Sunday, November 9, 2014

Melbourne, Australia


Arrival at the airport

My story starts at the airport.
I jumped off the plane and went into the hall, already sort of puzzled from the flight with the Emirate jet. The first achievable goal was to walk along the corridor in the hall, get my bags, then try to find the exit and leave for the city center(By the time I arrived I didn't even know if there was a bus that could drive me there; nevertheless everything easy so far). Pretty soon I found my baggage. The handle of my heavy bag was already damaged [Due to the fact that what was left under the the demolished handle was a hard and sharp edge almost every time I had to move on to the next venue including my baggage I cut myself by dragging my travelbag along a long corridor]. As I tried to repair the broken device one of the officials from the airport asked for my ID and with a series of surprisingly personal questions made clear in what draconian halls action would take place that night. After he gave me back my passport I didn't expect further questioning or anything comparable and, as before, looked for the exit sign. It was a spacious hall; even so, I had no idea where to go–but “unfortunately” the officials on location knew their halls by heart. They consciously ushered me to a very specific area where the next part of their routine checks(if they hadn't been that polite I would have named it an interrogation) had to be done. The guy who asked for my passport minutes before already waited for me in front of a metallic table together with two more of his colleagues. They helloed me and asked me to put all my bags on the table. Next they asked me to open the bags–all of them–and then went through my stuff. While doing that they asked me about the purpose of my visit, wanted to know how much money I had with me, how much money I had on my account, and how much there’d be available in here[I mean Australia]. Of course, they also wanted to see my credit card, the documents that enable my visit, contact addresses in Melbourne, the place where I wanted to stay, and a few other things I didn't know at that time. After a series of questions they had a look at my equipment [my kitchen knife, my pocket knife, my Beta58 microphone, my chopping board, and my MacBook]. That's why they also asked what I intend to do with my kitchen knife, what the microphone is good for, and, as I told them that I was a vocalist they wanted to know what sort of music I usually perform..., I think my MacBook was no obvious instrument to jeopardize the nation. Sure, I told them everything they wanted to know as good as I could (The whole process already felt amusing).

They compared my story with my visa notification and the other documents I had with me and then informed me about my rights. Looking through my papers, they reminded me that I wouldn't be allowed to work in Australia with a Business and Tourism visa.

As I told them about my intentions to get a job in a kitchen they once more emphasized on the illegitimacy of this and any tantamount goal. It appeared almost generous as they allowed me to use my knife in a private kitchen; I didn't even have to apply for rituals of that sort(or maybe I would have to and they had their lenient night,.. who knows). Since there was no illegal substance in any of my bags the bag check sooner or later had to end. When they were ready it was fairly tardy and I thought it a good idea to simply take my bags, move on and get out of the airport. Unfortunately, the meticulous bag check was not the end of this incomparable airport experience. As I mentioned, I couldn't answer all their questions (which made me a suspicious person it seems). That's why they called their colleague from the Department of Immigration and Border protection who fairly soon arrived. Like all the officials in the hall this guy was also very polite and friendly and, how could it be different, even he had a couple of questions for me. He asked me to take my bags and follow him. After that we went to his office. There he offered me some water and cookies(he called them biscuits and they weren't vegan), left the room and asked me to wait. After about 15 minutes we had a nice conversation. We talked about my career, my past life, my family(in particular my family in Australia), my occupation as a creative artist and whatever else I did the last thirty-one years. As far as I remember, we didn't talk about my favorite sex position or the PIN-Code of my credit card, 'though I am not sure about the latter. He made some notes and after a while of polite and serious small-talk he informed me about the bus that would bring me to the city (honestly, I was thankful for that information). After he unleashed me, I jumped on the Skybus and while contemplating the last few hours realized having arrived in the fairyland I wanted to see for years. Eventually, the entire process at the airport wasn't necessarily intimidating; it clarified that Australia is a very organized, safe country where nothing happens by chance. My first dialogue with the officials of the airport was not half as embarrassing as expected and finally good exercise for every alternate conversation. The Skybus drove for about twenty minutes and then released me at the train station in Melbourne from where I would easily reach several hostels. By the way, they don't call them hostels, the Australians call them backpackers. Needless to ink out, it wouldn’t be the last adventurous to and fro of my journey and what the officials at the airport already demonstrated on their metal table turned out to be a fundamental rite not only for airport officials but for invigorated travelers in Australia: Bagpacking (in backpackers)

