Saturday, February 1, 2014

Melbourne - Jan '14 Pt 2

Hello again!

Happy Chinese Vietnamese New Year!
This post will be the second half of my trip to Melbourne this month. I hope it's enjoyable!

So, woke up on the 22nd feeling a little iffy; some thing felt a little off and I wasn't too sure why. My stomach just didn't fell 100%. I thought it may have just been hunger, so I got some Red Rooster for some light food, and hoped that I would feel better. Unfortunately... did feel even worse and I ended up walking around the city slowly, eventually walking to a Korean restaurant called 'Gangnam Pocha' where I would meet up with Adeline! So, Adeline is a girl I met two years ago; when I went to Thredbo.

So we got into the restaurant, and I ordered some Coke and dumplings; really didn't feel like eating; but the soft drink made me feel better! She got some sort of combination dish with rice? Afterwards, we walked to the Hard Rock climbing centre; where Adeline got the funniest 'lesson' from a guy who was most evidently gay. He was wearing skinny jeans, the tone of his voice screamed homosexuality, calves smaller than my forearms and his socks were tucked into his skinny jeans...

I went through all the necessities with her beforehand and the lesson was just one long overkill; really not required. The system they go through at this climbing gym is just ridiculous and over the top, and the top rope system with yourself tying in and using your own carabiner is silly; compared to how The Climbing Centre does it. To each their own, I guess. Himmat joined shortly after, and they were happy to do a short lesson with him, luckily. So long story short, I climbed a ridiculous amount of routes and worked up a great pump; awesome!

We all headed over to Degraves Street, just off Flinders Lane where they have a lot of cafes and cheaper restaurants; most of them were Italian themed and I got a Surf n Turf steak, Adeline got a lamb rack and Himmat got some sort of chicken. Afterwards, we headed to Federation Square (again, the atmosphere is just awesome) to watch the Federer vs Murray match. It was bloody cold, and Himmat had actually forgotten his jacket; so he needed to head off.

I took off my tank top underneath and covered my legs with that, just trying to make myself warmer because I was wearing shorts.  By the end of the night, Adeline and I were pretty much one person trying to stay warm. Freaking Melbourne weather! Federer won, quite easily and we headed back home. That night, the nausea came back and I ended up... chucking. I felt much better afterwards, and could actually sleep though. I'm thinking it was something in the crab, just part of it; because Himmat was fine!

Earlier in the day, came across these guys.

Woke up on the 23rd, feeling... not that great, from the events late last night. The plan for today was to have an early dinner at 4pm with just my family and aunt, then head off to watch the tennis at night. We had Rod Laver Arena tickets for the night session, the men's semi-finals!

My parents had gone shopping, but I decided to stay in bed resting, before heading out to wander the city slowly. First stop, was 7/11, so that I could get some blue Powerade and rehydrate and recover, it worked wonders! Second, was some light food from Red Rooster, because I know that will never mess with my stomach, I eat it way too much. I stayed mostly along Bourke Street watching all the street shows, there's an endless supply really.

Playing a didgeridoo, holding a harmonica for his brother, also playing the guitar, awesome! 

Quite the crowd.

My favourites of the day really had to be The Pierce Brothers. They could sing, they could perform; and were very exciting to watch! They sung covers, and originals; and you can listen to them on YouTube. Really great performers. I particularly enjoyed their cover of "I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons" and their own original, "Flying Home". Also enjoyed a magic show with this Asian guy, doing tricks I could not explain with cards and coins... Bloody awesome! Also walked along Little Bourke street to go in and browse at all the various outdoor stores. Paddy Pallin really intrigued me, how the store was trying to be environmentally friendly. The sign outside didn't have a light or anything, it was actually a hanging garden.

I think this photo captures Melbourne well. Australian Open banners, cyclist, trams and street performers. Yes, he is hitting the guitar with drumsticks.
Afterwards, headed back to the hotel to change into pants for dinner and the night time tennis, because of how cold it was yesterday... Turns out, it stayed very warm into the night, bloody Melbourne. We arrived at 'Box on Collins' at 4pm, however, my aunt was late and arrived just before 5pm.  The restaurant was split into four levels, with ground being the cafe and bar, level 1 being the restaurant, level 2 being the kitchen and level 3 being the toilets. We had gotten entrees without her, some garlic bread and oysters kilpatrick. She arrived, ordered some white wine and saganaki. I didn't have any wine and stuck to lemonade, so my stomach would still keep recovering.

