When we look back on a trip, our lasting memories are rarely of the many famous attractions we’ve visited or the places we’ve rushed through to snap a picture of that well-known monument. We are far more likely to remember that uncomfortable and scary journey across the mountains or the strangers we met in the one-horse town who became our good friends. So take the time to get to know the little places you visit and don’t worry if you don’t get to every place in the guidebook. We’ve learned this the hard way, and our itineraries now contain less than half of the stops that they did several years ago.

– Andy Jarosz, 501 Places

Alex is back!

Thursday night: chill at home.

Friday: lunch at Huxtaburger (nomnomnom). A long wait but worth it! Although my hands got quite greasy as they cook the buns too. How classic do they look though?

Huxtaburger

Dinner with Amy and Dan that night, so I spent the afternoon going through the Entertainment Book trying to find where Amy and I could maximise our savings. She had used the coupons that I had suggested so we just went to a non-book laksa restaurant she had been waiting to try. Bit annoying that even though we had a booking it seemed like we had to wait in the mob of people for a table like them. Nice laksas, but my mee goreng was a bit disappointing (I had had pack ones the night before which are pretty delish). They came back to my house and hung around for an hour or two chatting 🙂

Saturday was pretty chill.. fixed some things around the house, bought lollies and watched a movie, and went to TGI Fridays for an underwhelming meal but with a coupon so it evened out 🙂

Sunday we went to the multicultural festival and got to try different foods and listen to some music. Stopped off at the post office, and Tamara’s to return her passport from when she left it in my bag at the foam party. Saw the Hunger Games in the evening (with a coupon, of course) which was a good movie. Ate chips and m&ms for dinner in the process 😀

Monday Alex got ‘birthday’ breakfast in bed since I will be in Melbourne for his 22nd, and we went for Churros and hot (liquid) chocolates down the road using some coupons, before heading to the airport!! The time goes much too quickly……

Moooooomba

A bit of a dumb name, I’ll admit, but it turned out to be a bunch of fun. I read about it on Sunday when I spent most of the day at home categorising my coupons (by restaurant ranking) from the entertainment book Jenny gave me because she didn’t use it. Eh, nothing else planned for a Monday night.

Monday daytime, however, I spent doing a bit of eating. You see, Sunday night I realised that the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s restaurant express program, where you get two courses, a wine and a coffee for $35 at totally fancy places, ends next Wednesday, but I’m busy every lunchtime from this Wednesday!! Who says I can’t fit a few lunches into Monday Tuesday I have off.

I stayed up all night researching the restaurants and whether you could book online and see their set menu. The reviews for a restaurant at the national gallery were really standout, but you had to call, so I set my alarm for opening time. Only available for late lunch, which worked in just fine with my dual-lunch plan. Tried to get into pm24 but never got off hold, so called and booked at Papa Goose and headed in straight away.

An empty restaurant, a friendly waiter, and a phone to keep me company. Look what resulted!

Anything with confit in the name I would consider pretty fancy, so I gave it a go. It had a really nice crispy skin and was soft and smooth inside. The salad was interesting and I probably would have been impressed if it didn’t taste so similar to one that I get at the surf club in Soutbank. The avocado mush and those fried yoghurt balls were amazing though!

The dessert was a bit eh, as I didn’t enjoy the stout ice cream or the sour cherries. The half of the terrine with crackles in it was nice and tasted like peanut butter, the other: eh. But, it takes a nice photo for facebook!!

I had to wait for a while at the end to get my coat which they’d taken, because people kept arriving and taking the waiters’ attention, but got out eventually- without a tip: I claim ignorance!

On my way to the next restaurant I took a wander through the Moomba festival.. didn’t see very much (except a million prams in my way), but grabbed a festival program to read during lunch number 2, at Persimmon.

The chicken. So delicious. This is what I was expecting at an expensive place. The mush (pea I think) was sweet, the chicken was so soft, and the brown sauce was fantastic. And the wine didn’t even make me shudder! Must be fancy stuff!

Chilli, chocolate, raspberries and pop rocks. Pretty good idea if you ask me.. The first few bites were incredible (nice spice from the chilli) but by the end I was definitely struggling! (the previous three courses and the luke warm flavourless chai latte might have had something to do with it.. no more food for me for a while I think!)