I should mention that when I arrived it was already night. I had no idea where I was. I left the station and walked along the street. This very night appeared as a tranquil composition of prototypical idyllic, silenced and modest Australian nightlife. I could easily count the people that passed my way. Really nothing strange. It was colder than I had expected but I threw enough upon my bones beforehand, so it worked out pretty well. I left the station hall, walked a few meters and saw a young citizen who closed the metal door at the front of a shop and locked the same with a massive chain. I asked him where to go and he ushered me to the first backpackers in reach. The guy there told me they were the cheapest in town(AUD 22), 'though I would have to give them my credit card number as an insurance, which I didn't (At that time I didn't know that such "insurances" were common means in Australia. The first time I gave someone else my credit card number in a backpackers was about two months later when I was already used to the environment. In terms of money and credit card transactions nothing ever went awry. Therefore I felt totally safe and eventually accepted “the local habits”–but not during the first night in Melbourne). Instead I moved on in order to search for the next backpackers which was a YHA (If you're familiar with hostels in Europe you recognize the logo; it's the one with the orange circle around a green tree and a green house next to it. Don't confuse it with Spar). I didn't want to go there but it was late and I didn't know much about my actual contingencies. I asked the guy at the reception for the price. He told me it would cost me twenty-eight dollars per night. Stingy as always I asked him if there was a cheaper place close to his location. The guy, not randy for the profit, handed me a free city map, opened it in front of him, took a pen and circled two other backpackers in the close area. I thanked him, handed him the broken handle of my bag and went to the next venue. After walking on for about three streets and snooping through some walls and elevators, I arrived in front of the reception desk of the next backpackers. The guy behind the desk(the bar) said everything one would have to say to make his backpackers appear unattractive to someone like me. It was pretty much like flat searching in Austria: Once there realizing the fake, I felt like an idiot for a second, turned around and left the venue without further useless inquiry. During my walk I realized that my thoughts were almost clear. Hours before I expected to become tired, but no,.. nothing like that during the late backpackers search in this alien city. Finally I arrived at a very central backpackers in Flinders Street where a friendly, British-sounding guy named Lee welcomed me. I paid my first nights, called my uncle to tell him about my safe arrival, went up in the dorm and got some sleep.





Melbourne and the television screen

Staying in hostels(in the following named backpackers) appears to be the same everywhere in the world, although there is a much higher standard of entertainment offered to visitors in Australia: Every evening I was invited to participate in special events such as quizzes, burger evenings, game evenings, or tours through the cities. Even if I hardly cared about these events I considered it a good idea to offer entertainment to those who're unable to fight against boredom independently. Mentioning independence, there's also a much higher range of contingencies in terms of designing the day. For instance, in Austrian hostels I was barely given the opportunity to prepare my own meals in a kitchen and instead had to go to restaurants where I had to pay huge sums for the smallest amounts of warm food. Opposing this, Australian backpackers usually provide large kitchens; They are equipped with lots of stoves, microwaves, a row of fridges, enough kitchen utensils, and sometimes even ovens. That of course meant much to me since I couldn't bake pizzas for ages. The vegan ones I created in Melbourne were not half as delicious as every piece I prepared throughout my omnivore life. Even so, I simply enjoyed using a complete kitchen with all the advantages as it appeared tantamount to leading an own household(Damn, I'm such a girl....). Whatever, Australian backpackers provide more luxury; They make the "burdensome" travelling more bearable and guarantee a safe and comfortable stay; I enjoyed my first days in Melbourne.

What I liked best in the backpackers at Flinders Street, Melbourne was the television room. In order to get used to the English language [so my cheap apology for languishing in a gigantic, primitive, anti-adult toy box]  I spent hours, days, and nights in front of the technologically high-advanced television screen in a room that looked from the outside like a combination of Streichelzoo (as I constantly saw other fellows drowsing and cuddling like baby cats between hundreds of over-sized, fancy-colored pillow cases) and movie theater. On Saturdays it was all about Game of Thrones and, well, basically Game of Thrones, once even a whole day without anything else. Usually I solely left the box about thrice a day to prepare meals or merely grab myself some tea and ginger cookies before lazing on. In between I sometimes took some time to prepare some graphics for the website I was working on but I barely left the room. The television room, other than the kitchen, was open twenty-four hours a day, so I sometimes even stood there all alone while the others found some sleep. I should mention that I had to get rid of something my sister called a jet lag–a feeling of exhaustion combined with shoulder tension, spontaneous erections for no real reason, and a constant state of drowsiness. Eventually it took me three weeks to get totally used to the different clock. [The following months would physically differ from the jet-lag-phase in Melbourne: At least once a month–after a period marked by a noteworthy thirst for knowledge in which I usually read books or worked on vocabulary exercises–endeavors to improve my language skills reached a peak and then abruptly ended with the result of me waking up in the morning, realizing a mental burnout, limb biscuits and a psycho-physically ambivalent feeling of impotence that caged me in a state of sadness and regularly kept me from laughing. This feeling barely left; I later took it with me to México City where I would still have to face the same faith, the same mixture of melancholy, hope, eager to discover the world, gamblelust, and desperation (and another core enveloped in greenish feelings that I didn't understand). What's peculiar about my entire journey–the one I'm going to tell you about–is that I never felt like touching my weaner. The world around me was so interesting, new, and fertilizing that I didn't have to prospect for substitutes in order to artificially create feelings of happiness. I'm still sure about the fact that sex is the best and most important thing in the world but it is almost unnecessary and secondary in countries like Australia as there are plenty of other disciplines worth to spend time on.]

