Melbourne and beyond

Sunday Jan 18 we spent the day touring Melbourne.this beautiful city is laid out in neighbourhoods each with its own character. It’s a sports mad city with a huge assortment of fabulous stadiums, cricket, rugby and football fields and incredible athletic centres for swimming and tennis, many of which were built for Olympic and Commonwealth Games. The Australian Open Tennis tournament is happening here shortly and the Grand Prix auto races are scheduled for March. Our tour bus took us around the racetrack at a stately pace. We were able to have a look at the Queen Victoria Market, one of the largest open air markets in the Southern Hemisphere. We also viewed the Australian War Memorial which is a ver new building dedicated to Australia’s participation in conflicts dating back to the Boer War. Very touching and fascinating as I learned much about Australia’s history that I didn’t know. Finally we toured the downtown shopping and restaurant area. Melbourne is such a hop and happening place that we were very sad not to have another day there to continue exploring.

A quick update on movies viewed in recent days.
Watched a very mysterious film called The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with Jessica Chastain and James McEvoy. This strange little film turned out to be about the effect of a child’s loss on a young couple. Very sad and very strange.

Totally enjoyed re-watching The Sundowners starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr. Set in Australia in the thirties, it’s about a family of drovers who traverse Australia as itinerant sheep drivers. Fascinating with it’s stock footage of Australian wildlife featuring dingoes, sheep, border collies, kangaroos, kookaburras, koalas, etc. There is a brushfire scene which could be taken out of recent news footage of the fires in the Adelaide hills. Lots of sheep shearing scenes. All in all a great period piece about the days when men were men and women simply had to put up with them.

Last night I watched a totally bizarre movie called The Identical starring Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd about two twins, separated at birth who grow up to be Elvis-like pop singers in Tennessee. So weird I couldn’t stop watching it!

Today we are sailing from Melbourne to Sydney where we will catch a plane to Cairns and explore the Great Barrier Reef area before returning to Sydney and flying home on Jan 26.

PS

After our last great dinner on the ship with two other couples who became great friends, we returned to the room to pack up. The exertion left me a little wired and I finally caught up with The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington. He is so darned likeable  that you really root for him to savagely kill every Russian bad guy and crooked NYC cop that he encounters in the film. It also features a great performance from Marton Csokas, a NZ actor who is marvellously chilling as the chief Russian bad guy. Very enjoyable in the genre of all the Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis action flicks of recent years where a decent mature man is pushed to do very bad things.

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