This past weekend I had a lovely surprise trip to Hobart. The Architect wanted to visit MONA (not a whinging woman, as one might have thought, but an amazing museum built a few months ago), and he wanted me to accompany him, firstly because I am excellent company, and secondly to ensure he didn't have to sit next to a stranger on the plane. The Architect hates sitting next to strangers.
Hobart is a gorgeous city, but teeny tiny small. Seriously. They claim to have 250,000 people, but out of the four random people I exchanged small talk with on the Saturday, I bumped into all of them - yes ALL - at vaious locations the next day. And they weren't hotel staff. The place is weeny. Either that or people are magnetically drawn to me. Which is possible too.
But Hobart is truly beautiful. The food was great, the service was incredible, Salamanca markets were terrific value, and MONA was outstanding. Still, I did feel a little unsettled during my stay, and I'll tell you why:
1. Hobart does not have a Westfield. I know, it's unbelievable. I mean, what do people DO on a rainy day? Read? Talk to each other? Just knowing I was thousands of kilometres away from the familiar comfort of a mall made me feel out of sorts. It was Australia, but not as I knew it. Without a Westfield, we might as well have been in Uganda.
2. All the girls wore teeny tiny dresses to go out in the evening - possibly to match their teeny tiny city. Now, I have no problem with skimpy outfits. I'd wear them myself if I had skimpy legs. But it was FREEZING in Tasmania. I mean, single digit, three-layers-including-wool-and-leather freezing. And they were wearing boob tubes and mini-skirts. It bothered me. I wanted to take off my jacket and wrap it around their shoulders and put them in front of a nice warm fire. Only I didnt, because I needed my jacket myself. And besides, they'd think I was nuts.
3. There was rabbit on every single menu. 'Spunky with poached figs'. Braised Spunky with cream sauce'. 'Spunky ragout with lentils'. Now, I don't want to be a hypocrite. Obviously there are times I want to kill my bunny. But that doesn't mean other people should be killing theirs.
4. MONA had an art installation called 'C*** And Other Conversations'. It was a series of dozens of plaster casts of the female body part my daughter always refers to as her 'shiny'. I looked at them all. Very closely. And there were none that perfectly matched mine. Which made me feel good for being unique, but bad for being....well... unrepresented. Still, perhaps the conversation just hadn't gone on long enough.
5. Another art installation was a wall of TV screens, featuring fervent Madonna fans singing the lyrics to every song from her Immaculate Collection album. It was supposed to be an ironic social commentary on the nature of celebrity culture. But I just wanted to sing along.