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Monash Freeway Roadworks Déjà vu

Monash Freeway Roadworks Déjà vu

I was struck with a case of Déjà vu the other night, as my car sat stationary amongst the Monash Freeway roadworks.  It was only eight years ago that part of Melbourne’s South East Arterial, the Monash Freeway, was barricaded off while an extra lane was added to coincide with the opening of the intersecting Eastlink tollway.  Now they’re doing it again, adding another lane to cope with increased peak traffic volumes.

In 2008 I was commuting to-and-from the Western Suburbs every day, so I spent a lot of time either stopped or crawling on the freeway.  Back then, having a camera in your phone was still a novelty and I remember taking a lot of photos with my, then new, Nokia 6500.  Using your phone while driving wasn’t as big of a deal that it is now, so I would sometimes take photos of the traffic and roadworks around me whenever the traffic wasn’t moving.  The recent Déjà vu reminded me of those Nokia photos (and the dedicated Flickr account I’d set up), and prompted me to take a similar picture this week before the outbound Stud Road exit.

Technically I was breaking the law by taking a photo on the road this week, but with my car at a complete stop, along with all the vehicles around me, I reckon it was pretty safe to snap the comparison shot (below) with my iPhone.

Monash Freeway roadworks 2016 approaching Stud Road, Melbourne.

Monash FWY roadworks 2016

Monash Freeway roadworks 2008 approaching Stud Road, Melbourne.

Monash FWY roadworks 2008

Eight years might be a long time in the progress of mobile phones with built-in cameras, but that’s nothing when it comes to our road infrastructure.  Where was the planning and forethought eight or ten years ago?  Surely the government’s money would have been better spent building an extra two lanes in 2008, rather than carry out similar roadworks again so soon.  Lets hope this is the last time we will see such widespread roadworks to expand the Monash Freeway!

Date Night @ Kinky Boots

Everybody Say Share!

Date Night @ Kinky Boots

Date Night!

My wife and had a “date night” this week!  It’s been a long time since I’ve been out with Mandy, just the two of us, no kids.  We secured a couple of tickets to the Cyndi Lauper musical, Kinky Boots.  Not fancy seats, the second last row on the top level, but Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne is such a grand old theatre that every seat has a great view of the stage.

Simon and Mandy outside Her Majesty's Theatre for Kinky Boots

Golden Orchids, China Town

Before the show we wondered down China Town (Little Bourke St.) to find dinner.  As we passed Golden Orchids , Mandy remembered a friend had said that was a nice restaurant, so in we went.  I was really surprised how quickly we were seated and offered drinks.  An elderly couple on the table next to us struck up a conversation, they said they’d been coming to Golden Orchids for over 20 years.  According to them, the same owner (George) and chef had been there the whole time. We ordered the Banquet For Two, which was $60.  Not bad, I thought, for four courses. The satay skewers were really nice…. really, really yummy.  Mandy doesn’t normally eat satay anything, so I thought I was going to score extra, but not this time.  Not wanting to be late for Kinky Boots, we were keeping an eye on the time.  We didn’t have to worry though, each course was served quicky.

If you’re seeing a show at Her Majesty’s, Golden Orchids is just around the corner.  You wont be disappointed.

Kinky Boots Exhibition Street

Kinky Boots

After dinner, we made our way back around to Exhibition Street and Her Majesty’s Theatre.  Whenever we go to a concert or show, Mandy likes to get some merchandise, usually a souvenir booklet and t-shirt.  The crowd was starting to build, so Mandy didn’t waste any time and headed straight for the merchandise stand. Keeping with her tradition, Mandy bought a Kinky Boots booklet and t-shirt.

Mandy buying Kinky Boots merchandise

The show

Even before the show started, the crowd was laughing at the simple message to turn off mobile phones and don’t take any photos or video of the show.  Delivered by one of the lead characters, talking on the phone to the crowd.  This setting of the rules might sound boring, but it was done well and the message got through to the audience.

