Being a Tourist Disguised as a Local

By: Allee Feuerman

 

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Hoiser Lane taken by Allee Feuerman

 

I’ve fallen pretty hard for Melbourne during my time studying abroad here, and it wasn’t until I travelled to Sydney that I realized how much I love it.

There’s nothing wrong with Sydney of course, although if you ask a born and raised Melburnian I’m sure they’ll tell you otherwise. I did actually enjoy my time staying in the central hub of Sydney, even though it cost me close to my life savings to eat a sub-par kebab at 2 am and the public transportation always reeked of day old noodles.

Sydney was good for a moment, for just the weekend, but if you plan on visiting a country 10 thousand miles across the world Melbourne should always be the top choice. You can’t beat the incredible markets, cheap/good eats, and the people that make the late nights so spectacular.

If you travel to the city that’s always creating, there are things to do at any hour, of any day, for anyone. From 2010 until last year, Melbourne was named the most livable city in the world by  The Economist’s Global Liveability Report and it didn’t take long for me to find out why.

Disguising yourself as a local is not difficult to accomplish in Melbourne; as long as you’ve got a coffee in hand and goal on your mind you’ll pretty much fit right in. The streets are easy to navigate and the city takes care of everything for you. Between the free tram rides and the friendly locals, you won’t be lost for more than a minute. Even the locals occasionally enjoy a touristy day trip, like a nice walk along Hosier Lane or perusing the Queen Victoria Night Market.

Not to mention, Melburnians have quite the interest in us Americans. Once you get past the cheeky jokes about our funny accent, you’ll almost always end up talking for hours about the similarities in our cultures and they’ll make sure to teach you some new Aussie slang. Be prepared to be drilled by strangers about your favorite footy team. If you don’t have a team, you will once you listen to them babble on about how their team is the best in the league.

You’d be surprised how similar Australia is to America. Before I made the trip I expected to see kangaroos all over campus and to learn how to kill deadly spiders before they kill me, but these two countries on opposite ends of the world are remarkably parallel. Of course, the U.S. has nothing on Melbourne’s mean cup of coffee. Other than the incredible java, Melbourne and its people remind me a little bit of life in America but with a little bit more cheer and a lot more chicken parmigiana (parma).

Unlike most Americans, a smart Aussie makes the most of their days off. Rather than staying in and catching up on lost sleep, if you want to trick the locals into thinking you’re one of them, you’ll pack your day full of activities to keep up with the locals.

To start your ideal day living in Melbourne as just one of the Aussies, you’ll wake up to a small brekky and large flat white. Maybe you’ll take the tram into the city’s central and take a nice stroll through the park and pick up this morning’s Australian Issue. You may check out a few shops on Burke street or maybe pop in the ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Images) to view any new exhibits they’ve got lined up. Your lunch today is probably last night’s leftover risotto and later for dinner you’ll head over to Chinatown for cheap dumplings and bring your own bottles. Then you’ll catch up with some mates at a quiet rooftop bar or head to the MCG (the Cricket Ground) for some footy. To end the night you’ll dance out all the energy you have left in you at a techno club and hope you’ll wake up in time for work tomorrow.

Melbourne is known for its nonstop liveliness. If it’s not Degraves Street today it’s “Welcome to Thornbury” tomorrow. You’ll never be bored again in a city that’s always keeping you on your toes.

xx
Cheers mates!

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