We were about to drive over the Bolte Bridge when Oliver made this statement.
I must admit, I have had the same thought myself a few times in my life.
I do like Melbourne. It's huge, occasionally stinky and the weather is downright weird sometimes (a friend of mine referred to it as 'Gotham City', presumably because of all the cloudy/rainy days), but it's good-looking (especially the CBD I think - with all the funky buildings, tree-lined streets and interesting street art), the people are (on the whole) friendly, there are nice beaches, and almost anything you could need or want to do is available.
Plus a great deal of my family lives here.
Don't despair my lovely Canberrans, I'm not planning on moving any time soon, but if I had to make a move to a big city, it would definitely be Melbourne, and not Sydney or Brisbane.
Back to Ollie's statement. I think the basis of his comment was the look of the city (check out this photo, taken by an online acquaintance of mine, and you might see what she saw), but also the big yellow and red thing that stretches out over the road and the 'tunnel that's not a tunnel' (sound tube) we had just passed through.
As we drove around the city, heading for the Burnley Tunnel and the east, he was continuously amazed by the big-city-ness. There was one building that looked like it 'has a boat on top', and when we drove around next to it, he said 'they must have taken it down and moved it'. I think he was joking...
There was a 'DFO that's much bigger than the one in Canberra', and he liked the Hilton building with the offset windows.
Then he wanted to know where all the houses were, because all he could see was big buildings. But by the time I got through the tunnel traffic and out towards the east, he'd fallen asleep!
The plane ride was good. All morning (and some of the night before), Ollie had been saying "I'm excited and nervous". I'm glad he was talking to us about how he was feeling, once again that shows his maturity.
We got to the airport (almost) late, it was about 40 minutes before the flight time, so everything was kind of rushed. We checked our baggage with the world's most unfriendly customer service officer, and then pretty much boarded. I think the plane left early too, because I'm sure we boarded around 1pm and the plane took off not long after (it was due for departure at 1.25pm).
Oliver was a bit nervous when we were taking off - he grabbed me pretty tight as we lifted off, and he was tensing up as the plane banked or bumped a bit. He was asking about the noises of the landing gear etc, but other than that, he was OK.
Once we were up he had fun fiddling with the radio channels and eating the lunch (egg salad sandwich and yoghurt) they gave him. And if you've ever flown from Canberra to Melbourne, you'd know that was pretty much it, as then we started descent.
Oliver was much better on the landing, even though we had to descend through clouds (which I reckon is a bit freaky sometimes). He had some problems with his ears, and one was still blocked about an hour later, but I think he's got a bit of a cold/croup, because he woke up yesterday with a cough and had almost lost his voice by last night (this morning he's OK, but a little croaky).
The best moment in the airport was when Ollie dropped his skittles and they spilled all over the luggage conveyor. It was a little splash of colour!
When we went to pick up the rental car, they didn't have any of the tiny car (Hyundai Getz) that I'd booked, so they upgraded me to a Lancer instead. The car is very nice and comfy (Ollie was quite taken with the backseat cupholders), but was a little tricky at first, as it is one of those autos with the +/- thingy in drive, so I had to get used to that.
Still, we got away all right, and I managed to find my way all the way to Grandpa's (Keysborough), and then all the way from Grandpa's to Eric and Karen's (Rowville) without looking at a map! Pretty good, huh?
Grandpa looked old. For the first time ever I noticed his age. But then again he is 84. He was surprised but happy to see us, and it was nice to see him and talk to him. Ollie of course was bored within minutes, but that's to be expected, even Grandpa said so!
He has had a few injuries lately, but is still getting about. Much easier with a walking frame (which he said he'd strongly resisted for a while), but he has always been very active, so I'm glad he's still mobile.
The best thing about Grandpa is his mind though, and he has always been very good about keeping it active. He and Grandma (who died in 2008) were very big on crosswords and puzzles as they got older. I admire how they kept challenging themselves and learning, even when they were in their 70s and 80s. They are great role models. I really think the worst thing about getting old would be to just 'stop', and sit there waiting for death or whatever.
Anyway, it's nice to be here. I'm letting Ollie dictate what we do (apart from the seeing family stuff), so at some point we'll go to the zoo. As for today, we haven't decided yet.