5 December 2005

A Sunday Outing

Have you ever noticed how on weekends, the only people who use public transport are … well …um … just different from weekday commuters?

On Sunday, Son #2 and I had to venture into the city for something, and as we had time to spare, decided against the train journey which is a mere boring three stops (inner city living at its best), and instead took the picturesque meandering tram-ride into the city.

Let me tell you about our fellow passengers.

Couple No. 1: American tourists.
Interestingly, they were not attired in the usual matching sporting outfits that always make me giggle. (Come to Melbourne, Australia, and run! Around our beautiful city streets! Or just look like you’re about to break into a sweat! Whatever,you fitness freaks, you.)
No, instead they were dressed as though they were about to climb to Annapurna Base Camp. Huge enormous clunky hiking boots, thick socks, shorts (cos it is summer here, after all), gortex jackets and state of the art backpacks. Maps in hand. Loud voices.

They looked around at their fellow travellers and instantly and correctly appraised me as the only person likely to be able to assist them, and asked me at which stop they needed to alight in order to visit the museum. (The one that is indoors. With smooth, rock-free surfaces to stroll about in. And a gifte shoppe to browse in after your ascent … er, stroll. No crampons needed, really, we are civilised here.) (I was sooo tempted, sooo very very tempted to tell them about the cram … oh no never mind, it’s rude and I didn’t). (Cos we are polite here, as well as civilised).

Couple No. 2: Japanese tourists.
The woman in high heels and tiny handbag, the man wearing Smart Casual, a look that can be troublesome to pull off successfully. I am pleased to report he did (pull it off with some aplomb). They were quiet, incredibly polite, and they giggled and pointed at my blonde child and made Isn’t that blonde Australian sproglet so cute and adorable and blonde? noises. And they took an awful lot of photographs. Of each other.

They looked around at their fellow passengers and decided that I was the one most qualified to take a photograph of them. (They must know that I have a blog! And that I specialise in dorky photographs!) And with much bowing and hand gesturing, they oh so politely requested that I do so. And with more bowing, they thanked me. Oh so politely. With a few giggles. And a few Stupid Australian woman, talk about technically dyslexic, can’t even work out the buttons on our state of the art whizz-bang digital camera type of noises.

Couple No. 3: Australian loonies.
Because the only people on public transport on the weekends are tourists and loonies. Oh yeah, and me.
She had wild hair and a torn skirt. Muttered a lot. He had a large collection of sandpaper with him. He proceeded to work his way through his not unimpressive collection, rasping and rubbing each piece to … what? Rate them in terms of rasp satisfaction? I know not.

They looked around at their fellow passengers and agreed that I was the one most eminently suitable to sit next to and ...

Son # 2 and I looked around, and decided …

This is our stop!


Jane said...

Great story. Keep to the short & sweet route in future.

I love the tourits here. They come dressed for climbing Snowdonia/walking the Pennine Way/hiking in Scotland when all they are really doing is looking for souvenir shops and ice-cream stalls.

Yes, a hamster is nothing more than a nicely-coloured mouse without a tail. A little plumper and more attractive, but a rodent nevertheless.

Marisa said...

I have seen the American and Japanese tourists you mention. Same is true when I ride the subway (Metro) here.

Michele sent me...I may be back on my on next time. ;-)

Alice said...

Isn't people watching just so entertaining? Much more fun that watching other animals.

kimbofo said...

Hilarious! What more can I say?

(I miss tram travel - sob, sob.)

blackbird said...


love people watching.


la vie en rose said...

hehe...what an afternoon. great story! maybe some day i'll be one of those american tourits...i'll leave the hiking boots in the hotel when i head to the musuem.

Sharon said...

I used to live in Caulifield - about 6 stops from the city... I remember thinking much like you did about the tourists... As we live right across from the race track we used to see some sights - not only the o/s tourists but also the local surburban kind... I remember taking a leisurely walk down at st kilda on the breakwater - now I wasn't the only one there - but like you this very nice english lady asked would I take her photo with the Melbourne skyline in the background - I thought she might be that lucky - I am the worst photographer in the world - but she insisted - and who am I to argue... So we proceeded - I am sure when she had the roll developed (yep, old fashioned type film camera) she would have had a lovely print of the bay -without either the Melbourne skyline nor her good self - but she was warned!!!

Kim said...

I was in David Jones the other day - DAVID JONES - that establishment solely targeted at rich old biddies who still wear a hat and gloves to go to David Jones and the women who will become the old biddies who still wear hat and gloves to go to David Jones and men who work in finance. Anyway, there I was, marvelling at the Bat Cave and how much Oscar would love it, when I noticed a man walking with great pace up to a mirrored pylon, and very swiftly, with great dexterity, pulling his shirt down and then lifting it oh so quickly so his tummy could feel the cool smoothness of the mirror. I actually found this inherently funny (tinged with great sadness about the state of our mental health system and care system for those with special needs, and of course hoping Oscar won't ever be a mirror seeking tummy exposer) and was smiling to myself that he'd done it and gotten away with it, when suddenly he was beside me and honing in to Jasper with the same speed and dexterity as he had the mirror. I held my ground and smiled at him and had a mini-conversation with him about babies. He was, of course, harmless. But I'm sure glad he wasn't carrying his portfolio of sandpaper that day...

Yadza to you this fine morning!

telfair said...

Yes, that sounds about right... let me hasten to assure you that although we are Americans in Melbourne, we try not to dress funny & we keep our voices low.
When we went to Uluru, there was another American on our tour bus and he, too, was decked out in his best safari clothes, with a video cam running the whole time...he was loud and annoying and when he asked us (my husband & me) whether we were fellow Americans (he bellowed, actually) we said,
"No, we're from Canada."

Susie Sunshine said...

Notes to self: Must steal the word "sproglet" and ride the train with Ms. Soup of the Peas.

BabelBabe said...

I liked when you called your kids croutons. but sproglet is good too.

Kim said...

Susie and Babelbabe - also use sproggett, poppet, moppet, grommet

Anonymous said...

It never occurred to me that the reason the crazies sit next to me is that they *also* are looking for someone sane to sit near. Now you've pointed it out, it is obvious. Thank you.