A lot about Melbourne reminds me of Cape Town. The weather when it’s mild, easy access to beaches, malls all over the place and Christmas in summer amongst other things.
The outdoors lifestyle and relaxed way of life is similar too. Not forgetting sport! Especially cricket.
Here in Melbourne poverty isn’t noticeable at all – it certainly doesn’t exist even 1% of the extent it does in Cape Town. Houses are generally huge and I heard on the news the other day that the average house in Australia costs around AU$540 000 (about R4,3million!)
What I find most notably different from Cape Town is that people just are not as friendly in Melbourne. Greeting strangers is very rare. The odd person has shouted a hello here and there, but it is not the norm as far as I have experienced in my two weeks here.
At home walkers, runners and cyclists doing their morning/evening session greets everyone they meet along the way back home. In Melbourne it just doesn’t exist. And we have been on a few walks.
People are not unfriendly at all, in fact they go out of their way to be nice. There just isn’t the same warmth as at home. Maybe it’s just me since Cape Town happens to be my home.
Don’t get me wrong. I like it here. I like being a visitor here.
You don’t have to hang onto your
belongings for dear life when you leave home. If you forget to lock your front door it doesn’t turn into a major catastrophe. Your chances of being a victim of violent crime is basically zero here.
Public transport is clean and generally safe.
I couldn’t live in Australia though. Even as an introvert I enjoy the way we embrace strangers (literally and figuratively), the way we speak to people who are not part of our inner circle. The way we accept people for who they are.
I’m surprised that of all things I noticed the friendliness factor, because I sometimes get annoyed at home when it seems like I can’t leave my home without having to greet half of Kenilworth and Lansdowne.
I think when I get home in 10 days time, I will appreciate our friendly hospitable people most of all. Those people who it so much better than I do.
Before I left Cape Town in mid-December many people told me to just see that I return. As if I would ever consider not doing so.