melbourne whotrip - day three

luna sky arts spire
Spending a Sunday in Melbourne can only really mean one thing... markets. More specifically, the Esplanade Market at St Kilda and the Art Centre Sunday Market.

I think that both of us slightly overslept after last night, although I'm not sure that 7am technically counts as oversleeping.

Instead of our usual plan of finding somewhere for breakfast in the city, then checking out the Art Centre Market and then going to St Kilda, we decided to cut straight to the chase and head down to St Kilda nice and early, have breakfast somewhere down there and then check out the markets, before doing the Art Centre on the way back.

So we traipsed down to the Art Centre anyway (since the trams aren't coming up as far as the hotel thanks to the giant gaping hole in Swanston Street) to catch the Number 16 tram, which was very civilised because we beat the rush so we weren't squashed in like crazy people by the time we got to St Kilda like we have been in the past.

I think that I forget each time that it's less than about half an hour down to St Kilda... it always seems to arrive quite suddenly before I realise it.

Originally we'd been planning on having breakfast on Ackland Street, but when we got off the tram we wandered around to The Esplanade just to make sure that there were stalls being set up and everybody hadn't been scared off by the wind (did I mention... it was very windy for the whole day) or the prospect of rain later in the day. But we had to go down pretty much as far as The Espy before we could see anyone.

st kilda breakfast pride balloons
As we wandered back, a place advertising Spanish Eggs for breakfast caught our eye. Turned out to be Bar Santo, which is right next to the place that was on the first season (I think) of My Restaurant Rules but which is now a piano bar.

And it was a couple of minutes before 9am, and they opened at 9am, so it seemed perfect.

Now, I will freely admit that I now judge all travel destination "big breakfasts" against Café Fredo in Sydney... because that really, really is exemplary... but this one was somewhere between fair and above average. The eggs were good, the bacon was decent, toast was good... but the mushrooms didn't have much of anything and, well, spinach.

They did make a decent coffee though.

hillcrest ackland style
Because we were the only ones in there (and another couple of people only came in right before we were going anyway) we were chatting a little (ie making polite conversation until our food arrived) with the woman who I'm guessing owns the place and we asked her what the white tents were for over in Catani Gardens. To which she happily informed us that they were for the Pride March that afternoon.

Seriously, somebody is going to have to revoke my gay card... how did I not know that Midsumma was on. Although I think I did look it up at some stage, but I really had no idea that the Pride March was on on the same Sunday we were in St Kilda.

But we didn't stick around for any of it... partly because it was much later in the afternoon, but mostly because we would have had to walk halfway back to the CBD just to catch the tram.

friendly (if overly dopey) face ackland colour
What we did do after breakfast was wander down Ackland Street, just to have a look at things before the Esplanade Market started... which was informative, because up until that point neither of us had the faintest notion that Ackland Street only gets interesting south of Luna Park.

However there are a bunch of interesting houses in the other section, as well as one very affectionate but slightly cross-eyed pussycat.

So we wandered almost all the way to Barkly Street before we wandered back again, getting back to Luna Park just in time for today's FebPhotoADay theme of 10am.

Casting my thoughts back of the last few times we’ve been to the St Kilda Markets, I think the last time we were there it was a truly horrible day, so not very many stalls had turned out. Today was better than that, although I think the wind kept some people away, or else with severely reduced stalls.

And a lot of it seemed exactly the same as the last couple of times we’ve been. Well, the same stalls, in the same spots anyway.

closed for pride arts centre market
There's the lady who makes all the wallets and purses and bags and whatnot which Ma loves (Cybertart)... and she scored a trio of dragonfly designed items for half price due to them being in the discount bin when they possibly shouldn't have been.

There's the guy who takes the great photos of Melbourne who I bought a Benzo related print from a couple of years ago (Matt Irwin)... as well as at least two if not three copy-cats.

There's the godawful jewellery stalls and ugly pottery stalls.

There's Mr Buckethead.

There's the guy who does paintings in very bright colours of all kinds of things... including, possibly especially for this weekend, Dalek paintings. Interesting, but I'm not enough of a fan of the Daleks to pay what he was asking for one.

And there was the guy who makes all the twisty "wire" jewellery which Ma also loves.

cloudy masts st kilda storm in a teacup
As always, our first wander along The Esplanade was just to see what was around, pick out a favourite here or there (or in the cast of Cybertart, snaffle up things that were in the half price bin quick before they disappeared) before wandering back along to check anything we may have missed and buying anything we still liked after seeing it a second time.

Somebody new who also stood up to the "still like it the second time" test was Retro Pop Homewares... but I do love retro beefcake fabric, and since I don’t use aprons or oven mitts I decided it was time to replace the brown pleather pillows on my little red sofa with some beefcake. And it just so happened that he had two backed with red fabric that would match my sofa, so I bought both.

