driver and the bag down. The bag was safely delivered and stashed away in the storage room for later use.

At that point I pulled out a $50 note and handed it to the doorman – he earned it. And their overnight bag had done a veritable evening tour of Melbourne city.

I could now finally enjoy the evening and have a beverage or two, while my wife proceeded to retell the story to any member of the family who was willing to listen (many). My brother and his wife were looking strangely at us and my wife in particular as they got a slight inkling that a funny story being told. Little did they know that it was at my expense.

The next day we all met up for post wedding drinks at the pub. I informed my brother and his new wife of what went on. He asked me why I even bothered telling him after the fact, and that ignorance would have been bliss.

I guess I got a lucky save.

Happy anniversary Marc and Sal!

My work in Melbourne has now come to an end, and I am relieved because my health has taken a beating with flights and air-conditioning taking its toll on my lungs. But one of the many things I will miss is how beautiful the cultural fabric of the city is. Melbourne, like Adelaide, has really embraced the Arts. While you may not like certain pieces, it changes the urban landscape and makes you ponder – instead of mindlessly walking around like ants between concrete, glass, and steel. I would not be exaggerating when I say that this post could have contained 1,000 photos as the city is peppered with urban art and sculpture. But I have not been in Melbourne on holiday, so my photo excursions have been limited to after the working day is done. Here are a couple of pieces that grabbed my attention, in particularly the super-human scale of the pieces and how people can interact with the pieces. I love the visions that the artists have brought to life; a large cow in the shape of a milk carton, a giant slug coming out of the ground, some large white garden things, and giant golden bees. As usual the images click through to the larger images on my Flickr account.

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On one other side note, I have passed 5,000 views on my Flickr account this last week. Since I have started this blog and got out to shoot, I have focused on getting more of my photos on the web. I am quietly happy that I am able to share my pics with others.

Summer in Australia means many things, but one thing that I love about it is outdoor dining. Sometimes this means eating out, but more often than not it means eating in and a BBQ. We are so lucky in Australia that the quality of produce that we can get our hands on is excellent, and that the majority of Australians can afford to put a meal on the table. Add to that the vast diversity of backgrounds that make up modern Australia, and you get awesome times for lovers of eating (I am not a cook – but I am a great eater). I decided to shoot off a few snaps in between tall stories when I was invited to a mid-week meal down at my Brother and Sister In-law’s place in Melbourne (see Sal, told you I would give you a mention). Good times, and my Canon Powershot G15 is proving quite adept at low-light photography. One tip, don’t get your camera too close to the BBQ – you may get splatter on the lens. BTW all the photos link through to larger images on my Flickr photostream.

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I hate to say it, but Melbourne is the best city in Australia to be a cyclist. They have an awesome network of rider friendly roads and bike paths, with only one point of caution – tram tracks! Having said that, I reckon that this bloke from Ballarat might have come up with the solution. So whenever I get to travel down there, I try and get out for a ride. It is cool too, because I get to ride with my Brother who now lives down there with my Sister In-law. My recent work excursions have given me more opportunities to go for a Melbourne spin, but I have not been able to bring my bike. Solution – take my lid (helmet), shoes, gloves, and gear down with me and borrow my Sister In-law’s bike. She has a Giant Defy aluminium road bike which is a cool little ride. It looks pretty funny when I travel with the rest of the business crowd in our suits on a Monday morning and I have my lid slung around my work bag as I check in on the flight.

Riding Melbourne - #1After spending the day at the office, I rushed over to the Melbourne Yardin’s residence with my gear in hand. But before we could roll I had to rig the bike to fit me. This involved adding the Garmin mount, tensioning off the SPD pedal clips, and most importantly swapping out the women’s seat for a man’s saddle and adjust the seat height. I had to lift up the height of the seat post a further 3 times within the first 2km of our ride because I didn’t get it right before we started rolling. Big tip – if you borrow someone else’s bike, measure the length on your own bike between the centre point of the crank and the base of your saddle to get the seat height right. My Sister In-law is a few inches shorter than me, and her bike is one size smaller (it was a 53.5cm frame and I normally ride a 56cm). It felt different, but not uncomfortable. In fact, while it was heavier than my carbon road steed, I was surprised how responsive the bike felt under steering. I was able to clock up just under 50km/hr going downhill and I felt very sturdy on the bars and pedals.

Riding Melbourne - #2The ride had a few gremlins in it, with my brother copping a flat as we climbed up Alma Road in St Kilda East. Unusually for Melbourne glass was sprinkled everywhere on the route we chose for the evening.

Melbourne Riding - #3

It took us a while to change the wheel, and we were getting hungry. So we kept spinning with a time limit on the clock, but decided to ham it up a bit. King Edward VII sitting on his horse has got nothing compared to a man in lycra on two wheels.

Melbourne Riding - #4

In the end, we were gone for only just over an hour, but at least we are now rigged to roll again. I am looking forward to getting out on the wheels again this week and this time put a few more kilometres down. When we got back to Melbourne Yardin’s place, the two bikes had their own romantic interlude under the butterflies – as if to remind me that I was riding my Sister In-law’s bike and her bike was already betrothed to another. Haha, good times!

Riding Melbourne - #5

 

 

I have recently been travelling to Melbourne for work quite a bit. In fact, I have been to Melbourne so many times that I have lost count – and the number of trips would easily number over 200. As a Sydney-sider I find it awkward to say that I love Melbourne. It is a totally different city to Sydney, in the same way that Los Angeles is to New York or Toronto is to Montreal. I love going there, and I love visiting family and friends that I have down there too. The client that I am working for is based in the Docklands, and it is interesting to hear what the locals think about the precinct. Empty, soulless, heartless, dead are adjectives that I have heard numerous times in describing the new modern construction going up all around.

So I decided to see what my perspective would be through the lens. I took my new trusty Canon Powershot G15 to see if I could put it through its paces and what I decided to focus on in the end were some of the fascinating patterns that the modern architecture and buildings presented. There have been huge leaps in building construction since I left university over 15 years ago, and the new materials and manufacturing processes mean that architects and engineers can produce patterns in exterior cladding that were just not possible before (or more correctly cost viable – the Sydney Opera House being a perfect example). So here is what I found. The strange thing is that in some ways, these patterns remind me of the skins of reptiles – but made of metal and glass.

BTW – All the photos link through to the larger images on my Flickr page.

Melbourne Architecture - #1Melbourne Architecture - #2Melbourne Architecture - #3Melbourne Architecture - #4Melbourne Architecture - #5Melbourne Architecture - #6

 

My photo excursion was beautifully ended with a spectacularly dusk setting over the unusually calm Docklands with a crescent moon over the water. I love the colour of the sky in this last shot – no Photoshop necessary!

Melbourne Architecture - #7

 

My next photo excursion down in Melbourne will probably involve either two wheels or the myriad of cool sculptures that grace the city.

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