Monday, September 04, 2006

Touring Melbourne with My Parents

On Sunday my parents arrived in town from San Francisco. They survived the long flight in one piece and it was great to see them outside my front door. After they had a shower we headed out into the city. My parents experienced the same weird sensations I did when I first arrived in Australia about the traffic going the opposite direction. We got on the tram and headed to Flinders Street and then got on the free City Circle Tram so that I could orient them to the city grid and different things to see. After completing the loop we headed back for my place since they were getting tired. I was impressed they stayed up as long as they did, although 7:30 pm is the earliest my Mom has ever gone to bed.

Today I took the day off work so that I could show them around Carlton. We started at Melbourne University and stopped in to say hello to Suzie and Rosemary in the Economics Office. Then we wandered around the campus, admiring the older architecture of the buildings in the center of campus. My parents really liked the atmosphere of Lygon Street, and we had lunch at Nyonya's Malaysian Restaurant. My Dad finally got to try the curry laksa that I have been raving about for years. After lunch we headed down to Medley Hall on Drummond Street, where I lived when I was studying here 10 years ago. It still looks the same as it always has.

Our next stop was the Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building. It was built for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880-1881. We had a great tour of the inside of the building, and our tour guide gave us lots of fun facts about the history of events that have taken place there. The hall is huge and full of intricate murals and stencils on the walls. It is painted in Federation colors and looks as it did in 1901 when it hosted the opening of the first Australian Federal Parliament. I was really glad we got to go inside and explore the building- it would be great to hold an event in there.

After our tour we went into the Melbourne Museum and looked at the two floors of Australian exhibits. There's lots of great stuff there, including Phar Lap, the champion racing horse from the Great Depression. We learned he actually died in Menlo Park, which is in the Bay Area. How's that for a strange connection? Before leaving my Mom got a few things at the gift shop, and then we traveled back to my place.

While I am working the rest of the week my parents are going to continue to explore the city on their own. Tomorrow they will be doing a Foodies Tour of the Queen Victoria Market, and then on Wednesday they have an all day wine tour in the Yarra Valley. I wish I could join them!

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