(travel blog – Australia)
Why did sharks and spiders drop out of evolution millions of years ago? Because they had already become perfect predators and needed no further adaptation. Melbourne’s public transportation system too seems to fancy itself as already fully developed, otherwise there is no explanation for the ignorance for improvement. It starts with unbearibly overloaded trams and trains and ends with having NO connection at all when your last chance of getting home slipped through your fingers at midnight.
The other day i wanted to drive, or as daunting distances here force me to say, travel, to a friend near the city center. At the moment i’m not living that far towards the outskirts but it still would have taken me 1:30hrs to get there if everything went right.
When i cut into the final connection slice my mission began to fail. The tram was so packed and crowded that i had to squeeze myself into a tiny cubic meter of leftover load capacity. Constantly struck by luggage, elbows, large pillows and strange smells i couldn’t see anything at all. But you need to read the names of the tram stops because there is no display inside or any other way to figure out how far you have come. On top of that the names on the stops sometimes don’t even match the names on the route inside the tram. Queen Victoria Market on the tram chart for example actually means Franklin/Peel Street on the sign outside. Anyway, i got of at the wrong stop because i didn’t get a degree first in street name transcryption and also was so stressed by not being able to move and sneak a peek. This should be definitive proof that i don’t yield any all-predicting Jedi Powers.
Dazed and confused i googled the wrong adress and ended up walking for 60 minutes just to become aware that it was actually Brunswick Road i should have gone to and not Brunswick Street. Guess I can’t blame the system for this one. By the time i realized the fatal error i was en route for 2:30hrs.
It was 11:30 by then and and there was clearely no point in continuing this farce because one hour later the last trains would depart back to my home station. I called my friend, ranted and vented like a little spoiled girl for 15 minutes and then decided to surrender to my tantrum and exhaustion and went home.
The positive aspect to that story is that trains where actually taking me places, set aside it where the wrong ones. Yesterday night i was out with friends having a splendid time and attentive as i am keeping track of the clock as well. We where in a bar just across the train station and when i realized it was close to midnight deadline I instantly packed my things and ran for it. One other night before came to mind where i caught the last one at 12:28 from somewhere and so i assumed there was more than enough time left. When i pulled out my wallet to swipe my Myki and hustle down the esclators something felt wrong. The main train station Flinders Street, which is normally overflowing with commuters from all around the globe was completely forsaken. Spooked out and out of breath i took an anxious glance at the timetables. Darkness.
It was 12:20, i was clueless. With the last glimpse of hope i looked around for night busses, or “Night Riders” as they are called here. The only remaining people promising help in this suddenly desolate place where cops. “Night busses depart over there… but i think only on weekends.” said one of the semi-friendly three who just started their street patrol shift. “So you are telling me that there is no way to get home for me?” i asked in a highly reproachful tone. “Take a cab.” he replied with uncomforting indifference. I couldn’t control myself. “FUCK THAT!” i shouted at them, turned around and left the station.
Luckily it didn’t come to a “FUCK YOU!” in the unchecked heat of my despair. The next 30 minutes i spent on the phone with Tim, the film student im living with at the moment, and we tried to find a solution together. Even as someone who grew up in Melbourne to his astonishment there really wasn’t a singular possibility to get home without spending 60-70$ for a taxi.
I called Arturo, my friend from Venezuela, who i once before failed to visit but who lives realtively close to the city core and asked him if i could maybe crash on his floor. It was a 60 minute walk, again, but I refused to take a cab. Although it was only 20 dollars its a principle thing. I have 2 healthy legs, as my mother would put it, and could as well use em to get to Brunswick Road, or was it Brunswick Street? 😉
To sweeten my endeavor i got a massive cookie from “Pie Face” before i left the inner city behind me. It tasted aweful. Pretty naive to think a generous amount of food for 3 Dollars could be good value in Australia…
From there on my trip mainly took place on “Royal Parade”. Everything there reminded me of that other nigt where i walked my heels off in vain, but this time i at least was rewarded a tiny bit when i passed the various colleges sleeping behind big, beautiful gates and creating this distinct flair of gothic exclusiveness similar to a study environment i experienced in Camebridge.
When there was no exciting scenery nearby i pulled out my Ipad and indulged an episode of Mad Men. Thank god i always have that with me now. If you use public transportation in Melbourne and especially if you miss public transportation in Melbourne you HAVE to bring entertainment to bridge time and lift your spirit.
I finally reached Brunswick. My saving angel from the Angel Falls was already waiting.