Monday, December 11, 2006

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Finishing up my series on Melbourne there are two other things I'd like to mention...

THE GOOD: Well that's easy, it was the U2 concert. It would've been great if Channel 9 had got back to me about watching a Temptation episode, but they never did... maybe they read this blog and thought I was some Livinia freak!

THE BAD: (Where do I possibly start??) And not to forget the episode we had trying to catch a train to Chadstone...

You'd think buying a ticket, finding the right platform and catching the train would be a simple process in Melbourne, but nOOoOoOoooooo.

"Tickets are this way, dude," I said pointing to the sign that pointed left.

Upon walking for several minutes...

Okay, we've now walked out of the station? I don't see anything??

"Did you see any other sign?" I asked Chris looking around for the magic words "TICKETS HERE", but to no avail.

"How about I just ask someone?" he said stating it as if it should've been our first option.

Good idea.

But did you think that was easy??

Okay, how about we ask someone who looks like they're a local AND can speak English?

Again, it proved very difficult, and even when we received another pointed direction from someone who looked like they worked at the station we were again walking outside.

"Are we just blind?" I asked confused that we were missing the bleeding obvious, "we're probably on candid camera or something."

We're going to be the laughing stock on Melbourne TV tonight I can feel it.

But alas, we eventually found it: it was behind the big construction sign, tucked away in the corner behind the toilets. If it hadn't been for the fact that I asked someone IN the toilets I don't think we ever would've made it.

And then there was the catching-the-right-train ordeal.

I don't know what it is with Melbourne but in Perth you can easily find which train you want to go on because on the front of the train an illuminated message shows where the train is going.

All trains at the platform we were told to go on read "City Loop".

"Is this the one?" I asked Chris, who had studiously grabbed a timetable booklet.


Reading the thing was again a complicated matter. One versed in quantum physics would have had no worries divulging what was trying to be said.

"Quick dude, it's going to go."

"What time is it?" he asked.


For a moment there it felt like we were on the Amazing Race. Chris traced his finger down the timetable...

"Yep, if this is the 11:47 train it's the one!"

We quickly jumped on.

Big mistake.

Who thinks that trains run according to their scheduled time?

Anyone? Anyone?

We ended up catching the wrong train, and ended up in some unknown forbidden part of town...

We waited for about half an hour before we finally caught the right train (which also said "City Loop"?!?).

Thankfully there were no other dramas on our way to Chadstone, and after all that effort there really wasn't anything exciting at Chadstone anyway.


THE UGLY: Another funny episode occurred when the four of us went to Essendon's DFO (Direct Factory Outlet). Emma, being the only chic in the group, was in her element here with shops selling discount stuff left, right and center.

However, the incident we had was with a Pakastani cab driver we had on our way back to the hotel.

After instructing the driver where we needed to go he never seemed quite certain.

"King Street in the city," said one.

"It runs off Bourke street," said another.

I think with everyone talking at once it probably confused the poor guy more.

"The Kingsgate Hotel... King Street," I said.

"Ok ok," he acknowledged.

It wasn't until we were driving away from the city that we all began to ask whether he knew where he was going.

"Hey mate, King Street in the city," yelled Chris from the back seat of the taxi van pointing to the city that we had now passed.

It didn't twig, but the guy did an illegal U-turn and began driving back to the city.

We might be tourists, but we're not *that* dumb - our hotel's in the city.

When he finally found the right road, Chris again yelled from the back...

"You need to get into the left-most lane, mate."

The guy stayed in the right-most lane.

We neared our destination, and Chris yelled a little louder...

"You need to get into the left-most lane, mate."

Again, no change, he drove in the same lane.

Aaron now tried, "Mate our stop is just up there," pointing to the Kingsgate, "you need to get over."

I don't know what was going through this guy's head, but it certainly wasn't the English we were instructing him with.

"Left," yelled Chris, who was now beginning to annoy everyone, "LEFT!"

Without looking, or indicating, and the Kingsgate Hotel's entrance bearing down upon us the taxi driver turned sharply left.

The problem with his sudden turn was the car driving alongside us in the left lane.


But the honking fell on deaf ears, just as the instructions to get into the left lane hundreds of meters before had. The taxi kept cutting in and it gave no choice for the other driver but to drive up onto the sidewalk and slam on his brakes!

Thankfully no one was walking on the sidewalk at the time.

"Bloody hell mate," continued Chris who had the best view of events from the back seat, "STOP!"

He slammed on the brakes.

Somehow we had arrived.

Planes, trains and automobiles (aka cab drivers)... aaah, Melbourne, why do I ever leave?


danish said...

Oh weird! Usually things that take your money are made very visible and hard to miss. Huh!

Maybe it's just one of those towns that you just have to *know* everything. Perhaps one of the locals knew the secret to the trains. If it makes you feel better, NY does things like that for buses, trains, and other methods of transportation.

Hmmm. Maybe the cab driver was actually Mexican. 'cause in Mexico, if you're making a left, you have to get into the far right lane, wait for all the cars to go, and then make the turn (that's what I was told in Mexico). That could be what he was doing. ^_^

...I'm just sorta wondering: what does 'it didn't twig' mean? O_o Twig to me is... a stick. Makes for good fires.

Anonymous said...

Danish, "It didn't twig" usually means that someone doesn't understand something.

Ryan can explain it differently if he thinks I got the context wrong. LOL

Ryan, I loathe Melbourne with a passion.
I went down there in October to see a Tim Finn gig at St. Kilda and all I can say is NEVER AGAIN!

Concert started at 8pm, luckily it was only some weird guest performer until 9, because we didn't get there until nearly quarter to.

And getting home was an ordeal never to be repeated. We were told to avoid a certain freeway entrance because we'd end up in Geelong. We avoided it, got lost, meandered through the city (Road signs anyone? anyone?) and got lost.

We had to ring someone to bail us out and it turns out we were supposed to go on the exit they explicitly told us to avoid.


Concert finished at 11. We were back at my friend's place at something like 2am.

I hate Melbourne.

Ryan said...

Dana, FJ is correct.

In fact Dana, FJ is also a Director of the Foreign Language Learning Center... for North Americans understanding Aussie colloquialisms used on my blog!

;o) lol

FJ - I hear you chiccy. After the trip to Melbourne I said to myself - "I can't wait for Albany!"

Give me the peaceful, quiet country life any day... provided it comes with internet.


Anonymous said...

Ooh yeah. Give me the country any day!

From now on, if I have to go to the big smoke for a concert again, Adelaide it is!

Tim Finn's just lucky I really like him and that he put on a good show that night, or else I'd complain bitterly about having to go to Melbourne to see him.


LOL @ Director of the Foreign Language Learning Center.

Sorry mate, I couldn't help it. When I saw it, I just had to chip in!

Anonymous said...

Grrrrrrrr, what the heck happened?

I edited my post and the whole thing came up again? Twice?!


Sorry Ryan.

Ryan said...

Hey FJ!

I'll delete one for you.

And you do a good job translating for the North American folk that visit... that's why you're got the top job in here!


Also FJ, I don't know why, but I can't seem to add any comments to your blog!?! I even tried posting anonymously and nothing happens!?!