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Melbourne and back

suit, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

Melbourne is the first Australian city I’ve visited where I really thought I could live.

Lest that come off snobby, let me explain. Well, yes, I’m a snob but really? Sydney? Canberra? Sydney is too big and freeway-strewn and aggro, and Canberra is just kind of weird with all it’s government buildings and legal prostitution. I’m on the verge of graduating and considering my future career options, as is my lovely and Australian Janelle, and as much as I love Vancouver, I’ve been here a while. A change of scenery, well, it’s an option. However, I’m really not a person motivated solely by career. First and foremost, I want to live in a place I want to live. Melbourne seems like a place I could want to live.

As a city on the other side of the world where everybody has odd accents and roughly 90% of the architecture dates to the Victorian period, it’s different enough from Vancouver (or my last city, Toronto) that I feel like I would be getting a new experience. But it’s also not unfamiliar. It’s bustling and vibrant, with yuppies, hipsters, immigrants and middle-class families rubbing shoulders. The combination of broad streets and countless twisting laneways — an artifact of the 19th century gold rush and subsequent real estate bubble that made Melbourne the richest city in the world and second-biggest in the Empire — makes it walkable, colourful and gives rise to a truly impressive tram network. Tasty, cheap ethnic food abounds, even if the Vietnamese restaurants all call phở “noodle soup” and bánh mì “Vietnamese rolls”. It has a really strong art scene (and street art scene) and a lively pub culture, complete with dozens of trivia nights around the city (go Team “Throw Another Ken on the Barbie”! We would have totally kicked ass if it weren’t for the $12 jugs of beer!). The people seem to all be either friendly or entertainingly pretentious. In a way, it combines a lot of my favourite aspects of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, with a dash of junior-league London for good measure.

And it seem like a place where I could get a job. Maybe.

Anyway, after a couple of overnight flights broken up by a 17-hour layover in a Taiwanese airport, I’m back in Van now, and you know what that means! Pictures!