Kinky Boots was great!  The basic story line is a young man (Charlie) inherits his father’s struggling shoe factory and eventually turns the business around by producing women’s boots…for men.  I was a big fan of Cyndi Lauper in the 1980’s, and I can report she hasn’t lost it.  Naturally the music is sung by the cast, but the lyrics, arrangements and performances are certainly entertaining.

The Stage at her Majesty's Theatre

Everybody Say Share!

“Everybody say share!” #KinkyBootsOz Well, if you insist! #SocialMedia #share #socialmediamarketing

A photo posted by Simon Yeo (@simonyeo) on

Instagram

In the foyer of Her Majesty’s Theatre there are signs the read “Everybody Say Share!” with the hashtag #KinkyBootsOz, so after the show I put a few pictures on Instagram.  Over the next couple of days, I was very surprised to see leading cast members and a producer had Liked some or all of my #KinkyBootsOz posts.  The actor who plays the lead role of Charlie, Toby Francis, even describes himself as “Writer / Singer / Producer / Instagrammer”.  Yep, being an “Instagrammer” is right up there for things to have on your bio.

See it before it’s too late

The Australian production of Kinky Boots moves to Sydney in 2017.  If you’re in Melbourne, get your tickets for Her Majesty’s Theatre before it’s too late.  Mandy and I both enjoyed Kinky Boots, it was a lot of fun to watch!

Westgate Bridge Closed, traffic stuffed!

Westgate Bridge Closed, traffic stuffed!

Westgate Freeway traffic jam caused by the Westgate Bridge closure following a fatality

The traffic in Melbourne’s west was horrible today, caused by a motorcycle fatality on the inbound lanes of the Westgate Bridge.

I’ve been driving around Melbourne for a long time.  From the early 1990’s I worked weekends as a taxi driver.  In the mid 1990’s I was a courier driver, before moving into heavy vehicles.  Between 2004 and 2009 I commuted from the outer east to the outer west for a transport management role.  These days I’m driving trucks around Melbourne and regional Victoria.  Today was the worst traffic I have ever experienced.

Today started with what should have been a simple job, a quick run across town for a simple delivery.  I left the depot in Knoxfield at 6.15am and arrived at my delivery in Melton at 7.25, which was a good time as the morning peak was starting to wind up.  Ten minutes later I was heading back towards Knoxfield, but I was expecting traffic to get busy as I made my way through peak hour.  Just after the Boundry Road exit on the Western Ring Road the traffic started to slow.  This is normal as you approach the merge with the Geelong freeway.  At 8.30am I heard the traffic report on the radio say the Westgate Bridge was closed, so I sent my boss an SMS to say it might take me a bit longer to get back.  That SMS was my understatement of the day.  Three hours later, I still hadn’t made it to the next exit, Millers Road.  Three hours to travel five kilometres!  Finally I made it back to the Knoxfield depot at 2pm.

Today certainly opened my eyes as to what can happen when the main crossing of the Yarra River, from the western suburbs towards Melbourne, is closed.  I don’t want to get into politics, but maybe there is merit in the Western Distributor Project the current state government is undertaking.  At least it will give us a second river crossing in the west, even if it does mean more tolls.

Speedway bikes at Etihad Stadium

Speedway bikes at Etihad Stadium

Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, at Docklands, is a great venue for AFL football.  It also hosts soccer, Big-Bash cricket, concerts and other major events.  My 13 year old son, and I, went along to see the Speedway GP at Etihad.  Yep, motorbike racing at an undercover sporting venue!  I was really surprised, obviously a mountain of dirt had to trucked in to transfer the stadium, but they did a really amazing job of creating this temporary dirt speedway circuit.

The Speedway Gran Prix is actually a series of short heat races and finals, so you don’t get bored like you can with longer motorsport races.  It’s loud too, I expected that from the bikes, but not from the crowd and their hooter horns.

As with other events at Etihad, the caterers make a killing, with two burgers, drinks and chips costing over $40.  But what the heck, it’s not like we do this everyday.  This was a great father-son evening out.

I didn’t want to deal with security by taking my good camera, so the photos and video you see here are from my iPhone.

Speedway GP bikes at Etihad Stadium Melbourne