Shortly after things seemed to turn into something normal the moon brought out the worst of me. Having spend about three weeks in the backpackers in Flinders Street I realized that most of the guys in my environment were other Austrians (or German speaking Germans) who decided to spend their time in Australia. Of course, that was nothing weird but to me it felt as if I couldn't escape from the world I definitely wanted to leave,.. as if my past would constantly haunt me, as if there was no chance to escape. In fact, there was not a single day in which I didn't have to think about Austria, Vienna, arts school and several other horrendous places that used to make me sick. Recognizing that a whole crowd of guys from this "Austrian past" worth being denied stood there in this backpackers, my despair brought about something I simply couldn't manage. Metaphorically speaking, accepting this truth was the drop that made the juices overflow the barrel; I literally went crazy....


The walks

In a night sufficiently lightened by the moon I frantically ran out of the backpackers, aimlessly crossed a few streets (without actually thinking about the undeniable perils of crossing cars or busses) until I stood at the other side of the river, next to the shore, where I'd find no one else but me and some stupid seagulls. I started hyperventilating and in the same moment released some ill-natured, high-pitched sounds that later turned into sick, foolish laughter combined with some other strange dunnowhats I produced as a side-effect of successfully trying to gasp for air. I had to walk, couldn't calm down and therefore moved on a few meters, away from those horrific seagulls that looked at me. Walking on without thinking a lot I slowly reobtained my composure. In front of the Hilton Hotel my thoughts became clear again. I didn't feel that loco anymore and tried to walk more slowly. I passed a mate next to a garbage truck who worked that night, helloed him in a (–taking into account the present situation–) reserved  gesture and reluctantly turned into something human again. Already willing to accept the traffic lights as devices mounted for my own safety I ambled back to the backpackers. During that little walk I felt like yelling out the frustration I became aware of–but eventually didn't.
After this dirty sort of experience (eventually evoked by a mini-flashback sent from Austria) I knew that if I stood in Melbourne things wouldn't change for the better. It was then that I decided to no longer linger in Melbourne and instead leave for Sydney–where I may find a more appropriate place to continue my studies, maybe even a place to live....
The following days I sometimes glanced out of the window to the advertising board of the StudentFlights office–the one where (two weeks later) I'd buy the ticket for the flight to Sydney. Other than during my last months in Austria the desire to move on didn't feel like the will to escape. It was not the city of Melbourne I wanted to leave; It was the reminiscence of my unreal past I always ran away from that eventually triggered my thoughts. In fact, I loved Melbourne but hated (and still hate) my life...

But not every step outside felt like hell. Always enjoying the environment and the "aura" of a city that can appear very cozy and British(in an uncruel way) I regularly went out for walks.
One day I went to the botanic garden near the city hill where an old governmental building was located. There I marvelled at the thousands of tropical plants and curiously observed some ugly, small, red-headed, black birds that flew around the ponds. Another day I hopped on the tram in order to reach the beach near the haven of St. Phillips where I would walk along, watch some seagulls beg for grains, plant myself in the cold sand in order to swallow a vegan-burger, and later calm down to watch the low tide slightly pour moistured foam upon the arid sandy area,.. all that while actually pondering about my mislead past and my uncertain future... Well, and one night–it was the night when they showed the newest Batman movie on Mate7–I felt the urgent need to not sit in front of the telly. I led my feet towards the botanic garden again, just did as I felt and eventually found my self strolling along a river. Walking straight ahead along an illuminated bicycle drive beside a grassy river bank [on the left] and an embroidered flowergarden-like spacious line [on the right], I kind of mentally opened and as a result could no longer divert my thoughts from my private problems that I tried to deny throughout my stay in Melbourne. It all felt hopeless and I wanted to blame the people, the city, anything or anyone around for my frustration and helplessness; I wanted to curse my environment as I always used to do, but I couldn't. I loved this place but simply hated my lonesome life. I couldn't escape this thought... Finally I let a crocodile pass my cheek, walked on for about half an hour, made a Ui and walked back to my television screen in naïve hopes I might be able to make myself think about something else.

