Thursday, 17 August 2006

Melbourne Memoirs

Melbourne has always been quite special for me in that I lived there for almost two years and I had heaps of fun there (not to mention many nights of drinking). However, I had not been there for almost two years now and going back made me appreciate the changes and reminded me of that to which I had grown accustomed.

The flight down was very much similar to my standard flight to Melbourne, except I was not rushed to get my flight and I was not used to checking in my luggage.

The first stop after checking into our hotel was to cure some hunger pangs. This was done at the delightful Pellegrini's Expresso Bar whereby the seafood linguine was washed down with some granita. Catching up with a whole host of colleagues, ex-colleagues and friends for drinkns on a Friday night was rounded off with an excellent meal at the great Squire's Loft (whereby we were the last people allowed with no booking). Needless to say, I ate the ribs with some nice juicy rib-eye steak (my mouth is watering now!). I rate this over Kingsleys or Kelly's. The worst part was the walking as I had forgotten which street it was off!

The next day was doing some touristy stuff, so off to St Kilda beach (although rather disappointing) and had a late breakfast. The breakfast was rather nice, and then we ended up at Bridge Road to do some shopping (hey, isn't Melbourne known for being a great place to shop?). Rushing back to drop off the shopping, we headed off to the tram stop where it was absolutely packed. The tram to the Rod Laver arena was groaning under the weight of the people as almost 90% of the people jumped out to head towards the Coldplay concert. The music was pretty good, and surprisingly I knew a lot of the songs (even though I am not a huge fan). Furthermore, the BreadTop green tea buns were great...and helped to fill me up. Very entertaining, although the main gripe would have to be the fact that the concert was very short (1.5hrs for Coldplay).
The weather didn't dampen the spirits so we headed out for some drinks - only the fact that there were too many "private parties" going on.

The weather worsened the next day, but we managed to make it out to Chapel St
and do a bit of shopping. I was eyeing a brown leather jacket but walked away with something totally different in the end! Oh well - that's how shopping goes! For guys, I definitely recommend SOHO workshop - only available in Melbourne with three stores (Melb ourne Central, Chapel St, Bridge St) and the service is quite good too. I might consider an annual pilgrimage to Melbourne to do some shopping. Tired from the shopping, the day ended at Southgate for some dinner. Very relaxing.

The next moring was a flurry of packing and getting ready for a road trip to the Great Ocean Road. Surprisingly, I had never been there (as I flew back to Sydney every weekend). Blitz Cafe, on Little Bourke St, was great value at $6 for breakfast and a coffe. I am not sure where one can get something like that in Sydney (except for maybe IKEA). After getting lost for a bit, we were on our way out there. Another gripe is the cost of eating out - it is pretty expensive (at least compared with Singapore).

Accommodation was cosy and the lobster risotto was top notch at Apollo Bay. After getting informed of a 20km "short cut" (through gravel, umarked roads as well as heavy fog) we managed to get to Beauchamp Falls as well as the Otways Fly Treetop walk.
By some sheer amount of luck as we were driving along we say the Twelve Apostles and stopped there for some more happy snaps.

The drive back was fun as I was pushing it pretty hard to get back to Melbourne so that I could make it for dinner with some friends. That we managed to do as well as have dessert at one of my favourite places.

With that it pretty much concluded the brief trip to Melbourne. However, I cannot conclude this post without a comment on a certain carrier out at Avalon, whereby the tickets are definitely cheap, but the trip out there is L-O-N-G, and the counter check-in service can only be rated as below mediocre (heck budget airlines in the UK are much more organised) and talk about a terminal (or what is more appropriately described as a tin shack). Anyway, I won't mention names, or about an orange **cough**jet**cough** star.

Thursday, 10 August 2006

I'm back

Well, I am finally back. In Sydney. Damn it feels good.

The last two weeks have been bliss, except for that annoying sickness I had pretty much as soon as I got back - the cold weather exacerbating that nasty dry cough.

So the first two weeks have been filled with overdosing myself on my favourite things, namely:
- basketball (fitness is currently rated at zero)
- golf (need to cure that wicked slice)
- mahjong (don't you just love playing with super lucky people)
- videogames (I missed my PS2)
- drinks (I am NEVER doing B151 ever again)
- sleep (I love being warm when it is cold outside....zzzzzzz)

I think that this is the most time I have spent in this house over the course of the year

There is definitely something rather relaxing about being in one's home city - as though that it is a sanctuary. One doesn't feel rushed or pressured to do anything and can easily fall into the lull of just doing very ordinary activities and really enjoying it.

Knowing that most of my friends are around has really helped and seeing how they have welcomed me back is almost as though I had never left. Having been away for so long, there are bound to be things which are not the same or have changed. Just driving around the other day and seeing the subtle differences - that chinese restaurant which had closed and reopend under a different name; the new apartment block that just went up around the corner; the new road which just got opened. I guess it is a matter of getting reaquainted with what I know.

It's rather funny in a way that I had started this blog not long after I had come back from an out of town assignment around two years ago, and here I am writing about coming back to Sydney again. As I am on leave, I have less of an excuse to post...but I am just an inherently lazy individual.


I think I might take a nap now...

In any case, it's good to be home.