At the Australian Open tennis (Pic: Danielle)
I was awake around 5:15 on Friday morning to get into the city to meet Danielle on the 7am XPT
from Sydney. By about 6am it was apparent from an SMS that it wouldn’t be the 7am XPT – it would be more like the 9am XPT, because one of the two engines failed. I suppose that’s a better outcome than it would have been for an aeroplane.
After dropping her stuff at my house, we went off to explore. First we walked around the city, scouring bookshops before we jumped on the ferry to Williamstown. A group of tourists from Queensland managed to spend about fifteen minutes taking pictures of themselves on the back of the boat. I’m sure we’ll be in a few of their pictures.
The further down the river we got, the rougher the water. By the time we reached Spotswood the boat was rocking around a lot, and a fair amount of spray was hitting us. It was very like taking a cold shower, but with added salt. We reached Williamstown and explored for a bit, before heading back into the city on the train. That involved much less water.
That night we went to the tennis. The first game (Hingis vs Ritter) was very one-sided, but the second one (Henman vs Rusedski) was much more entertaining. Mind you the most enjoyable bit was when a seagull got confused and was flying around and around the stadium. The crowd were laughing their heads off, and play stopped while the seagull kept flying around. Eventually it got out, to rapturous applause. Henman went on to win the game, probably unintentionally helped by a couple of pretty bad line calls.
On Saturday we took off in the car down the Mornington Peninsula. First stop was the Arthur’s Seat chairlift, then we headed down the coast to Rye, where we lazed on the beach. Took a dip in the water too of course, though you had to wade out for about 10 minutes to get water any deeper than your knees.
Then since she lives in the general vicinity I gave my friend Natalie a ring and invited ourselves over for a drink. We got lost along the way of course, just like I thought we would. Well, okay, I got lost. I was the one driving and checking the Melway. Though of course I blame VicRoads
for not putting a proper sign on Elizabeth Avenue (coming north) in Rosebud, pointing to the freeway. We eventually found it, and Nat welcomed us in for a cold drink, then invited us to stay for dinner. Well, why not, you can’t beat spag bol!
After Nat’s daughter Hannah went to bed, us adults sat in the backyard, having adult conversations and doing adult things. Oh, I don’t mean to insinuate… hey, none of you reading were there (except for Danielle and Nat) – if any of you has any evidence of anything untoward going on, present your evidence! You can’t, can you? Right. Good.
So anyway we sat and chatted and drank wine and gazed up at the stars and got bitten by mosquitos.
And that night, I saw something I have never seen before. I’d heard about it, I’ve seen it on video, but to see it in real life – to see it right there in front of your own eyes, with two good friends, is quite another matter altogether.
A shooting star. I saw a shooting star. It lit up a tiny bit of the night sky for just a split second. Then it was gone. But I felt enriched having seen it. A lot of satellites passed overhead too.
(Hey gimme a break – there’s a first time for everything! -27/1/02)
By about 2am, after listening to the Pearcedale Hoons doing their doughnuts nearby, we’d decided to go home. We’d had a lot of fun. It’s a delight when I introduce people to each other and they get on so well.
And the fact that we’d arrived 8 hours earlier for a drink, and stayed until the wee hours… well, Nat’s hospitality was just wonderful. In fact, I know Danielle was touched.
On Sunday we hung around Melbourne again, St Kilda, South Yarra, Malvern, exploring places, shops, streets, before it was time to head back into the city to get Danielle back on the train. This time it was only about half an hour late leaving. Which more or less concluded a great weekend.