What makes not only Melbourne but whole Australia special is its peculiar, vivid, and colorful biodiversity which is skillfully integrated in tremendous, modern civilized areas. One pretty soon realizes that throughout history the gardeners and architects in Australia made it their business to subtly connect slices of almost tropical wildlife with human civilization, which finally brought about a regular streaming-in of interested, fascinated "outsiders" and in that way surely augured constant financial prosperity in terms of tourism for Australia. No matter where you go–Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane, I don't know where else–you'll find masses of spacious parks embroidered with thousands of fancy flowers, several other multi-colored plants, small ponds or surprisingly huge artificial lakes, and shady walking areas embedded under rootlike trees one from outside might think of when having in mind rain forests.... and all that next to modern skyscrapers, futuristically illuminated metal frames and conventional shopping miles!

In Melbourne everything was new to me. Everything was a surprise, no direction could be wrong. Because everything was that fascinating I didn't feel uncomfortable when I ran around without a map. 'Though to be honest, I thought my sense of overview is highly developed and I'd always know where to go. One afternoon when I wanted to walk towards the beach I thought the same thing again and walked through the Melbournian streets for about five hours–completely careless, completely thoughtless–without ever reaching the beach. After about three hours, happy not having been driven down by a car when spontaneously crossing a red light[they'd hit you from the right, so always look there first!], I came out in front of a big lake named  Prince Albert (ouch, I could never do that) Lake or something like that. I thought if I'd walk along the lake I'd sooner or later stand in front of the ocean. Unfortunately it became only a very long power walk. At least I saw lots of black swans in this lake. As mentioned, it took me five hours to find back to Flinders Street. As not mentioned, during my walk I constantly felt an unpleasant pressure on my right, large toe. When I came in the dorm room I took of my shoes and found an ugly bruise on the toe's nail. It became my very personal Melbourne souvenir. Three months later, in Mexico City, I demounted eighty percent of the nail so that I could scratch off the coagulated, bluish-purple blood below it.



My Spanish learning in Melbourne

From the very beginning of my journey I intended to continue my language studies; It was not about raising the same child from zero or learning something new from scratch; I did this many times before and thought I'd do best finishing most of what I had already started, which was (and still is) enough work for a decade. What I had in mind rather appeared like harvesting and improving thousand matters I already ascertained. For my progress in English I thought it sufficient to solely talk to the mates in my environment. For my Spanish on the other hand I'd need help from skilled professionals who'd provide me with the right exercises and put me in a class together with other Spanish students. That's why I went after schools or comparable institutions who'd offer Spanish classes.
I googled a little and found a list of companies with facilities in Melbourne, one of them only one block from the Flinders Street backpackers. Another one would be at Queen Street, also only a three minute walk from Flinders. I visited both so that I'd get proper information about affordable classes. Instead, what I encountered where two vaguely interested cockheads who pretended to be secretaries. Both appeared to me like unambitious brothel supporters hidden behind desks of language schools; I wouldn't offer them a seat if it was my language school where they'd apply for. The first one was only open for "real" students and native Australians, the other one made me an offer for expensive single classes and–as an alternative–showed me a list of contents that didn't really fit to what I urgently had to improve. It was stuff of another scarcely manageable, definitely inappropriate, not less expensive course. By the way, I found a third language school in the same lane–three levels, officially three different language schools in one compact facility, none of them offering Spanish classes...
Pretty soon I gave in and decided to continue my search in the next city I would visit. Instead of seeking on I stayed in the lounge and eating room of the backpackers where I'd finish two of the three Spanish vocabulary-and-grammar-practizing books I took with me from Austria. In that way, at least I learned a couple of words and kept my nerves steady for other disappointments to follow. I didn't study in Melbourne.




Continuing graphical artwork
[Geek content]


My Spanish books were not the only work I intentionally took with me. Throughout the last two years I conjured some funny two-dimensional sketches, logos, single letters and several other illustrations. A couple of days before my flight to Melbourne I scanned my faves just to make sure I would have sufficient raw materials for spontaneous creative business abroad. About five of those simple hand sketches formally beseeched me to get a proper dress.  That's why I wanted to tweak and refurbish some of these scans for matters such as online documentation, possible website content,  even a book cover. 

