august in melbourne - day two
Everything seems dirty and covered in ugly tags and raggedy posters and half the buildings could do with a serious high pressure wash and a new coat of paint.
Which isn't to say that today didn't have its good points, because it really did.
But let's rewind all the way back to the morning, shall we... *makes the rewinding noise*
Granted I still woke up at 5am, which kind of sucks, but I toughed it out in bed for another 45 minutes until I realised that I appeared to be allergic to my hotel room and was all snuffly and sneezy (to be honest I think that was because I left the airconditioner on all night... I won't be making that mistake again tonight). So I gave in and got up and sat/lay on the couch for another hour or so until I gave up that and decided to get ready.
Ah, high water pressure and very hot water, how I have missed thee. And I'm always fond of those showers with the detachable heads. Once I was all spruced up and ready for the day I was still about half an hour earlier than the time we'd agreed on last night. I messaged Ma, only to find that she was already up and organised, so I trundled down the corridor and then we headed out the door around 8.
And we didn't set foot in the hotel again until around 4:20 this afternoon.
When we got to the corner of Flinders Lane and Degraves Place we were pretty much sold on the café right there on the corner, RMB Café. I'd had a random thought earlier that porridge might hit the spot on such a cold and wintery morning, and they had just that listed at the top of their specials board. Sold!
Just a brief aside, if I may... and it's my blog, so I totally may. IT IS SO DAMN COLD IN MELBOURNE! Yes, I know that it's Winter and yes, I know it's supposed to be cold, but I swear the wind is coming straight up from the Antarctic... brrrrr! Wait, did I say the exact same thing yesterday? Oh well.
Anyway, I not only wanted porridge, but was craving some bacon and was just going to go with a side order, but then noticed that they had a bacon and egg sandwich on the menu as well... so I decided I may as well make a meal of it. And Ma decided to join me with both the porridge and the bacon and egg, although we may have been better off if we'd just shared the one sandwich.
We did kinda look like greedy little piggies... especially since the bread/toast that the sandwich was on was really thick... it did squash down to regular bread size though. But even though we had a lot of food on a very small table, it was totally worth it, the porridge was amazingly good (even though Ma couldn't finish hers) and the bacon and egg sandwich hit exactly the right spot.
We did the usual loop around Hosier Lane and I actually found one of my green eyeBirds from last February still stuck on the gate post around the back... sure it's looking a little raggedy around the edges, but honestly, what isn't in Hosier Lane, or Melbourne in general, these days.
By that point it was nearly time for the Hollywood Costume exhibition to open at ACMI in Federation Square so we wandered over and had a bit of a stroll around the Square before we headed into ACMI. Well, I say stroll, but it was really hard to stroll when Fed Square was teeming with a plethora of pre-teen girls who had all come to see some largely forgettable Disney Channel pop diva who was there hawking her album.
We just walked straight past the humungous line and headed into ACMI...
And secondly while I understood the general low light vibe in the Tim Burton exhibition, I really didn't understand it here. Yes the costumes were often in pools of light, but wouldn't they have looked all the more stunning in a brightly lit room? And I think that also added to the Batman, Catwoman and Spiderman costumes being really difficult to even see, two being black on black and the third almost hiding on the wall over people's heads.
Having said that, it’s a very small quibble for what was otherwise an amazing exhibition.
And I will admit to going into full-on geek-out mode on more than one occasion... the first time was for one of Glenn Close's gowns from Dangerous Liasions... it's one of my all-time favourite movies and to be that close, with no glass between me and the gown... GEEKED THE FUCK OUT BABY!
And then, although I didn't geek out about these ones, there was Dorothy's gingham dress, Neo's outfit to save Morpheous, The Bride's yellow jumpsuit, Captain Jack's pirate regalia, Holly Golightly's breakfast gown, the Dench and Blanchett versions of Queen Elizabeth I, and the entire Addam's family clan from the second movie... and a whole bunch more.
One of the things that struck me and that I guess I already knew, if only academically, is that these are outfits that were designed to look good on camera, to film amazingly well... not necessarily clothes that you would see walking around in the world. And some of them either looked remarkably different in real life while others looked really quite shabby.
As two examples, when you see Neo's outfit on screen you just assume that it's all just straight black. But it's not... the jacket is slightly blue and has something like a corduroy texture to it, whereas the shirt underneath is actually dark burgundy and very dark grey horizontal stripes... really fine stripes so that it just looks like texture, but still. And then the pants looked like they were a slightly darker dark grey. But other than that it all pretty much looked like it looked on screen. On the flip side of that was something like Sean Young's outfit from Blade Runner... while I'm not a huge fan of the movie (too long, too wanky) the dress looked almost thrown together and the material didn't look anything like I remember it in my head.
But mostly they were really gorgeous outfits.
And just like that we were kind of out of things we really wanted to do today, and it was only 11am.
Since we were near the Circle Tram line Ma suggested that we just hop on the tram and take a trip down to the Docklands... and since we didn't have any other ideas, we did exactly that. To some degree it still boggles my mind that they haven't really finished the whole of the docklands, even though they've been at it since well before we first went to Melbourne in 2005. And maybe that's unfair, maybe it is mostly done... it just feels... undone. Or maybe they're redoing bits of it, I don't know.
