Sunday, March 23, 2008

A final country stop

March 8th, sometime after noon

Bacchus Marsh

It’s really not a very flattering name for the little country town 45 km outside Melbourne. It was hot – big surprise. You have no idea how much I was hankering for a watermelon. Past the main town, the road continued into a tunnel of an oak-lined road, giving me the impression that I was no longer in Australia. Beside these ran several fruit stands. I picked one, probably like many fruit stands in this area, run by first or second generation Italians. The fruit was well ordered, and Mediterranean ingredients grown here in Australia filled the shelves. I picked my watermelon, plus nectarines and grapes, and lounged silently beneath the shade tree and fed myself grapes and thought of Bacchus and olive-skinned toga-clad women feeding them to me. But . . . I digress.

March 8th - Melbourne late arvo

It’s as easy as a city could be to get into by bike. A city I lived in for six months in university, and one I could easily live in again. Melbourne to me is fine Italian coffee (sorry Seattle), Turkish and Greek kebabs, and the MUBC (Melbourne University Boat Club) mates I met during my time here. I am the guest of the Right Honorable Jonno Stone (one of the rowing mates from the eight) and his lovely wife, Suze Stone, in their early 1900, new to them, two-story brick house complete with red grate-work and cobbles. Inside this Victorian/Edwardian edifice are old scared wood floors, high ceilings, crown molding, and character oozing out the yin-yang. We barbecued that evening on the red brick patio under the shade of an orange tree. I had the pleasure of also meeting his mom and sister and felt privileged and honored that they would open their new house to a wayward traveler such as myself.

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