In order to accomplish my plans I had to find a free graphics software online that would serve the purpose, which I pretty soon found–in Inkscape: As it was about eight or nine years ago since I last regularly worked with comparable image processing software[2005, Adobe Photoshop CS 2] I enjoyed playing with it. For someone else this old-fashioned application may appear a little backwards but for me it felt like cotton candy and caramelized popcorn in Disneyland; I wouldn't stop consuming it. What is best, it turned out it can be an image editing software as well as a vector-based graphics editor. It can store files in useful formats like PNG, TIFF, PDF, EPS, as well as WMF, which also means Inkscape-files can be prepared for works with a considerable list of other customary applications, if necessary. Inkscape was exactly what I was looking for.
There may be different applications that would enable far better outcomes but–to be honest–I wouldn't be able to keep up with today's professional graphic designers (that wasn't my goal) as it would need months of practice to create better, modern, up-to-the-present results. What I polished pretty much reminds me of graphic art work made in the late nineties, surprisingly retro and very simple, only lines and areas.
The next two weeks I sat in front of the screen in order to turn my sketches into something worth putting online.
ITAT – It's a finished logo concept for a sort of, i dunno, story teller club. Once I complete my crime-novel-like vagrant-pilgrim-killer-drama, I'll print this logo on the back cover of the manuscript and add an e-mail address for other writers interested in participation.



Changing plans I

The moment I wrote this chapter I sat in the lobby in a hostel in México City. I was already totally demotivated and disappointed. Since there were only a few euros left for further traveling I prepared for my comeback to Graz. During my whole journey I had to change directions, cancel events, or even change plans completely. Most of my speculations turned out to be not feasible. I wouldn't find the support I need or an environment where I could stay for a long time without paying too much (Indeed, in México City it could have been different but I stayed too long in Australia unwilling to accept losing that much money. After about two weeks in México I constantly had to flip through my notes of my bank account and finally deemed the entire situation uncertain and breakable... See also Mi Latinoamérica).

The law in Australia sort of puts you in a frame of rules that doesn't necessarily stretch your contingencies in terms of designing your own life; it's very much about trust in authorities (They'll tell you where to go.). In less developed countries such trust would bring about the outcome that the only save work I'd find would be in a brothel, where I'd surely have to face intern struggles....
That doesn't urgently mean that Australia's immigration policies wouldn't make sense. It's just that not every man would like to make the triangle bound his balls. I see a great deal of opportunities for independent lonely singer-songwriters who want to earn their wages with basking on the street. Others may get the feeling of having their horizons extended when they progressively obtain prosperity as well-paid farm hands.

Opposing this, someone like me who's dreaming of an own pack, whose intentions are directed at founding an own, fairly self-defining company of creative workers,.., such a person would not find the vital connections in Australia. To be honest, I had the same problem in Austria: If people don't want you to get your own, well-balanced pack, you won't get it. If people don't want you to have private space or a real home you won't have it; so easy is that. You'll have to walk on, all alone, whether you like it or not. I always get my private hell designed from a thousand sadistic, cowardice, political artists and frustrated swines. It's already that ordinary to me, I learned to say "Thanks" instead of "Fuck you, you brainless, creepy, little whore of an hypocrite. Go get your brain". Life is not good as long as you're not making your very own decisions. They keep you helpless, they keep you dependent, they simply don't make life available and instead sell what they have. You'll miss your target if people don't want your success. You won't be able to socialize if someone else is picking connections, friends or partners for you. You're best not complying with their rules. Just run away whenever you can, do absolutely nothing they want you to do unless they take you out of their frame.

In sum, all I did in Melbourne was reading books, watching television, working on Spanish exercises, and cooking. I enjoyed my time but I could do such ordinary things almost everywhere in the world. Since I wasn't interested in visiting arts museums or throwing away money in several night clubs, pubs or other bars there was no primary reason to stay in Melbourne any longer (this and the fact that I didn't fall in love with anyone). What is more, snooping through the streets I couldn't find the slightest traces of an Australian Metal underground. There was a Rockbar that was closed the night I wanted to visit it and a Fashion shop named Dangerfield (that reminded me of German Gothic shops) where I bought a pair of whool mits for fifteen Australian Dollars. Other than that I could count youngsters wearing Maiden shirts on one hand. I asked some guys whether there'd be Metal bars or something tantamount to it; No one "knew" anything. I decided that if there was a Metal underground that doesn't want to be found it is not worth searching for it, and damn I'm right.
The Metal thing was still very important to me. As I left Austria I took one of my Beta 58 Mics with me, in case I'd find some bands I could shout, bark or sing for. Step by step I drowned the last grains of optimism as it turned out that I may have to face other diverting matters that would constantly keep me from thinking about my own goals. Instead of searching for work, my flat, or a garage for creative work and Metal music, I'd become what I was supposed to be on paper–a tourist spending money and time in solely driving around....
I gave my relatives in Melbourne a ring and told them that I would like to see them. Fortunately, they welcomed me with open arms, even offered me a bed in their house for free. The next months they would helped me wherever they could and in that way helped me save money as well as my mental abilities.




