One of the strangest phenomenons of Melbourne CBD is that it feels like a village. You just don’t get the feeling of a “big city”, let alone a “metropolis”. Suburbs are like side streets, outer edges like suburbs. And CBD feels like … what? A small town at best. Cozy, warm, faces you think you recognise from last week’s shopping.
I have been looking at this for quite some time and am not sure I got it right, but I think it has something to do with scale. Everything is in proportion. So you look around and you have small buildings and big buildings. A skyline that looks “normal”. Until you realise that every building is 100+ meters tall … If you would take any one of them and transport them to Amsterdam, it would immediately rank in the top ten tallest buildings. And stick out, well above the skyline.
But there is another dimension at play: small village politics. You read a general complaint about how a certain street is “still not taken care off” in the local paper, really just news at suburb level at best, and a few weeks later the constructors move in. Some counsil member feeling personally responsible. Or perhaps, and I know this is bleak, having created the whole thing anyway to enable this one company to make some money. And it somehow feels right. That’s what happens in a small community.
4,5 million people sounds to me like a small state. So I expect “state style management”. Not the cajoling I remember from small villages in the home country. But then again, it is effective. And whatever, Melbourne is the most livable city on earth. For the sixth time in a row. So they are doing something well. Really well.
Driving back from another small adventure, tired and thirsty. Melbourne somewhere up ahead. Kind off staring my way through traffic, not really registering anything beyond the flow of things.
Until we slowly overtook this ute. Now let’s try to understand the story behind this.
It was a Sunday, so perhaps the guy visited his old mother, who finally returned the things he played with as a kid.
Or he has a special religion, where people worship animals. He just returned from mass.
Or he was at a fair and couldn’t resist this bargain. He will run into the house and shout “Irene, Irene (his wife), come look what I found!” She shakes her head and looks up at the ceiling, trying to look beyond at some god that can explain this madness. The house is filled with toy animals. The elephant, life size, another bargain, stands in the middle of the living room.
I really must look up that company: two fat wombats.