Garlic Bread & Oysters

We ordered our mains, and I had some crayfish and mornay sauce and it was incredible. They claimed they were caught in the morning, and they tasted that way; so fresh. So freaking delicious. Afterwards, they took the crayfish away and cracked open the legs to make a salad out of the meat; really cool. Did I mention it was huge? I believe one half was 1.1kg. I was worried about eating too much because of my stomach, but the quality of the food was great; and there were no issues.

Next to an iPhone 4 in a case for size comparison.

My dad and I left first, heading to Melbourne Park and getting to Rod Laver Arena early. I took some photos right towards the front, and I could feel a headache coming on; which sucked. That ended up lasting for the whole Wawrinka and Berdych match up. Very tense match, and also quite hot court side. Dad wasn't feeling too well, and left after that match; however I stayed back and grabbed a seat at the front for the doubles match between Mansour Bahrami / Goran Ivanisevic v Henri LeConte / Pat Cash. It was only a short exhibition match, but my god, so damn funny.

Front row photo
Warming Up
Great sunset.

There's so much I could talk about (and I will!), but it was just a match you had to be there for. Moments like Cash taking pictures on his iPhone mid-match; Ivanisevic serving a massive 211km/h serve after acting like a little girl; LeConte scaring the ball boys; Ivanisevic jumping the net to hit a volley into the net to win the point; Bahrami being himself; Bahrami holding all six balls in his hand and throwing one up to serve at 170km/h; Ivanisevic turning his shorts into underwear; Cash posing on the ground for photos; LeConte crawling into the drinks container; Ivanisevic wearing the ball-boy hat, and playing as a ball boy; LeConte getting on the umpire chair and getting the umpire and ball boys to play, while doing hilarious commentary.

My view!
Ball boy Ivanisevic.

Not to mention all the silly points, the massive lobs and four way volleys. During one point, Ivanisevic served, LeConte did a massive lob and a person in the crowd (towards the back of the arena) caught it with one hand, extremely casually. The headache was gone during this match, so much laughter. At the end of the match, I also managed to get autographs from all the players, except Henri LeConte; damn! Walked back home and got myself some late night Maccas, weird cravings. One Cheeseburger, Medium fries, McBites and lemonade later, I was one happy man. Back to the hotel for a great night of sleep.

Pat Cash / Goran Ivanisevic / Mansour Bahrami

On the morning of the 24th, we checked out of our rooms and I played the piano for a while, waiting for my aunt to come pick up us and our luggage. Well, she would just get my parents really; because I was planning to meet up with Adeline for lunch, which was actually meant to be brunch; but I still felt like breakfast food... So we met up on Degraves Street, just outside the restaurant we ate at the other night; and walked back and down the lane trying to decide where we would eat.

Remember these dolls? Justin Bieber. Came across this walking about with Adeline.

Did I mention it was raining today? Go Melbourne weather! So, our requirements included shelter from the rain, some sort of bacon for me and good coffee for Adeline. Again, I don't remember the name of this place but I had the big breakfast: Bacon, eggs, sausage, mushroom, tomato, sour-dough bread; and Adeline had Eggs Benedict, I believe? It was delicious! We continued to roam around the city, with the rain stopping; she got some milk tea; and I ended up buying new casual shoes from Glue. $25! Great value. She got a brownie, right before she caught her tram; and I headed back to the hotel to meet up with my parents and aunt.

We were driven to the airport; where the check-in was nice and smooth; had some Krispy Kreme donuts and had some Gloria Jeans iced chocolate with Tim Tams! Yes, I was finishing off my holiday with some horrible food, I know... Went into the Telstra store where I had a chat with one of the guys for some time; before boarding and heading home! It was a Boeing 767, and I started reading a great book on that flight; The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Our plane

It was hot when we got back into Sydney, and my brother picked us up and we went to Strathfield to have Korean BBQ. They didn't have bulgogi, and that devastated me. The food was great, and we rushed home to watch the semi-final match between Federer and Nadal. I really missed my bed, and I had a great night of sleep!

Have a great one!

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