Ma also spent a fair amount of time poking around the wire guy's stall deciding on what to buy, so I got out of the way and left her to it.

I think that was pretty much it... I know I only bought the pillowcases and I honestly can't remember if Ma bought anything beyond Cybertart and the necklaces... I don't think she did.

We didn't think the Market warranted a third pass, so we hopped the Number 3 tram back to the city which showed up pretty much as we got to the tram stop, which is always good.

mono kid grey palais
When we got back to the Arts Centre around noon we were, once again, thoroughly disappointed by the market. I remember the first couple of times we came to Melbourne, the Art Centre Market was massive... it took up the entire undercroft at the Art Centre, there were at least four rows of stalls, things everywhere you look.

Then they started doing something constructiony with the undercroft that still isn't finished and moved the market up to the top. And once they did that it was awful. There probably aren't 20 stalls in the whole thing, and it just feels half-assed.

Which is a shame, because it used to be good.

Once we’d given everything a very quick once over we headed off in search of a drink because we were both somewhat parched after all that sea air and riding in warm trams and the like. I'm not sure we made the smartest choice given how thirsty we were, but we decided to go to Lindt on Collins Street. Because, you know, chocolate.

And we had a very cute and attentive little waiter boy, Lucas... granted he was about 12, but very sweet.

Halfway through my chocolate milkshake, Ma's coconut iced chocolate and the three macarons we shared, most of the lights in the building went out. It's a big, old building, and the Lindt store is just built into the front left corner of it, so it's open to the rest of the building at the top, which was all brightly lit by not only a bunch of lights but also a big ass skylight. And all the lights in the main part went out, leaving it all feeling very much like mood lighting. Just after it happened one of the waitresses popped her head out of the kitchen area and said "It's just Melbourne"... as though that explained it. But obviously it happens a lot.

Weird.

Then on the way out we picked out a big bag of Lindt balls to take with us... it's so much more fun when you can avoid all the ones you don't like, as well as being able to pick out ones that never seem to appear anywhere other than their shops.

gpo ladies collins st
By that point we were kind of just in a wandering mood, so we wandered through The Block Arcade when one of us mentioned the ABC Shop (or JB HiFi, I honestly don't remember), but after I googled it we realised there was one on Bourke Street, so we headed off that way, avoiding the big group of protesters protesting some such around the GPO Building.

The ABC Shop turned out to be upstairs, and it's honestly a really small one... but there seemed to be a bunch of people arriving at about the same time as us who were all carrying merchandise from the Doctor Who Symphony Spectacular... I figured there may have been a show on on Sunday that had finished not too long ago, but didn't really think anything of it.

It turned out all the Doctor Who gear was with the kids' stuff, and there were a number of people milling about which bugged me only because it's a small shop. Then Ma said "it's that guy"... now I couldn't actually see anything for the giant pole in the middle of the store, but when I moved around I realised that there was Mark Sheppard... Canton Everett Delaware III himself as well as the Master of Ceremonies for the Doctor Who Symphony Spectacular... just randomly standing next to all the Doctor Who merchandise.

It was just odd... that we just happened to wander into that particular store while he was there, not knowing anything about it. Weird I tells you.

So I snapped a couple of photos on my phone (I didn't even think about getting out the SLR, and even if I had, it's a bit full on), told him he was very good last night, essentially just randomly chatted him like he was just anybody you make polite conversation with when you happen to bump into them... and then we headed off and left him to the little cadre of nerds that seemed to know he was there and had brought things for him to sign.

Then after finding a street art location off Little Bourke Street that I thought had been obliterated by some construction work and leaving my final eyeBird (well, almost final, I found two more in my wallet later) in situ... we circled around to the hotel to leave all our bits and pieces before trying to work out what we wanted to do next.

Essentially we were kinda done. We'd done everything really, so it was just a matter of finding something to amuse ourselves with until dinner.

third eye guy city circle stormclouds
We ended up deciding to wander up the street to Parliament House and hopping on the City Circle Tram, just to see if we felt inspired to jump off anywhere. Turned out we really weren't particularly inspired, but we did have a nice ride around (okay, it was a little crowded at points, but at least we had a seat), got to see the Docklands again (that place gets bigger every time we're here) and didn't have to walk.

Just as the tram looped around to where we got on though it started to rain. And not just any kind of rain, but big, fat, cool change kind of rain. Fortunately it seemed to let up just after we got off the tram, so we wandered down Little Collins Street. Originally the plan was going to be going back to the hotel for a while, then going out to dinner, but I suggested that we wander around a bit more, stop off at the hotel long enough to freshen up slightly, change our tops, that kind of thing and then go out for a very early dinner so that we could come back to the rooms, pack our suitcases and have an early night thanks to the insanely early plane home in the morning (in fact I should be heading to bed very shortly).

