Mel & Syd


For New Zealanders Sydney was the place in the 1960s where young women went for abortions; in the 70s and 80s it was where we went to find or lose ourselves: heroin, sex, music…….so it was with some surprise that on a recent visit to Sydney I found the people to be open, relaxed, friendly, enthusiastic and warm-hearted and the suburbs we visited alternatively funky, interesting and, well, just a bit seedy but lively in the Cross.

Melbourne in the 80s and 90s and 00s is the place we go for art, culture and opera. I found the people reserved and although friendly less open-hearted. There were exceptions like the lovely woman on the tram who told me about the movies for ‘oaps’ at the ACMI or the several twosomes of 30 (ish) year old women who I sat near while eating lunch or dinner. The owner of the tapas bar, Barcelona (Fitzroy St just before the Esplanade) was especially friendly. The food, too, is fantastic and the red wine more-ish.

But overall the Melbournians seemed a bit ‘over’ the tourists. Just a bit tired and out of sorts. Perhaps the bad weather had gone on for too long. Perhaps visiting a city like Sydney with a friend and walking alone in Melbourne makes the difference.


The tangueoros in Armadale are a wonderful lot. Friendly, warm and kind-hearted dancers who whizzed me expertly around the floor and women who stopped to chat. At the end of the evening Bill Jarman the organiser gave the visitors (all women) a rose each. I was touched, re-inspired and refreshed. Thanks heaps, as we say in Porirua.

And as I left to find a taxi I found these lovely street signs which I figure are exclusive to the City of Armadale. Nice finish to a great evening.


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