Afterwards I spent the afternoon with a Meetup group.. so good, instant friends! I really enjoyed watching the trapeze artists.. but moreover the trapeze classes. I spent aaages watching them, it was way more interesting than the ones who had perfected it.. what an interesting concept!

There was only one thing that I was set on once I read it from the program.. a silent disco. Ehhh, sure. but the theme? 80s. Hell yeah! I danced the night away with my instant friends and had a super good time inside a skate park with headphones on. As you do.

Went to the Speigeltent for some drinks afterwards, saw Josh Thomas, went over and had an awkward chat (how could I not!?). Only in Melbourne..

Bit of night life!

Yesterday my third meetup for the day was a pub crawl, after going to brunch with the women in engineering club and dinner with young professionals – a lot of them tagged along afterwards (some had already planned to go). We each paid $20 with the hopes of discovering the underground bars of Melbourne, with a drink at each. Luckily for me, everywhere in Melbourne is yet to be discovered, so I had no chance of being disappointed like a friend of mine because he knew everywhere we went to.

First stop on the pub crawl

Four laneway bars and a club to wrap it up, and a great time getting to know probably 15 of the 40 people there. A lot of the places were small and intimate, and so with 40 people in there it got a bit crowded. This caused the people who were already there and didn’t enjoy yelling at each other to find somewhere else, which is probably why we stayed for an hour at each place- to get the bar’s money back.

At the third bar I met a girl from San Fransisco that moved here in October and had similar goals to me in terms of bringing about good in the world – I really hope she follows through and we end up going out another time for coffee!!

At the last bar there was a dancefloor which I had a bit of a try at, then the guy that I had been speaking to before called me into the next room to get back to talking about nothing really.. being too polite, I followed- and he taught me all about the wonders of soldering in the context of being a pool filter manufacturer (“it’s complicated, bare with me”) when I mentioned being an electrical engineer. “I enjoyed having a really intelligent conversation with you; maybe you’d like to go for coffee sometime..” “sure eheh.. *bail*” There was a mechanical engineer who had just spent a few months in Austria as a ski instructor who I spent most of my time with- makes conversation much easier.. I just go with the generic stuff about the course and the lifestyle (he studied at UQ).

The final place was more of a club with rnb focus, so a group of underdressed older white people stood out a bit 😛 nonetheless, I stood around awkwardly dancing and eventually made enough eye contact with a friendly regular who encouraged me onto the stage which was mainly empty. Since I had told myself that I’d wait around for a few more songs waiting for something fun to happen, I figured I should probably get up on the stage and copy his dance moves while making a fool of myself 🙂 eventually a few more people from the group (including the girl from the US) joined us and we made fools of ourselves together. A fun time! Certainly wasn’t what I thought I was getting into at the beginning of the night, and not something that I would have stumbled into on my own 🙂

At around 1:30 I figured I should head home (Paul had checked up on me which was nice given I’d mentioned my concerns about a seedy pubcrawl by myself) and make the last tram, so I snuck out hoping that none of the more awkward guys (including the one from the previous place) would do the whole ‘oh I’m going this way too’.. I didn’t want to keep in contact, particularly!

Successful Sunday

I feel like I’ve had quite a productive day today!

Went to brunch at a French restaurant in Fitzroy in the morning with some nice ladies. One of them was in the process of separating from her husband after 20 years and told how he had come into her house and cleared out all of the furniture one day.. made me think that if they are so quick to snatch at things, they probably think that you’re about to do the same thing, which I’m sure isn’t true so is quite insulting – a bit like what happened to Alex’s mum. She agreed to go to a singles networking night with another two of the girls which I wasn’t expecting – anything to get out of the house.

Got some groceries on the way home – by which I mean I grabbed one of each thing on sale… wayyyyyy too much junk food and I am not proud of it. But that’s what coles is good for: $1 for 6 mars bar cookies?!!

