Friday, January 30, 2009

Hot in Melbourne

It’s summertime down under here in Melbourne (pronounced Mel-Bin) Australia and we’re enjoying every minute of it. However it’s getting a bit too hot to be comfortable. The forecast is for the hottest week in over a hundred years with temperatures soaring into the 40+ range every day for the next week. Massive power outages from the extreme heat have cut power to over twenty percent of the city for the second straight day. Bushfires are flaring up all around the outskirts of the city and some rail traffic has been halted by tracks buckling under the heat.

We’ve been attending the Australian Open Tennis Tournament every day and for the most part it’s been very enjoyable.
There was great interest in the Obama (pronounced O-bom-mer) inauguration here with about 10 hours of live coverage of all the activities in Washington D.C. We watched some of it which began at 3 a.m. here. As with everywhere else, there’s great expectation with the new American president.

Australia Day was celebrated a few days ago with lots of fanfare, flag-waving and of course beer. Next to huge portions of food, especially breakfast, Australians love their beer. Come Friday, after work, restaurants and pubs overflow onto the streets with people enjoying beer, after beer, after beer. It’s a great way to unwind and cool off during these hot summer evenings but beer drinking among some youths in the inner cities is getting a bit out of control. In just the past few days, a small minority of drunken, flag-draped, youths gathering on beaches in the suburbs became unruly and created some pretty ugly scenes. Controversy has erupted on whether the flag should be allowed to be worn as a cape, as is popular among many youths at events ranging from national holidays to many sporting events. In some cases the drunken rabble rousers spewed racist hatred aimed at certain minority groups, all under cover of the flag. Again, it’s just a small minority that’s gotten a bit out of control. For the most part, Australians are warm and friendly and racism is much less evident than it is in the United States.
Melbourne is a great cosmopolitan city and a wonderful place to visit especially during the summer.

When You Go:
* Take the Sky Bus from the airport into town. It's $16 AUD per person, one way, but book a return for only $26 AUD.
* Don't miss the ChinaTown Dumpling Restaurant on Swanston St. Order Chili Oil Dumplings and Lamb wraps.
Melbourne time:

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