I must write of our recent travels, or the stories are likely to go the same way as the stories of New Zealand did last year. I took a fair few photos, so I won't struggle to remember what we did even if I don't write it down. Nonetheless, I like to document things here, for family and friends to read.
We arrived in Melbourne on Saturday (1st Nov) night and were greeted by a heavily intoxicated/tired Kelly whom quickly revealed some startling news (you will find this news described as a simple act of eating 'pizza' on her journal page). Sasha, Tracy and I travelled form Perth together and were eager to sink our teeth into some dinner. Dinner ended up being some HJ's at the local petrol station. Glorious :-)
The following day we headed to the Queen Victoria Markets where we spent several hours looking through all the stalls... there was plenty of rubbish on offer, but a couple of decent things as well. The woollen cap pictured below was a standout.
After the market we walked to the subway station to catch a train to the other side of the CBD (we never made use of the subway again, as we soon discovered that the trams are a lot more convenient) in order to attend High Tea at the Sofitel Hotel. Trace, Kelly and I wasted little time getting into the lovely sandwiches and potato balls and such, and pretended to be part of the elite. The piano man did a great job and played some wonderful renditions, including 'A day in the Life' by the Beatles.
Neasham (not sure how to spell his name) arrived later and made it quite clear that he hated the pompous environment. Naturally his negativity made me wonder why he bothered turning up at all, and I wish he hadn't. It clearly wasn't his sort of thing. Afterwards we went to Federation Square, which I quite liked.
On Monday, while the girls went shopping, I met up with Paul (from work) who was in Melbourne for a week, waiting for Irina to return home from Europe (also waiting for his train course to continue in Canberra bla bla). We walked around town all day, first stopping in Hardware Lane for a delicious Italian meal and a bottle of Australian wine. I got pretty merry :-) We walked along the river to the South, before crossing a bridge to walk along the southbank. Walking into Crown Casino was like walking into some manner of dreamlike wonderland. The music and waterworks certainly left me impressed.
We had several coffees in a couple of locations around town, and finished the day with a scotch at a pretty decent bar.
I then met up with Trace, Kelly & Kaz at Flinders Street Station, where I happened to bump into Laurie. Laurie is one of these friends that I only see every couple of years, and who tends to disappear from time to time, and turns up in unexpected places. It was a fantastic surprise, so much so that I forgot to take a picture of this chance encounter.
That evening we enjoyed some Korean food & visited the Crown again briefly.
Melbourne Cup was certainly an interesting experience. My only regret was putting my big money ($40) on the only horse that didn't finish... damn you Gallopin!!! Though you still hold a place in my heart for looking at us when we wanted to take a photo of you.
Everybody got pretty trashed, though after the main race, Trace and I decided to scale back and leave a little early. We both felt like going to town and enjoying a nice dinner somewhere (rather than ending the day in an intoxicated mess). Kelly and Kaz ended up joining us, as we walked back to our apartment. When we arrived Kelly got a call from the people that remained behind at the race course, whom had decided to (perhaps) join us for dinner. The following two hours were a reminder why I hate travelling in a group of people who aren't close friends... particularly when the group is intoxicated and indecisive. I still don't know how it came to pass that we didn't leave the apartment until 19:00 (we left flemington around 16:00), nore why we had to wait for the other people who ended up doing their own thing anyway.
Nonetheless, Trace, Kelly, Kaz and I ended up going to Carlton for dinner. Kaz was having some manner of sms argument with someone, so she ended up being in a bad mood for most of the evening. That being said, Trace was in a bad mood, as was I. I can only assume that Kelly was too. It was all a bit tense.
After dinner we headed to the Rialto Towers to have a look at Melbourne from above. It was great view.
From there we went to Federation Square where we had coffee and cake, after which Trace and I decided to call it a night. On the way to the tram stop, Kelly and Kaz discussed Neasham's ability to get home which resulted in me having a micro-outburst about him being a fully grown man that should not need his hand held at all times. I'm still not sure if he is in fact a very timid man, or if the girls were being needlessly motherly over him. Seriously, if a 14 year old asian schoolgirl can catch a tram at that time of night, so can he.
Nonetheless, the others left to meet him at the Casino to aid him, while Trace and I headed home. It's not that I didn't have a good evening, but it felt like everyone was making compromises to please everyone else, while pleasing no one. Or maybe it was just me being as grumpy-ass :-)
On Wednesday Trace, Kelly and I left the apartment (comparatively) early and enjoyed breakfast on the southbank, on the way to the botanical gardens. We took a lovely stroll along the river, before venturing into the park itself. While there, I asked a couple to take a photo of the three of us.... The lady turned out to be Gay Waterhouse (a famous horse trainer). Kelly was stunned and delighted and pointed at her and simply spoke 'Is that Gay Waterhouse?'... a question answered by Gay's companion as 'yes'. It was a shame that she was on the iphone at the time. I would have been fantastic for Kelly to get to talk to her idol... perhaps next time :-)
(I will insert a photo here later, once I have my camera back.... I'll explain more in my upcoming Gold Coast update)
While at the Gardens, it soon became apparent that my intended meeting with Laurie was not going to happen on schedule. As such, after a couple of phone calls and plan changes, we ended up meeting him at the Shrine of Remembrance. It was great catching up with him and we joked and laughed as we learnt of each others activities over the last few years. Melbourne suits him well, and I think he's made a wise choice moving there. That being said, I'd much rather he lived in Perth :P
After our meeting with Laurie, the Girls met up with Kaz, which whom they decided to do more shopping. I took it as a opportunity to catch up with Ireana (whom had since arrived back home) and Paul... also, that meeting provided the perfect opportunity to check out her pad in Melbourne's trendy northside :-)
We sat, chat and had (tea). We shared stories of each other's travels and laughed at Irena's antics in far away Europe. I was a little jealous. Its been almost four since I last touched Europe's soil, and the urge to return is strong.
We then headed to Brunswick Street to enjoy a Beer and a $5 pizza. The bar was playing some old Kings of Leon albums, which was my first taste of their classic style.
On the way back we had a peek into the Polyester Bookstore, which had been recommended to me by Laurie earlier in the day. It was certainly an interesting experience... and I did feel like I might get arrested as I left the place :-)
We said our fairwells, as I caught the tram back into town to meet up with the other girls.
That evening, Trace, Kelly and I went to the Comics Lounge for a meal and some laughs. Trace and Kelly got happy on Midory Splice, while I enjoyed some scotch. The food was very average, but we were there for the comedy... and the comedy was pretty decent. There were a few moments that made me roll my eyes (I hate 'easy' jokes about sex and drugs), but there were also plenty of moments that made me chuckle.
The following day, Trace and I met up with Lombardi in St Kilda. He was staying in a Hostel down there. It was a great excused to head to the seaside and see a little more of Melbourne. That being said, we only spent a little bit of time there, as we still had a few things we wanted to tick off our list before leaving for the Gold Coast.
It was fun catching up with him, at the start of his new existence in another city. Needless to say he was a little uneasy in the new city, though that could have been caused by his tiredness (he arrived very late that night). We walked around town and managed to visit a few of the coffee shops and alleys that I had visited with Paul a few days earlier. We also went to the National Gallery of Victoria: International. Personally I loved the coffee we had in the little coffee shop just off Flinders Lane :-) Trace was delighted at the Cakes in St Kilda.
In the early afternoon, we bid Lombardi fairwell, as we made our way back to the apartment, and out to the airport to fly to the Gold Coast.
(Update: It took Lombardi about a week to find a job in one of the major animation studies in town... Its good to know he's already found some stability)