Australia Day in Footscray and Docklands

Footscray Travel Blog

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Zoe had arranged lunch for us both with some old Jewish family friends at the local Synagogue, after which we were planning to mooch around the city and find some kind of Australia Day celebration. Australia Day (for those that don't know - Australians included!) is the anniversary of the first boatload of convicts arriving.

We wandered down to Alma Road and to the Synagogue and waited for the service to finish. We were invited in to join the post-service nibblies and Zoe explained to me how much food takes a part in Jewish festivals. I was surprised and delighted by the community feel as everyone remained afterwards milling around, catching up, eating and drinking. I like Judaism it seems. Fred and Sue were members of Zoe's home synagogue, Fred was the rabbi there and Sue helped Zoe through her barmitzah (sp?!) but they moved back to Australia 10 years ago. Back at their house I was introduced to Miriam and Gemma, their two children and childhood friends of Zoe. They were all thrilled to see each other again and I was made to feel so welcome by them all. We had a lovely lunch (which was also blessed by song and ceremony), but all too soon the family had other engagements to attend so Miriam dropped us back at Chapel St. I have taken her number though, so if I return to Melbourne I know I would be welcomed by all of them again!

David had then invited us both to a friend's house-warming barbecue in Footscray. If it hadn't been for couch-surfing, neither of us would have known a place called Footscray existed, and although it's got a reputation for being a down-and-out sort of place, it's also the target for Melbourne's next regeneration project, starting with a 'Melbourne Eye' in the style of the London Eye...

The barbecue was of mixed ages, some people with families and animals, and much sunshine and water hoses. It was threatening to rain, indeed it thundered a bit but the dark clouds made a cool juxtaposition with the brilliant sunshine. We stayed for a few hours before heading back for a nap before David's second invitation. One of his friends plays commercial house all night at Fix Bar in the Docklands, in an area sort of like Barcelona's Olympic Village on the water. For the first time since being in Australia I actually had heels so I didn't feel so daggy with all the Paris Hilton fashion-victims (of which Australia has many), only to find out this is the first bar where anyone could get away with wearing anything. How frustrating. Zoe loves to dance so she had a great time. I teetered a bit but enjoyed myself immensely. Poor David doesn't enjoy this music as a general rule, though he likes to support his friend, but we felt truly indebted to him for withstanding it so long knowing how much we were enjoying it!

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