august in melbourne - day two

hollywood comes to federation squarebatart and street robin
Not to belabour the dating metaphor from yesterday's post, but I really have found myself noticing that a lot of the things that I used to love about Melbourne, street art, stickers, paste ups, old buildings, quirky people are actually the things that are kind of bumming me out this time around.

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*

choq boyscorner cubes
I didn't sleep to badly last night... the bed was kind of like sleeping on very firm custard (ie not really that firm at all), but once I fell asleep I pretty much slept fine.

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.

standing timecroft faces
Our destination for breakfast this morning was Centre Place/Degraves Place... with the intention of just picking somewhere that looked and sounded good. On the way there I got distracted by street art in Croft Alley which is usually the place that I forget about until I see it again.

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.

once bittentwice shy
Then, as usual, we headed up to Hosier Lane for a good old street art wander... but as we crossed over Swanston Street there was this Buddist monk guy in front of us, and when we got to the other side of the road he approached me as though he was going to ask me for directions, but instead he gave me this little golden token (it turned out to just be plastic but it's very shiny) which says "Work smoothly, lifetime peace" on one side and has an image of Bodhisattva on the reverse. I said thank you, he said thank you (okay, then he kind of also seemed to keep saying hello which was a little weird) and we both went on with our days, but it was very sweet. I think it's going to have to find a spot somewhere on my desk at work when I get back.

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...

hollywood costumes at acmicostumes from the great gatsby
This is the second exhibition we've been to at ACMI, and I kind of don't understand two things... firstly the whole "no photography" thing. I mean, yes, I kind of understand it, and I would understand a "no flash photography" rule if the costumes are susceptible to light, and I kind of understand the movie studios not wanting you to be able to sell copies of your photos of their costumes, but, really?

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!

red cheeksshoes mean nothing
My other major geek-outs were over Edward Norton and Brad Pitt's costumes from Fight Club, Jake and Heath's costumes from Brokeback Mountain, John Wayne's red shirt outfit from The Searchers, Harry's Hogwart's uniform from the Half Blood Prince and Gary Oldman's amazing red coat/cape/cloak paired with Winona Ryder's green embroidered gown from Bram Stoker's Dracula.

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.

adventure crimescar's scarface
By the time we were finished looking at everything I was really, really overheated... I don't know what was going on, it was definitely warm down there with all the people, but I just felt really hot. So we got our stuff and after a little bit of a wander around inside ACMI we headed outside so I could cool off.

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.

farnsey pointskylie is her own drag queen
After we headed out of Harbour Town Ma spotted some statuary down by the water on the other side of the tramline, so we wandered down to take a look...

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.

george and the libraryreading room dome

reading room deskslatrobe reading door
I intended to have us jump off at Swanston Street so we could head down and get some tram tickets, but we missed the stop because I wasn't really paying attention and ended up getting off a block later and then walking back to Swanston.

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.

To be honest we never made it into Melbourne Central, since we got distracted by the Snag Stand on the corner of La Trobe and Swanston Streets with its fancy hotdogs and its big distinctive signage.

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.

lion icon... which would make an amazing tattoopasteup giraffe
I'd actually forgotten that Melbourne was All Miki All The Time now, so in some ways it's kind of easier... we have the plastic ticket (and it even comes with a tres tragic plastic folder to store it in) and if we come back to Melbourne we can just throw some more money at it and we won't have to worry about buying tickets.

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.

It was kind of smaller than I was expecting, and I think about half of the stalls were also at the last Bowerbird Baazar back in Adelaide, but it wasn't a bad little market. I did find a cute, bright red seahorse brooch for Ma's Christmas present and she bought a little photo block where the proceeds all went to assisting children somewhere... somewhere African I think.

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.

angry blue handblue brunswick truck
It did start to rain about three quarters of the way back, but we had an umbrella and it really wasn't raining all that hard, so we didn't melt or anything. But given that it was just after 4 when we made it back to the city and the weather was looking decidedly bland, we decided to call it quits and just head back to the hotel.


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.

caged deer queenspiral stair
We possibly got a little carried away this time around... normally we just get a couple of dishes, some rice and some naan (because I love naan)... but Ma decided she wanted a couple of different vegetable dishes, so at the last moment I ordered a second meat dish... so it was all a bit much, although really all we were left with at the end was gravy.

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.

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