My Vegan eating habits
(basically in Melbourne)

To complain enough about hospitality in Austria without inadvertently uttering untrue exaggerations, all you have to do is outlining the fact that half of the jobs in hospitality don't exist because of an urgent need for workers in regions of developed tourism but rather to stabilize the existing employment market and its lousy structure–so that money flows easier, and jobs can be created. Basically creating jobs is neither legal nor legitimate, as it doesn't improve an economic system. It merely keeps a few unemployed, dependent workers busy and in that way showcases the present government in a more approvable light since popular politics always point at the shallow surface of common employment stats. In fact, the real economic flow stagnates every time jobs are created in areas where workers aren't necessarily needed; those workers will then be missing where work force would actually be useful. But preparing workers for such occupations would bring about a huge investment of time and unimaginable costs for education beforehand. So it's easier to divert the public from the crucial areas, show at the stats of the "improving employment market" in which the newly created jobs in hospitality are embedded. In order to make the mentioned jobs available all you have to do is make cheap flats and other useful living space unavailable so that people are literally coerced to spend their lives in hostels and hotels. Don't provide kitchens, fridges, stoves, lockers and eventually, people are even coerced to spend their money in pubs, restaurants, and snack bars of petrol stations every time they want something warm to eat or a cup of tea. Curtail their social connections and you'll find them in brothels and opium caves. It's not fair but it provides the wages for a multitude of brainless proles, pimps, and prostitutes, so guess who's complaining...
No one needs hospitality but–be "social"–the hospitality market needs your money plus you being dependent on the business they create. Applause, that's a crime. That's exactly how you keep a fixer on the needle and a whore in your services.

As a becoming vegan[someone who eats only vegan meals since more than a year but still doesn't feel able to absolutely discern the whole conception of vegan lifestyle] I had a frustrating time in Austria. Since I didn't own a kitchen where I'd be given the opportunity to prepare (I mean cook in order to make digestable) vegetables or fruits, all I could do was seek affordable meals on restaurant menus or pick potato snacks, nachos, or other acceptable junk food in stores.

By the way, throughout the years it appeared that some guys in the restaurants thought I'd literally need them ('though they were the ones who actually could only find jobs in hospitality which they accepted in order to sooner or later get money from people like me–who wanted to spare money for their own purpose). And they looked at me as if I was the one who's responsible for their hard work. Truth is that I do not create the burdensome employment market they accept. They don't judge the ones who create the markets and instead are likely to be angry with the clientele they regularly have in front of them. In fact, I never wanted anyone to serve food for me; I want my own household where I don't depend on anyone. I don't want to crawl into someone's ass just to get a warm soup in a cold winter night. I don't want this prolongued era of slavery light that constant serving for other people implies. I don't want to finally need the woven warm-heartedness of hospitality...
But would you slaughter a hundred real estate agency workers for me so I may get my tiny, warm flat? I wouldn't even chop the cold body of an egotistc, greedy penpusher into T-bone steaks and spare rips; That's simply not vegan. Which leads me back to the actual topic:

In Australia, life takes much more of your money, but that doesn't urgently mean that you lose all of it. It seems Australians actually believe in this weird old Commonwealth mentality. Certainly you just have to try to integrate yourself in the market. Just be warned: Ask only for their money and you're on your best way to get a devil's hole burned straight in the middle of your bony fences; Ask for good advice in order to discern their socio-political basis and they'll provide you with the reasons of their home-made advocacy. For young people who want to immigrate, life in Australia might be a realistic goal. Still, they may have to almost cherish Australia's rigid laws, especially immigration laws, and first find a job to regularly reobtain the money they need to invest in daily life. If you're aged under 31 and you get a Working Holiday Visa or a Holiday Working Visa (both exist and mean the same) granted, you may soon find a job as a farm hand for one of Australia's leading farming companies. If your visa allows you to work, it may be easy for you to start with fruit picking and wages of not less than 20 Australian Dollars per hour. (Don't take the numbers as absolute facts! It's what I constantly got from hearsay. I just pass on information.) Farming indeed has a high value in Australia. You pay a lot for fresh produce in the shops but you also get much for bringing it there. So much about fresh Australian fruits and vegetables. Which leads me back to the actual topic:

