yani's big adventure - day one

melbourne icon be free melbourne
As I sit down in my Melbourne hotel to write this, I've been on the go for 13 hours... which would be fine, except for the fact that it's only 5:15pm and I've been up since 4am.

And that on top of having only had about five hours sleep. So combine that with the fact I probably haven't had enough water today and it kinda makes for a somewhat cranky me.

Mostly tired, somewhat excited, but intermittently cranky.

Fortunately everything regarding actual travel seems to be going off without a hitch. There was no problem with our flight today, no delays or anything... and according to the Qantas website there isn't any drama with tomorrow's flight either.

But back to 4am...

Oddly, I bounced out of bed when my alarm went off. I think my body actually thought it was time to get up for a day of work, and got me up without me really thinking about it.

I threw myself in the shower, finished off my packing, got everything ship shape and ready to go (mostly me) and ended up sitting down in the lounge room for a while. Unfortunately what I should have been doing was paying attention to the time.

Ma messaged me to let me know she was on her way just before 5:30... this was a problem, as even at that time in the morning, the drive from her place to my please takes between 20-25 minutes. The taxi was due to pick us up to take us to the airport at 6:45. Can you see my dilemma?

I swear the woman drives me around the bend sometimes.

Anyway, I called the taxi company and got them to defer the cab which timed everything out perfectly.

And even though we left later than we intended, it still pretty much meant that we were the first in the waiting area for our flight. That is once we managed to get through the new-fangled automated check-in... I found it much easier this time around, until I tried to get the baggage robot thing to read my phone. It just wouldn't do it. Grrr.

But it all worked out in the end.

The flight was fairly unremarkable... although somehow I'd forgotten how short trips to Melbourne/Sydney really are... once the plane is up to the right altitude, then then come around with the trolley (and in this case, breakfast), then there's about a 20 minute window where you can actually do something with your electronic device before they announce that we're beginning the approach to wherever.

Not that I'm complaining... it's just the fact that I didn't even get in enough time to watch half of an episode of Fry's Planet Word...

After we touched down, our luggage was amongst the first to come through on the carousel... which always makes me happy... and by that point our driver was there.

Granted it was a bit of a hike to the car, but he had a trolley and took our bags, which was very sweet... and we got to the car, only to discover that it wasn't the sedan I'd booked and paid for, but a limousine.

Yeah baby... doin it in style!

That's the second time that's happened actually, and between the occasional upgrade and the very good service we've gotten each and every time is why we keep going back to Lygon Limousines every time (little plug there).

The only downside to catching very early flights and getting to the hotel very early is that our rooms are never, ever ready for us to just walk into when we get there... but we'd already factored that in, so we left our suitcases and my Crumpler bag at the hotel luggage room and wandered off in search of adventure.

no loading the paste-ups i think perhaps newman's may have moved some time ago
Just between you and me though... I kinda feel like I've already "used Melbourne up". Sure there are places I like to revisit... and new places to discover... but it all feels a little bit predictable.

Actually, that's kind of what I'm worried about when it comes to Sydney on this trip. We pretty much thrashed big chunks of Sydney last time, and I'm dreading that I either get there and feel that "used up" feeling, or by the end of the week it feels that way.

There's no way to really know I guess, I just have to go with the flow and see what happens.

But the flip side of that is that Melbourne really does feel like an old lover (I was going to say an old slipper, but that's not quite so complimentary)... you know your way around the curves and know how to get where you're going, but every now and again there's something new on the way there that surprises you.

Okay, so it's not exactly Shakespeare, and I think my analogy got distracted and wandered off in the middle somewhere... but you know what I'm trying to say.

The only three real destinations I had in mind for Melbourne were two old favourites and something new... although does "street art" generally count as a destination? I did have one specific location for it in mind, but that was mostly because I'd forgotten about a few of the others.

We hit Union Lane for street art first, but that was one of the "oh yeah, this place" ones.

Oh, and we called into the Crumpler Store on Little Bourke Street... mostly just to look, but they had camera wrist straps and I've been thinking about getting one of those for a little while, mostly because I end up using the neck strap like a wrist strap anyway and winding it around my wrist, especially when I'm just getting the camera in and out of the bag really briefly. But they had a proper one, so I had to have it. Yes, yes, I know, I'm a Crumpler Whore.

Our first real destination was the new one... Outré Gallery on Elizabeth Street. Seriously, I wanted essentially three quarters of the shop. I have nowhere to display it all, but it was all so very lush and lovely... ME WANT!

They also had three of the blind-box KidRobot Dunny ranges... so I couldn’t leave without having one of each of those. It really is starting to become an addiction. I'm just lucky we don't have anywhere in Adelaide that stocks them, or I could see that getting out of hand fairly quickly.

Next official stop was the other end of Elizabeth Street... Minotaur, the comic book/pop culture store which is always on our To Do list in Melbourne... even though I seldom buy comic books there.

And, really, if you ever wanted to walk into the middle of a stereotypical comic book nerd conversation, that is so the place to do it. When we walked in one of the staff was complaining that some "nun" book or movie or something had been placed in horror instead of in exploitation... because it was about demons having sex with nuns, so clearly it should be in the exploitation section (I think they were talking about DVDs)... this then somehow drifted into a conversation about Data on Star Trek The Next Generation, The Golden Girls and how Bea Arthur was the voice of the Femputer on an episode of Futurama.

