Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Fond Farewell to Melbourne

We leave Melbourne today and I’m a little sad. I love this city. Melbourne is the San Francisco of Australia. Of course I say that about all the cities I like very much. Wellington is the San Francisco of New Zealand, and Mankato, the San Francisco of Nicollet County.

We were meant to fly Singapore Airlines from Melbourne to Singapore, then through to Osaka tonight. But when we called the airlines to confirm our flight, the fellow at the call center tried to tell us that we didn’t exist – and if we did exist we certainly would have been sensible enough to have gotten on a flight last night instead of today.

I said that couldn’t be true, because if we didn’t exist, whose children were these fighting over the next turn to charge their ipods, and if I didn’t exist, how in the world could my pants be so tight?

He didn’t know the answer to those questions, so we went to the airport. There we found a couple of lovely gentlemen from Air New Zealand (their motto: “We don’t care whose problem it is, we’ll solve it and would you like a nice tea and a lovely biscuit with that?”)

They directed us to the kind people in the office of Singapore Airlines and someone who could help us. (Turns out they are my children, and the pants thing is the fault of the good food in Melbourne and very little self control).

So with that we are off to Japan. But first some highlights of Melbourne.

Mike finished his 3rd module of the MBA and is moderately sure he passed the tests. I got to meet several more members of his class who are all impressively smart, well accomplished, articulate, charming people. We shared some drinks, some dancing and a hangover.

I took the kids to the human body exhibit, the aquarium, the Pixar exhibit on animation, and the lookout from the 88th floor of the Eureka building. General consensus was that the Pixar thing was the coolest, followed by the aquarium and the Eureka building. Charlie wasn’t a big fan of the human body exhibit as he quickly grew tired of “looking at dead guy’s pingo’s” (his quote).

The food and shopping were wonderful and the city itself is lovely - beautiful European-style buildings, charming bridges, vibrant night life, arts, culture. But it was the people I met that made this such a wonderful stop on our journey. They were amazing – the lot of them.


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