melbourne: the longest day

melbourne street art 2010This has felt like the longest day of my life... not in a bad way, but it's been a VERY long day...

It also seems to have been a day characterised by me being unsure whether or not I've remembered things...

While it actually feels like I've been up for several days at this point, I got up at 5am, changed the bedding, threw myself in the shower, got dressed and was pretty much read for Ma to arrive just before 6am... all in the dark mind you... then we got the slowest taxi driver in all of creation. Ma says he was doing the speed limit, and he might have been, but he was also hunched over the wheel, little old man style. Which is fair, because he WAS a little old man essentially.

But we made it to the airport without incident. It turned out that the reason that I couldn't do the full online check-in yesterday was that for some ungodly reason I checked the "yes I have dangerous goods" option. No idea what the hell that was about, because I didn't. Just what comes of doing these things when you're not quite awake yet I guess.

I think this is the first time ever that we've actually taken off ahead of schedule... which was a nice change. Go Qantas!

And if we'd known that they were going to give us a real, actual (more or less) breakfast, we probably wouldn't have bothered buying something at the airport. But it was okay, because we squirreled what was left over in various bags... woohoo...

I wish I knew what it was about flying that makes me feel ill... it wasn't the whole flight, I was okay for most of it, but when we were coming in to land I felt distinctly unwell... urgh. But thankfully as soon as we were off the plane I felt better.

Our driver was waiting for us down by baggage claim, and because our bags seemed to be some of the first off the plane, once we were down there our bags were right there (actually it took forever to get off the plane since we were three rows from the back and it took them ages to get the air-bridge organised... but it worked in our favour really).

I'm pretty sure that the driver we had is the same driver who took us back to the airport last time. Chatty, but not obnoxiously so. And I swear that every time we're in Melbourne we end up coming into the CBD or going back to airport a slightly different way.

Can we talk about the hotel? SWANKY! Although it would want to be, because it's only been open for a month.

But because we got to the hotel exceedingly early (four hours before official check-in time), we had to leave our bags behind and go on a wander. It wasn't too bad... a little tiring from all the walking, but in some ways a nice low stress start to our holiday... we didn't have to be anywhere at a particular time, so we were free to wander here or there or wherever we liked.

And wander we did... a little shopping, a little looking, a little street art (sadly, no Benzo yet), a little eating.

Oh, and watching all the iPhone 4 fanboys and girls lined up outside various phone stores...

I will say that yet again the people of Melbourne a) don't appear to look where they're walking, b) don't appear to care when they get in the way, and c) seem to walk very slowly. All things that I always enjoy oh so much (that would be sarcasm by the way)...

Essentially I just wanted to check out street art, which we did... and we also stopped off at Minotaur Comics (I could go a little bit nuts in there really). But Ma has no cause for complaint, our first retail stop was a bracelet for her... once of those ones with the beads... we went past a place with them on sale, went in to ask/look and very uncharacteristically Ma decided on it there and then (so that's the first item going in the Christmas box).

Mostly though there was a LOT of wandering... we wandered from the hotel down to Elizabeth Street, back to Federation Square, up to first QV and then Melbourne Central... unfortunately when we stopped for lunch at QV we went to the soup shop we went to last time... but Ma picked a size too large and I picked a flavour that was essentially a bit crap, so an unsatisfying lunch was had by all.

Eventually it was time to head back to the hotel (after a brief stop at JB HiFi to check out their Queer DVD section)... and we had to wait around while they checked whether the rooms were ready... interestingly this is the first time they haven't put our rooms next to each other... or even on the same floor... I'm on the top floor (woohoo) and Ma is 11 floors down (I'm pretty sure this is also the tallest hotel we've ever stayed in).

And the rooms actually look pretty much like the image they have on their website. Not precisely, but close enough:

website shot top, my shot bottom... its hard to get as much of the hotel room in shot when you don't have a fish-eye lens handyEssentially the only thing missing (from both mine and Ma's room) is the divider. I also have a great view (Ma unfortunately has a lovely view of a crane... but the buildings beyond the crane are quite nice) which doesn't photograph as nicely as it looks. It also reinforces that I like staying in the more apartment style hotel rooms... rather than just a bed and maybe a fridge, I've got a couch and essentially a full kitchen (dishwasher, kettle, toaster, microwave), plus a stereo system that has an iPod dock and a shower you could fit a rugby team in if you were so inclined... woohoo.

But mostly I like this hotel because it's all new and swanky...

Oh, and they give you real coathangers too, which is nice (I'm easily pleased).

After we'd both unpacked and visted each others rooms we headed back out for more of a wander, took a look at Chinatown (little disappointing), got lost amongst the laneways (although we did find somewhere for breakfast tomorrow, provided we can find it again), found Matt Irwin's photography gallery (he's the photographer we "discovered" last time), stopped off at Haigh's (supporting the Adelaide brands) and also discovered somewhere to have dinner.

So once we finished our wander, we came back to the hotel, changed and headed out to dinner... and keeping up the tradition, we found a little Indian place, Jaisalmer Palace, which was empty which isn't always a good sign, but it did mean we got served fairly quickly... and the food was actually quite nice, good Rogan Josh (always the standard for how good an Indian place is), a nice veggie curry and decent naan (the other way you know the place is good). Even if the waitress did keep saying "Thank you" every five seconds.

Then we were off to Greater Union to see the Melbourne International Film Festival showing of I Love You Phillip Morris... and I saw John Safran in the audience and the guy directly in front of us ate fresh peas straight out of the pod, which was very peculiar, even for a film festival.

And that was it... then it was back to the hotel to unwind, write up our adventures and half watch 60 Minute Makeover (seriously Claire, were you going to a wedding or something... what the hell is up with that hair)...

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