Melbourne with the Massons

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Arrived at Sydney's airport Sunday morning around 6am to the most incredible crush of people I've ever seen at an airport.

Good thing I had arranged for my boarding pass online, just to have an incredibly convenient airport experience. Trouble was, the line to leave one's bags was almost a km long. Then, the line to security was another huge crush, like the line-ups for the Toronto Island Ferry on long weekends. Incredibly, I got through just in time, and walked right on to the plane, which had been held up so everyone could make it through security.

(Later I learned that Jan 22nd is the end of the summer break for Australian kids, and there were probably thousands of families all over Australia headed back home.)

Short flight to Melbourne. Don't know where it is in the rules, but it seems to be a civil aviation requirement that there be at least one screaming, inconsolable baby on board, just to heighten an already crowded experience. (And, like Andrea says: poor baby, poor mom/dad, too!)

Arrived at 8:30am, but was apparently at the wrong airport. Buddy Rod Masson was expecting me at Melbourne Tullamarine, and here I was at Melbourne Avalon. So had to take the shuttle bus downtown to Southern Cross railway station, where I finally found Rod, and we headed back to breakfast at his place. So, up at 4:45am, breakfast at 10:30am. Hit the spot, I can tell you.

That afternoon I went with Rod to a cricket ground in Mordialloc, the next suburb over, where his team was in a game against the "Dodders." Since trade union photographers don't often get the chance to take "action" shots, I used the experience to practice getting photos with bat AND ball in the same frame. Some successes, which you can see in my photo gallery.

Didn't watch the whole game—it was five hours long. Rod's wife Jan (a peach of a gal if there ever was one) and I snuck off to explore the beach neighbourhoods of south of Melbourne, stopping for a cappuccino along the way. Then back to Mordialloc, where the game had just ended, for a couple beers with the lads, then home to a steak dinner (rump!) and much wine.

Monday am, Rod got his boat out, and his father Ken joined us for a wee excursion. We went around the bay far enough for the skyline of Melbourne to come into view, then back, stopping by the HMVS Cerberus, a shipe that was sunk in Half Moon Bay to serve as a breakwater and reef.

Later, another fabulous dinner, this time roast lamb, and...more wine.

I met Rod at a conference of trade union communicators in Singapore in 2007. We hit it off immediately, argued with the other conferees, played a lot of pool, and drank a little beer. Plans to get together in Turkey in 2009 fell through, so this trip is the first chance I've had to see him in five years. Also got to meet wife Jan and sons Harry and Stuart. Love them all, and they treated me like royalty.

This morning I'm preparing to move into new digs in St Kilda, a trendy suburb a lot closer to Melbourne City, to stay for a couple days: bicycles, beaches, museums, galleries.

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