At the travel agency they told me that the spire at the Fed Square looks just like the Eiffel Tower. Boys and girls, if you think that this thing looks anything like the Eiffel Tower, you need to get out more! Fed Square is a somewhat sterile cluster of museums, boring boxy buildings with funky facades. A group of boys with clipboards interviewed me about my opinion of it. I tried to be polite, but the real heart of Melbourne is not here (that was one of their questions) but in the numerous little alleys where people go and cars do not, where little shops and cafes attract an easygoing crowd, even on a Thursday afternoon.
The southern side of the Yarra River is all developed with a riverwalk, many pretty much interchangeable restaurants, and the Crown Towers that house a casino with a few smallish roulette tables and acres of slot machines. These are just LCD screens with stop buttons and a coin slot, running DOS software. The Eureka Tower nearby has great city panoramas from its 88th floor.
The Queen Victoria Market is a large covered market selling clothes, fruit and vegetables, and some souvenirs. What a difference to an Asian market – it’s clean, modern, orderly, no hustlers, wide aisles, airy and bright. In other words, boring. I bought a power adapter; Australia has the second-weirdest power sockets on the planet. (Top honors go to the UK, of course.) I also spent a few pleasant hours in Melbourne’s botanical garden.