Third post. To my surprise, I’ve actually gotten a lot of positive feedback for this blog. As such, there is a bit of pressure to make this post a good one, so if you feel as if I use too many fuzzy words or drawn-out metaphors, you’ll know why.

So far, the theme of this blog is that Melbourne is really cool. I’ve tried to convey this to my readers by showing cool pictures, discussing some of the cooler aspects of the city, and writing in the coolest way I know how. Primarily, I aim to share my enjoyment and stories with those who take the time to read this blog. However, I may also aim to inspire jealousy in those who I’d like to come visit me, Team “OMG EUROPE > AUSTRALIA NO QUESTIONS,” and The Immovably Combative Critic (yes, this deserves capitalization), Karyn Hollis. By the way, don’t reread that last sentence too many times. It kind of feels like someone is yelling at you.

Anyway, I’ll start writing now.

A few days ago, I set out to go to the grocery store. There were a few Americans in my entourage that had just arrived in Melbourne, so our quick trip turned into a long afternoon of exploration. We stumbled upon this lavishly decorated alleyway, and my mate (yep) Hue Kelly gave us a really awesome lesson in Melbourne street art.

I took a bunch of pictures (only iPhone quality, sorry), and Hue later explained the significance of each. What is written below each photograph are his words, not mine.

First, allow me to elaborate on the first half of the title, and establish a thesis for Melbourne street art in general.

I hope that’s big enough to read. For my two lovely grandmothers, I’ll rewrite:

This seriousness in artistic angst exudes a mysterious presence that compensates for the banal offering that everyday humans have to offer.

Essentially, Melbourne street art is rather unique. It is not really “seedy,” certainly not malicious, and sometimes not even criminal. The following pictures are taken from Hosier Lane, which is “one of Australia’s biggest graffiti alleys, and famous worldwide” (Hue). The walls are repainted almost weekly, and painting Hosier Lane is explicitly legal. Here are some of the cooler shots, and a little information about each one. Again, credit goes to Hue Kelly for the explanations.

“The artist Happy takes a chance with simplicity and old-school cartoons. Happy is one of Melbourne’s most well-known artists, and his style is always about happiness and cartoons.”

“Swanky resturaunts in Hosier Lane get a free mural paintjob from passionate local artists, without pay.”

“Sofles is the artist, and he is the best. Sofles is even sponsored by Ironlak paint company. He is paid to travel the country, painting graffiti in order to promote the special paint that’s made to paint this art.  Sofles is an Australian graffiti king.”

“Graffiti can be weird and wonderful.”

“HaHa is well known for these Ned Kelly stencils. Ned Kelly is Australia’s much loved outlaw. When Australia was merely a collection of colonies, he took it to the police; in home-made armor, Ned Kelly went around robbing banks, and was widely adored by the people. Eventually, he was murdered by a corrupt judge and sentenced to hanging. His last words, “such is life,” are a popular tattoo for an Aussie male. Long live Kelly. HaHa pays tribute.”

As you can see, as I’ve been trying to tell you all along, as you might have figured out by now…Melbourne is really, really cool.

Interestingly enough, there are other places that are cool too. The Great Ocean Road included.

About a week ago, Jeff, Alex, and our new buddy Mikey Tour went on a little roadtrip. We rented a car, realized we had to drive on the left side of the road, subsequently shit our pants, and then got going. The Great Ocean Road is essentially just a long drive along the coast, one with gorgeous beaches and ridiculous views. Apparently it is a war memorial as well. Not bad.

We left Jeff and Alex to do the driving; they actually didn’t seem to think it particularly difficult. It takes about three hours to complete the initial journey, and approximately double if you decide to get out/walk around/come to grips with the fact that what you are looking at is actually real. Along the way, you pass by beaches such as Torquay and Lorne, both of which are world-renowned surfing beaches (HEY RICKY!).

Some pictures:

And one for the parents/girls:

Ummm..yea. OK here’s more pictures.

You get the point. Roadtrip. Great Ocean Road. Pretty wild.

If you read my last blog post, or have ever googled the words “Great Ocean Road,” you’d probably recognize the next set of pictures.

Here they are. The Apostles. All Twelve. If the Great Ocean Road was a hockey team, the Twelve Apostles would be wearing the “C.” They’d have the dirtiest dangles, they’d be going bar-down for the OT winner.

In all of their glory, The Twelve Apostles:

Very sweet. I suggest you all attempt to see these guys at some point. Worthwhile for sure.

So there you have it. Funky art and big rocks. In case I went a little too far with the jealousy thing, I’m going to end this post with a little humor and self-deprecation. All for your personal enjoyment, of course.

A few days ago, I set off to buy pasta sauce at around noon. The grocery store is only a few minutes away, but just after I left, I realized that I still had yet to find an ice rink in Melbourne. I don’t have my gear down here, but I just wanted that fuzzy-warm feeling of being around hockey, ya dig? I pulled out the jesus-phone (iPhone), which promptly told me that there was a rink in South Melbourne, probably 5km away.

I decided to walk, since I like walking, and about 45 minutes later, I arrive at the supposed destination. No dice, and the locals seem just as lost as I am. Back to the jesus-phone.

I call the rink, and kindly ask for directions. The man, who seems like a functioning human, asks me if I see a hill. I see a hill. He asks me to walk to the top, where I will be facing the ocean. Ocean, check. He asks me if I see the pub on the corner, the Beach Hotel. Beach Hotel, check. Next, he says to turn around, and I should see a 711. It’s all there, but for whatever reason, this man cannot figure out how to direct me to the rink. However, with that fuzzy-warm-hockey feeling so close, I explore other options. Back to the jesus-phone.

This time, I’m looking at a map on the rink’s website. I spot a fancy museum, the Gasworks Museum, which should be about two blocks from the rink. I ask a few locals, who quickly direct me to this Gasworks Museum. I find it, and then stare at the jesus-phone for a while, and then find a small spot of shade to stand on so I don’t get burnt, and then stare at the jesus-phone a little while longer, and then keep asking people for directions. Yes, that’s a run-on sentence. I felt it appropriate. I was frazzled, if you will.

Finally, I call the rink back, and ask to speak to a different person. This is about 3 hours into my journey, mind you. The woman does not recognize what street I am on, and asks me if I might know the suburb. The following conversation takes place:

Her: Might you know the suburb?

Me: Nah, not too sure.

Her: Is it St. Kilda (one of Melbourne’s beaches, pics in previous post), perhaps?

Me: I don’t think so, I’m kind of new to Melbourne, not too sure.

Her: Are you in Australia?

Me: Haha, yes, I know that much.

Her: O, well that explains it. We are in NEW ZEALAND.

Me: Wait. what.

Me: Wait. WHAT.

Me: Like, you’re kidding, right.

(This goes on for a while)

I briefly contemplate flying to New Zealand just to complete the journey, but this seems a tad too ambitious. I kind of just start walking home, yell, realize that I now have a wicked sunburn in the shape of a JCREW undershirt V-neck, keep yelling, yell more. So, in case any of you are wondering/haven’t creeped my Facebook status in a while, the Dunedin Ice Rink is in New Zealand, not Australia. It only took me about 3 hours of walking to realize this.

I’m going to end this post abruptly, for style of course.

Bye bye. Love you all.

O, and be careful what you do in the privacy of your own home. Lower Merion School District is probably watching you.