If my eyes had rolled any further back in my head, I would have been staring at the inside of my skull (never mind the fact that I could have held my own on any part of that conversation not related to nun exploitation).

There was also some blind-box purchasing there... it's bad... not only am I hooked on it, but I've gotten Ma into it too after Brisbane.

plywood satellite from acmi's space theme exhibition hooded twins
Next up, we wandered off towards Federation Square and Hosier Lane in search of more street art... that was actually the third and final thing I really wanted to do in Melbourne (besides the QI Live show we actually came here for)... so I was essentially pretty content at that point.

We stopped off at Starbucks after that for iced mochas and caramel macchiatos while I fitted the new wrist strap to my camera. It's actually been working exceptionally well... I may have to be a touch more careful about taking the camera out of the bag, but otherwise, I think it was a wise investment.

I'm not sure I'll feel exactly that way after carrying the camera around in my hand all day at either Taronga Zoo or Sculpture By The Sea... but we'll see how things go.

To be honest, I'm then a little fuzzy about the order of things.

I know we stopped off at the Swatch store, mostly so I could check out what they may have from the KidRobot range. Turns out they did have some... and a lot of other really awesome looking Swatches besides... but I'm pretty sure the Swatch store in Sydney is bigger, so I'm happy to take a look there too.

We also visited Federation Square again, this time to hit ACMI who have an exhibition on about Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton's 25 year anniversary together reviewing movies.

It's an interesting little exhibition... everything from parts of David's autograph collection and a selection of Margaret's earrings through to a letter from the Australia Securities Organisation about David's red tie wearing at a Soviet event and Margaret's Order of Australia medal.

After that, we headed back to the hotel a little early on the off-chance that the rooms were ready.

They weren't.

So pretty much on instinct (and some minor clues from the tops of particular buildings), I wandered us in the general direction of QV and the underground food court therein. Of course, we didn't really end up eating anything from the food court itself... we got some fruit from Woolworths (even further underground) although I did grab something with bread and ham from Breadtop.

Refreshing, really... the fruit I mean, not the bread/ham thing.

slices of hotel room... it's very similar to last time, only without the actual viewBy the time we were all done with that and had wandered back, the rooms were ready. Ma's on the second floor, and mine on the seventh. Yes... it's a far cry from the last time we were here when I was on the top floor and Ma was eleven floors down (I can't remember right now how many floors the hotel actually has). And they've finally installed the room dividers that their website showed but which hadn't been installed in our rooms last time... they do make the room feel like of tiny.

That's not aided by the fact that this time, instead of looking out over the city like I did, or even out over a building site and crane like Ma did... we're both looking at the side wall of the building that was being built last time.

I think, really, we were perhaps a little spoiled last time... Me moreso than Ma... it's still a very new, very functional, very nice hotel room. And we aren't paying the full rates for it anyway... so you can't really complain. Although the fact that my double bed appears to be two single beds velcroed together is a slight cause for concern.

And the whole room is a black hole when it comes to 3G reception on my phone.

But it is only for one night after all.

Once we’d "unpacked" (and for unpacked, read "taken out a shirt to wear tonight and a shirt to wear tomorrow from my suitcase") and compared rooms, we headed back out again, in search of goodness only knows what.

First stop was the jewellery store that Ma got her Lovelinks bracelet from last time we were here (or, more accurately, I got it for her and put it away for Christmas)... she wanted some more beads for it... but smaller and not glass. That turned into a little bit of a major production with lots and lots of looking and pawing through beads in trays and whatnot.

Weird thing is that I'm almost certain that woman who served us today is the same woman who served us last time. That's happened a few times today actually... I remembered the woman from Minotaur from last time, I'm sure that the woman in the ACMI was the same, and I'm sure that the woman who served us at dinner served us last time.

sexy blue girl today should have been random hotness, but this will have to do
Then there was some pretty aimless wandering.

Actually the wandering started when we ended up near the Crumpler store again and I was fed up of having to move the camera bag strap off my neck every two seconds, so I went in to buy one of their shoulder strap pad things.

Then we wandered.

We wandered past street art, we wandered in lane ways... we, essentially, just wandered. Actually, I'm sure that gives the impression of a slow, slightly namby-pamby effort with not much thought to direction or aims.

That's so not what we do. We wander in the same way that various armies have wandered across continents...

Anyhow, we "wandered" around for a while before heading back to the hotel to have a little rest and get ready to go out to dinner and then to QI Live.

What with my "fall down" knee and my other knee generally playing up, I can quite often end up shattered after one of these walks. Especially given that there's a lot of walking up and down hills involved in interstate travel... or at least there is coming from Adelaide, where everything is essentially flat.

Big props go to Ma though, who manages to keep up with me with a minimum of fuss and bother even though she has a good 20 years on me. I do spend a lot of time checking to make sure she's okay though.

After about an hour of rest (during which I wrote pretty much everything to this point), we headed across the road to the Jaisalmer Palace Indian Restaurant that we also went to last time. It was just as good a second time...

We went with the usual Indian staples (for us anyway), Lamb Rogan Josh, rice and plain naan and teamed that up with the specialty of the house, Baingan Jaisalmeri (eggplant, onion, peas and tomato in special gravy).


Then thankfully it was only a quick hop, step and a jump around the corner to Her Majesty's Theatre for Messrs Fry and Davies in QI Live.

But that really needs a post of its own... and I really need to get to bed.

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