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what I love about Melbourne weather:  the aftermath of an afternoon deluge…

(photo by kcma)

It’s gray here, super cold and rainy.  So I’m channeling sunny thoughts and thinking about how beautiful spring is going to be.  To encourage Melbourne weather to get on the same wavelength, we have a new header! 

(do you think Melbourne weather has an RSS feed to my blog?)

Lately, bananas are hard to come by in Oz.  Cyclone Yasi, which devastated northern Queensland in February, wiped out nearly 90% of the banana plantations in the towns of Innisfail and Tully, which supply almost 3/4 of Australia’s domestic banana supply.  In the hours before the cyclone landed, farmers reportedly frantically harvested what they could and chopped down their trees – in the hopes that a regenerated tree would only take 8-9 months to bear fruit, whereas a replacement tree (if torn from the ground by the force of the cyclone) would take 12-18 months…

Prices at the local market and grocery store have reached $10-12 per kilo (almost $3 a banana), smoothie and fresh juice bars all over the city have posted signs about increased prices, and most of all, any banana that appears fit for consumption (i.e., not brown!) is impossible to find!  But finally, today, our fruit share (we get a large box of fruit delivered bi-weekly at the office) had edible-looking, albeit it bite sized, bananas!

Apparently, other banana varieties – like this lady finger bananas or NSW bananas – will be in high-demand as they fill the gap for a seriously banana-hungry nation.  Living in a nation that is so self-sufficient is great; until now we’ve had all seasonal produce we could dream of, only days off the vine or branch. But when weather strikes, look out!  Miles and miles away, there aren’t many alternatives for cheap and fresh produce…

Until then, I will gorge myself on adorable little bananas.

It’s sunny and bright today, after 2 days of rain brought on by the tail-end of Cyclone Yasi percolating down south as it moved over the continent. From a high of 39ºC earlier this week, it’s down to about 19 (high-60s), with classic Melbourne winds.

And, although not anywhere close to the devastation experienced by Tully and Innisfail in Queensland by the land-fall of the cyclone, Melbourne was not without the weird weather after-effects, including hailstones as big as a fist and serious flash flooding as torrential rains started on Friday night.  Luckily, we managed to escape the waters and nothing (other than some waterlogged plants and a drenched dachshund) in our house was affected.

Which is pretty amazing, as some seriously severe rains did fall, as attested by this guy kayaking down our street. Yes, that spot he’s paddling at is the corner of Abinger and Hosier Lane. Which is 25 feet from our house. So yeah, all and all, pretty amazing. Now let’s just hope there’s something left of Port Douglas for some decent vacationing next week!

See that large swirling red mass? That the eye of a category 5 cyclone heading straight for Port Douglas, QLD. Now, while Port Douglas is far far away from our humble abode in Melbourne, it happens to be the central destination of our vacation in little more than one weeks’ time.

And that’s a big ‘ol UH OH.

We’re no stranger to the effects of an ill-planned trip to a location in the face of extreme weather warnings (just read about our trip this summer to Costa Rica — rainy season, what rainy season?). Still, maybe we should learn our lesson one of these days. After all, everyone warned us that February was cyclone season up north in QLD. “But, what are the chances?” What indeed.