Australians, other than Austrians, keep living spaces for young foreigners very attractive–certainly because they found out that better quality of living spaces lead to better results on the fields. In public open air environments created by human hands you'll find a multitude of spacious greens, widespread ponds and a colorful, regularly fostered biodiversity. Likewise, you'll find a great deal of useful kitchen equipment in backpacker kitchens. In Melbourne they even have nearly clean, almost new ovens. This kind of luxury finally changed my eating habits, as I no longer depended on restaurant menus and junk food. Eventually I could unleash my new-bought, sharpened kitchen knife and chop as much vegetable and bananas as I wanted (and later even put it in the oven).
I wasn't much of a chef because of those reappearing contingencies in the kitchen but there is a difference in living standards if you don't have to call potatoe chips and nachos your daily dinner. 
Most of the days I just prepared potatoes, noodles, falafel or yeast bread as basis and combined it with tomato sauce. It was nothing spectacular but it was warm, fresh and not too fatty. I felt happy and relaxed.
I should also mention the row of fridges they usually offer in backpackers: It's a real advantage if you can put your milk [I mean rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk] in a cool place. Once there are fridges one also tends to have cereals for breakfast again.
I was very thankful for a lot of space where I could chop as much as I liked. It turned out to be one of the most tasty ingredient for joyful cooking and creamy vegan saucesCertainly that's what made me stay that long in Melbourne.

What I totally neglected throughout my stay in Melbourne was the fact that I, other than the youngsters around me, was not allowed to work–neither for money nor as a volunteer. But of course I simply had to eat and buy food. Well and of course, I did not realize how much investing in food would take away completely. As I mentioned before, Australian produce–and every other kinds of food ingredients–usually cost about twice as much as in European markets. My relatives warned me before I came to Australia and also during my visit: "Life in Australia is expensive." I now know what they meant.
Mentioning my relatives, my aunts and uncles were utterly generous hosts. In three visits in their houses I always got fresh vegetables and rice from the markets. Staying with them for dinner in their homes I got to know the surprisingly fruit-like taste of baked sweet potatoes, and I loved it. Although this vegetable would be very easy to prepare I never cooked it myself. But I'm sure in the future, once I find a flat with an oven, the first thing I put in the oven will be a baking sheet with sweet potatoes on it, no matter how much the cost. But that's an idea for future events. In Australia cash and time appeared to melt away and that made me ponder...

Nonetheless, Melbourne was not a total loss of money and time.  I was happy about the offers in Melbournian supermarkets. There where a couple of products I wouldn't find in conventional Austrian supermarkets but only few of them I actually liked much. I "invested" in products made of rice and soy such as soy cheese(actually not cheese but Topfen) and rice milk.
'Though, there are creations like soy milk that was intentionally transfigured into a creamy, fatty, cow-milk-like invitation to chunder all day: Every time food inventors try to fake the taste or the appearance of non-vegan food such as meat or dairy they fail and instead bring out something that tastes salty or bland. In fact, I don't comprehend people who try to fool consumers that way. On the other hand I discern the endeavor of trying to make the vegan lifestyle more attractive.

Topically leaving Melbourne, while snooping around in the halls of the Tullamarine Airport, due to the fact that I haven't eaten that much in the morning, I became extremely hungry and sought affordable snacks. Unfortunately, there was not a single meal at least half worth its price and eventually I saw everything but ate nothing until my arrival in Sydney. Nonetheless, my aimless power-walk through Tullamarine brought about a find I'm wholeheartedly thankful for.
As I complained, I loathe fake meat for its smack is unreal. Still, there are tiny events of my ("long-gone") past omnivore life that I miss–such as the entire rite of having a sandwich with cold meats–namely Extrawurstsemm'lfress'n.
In Austria I tried to befriend fake sausages as well as fake cold meats, and that worked fairly well, at least for over a fortnight. But as much as I tried to talk myself into believing that those pressed shit slices would taste savory, they didn't; they remained bland on my tongue and challenged my belly for no good reason.
Whatever, since life in Australia wasn't as monotonous as life in Austria lately, food was notably important but only secondary. My enhanced vegan sandwich rite could wait a few more weeks as there would be a good deal of tourist features, plants, buildings, animals, hell,.. a multitude of sights in the next city worth marveling at...





By the way, architecture and city design

I should mention that in order to enjoy a beautiful city you shouldn't be me. Sights and city life are easier to enjoy if you do not permanently try to review everything you have in front of your eyes. Taking this into account I could imagine that you'd love Melbourne.

