Melbourne is calm and cool in the morning sun as we walk towards the Queen Victoria Market at the north of the central part of the inner city. Like in most markets, it is already abuzz with activity by the time we arrive in the morning. Outside near the car park is a large flea market featuring sellers of various objects en masse. For example, do you need to give coworkers a souvenir of your trip Down Under, but you work on a trading floor of a hundred associates? No problem, get a 20 pack of clip on Koala bears holding Australian flags, appropriate for clipping onto Worlds Greatest Finance Analyst mug handles or the spindle that holds up your Plantronics headset. Only $3 or 60 for $10.
We continued in the market looking at the meat section, featuring several butcher stalls. There we found the worlds most interesting rail system*, the meat rail. Metal tracks from the loading docks extend around the aisles of this market shed, into the side doors of the different shop fronts, allowing sides of beef or other items to be slid from truck to shop. Sidings are activated by flipping a track down to reroute the meat, hanging from a hook guided by a butcher, from main line to each front for eventual cutting and division. The rails even extend inside the shops to cutting boards and additional spur lines.
* sorry to disappoint Iain, I knew you were expecting a maglev or automated railway.
The butchers are loud, calling out specials on cutlets and tenderloins to passing shoppers. One stall has even favoured a silent approach, stating, “we don’t need to yell to sell”.
For breakfast, we had burek, a Turkish/Greek pastry rolled and filled with cheese. We also went for a Tony Bourdain featured meat in tube form, bratwurst, covered with sauerkraut and with English mustard. We also stopped by a cheese shop in the deli hall, Curds and Whey, to get a sampler of a few Australian cheeses to try, including an Australian white cheddar, a smoked chevre and a blue with spicy rind.
This afternoon, we went to my cousin’s wedding. So, in lieu of wedding coverage, I will return you to your alternate Meats and Cheeses programming:
In the Yarra Valley, they offer apple picking. I thought this was a unique Canadian activity but I am wrong!
The sushi belt system, or kaiten sushi, is very popular in Sydney but not so much from what we can tell in Melbourne. These sushi restaurants are very popular in Japan and downtown Sydney. Sometimes I wish they would have that in Toronto, if only for the clever sushi track. However, I appreciate affordable and individual portioned “shots” of sushi even more, so the Melbournian a la carte rolls are just fine.
Today for lunch we kept ourselves fed on cheap thrills downtown, including our cheese course sampler, as well as Chinese egg buns, sushi rolls and a can of Strawberry Fanta, which, most curiously, was imported from Thailand and sold at the Asian minimart.
The importance of the ladder
The hired stringer for this wedding set up a group shot and didn’t have a ladder. As you all know, the ladder is crucial for good photography, and despite full frame sensors, expensive lenses and nifty gadgets, is the single most powerful tool today in the business. How I wished I had brought my own to lend her!