I'm not completely sure why we got off at Harbour Town and had a wander around inside. To be honest I always find them equal parts depressing and pointless. So I will admit that what little energy and spark I had left after the costume exhibition very much left me about halfway through our wandering and I just fell flat. Not literally of course... but all the other ways one can fall flat.
They really were horrificly bad... but I think I may let the pictures say more than I really could...
Then I spotted the Lego Education Centre (I've heard of them, but I'm not completely sure what the deal is... although they do hold birthday parties and have some of the "education" Lego kits), so we had a look around in there, but I resisted buying anything.
Once we were thorough with that we were pretty much through with the Docklands in general, so we hopped back on the Circle Line tram and headed back into the city.
That turned out to be a good thing, since I got side-tracked taking photos of the statues outside of the State Library, and then remembered that it was kind of on my unofficial mental list of "things to look at and photograph" this time around... specifically the La Trobe Reading Room with the big skylight dome and all the tables radiating out from the centre.
It's a unique piece of architecture and even though we've been to Melbourne a bunch of times we've never gotten around to going inside. And it is definitely worth seeing... and I would imagine that it would be a great place to go and do some work or just be able to concentrate on what you're doing.
Once we’d had our fill of the view we took in the Mirror of the World exhibition which featured a lot of amazing books from the Library's collection, then we wandered back to look at the view a bit more, and then we headed over to Melbourne Central to grab something to eat.
So we ended up going there for lunch... Ma had the Toulouse (pork sausage, onion, mushroom and truffle aoli on a brioche roll) while I had the American Classic (smoked frankfurter with mustard, tomato sauce, onions and relish on a brioche roll). If I'd realised they also made onion rings, I totally would have bought a serve... but we just went with the hot dogs.
They weren't too bad... I'd suggest that Papa's Gourmet Hotdogs in Adelaide is a better all-round experience, although the brioche rolls were interesting, if a little yellow.
Ma had forgotten to bring her iPhone charger cord with her to Melbourne, so we took a little detour up Bourke Street to grab a new one and then headed back down to Federation Square to get us some bus ticket action.
Once we had our tickets we headed back up Swanston to Collins Street to jump on the 112 tram out to the Rose Street Artists' Market in Fitzroy.
While we were waiting for the tram, a random dude just walked up and asked if I could spare any change, and I realised that that has been happening a lot in the last couple of days... I'm not sure if I mentioned it last time we were in Melbourne, but it has happened way more often than it happens in Adelaide, or even Sydney (although there they seem to mostly sit on street corners with signs).
We didn't have long to wait for the tram and trundled along Brunswick Street until we got to the appointed stop. It wasn't really that long a trip either and it turned out that Rose Street is the Melbourne version of Mays Lane to some degree. Lots and lots and lots of street art. And right slap bang in the middle, the Rose Street Artists' Market.
To be honest I think we spent as long, if not longer, wandering up and down Rose Street and its associated cross-streets than we did inside the actual market. And as I said to Ma later at dinner, it would have been a complete and total waste of time if it hadn't been for the fact that the market was right in the midst of Street Art Central.
We then started wandering back along Brunswick Street since I'd seen a bunch of street art as we were heading up to the markets and I figured we could wander for a bit and then just jump on a tram.
As it turned out, the tram thing never eventuated, so we ended up just walking back into the city. It didn't take all that long really... Google suggests that it should take around 30 minutes, and when you factor in the fact that I kept stopping to take photos, plus Ma and I generally walk faster than the average Googleman, I'd still say that 30 minutes was probably about right.
And that turned out to be a very good idea, because not long after we got back it started to absolutely belt down. Fortunately by the time we were planning to head out for dinner it had slowed to a drizzle and it stopped entirely by the time we were finished dinner.
While we do like to try new things, we also like to return to the places we know we like and that do a good job, so we decided to head off to Jaisalmer Palace for some Indian food for dinner tonight.
We've been there the last few times we've been in Melbourne... we first discovered it because it was right across the road from Citadens where we were staying at the time, and then we went back the next time we were in town, and then went back again last time, and this makes four.
We had Beef Rogan Josh, Chicken Saag Gosht, Aloo Gobhi Masala and Sabz-E-Bahar along with rice with peas as well as plain naan and Keema Kulcha... and now I've very, very, very stuffed. It was all really nice, although we perhaps ended up with flavours in one each of the meat and vegetable dishes that were very similar. And I'll have to look up my notes from previous trips, but I swear their Rogan Josh has a much runnier sauce than I'm used to. Still tasty though.
And that's pretty much the thing with travelling in Winter... once you're done with dinner and it's cold and a bit wet and generally dark outside, you don't really want to do very much other than come back to the hotel and hibernate. Not that there was anything we really wanted to do, and it does mean that I'm not banging away on these posts until midnight every night.
We really don't have much of a clue what we're planning on doing tomorrow... although we do have a general direction for breakfast, so that's always a good start.