My uncle, who has been living in Australia for over fifty years and whose official center of life is in Melbourne, told me that when he came to Australia for the first time, Melbourne counted about one million inhabitants; Today there live almost four million people in the same city.
We met each other two or three times. He took me with him on some tours with his car and showed me all the different sights of Melbourne, which means not only my cherished hundred square meters around Flinders but every noteworthy spot that would partly characterize real life in Melbourne: Typical residential areas, typical bays, shopping centers, the outskirts, farm land near the freeway, farms with airports, the coast, the most important haven, and–every single time we jumped into his car–where to open the door (It's on the left side. The right one is always for the driver; I never got used to it).

Those tours definitely gave me a clear idea of what life in Melbourne might be like; It's surprising how talkative architecture can be. For instance, driving through the streets where people actually have their homes shows the origin of Australian lifestyle. It shows that Australians take care of a balanced sharing of private properties. The word commonwealth gets an understandable meaning taking into account that family houses next to one another hardly differ in size or structure. It looks like everyone gets the same to live. There are no outstanding VIP housings, but also no modest, cottage-like pseudo living spaces. Everything appears to be planned for masses of people. You can literally see how the squares on the Australian city map work out in reality. That's probably something very Australian. I cannot think of any European place where life can be put in frames without arousing disharmony or discomfort. Everything is very orderly, and so are the Aussies.

Back to architecture. Basically there are two different sorts of typical housings: The fancy, highly-ornamented British style houses in the center and the city-near region, and the bungalows–most of them naked red brick work[Melbourne Canterbury]–in the residential areas and the outskirts [Click here. Unlike me, she was clever enough to take pictures].
It looks as if people don't want to live in apartments (In residential areas you don't see buildings with more than two levels overground. There are no skyscrapers, no huge apartment blocks.).  Instead, there are hundred thousands of cosy bungalows, each of them with some square meters of private green next to it,.. and maybe a tree.
So much about living. The buildings in the city center and all its many towers you may see in front of you (for example when you jump off the train at the main station) can give you a wrong picture of life in Melbourne.

When I searched for a proper visa for my Australia stay I found out that the government prefers people who are skilled in everything that deals with medicine and architecture. People like me don't get points for what they've learned and can only spend their money as souvenir-buying tourists. What I saw in Melbourne showed me that the endeavor to simply build buildings doesn't necessarily improve the image of a city. There are many modern buildings, lots of lights, some higher office blocks, arts museums, a casino, a Hilton tower, but nothing spectacular or outstanding (except seagulls who behave like ravens). I saw that many architectures where given the opportunity to put their own creations in the middle of this town, and now they're standing next to one another. I do not know why, but they do. Admitted, I liked the idea that there was one skyscraper looking like a snail which stood close to another one looking like a snake (in between a third one with KFC advertising). But that was only one single idea. In sum, I didn't like the modern architecture in Melbourne.
My uncle told me that most of the buildings weren't built before the late 70s–exactly as I thought; once again it was not only my flourish imagination that forged my view. Maybe one can design an impressive picture of Melbourne for a tourist brochure but once you take a closer look from inside you can't deny the lack of patience in the city's general appearance. Those new buildings are not interwoven in the old town. They are put in between like needles in a pin wall. It doesn't look ugly or too tight if they keep it as it presently is (because of the fact that Australians city designers obviously got a perfect feeling for Raumaufteilung; One can see that in absolutely every city in Australia, especially Brisbane). Even so, if I were to decide I would no longer emphasize on building new skyscrapers and artistic bullshit but instead focus on the maintenance of what already exists in Melbourne.
Two months later I would see one of the world's largest cities in the world, where I'd find a lot of dirt, undrinkable water, careless people who only show interest in selling stuff and making profit (Everyone's a seller and everything's allowed, or at least nobody cares). The certainly once most beautiful city of the world is now famous for its high crime rate and over-population. I haven't found out why people in Mexico City were always friendly to me. I only saw what a place can look like if you create too much without contemplating possible consequences. You can't clean that place with advertising, cheap Hollywood movies, friendliness, or desalination plants. There, you cannot beautify a wall with thirteen layers of color by simply brushing the fourteenth layer over it. (That's what you can do in Melbourne, where they have only bricks.) There are thousands of taxi drivers and the same amount of taxis (that no one necessarily needs). People cleaned the streets in front of my eyes. Workers from the garbage company sorted out the different sorts of garbage probably trying to show their concern about the environment. Still they couldn't deny in what dirt they were and still are living. I don't know to what degree earthquakes are responsible for the low quality of life in Mexico City. I'm just saying that what you create must be maintained and always can be ruined easily. Once you've been to places like Mexico City, you may realize that vulturing[coinage for dt.: geiern] for profit and thinking big is no longer modern. That thought should lead me back to my actual topic, namely Melbourne being a modern city with modern architecture.
The next city I would visit after Melbourne showed that there is a quality only patience and time can shape.


No comments:

Post a Comment