So instead of heading back to the hotel we wandered down to Minotaur just to have a look around, maybe buy a sonic screwdriver "torch"... then did exactly that, freshened up and got ready just as it started to bucket down with rain. Not just cool change rain... scary big fat rain.

flinders street swami... complete with eyepatch and everything hopetoun tea room window goodies
We didn’t have that far to go for dinner... we almost literally fell across a Wagamama yesterday while looking for some street art, so decided to head there... which involved half a block up, a block across and three quarters of a block down. At least I had an umbrella that we both tried to cram under... which worked to some degree, although Ma got somewhat wetter than me.

As always, Wagamama was superb... since we hadn't had any lunch we were both pretty hungry, although I wanted something more substantial than I think Ma was aiming for... so we mostly raided the sides menu (edamame, yasai gyoza, tori kara age and beef yakitori as well as a bowl of miso soup and pickels for Ma), but I also had a big bowl of chicken ramen. It wasn't quite the spiritual experience it was last time I had it, but it was still pretty damn good. But tori kara age is probably my favourite... it's so damn tasty.

We also had another very cute and very attentive waiter, Toby... who was either wearing weird pants or possibly two pairs of pants because he seemed to have far too many belt loops in the wrong places.

Anyway, the food was delicious and we finished off with banana katsu... which is much better when we don't have to share it. Toby also said that it was a dessert so good that it needed its own theme song, but he hadn't come up with anything that wasn't under copyright.

But if it did have a theme song it would be very similar to that French song where the girl sounds like she's having an orgasm through the whole thing... is it Je T'aime? Yeah, that...

By the time we'd chowed our way through that massive feast we were both very full, very content and the rain had let up somewhat.

Not long after we got back it stopped completely and the sun even made a brief appearance. So if we'd gone to dinner later rather than earlier we would have been fine. Oh well.

The rest of my evening consisted of packing my suitcase ready for tomorrow morning since the car is picking us up at 6am for a 7:40 flight. Note to self: early is good... 7:40 is a little too much.

It always amuses me though that no matter how much stuff you've managed to cram into your suitcase for a trip somewhere, you can very often get even more stuff in it on the return trip... mostly because you don't care whether your clothes get all rumpled on the trip back since most of them are dirty anyway. But I managed to get all of my vinyl in the suitcase, and all of my clothes (other than my hat... that went with Ma's hat in her case), and there's still going to be some wiggle room.

Actually the packing didn't take very long... so the rest of the night was typing up my notes for today. And now it's time for bed.

That's pretty much it for the whole trip really, since all we're doing tomorrow is going to the airport, getting on a plane and coming home, I'm not sure there's going to be enough for an actual post. We'll see...

sky sailor tilted tower
And now it's Monday morning...

I set many and varied alarms on my phone, the first being for 4:50am, which turned out to be the only one I needed... discovered that the hotel shower had only marginally lukewarm water in which to shower (what the actual fuck?), so I warmed myself up with the hairdryer afterwards.

I was all ready to go by about 5:30, so did the usual last minute check of my room and hauled all my crap, including my shoes (I don't know why but I pretty much never put my shoes on in my room, I always carry them to Ma's room and put them on there) to Ma's room and we went down to wait for the car just before 6.

When we arrived it was a friendly but mostly quiet driver with a luxury BMW... on the way back it was a friendly but very talkative Turkish driver with some sort of semi 4WD (I have no idea really, other than I wasn't expecting that kind of car... a Lexus maybe?). But he was nice enough, even if he chattered away for most of the journey... and he took us the back way into the airport and just barged his way back into where he needed to be. Wrong, but I appreciated the effort.

All things considered, I do enjoy being able to check in via my phone, print bag tags via electronic kiosk and send out bags on their way, all without having to talk to an actual person. Makes it easier.

We also got through security in about a minute flat, which is always a bonus.

Unfortunately it turns out that the Happy Lab store that I thought we could have stopped off at before the flight is actually at the International Terminal. So no science based sweeties for yani... *sad face*.

I ended up dozing through the majority of the flight... like I said earlier, the Melbourne flight is too short to really do anything, so I didn't even bother.

And then we were home again. Granted we had to wait at the end of a very long taxi queue... and when we got to the front of it, the taxis stopped coming. Nice. They did turn up not long after, so that helped.

Then it was back here to unpack and sent Ma on her merry way before heading out to go grocery shopping since the fridge was essentially bare... and then organising all of my purchases and photograph them accordingly...

melbourne 2012 goodiesAlthough I did forget to include my sonic screwdriver in the pic...

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