Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Melbourne Envoi

I've been gone long enough at this point that I'm starting to feel a little disconnected from home, as if the strings that hold me to the ground are nearly all cut and I'm just floating off like a Macy's parade balloon. So it's good that I'm returning to Sydney this afternoon, where my trip began, to bookend my experiences here and ease me back.

This does not mean, however, that it's good that I'm leaving Melbourne. The streets of the Central Business District of Melbourne are lined with wonderful building of many eras, including some of the most characteristic deco building I've ever seen. There is still much in the streetscape that remains from the big boom times of the late 19th century. The middles of most blocks are connected with opulent shopping courts that cut through the larger buildings and around every corner and up every street is a narrow lane leading either to nowhere or to a surprise emporium or cafe.

Oh, and the cafes: I want to come back and eat at a different small bistro cafe every night for a year. The blackboards advertising the evenings specials note things like pan-roasted snapper and unusual risottos and, of course, there is wine everywhere.

What this means in general is that there is still so much simple walking and exploring I want to do in this city.

Nor have I had any opportunity to get together with the many folks I met at the SAGE-AU conference last week. I have a small pile of business cards (most with the job title of IT Developer or System Administrator) with a note scrawled on the card about meeting up for lunch or a drink in Melbourne. I had intended to follow up. Where did the four days here go?

They went to: Dinner at great restaurants with Geoff and mutual friends of ours. The Victorian Market. The Healesville Sanctuary. Lunch with the other Brian C, and a walk around the neighborhood where he works and lives. The National Gallery of Victoria (both buildings). The Melbourne Museum. Meeting the shape-note singers. Attending a delightful talk by Damian Conway, and going out for excellent pub food afterwards with the Perlmongers group.

Oh, and I've nearly forgotten already: Monday I worked a full day at SGI in Melbourne, where the development group I work with tried to make up in one day for not having kept me up-to-date on documentation needs for, oh, about 18 months. We sat in a conference room and, screen by screen, went through an administration management tool while each member of the group talked about the area they had worked on and I took notes. At one point the manager asked if I were coming back the next day and I said, "Well, I could" and he said no, have your vacation, we'll make do. This manager also took me out to an upscale restaurant nearby (the offices are not downtown) where we split a bottle of Cabernet Shiraz, which is something I would never consider doing at lunch at home if I were going to have to work in the afternoon.

I have stories to tell about the restaurants and foods and museums and people I've met. But for now I'm going to pack up and remind myself that it is a much, much better thing to be saddened by a feeling that there's so much more to do and see than to be bored by the feeling that there isn't.

People here are saying, without a trace of irony or doubt, "See you in Canberra next July at the conference."
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