Melbourne Wind-up

We met friends/Stalkers Nancy and Sid shortly after they arrived at their hotel.  Our mission was to help them stay awake until early evening on their first day here because crashing once and solidly helps mitigate jetlag’s effect on subsequent days.  So,  we walked, Trammed, ate,  drank plenty of coffee,  had Gelato,  etc.  At the very end of the day,  they said they wanted to find a grocery store for a snack and a bottle of wine,  because once they went back to the hotel,  there was NO WAY they were going out again. 

Nancy later shared with us what Jetlag can do to an otherwise intelligent person, as she described her struggle with said bottle of wine…

“[I] Spent a full five minutes finding the corkscrew [in the hotel room] and wrestling with the bottle. Just couldn’t screw that implement through the screw top cap So maybe it’s time to rest.

It is interesting, about Jetlag.  I don’t think we have really experienced it on this trip.  Not even when we arrived in Auckland back in December.   Sure,  we were tired the first day, and went to bed early the first night.  That is no different than if you had a busy non-travel day.   

Jetlag happens when you actually have expectations of DOING THINGS and perhaps even being ON A SCHEDULE

I have a new theory, as a result.  Jetlag happens when you actually have expectations of DOING THINGS and perhaps even being ON A SCHEDULE as soon as you hit the tarmac at your destination. Caps,  because you have to do ALL. THE. THINGS. Before your vacation is over!  

And when you return from vacation,  its even worse…you expect to get right back to work.  I think Jetlag is because of expectations, not timezones-crossed.  Since we have NONE these days,  no jetlag.

Laneway Leisure

Our last week in Melbourne has been a whirlwind of conversation and meals and coffee and hospitality.   Since the weather has turned STINKING HOT again,  it’s good we have been mostly inside,  eating and drinking.  With an occasional visit to a museum, coffee in the Laneways, etc.

Of course there has been time with our host,  Norman.  During which I  helped him sort out some tech.  He had a leaky faucet and a new computer.  I have many years of experience with both

The former needed another pair of eyes to find the hidden Hex-Nut that unlocked the operational secrets within.  The latter needed some updates and a laying-on of hands.  Computers still fear me…the mere sound of my voice can cause them to function again!   

Liz and I have long ago agreed that I am not “unretiring” if I perform services in exchange for food, drink or lodging.  As long as no cash changes hands.   In this case, and in addition to lodging,  Norman “paid” for my assistance with a daily Affogato – a delightful combination of all major food groups (Ice Cream, Espresso and Frangelica or other liqueur).   

It seems we can catch up and continue long-term friendships almost instantly,  even if we have not actually seen or talked to someone for years.  

There was Joe and Marcia, whom we met on one of our first trips abroad in about 1998 or 99.  They sort of adopted the newbies,  or at least seemed willing to spend time (fully voluntarily!) with us back then.  In the “small world” department, they had a relative in Chicago (since passed away) who lived less than ½ mile from us!!!  We have been in and out (mostly out) of touch for all these years and while in Melbourne we managed to share a couple meals and lively conversation. 

Joe, it seems,  is somewhat of a politics savant without the idiot part.  (Marcia occasionally thinks it’s the other way around, though).  In fact,  almost before saying “Hello,”  Joe said, a bit sheepishly at first…“I am not sure how to say this so I will just go straight ahead…What the **** is Wrong With You Guys.”  Our conversation got deeper and broader and more intricate and certainly a bit more nuanced at the balance of those meals.

Not wanting to leave anyone, whose hospitality has made for a MAGNIFICENT visit, out:  There was Allan and Sandy Preiss.  We’ve known Allan for years in his role as a speaker, session leader, business coach, sometimes drinking buddy and maybe even philosopher?  Have had lots of fun conversations during and after meetings, some enhanced by adult beverages over the years.  Sandy adds depth  to all of that.  So an invitation to home-cooked dinner (who knew he was also a chef!) was a pleasant and welcome surprise. 

And,  before dinner,  they took us for Gelato and beer.  The latter at a local place (fittingly called “The Local”) with about 20 craft-brews on tap. 

And Norman’s brother,  Michael and wife Esther – we stopped by for a “light” dinner,  which ended up being 2 pizzas, 2 HUGE salads and Pavlova. We have seen Michael and Esther,  his WAY better half, several times over the years, though not as often as we might wish.  We have even seen 2 of their 4 kids as they passed through Chicago one time or another.  It was great to catch up.   

Not sure there could be two guys more different with ostensibly the “Same” family lineage.  Note to self:  how to politely ask Judith about this (see below). 

The cat sat at my feet, insisting on a rub so as to shed PILES of hair, I think to aggravate Norman.

And speaking of kids; Norman’s daughter Natalie and husband Josh,  who visited Chicago years back and whose wedding we turned up for (YES,  we were invited!) introduced us to their kids. And to make us feel welcome, served us cold drinks in Cubs Glasses.  Norman’s daughter Becky and partner Andrew and their cat,  who was boarding at Norman’s during some construction and seems to have adopted me.  Well,  at least TOLERATED me with that uniquely-Cat almost-indifference.  

Finally, there was Norman and Michael’s mother, Judith.  We had met Judith in about 2001-ish, at a raucous Shabbos dinner.  Time has passed for all of us,  but she remains just as delightful (and irreverent) as ever. 

We went out to dinner with Norman and Judith to her favorite Chinese restaurant.  Norman was driving, and was a bit unclear where it was.  Judith said, “There,  by the Brothel (which are apparently legal in Melbourne).”  Norman asked Judith:  “How do you know where the Brothel is?”  Judith said,  “I used to work there…”  

I THINK she was kidding,  but maybe she was offering this as an explanation for why her three sons are so different?  I couldn’t bring myself to actually ASK for an explanation,  but there was such a twinkle in her eyes I am sure she would have answered if I had done so. 

Special Melbourne Sausages

Our last few days were spent wandering Melbourne.  We finished the modern art museum on a really hot day.  We visited the Victoria Market, where we bought salami, cheese and baguettes at various booths and made our own lunch. Walked through Chinatown. 

We even discovered the crazy back-alley hotel we had stayed at in 2011 when we were here for Natalie/Josh’s wedding.  It had been renamed,  and is in the middle of an area where many buildings around are being demolished to make way for bigger buildings.  It has not aged well…which is one of the reasons why we usually don’t revisit places we have been before.  Previous travels and places almost always age better in one’s memory

Pretty sure Norman was also celebrating having his apartment back.

On our last night before leaving for Tassie, we had celebratory farewell-to-Melbourne Meal with Norman and Sarah,  and with Sid and Nancy,  our stalkers from the Northern Hemisphere.  The latter will cross our paths in Tassie a couple times – surely worth a celebration.  


In a past post,  I mentioned the shining beacon of government incompetence —  the “Myki” card offered by Victoria Public Transport, which is only semi-functional for anyone NOT from Oz. I also mentioned that my well-reasoned comment to the Transport Authority was not responded to.  That is no longer true.  My comment WAS and REMAINS well reasoned,  but it has been responded to.   Here is the response:

“Thank you for contacting Public Transport Victoria…Please be advised that the myki website only accepts Australian addresses and phone numbers when registering a myki.” [Emphasis mine…]

Yep.  This is actually what I had commented on…suggesting that they may wish to consider otherwise.  No,  they merely confirmed their idiocy — while simultaneously spending millions on marketing to international tourists and businesses.  Kinda reminds me of certain government officials we have elected,  who double down when confronted with their own idiocy…What’s the matter with us…ALL OF US?

“We thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback as we are always looking for ways to improve our product and services. Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.”

Well,  I feel MUCH BETTER…

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