As I am trying to catch up on my blog entries, we are all in luck (particularly me) that this will be a short entry as February was a quiet month!
I started the month by flying up to Brissy for the weekend for a quick visit. How I missed the sun, smiles and relaxed style of Brisbane! Unfortunately, I brought the cool rainy Melbourne weather with me. But oh well! 2 out of 3 is still winning in my books! C and G, my lovely hostesses, let me crash on their couch. On my first night in town, we decided to go out dancing, Brissy style. As you likely know from your own crazy nights out, one of the best parts about going out dancing is when the DJ plays your favourite tunes, enabling you to scream (I mean sing) along at the top of your lungs. We definitely stayed up late screaming (I mean singing along) to our favourite tunes.
The next day, I met up with the C and V and the gang at The Scratch for a peanuts and a Jenga-off! One of the great things about Jenga is that there are no winners or losers…or if there are winners and losers, a few months later when you are writing a blog entry, you don’t remember who won or lost, you only remember heaps of laughter and fun. The Scratch is a great chill place to hang out with friends. Check it out!
As part of my non-new year resolution, I am trying to increase the frequency of my weekly runs. Taking advantage of being close to the Brissy River, one morning I decided to run along around Kangaroo Point. Boy! The difference in humidity between Brissy and Melbourne is unreal. By the time I was finished the run I was drenched in sweat. Drenched! As a reward for waking up and dragging my body out of bed for a run, I decided to have lunch with H at the Netherworld restaurant- a restaurant with a twist. Everything on the menu is vegan and then you can opt in for dairy or meat options. The food was delicious.
After lunch, I thought I should treat myself given that I spent the morning exercising (wait…had I already done that?). H and I parted ways, and C and I met up and decided to have fancy nitrogen frozen sorbet dessert near the Southbank Streets Beach. Definitely a must see.
During this trip to Queensland, I also had the opportunity to visit the Varsity Lakes area. The name is spot-on! There are heaps of beautiful lakes with houses scattered around the edges. It actually reminded me very much of Canada. However, word on the street is that these lakes have a huge bull shark and crocodile problem (very unlike Canada). Another reason Varsity Lakes reminded me so much of home was because of the subtle reminders everywhere. See for yourself:
Interesting fact that I learned whilst on this trip, Queensland does not observe daylight savings. This means that Coolangatta, which is a city Queensland, and Tweeds Head, directly across from Coolangatta in New South Wales, can be in different time zones during certain parts of the year! Imagine trying to get to work on time if you lived on the other side! Or, the panic you feel if you need to catch a flight and you’re not sure which side the airport is on (….it’s on the Queensland side).
Panic aside, my first night back in Melbourne I went to a salsa class! I can’t stop dancing! The theme this month for salsa was enchufla and outside turns for bachata. I sometimes try to take notes during my dance classes and while I find the dance pattern fairly easy to transcribe for salsa, for some reason I find it very difficult to do for bachata. Maybe it is because it is a much more partner dependent dance or because the steps flow more into one another? I’m not sure. But in either case, what has became apparent is that I need to practice, practice, practice.
Pretty standard question – have you ever gotten into a fight with an ATM before? Now, I’m not saying that I got into a fight with an ATM, but I did put my Australian debit card into an ATM (the ATM and debit card belonged to the same bank), and shortly thereafter the ATM freaked out and literally went into a meltdown mode. It crashed. Went to some insane website. Tried to restart. Froze. And then decided that it wanted my card “for keeps.” As someone who only has one Australian debit card and who waited outside the ATM for 15 minutes in case, IN CASE, the ATM changed its mind, the solution to this stressful solution was to call the bank immediately to cancel the card. NOT. If you call the emergency line to speak to a representative of this particular bank, you will be on hold, ON HOLD, for 30 minutes. On the emergency line!! Emergency!! I can only say that if a hypothetical fight was started with an ATM, I definitely lost.
In about mid-February (so still Australian summer), Melbourne has White Night (also known as Nuit Blanche). Summer is the perfect time to host this event! Toronto has Nuit Blanche in the fall and it can sometimes be pretty chilly. With cooler evenings also comes the desire to stay inside, which can impact your desire to walk around looking at artwork.
We started our White Nite adventures around 9/9:30 pm, which is high crowd, peak time, but as I’m not very good at staying up until 4:00 am something’s gotta give. The fire breathing serpent outside of the Melbourne Museum was unreal. Almost dragon? Perhaps. In any case, it gave off a ton of heat and was amazing to see!!
Also very cool were the projections. I suspect that Melbourne is very into this type of projection artwork. There was a lot of it and it was all excellent. Outside the exhibition building there was an incredible 3-minute movie projection, part of which was the architecture of the building coming in on itself in dynamic ways. It was some amazing imagery.
The La Trobe Reading Room in the State Library also had this sort of magical, books come to life projection. It was like stepping into another world. Slightly disappointing was an interactive metamorphosis exhibit. It was not particularly interactive or metamorphosis-y, but we moved on to bigger and better things!
The last art piece we saw was the Federation Square Living Skyline. This was very cool. Hard to describe as it was so much more than a bunch of tassels in the sky that moved in the wind – but if I was going to describe it in a literal sense – that is what I would go with. In any case, it was awesome.
It was actually White Night, that inspired my next adventure, a visit to the Melbourne Museum. I am a huge fan of the Melbourne Museum. It is one of the largest museums in the Southern hemisphere. It has an indoor forest exhibit which is incredible. While we were visiting, there was also a very interesting and interactive exhibit on the human brain, as well as an exhibit on the history of Melbourne! Perhaps for people who live here, the history of Melbourne is not that exciting, but as an outsider, I thought the exhibit was great. The way the museum incorporates interactive elements into all of its exhibits is top-notch. I highly recommend a visit to the museum.
Lastly, have you ever watched a sport (your sport) in a foreign country? I found myself glued to the gold medal Women’s Olympic hockey between Canada and the US in Australia where most people don’t even know that the winter Olympics are a thing. I happened to be watching the tail end of game while I was on a tram and my gasps, sighs and then gut-wrenching disappointment earned me quite a few stares. While I don’t find there are many drastic difference between Canada and Australia, love of hockey is a stark difference.
Tips on Eats (from a non-food critic)
- Queen Victoria Summer Night Market: Good. Again, I really like the Night Market vibe, but the Summer Market seemed very meat focused and their weren’t a ton of vendors.
- South Melbourne Night Market: Excellent. Shorter timeframe than the Queen Victoria Summer Night Market and smaller, however, there seemed to be a more diverse variety of vendors and the calibre of the food vendors was excellent.
- The Shaw Davey Slum: Okay. Not a fan. Wouldn’t go again.
- DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar: Excellent. Have been several times.
- Boney: Excellent for snacks. Have been several times.
- The Petty Officer: Excellent. However, in the space of writing this blog it has now closed down. Hopefully, something equally amazing will pop up in its place.
- Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya: Excellent sushi! Fantastic vibe. Would go several times!