Ran into my French teacher on the way home which is quite funny – the one person I know in this city I bump into every day just about! She was headed to the Sydney Rd street festival which was my plan also, but she was cycling and I wasn’t quite ready (not that she suggested to go together). I dropped my groceries off and put the flowers in a vase and went to tackle the roller door. Armed with scissors and a knife, I took down any menacing looking part of the palm tree and I think accidentally got the door back on its tracks, so now it works much easier. I was planning to meet up with Amy and Dan (from Alex’s work), but they had had a bit too big of a night before I think.

Off to Sydney Rd, planning to get hooks to fix my curtains if nothing else. Ran into a warehouse sale and bought a cute polka dot skirt, then walked the length of the street festival to get to Spotlight where I got the bits for the curtains, and some pillows to go into my couch cushions-to-be. Forgot the zippers, so called into the opshop to grab some mismatched ones.

A poke around in the bike shop turned out to be quite fruitful since their 20% off street festival sale lead to me getting a helmet (purple 🙂 ), a lock (D lock, of course), and new brake pads for around $70, which is about what I’d expect from ebay hah.. I forgot to get some lights, but figure ebay would be best for that anyway.

Food seemed a bit too expensive for my liking, but the paella in the park event that Amy was so excited for shouldn’t have been quite finished, so I headed north a suburb and got one of the last servings. It was a bit disappointing, so perhaps it’s normally that atmosphere that you’re paying for… at least it gave me something to take to work for lunch tomorrow!

Brisvegas

I had a great long weekend in Brisbane! I got picked up from the Gold Coast by Teagan, where we’d plan to hit the beach but it was raining.. we went and got burgers and went to the movies instead 🙂 I got passed over to Alex, who had offered to cook but we got indian instead with a voucher I had – lots of stories to tell about works.

Friday I caught up with Pariss for lunch, which turned into 8hrs as expected 😀 not sure what we talked about the whole time.. a little bit was alexisonfire, soundwave plans, without doubt baking and things to do in Melbourne……

Saturday was spent at soundwave festival with Alex, and intermittent stints of Teagan, Mathew and Jacob, Mel and David, Wahyu, and Kandi. I saw a few bands I knew but enjoyed seeing Strung Out because I haven’t seen them live before – they put quite a spin on the songs so it took me a while to recognise a lot of them! Had the worst reception all day so asked Mathew and Jacob to meet us after Strung Out before our phones died. Since they’re Jacob’s favourite band, I thought we could count on it- but we ran into them afterwards walking towards the stage…….. a bit of a timetable mishap on their part!

It rained lightly on-and-off for the day, but I had a cardigan and poncho so was sweet. I really enjoyed watching system of a down for the headliner, in picnic style sitting on the grass watching the big screen with the others. I found it really interesting that the main singer seemed so down-to-earth.. he was wearing whatever the male equivalent of a blouse is, and seemed really nice! It was good to see from a massively famous band.

Sunday I had lunch with my friends at the place which does $2 steaks ($5 meals) on Sundays. I had put an open invite on facebook so that I didn’t have to feel bad about not making an effort to catch up with anyone while I was there, and had mechanical engineering friends and school friends show up, which was nice. Eventually my school friends and I moved on to a bar in West End where Teagan ran into Jamie out the front. Mathew and I came out and we had a good chat about times growing up in Sinnamon Park for a while. Eventually they headed home and Alex and I went over to some engineering friends’ house and chilled there for a while. It was pretty relaxed, whereas at a bar or whatnot it could be quite forced. They had an actual living room where they hung out and watched tv, which I liked the idea of.. the kitchen seems to work just as well for us though 🙂

Monday I went in to uni to visit the gems girls for a bit while they were running their stall.. got heaps of free stuff while I was there! It was great to see what a good job they’re doing with the club. They even got a $5k sponsor for the year which I’ve never heard of! Alex and I went to the shops and bought a bunch of AWESOME windup toys, then he made dinner and we went back to my house to pack some things. I must say, I’m not enjoying having all of my things packed away.. especially when they weren’t packed by me.. makes things very difficult.

Tuesday I grabbed my winter clothes and headed to the airport with Alex and Teagan. We got subway right near the airport and then I, true to form, freaked out that I would miss my flight because they would board early…. got there and there was an hour delay due to weather (apparently.. seemed fine when I got to Melbourne..). Luckily I had re-booked an earlier flight during the flight kefuffle and I still made it to French class on time- back into the swing of things!

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