In ozstraylia, travelling, Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Melbourne’s cultural identity is wrapped up in the , close, cozy, eateries packed together each a distinct entity in and of itself,  with their own vibe. This vibrancy of the lanes, and the CBD, and Carlton and Fitzroy, can be put down to the licensing laws being relaxed a couple of decades back and anyone with a bit of creativity and some cheap secondhand furniture could open a bar. So they did and the vast array of eateries and drinkeries that followed made Melbourne a distinctively interesting Australian city, filled with those inbetween eats, not too expensive, not too cheap, but food courts packed with different styles, reminds me distinctly of the walk through japans train stations and the eateries, chains to sure, which line the way.

The asian influence is obvious with lots of noodle and sushi places and the chance to sit and hang out in the sun and shade is infectious, to loaf away the day sipping chilled cider and munching on just cooked food, feels like heaven.

You get the same sort of experience up in Carlton except they aren’t lanes they are long streets like Brunswick or Smith or Nicholson or Lygon which seem to go on forever, with a different eaterie, boutique, bar/pub in every shaded doorway. It is a complete Eco system of Bohemia, I find it very comfortable and easy to slip into, whilst it feels cosmopolitan, the whole Mediterranean vibe is supplied by the mass immigration of Italians and Greeks, but it’s not that cosmopolitan really, or if it is its cosmopolitan in a very narrow band, you will not see many dark faces at all, though you see plenty of Asians and Orientals, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Malaysian though they tend to be in and around Chinatown. I’m not sure how Australians would deal with a truly multicultural city, the shuffle and scuffle of races brought together, the having to get along, not sure the Australian desire to be blunt and straightforward would handle under the plain speaking of those that consider themselves to be as Australian as themselves just darker of skin.

If you sit in one of the cafes on the lanes you’ll see all of Melburnian life pass you by, sneaking a quick peek at you or an outright stare as they stride, mooch, saunter past you.

  1. Melbourne has over 200 languages spoken daily. You ignorant racist tourist.

    • thanks for that geoff, glad to know that one person’s perception of melbourne (which I assume is your home town) can incite such impotent inarticulate fury.
      next time I’m in town, hopefully you can point out the 200 different languages to me.
      be well.

  2. Geoff I find your comment offensive and touristist. How dare you imply that all tourists are ignorant and racist you ignorant touristist blog viewer you.

  3. Geoff, just got this response from a Melburnian friend, and i think this is what you were trying to articulate, but didn’t manage to express.

    i think his point, incredibly poorly put, is that Melbourne is actually more multicultural than perhaps you gave it credit for. While we were having a drink there I remember being surprised by a comment you made that it felt like a ‘monoculture’ – a throwaway line for sure, but it left me thinking. There are definitely less black people than in London (we don’t have the proximity to Africa or the colonial ties with the Caribbean, which may go some way towards an explanation), but there are many, many people of Malay, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Pacific Islander, Indian, Sri Lankan, European, Middle Eastern, Aboriginal, African… I could go on.. descent. Many of these immigrant communities are based in suburbs that you simply wouldn’t have seen, being on a bike and mostly exploring around central Melbourne (like the Sudanese communities in Sunshine or Dandenong). Melbourne is a very spread out city.
    Many Melburnians are also quite defensive about the common stereotype of Australians as white, ignorant racists (sure, these people exist, as they do everywhere – there are plenty in the UK) which seems to be trotted out by self-righteous Guardian commentators and their fellow travellers whenever it’s convenient to give the uppity colonials a bit of a kicking. Yes, it seems to happen almost every time Australia makes the news in England and we get a bit tired of it.
    So Geoff is expressing frustration that your perception seems to match just a little too easily with this stereotypically English put-down of his home.
    Not your intent, but that’s my explanation of his response.

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