Life has been super hectic so I have been extremely tardy in updating this blog. It is unreal how quickly time has flown by. Given that I am yet again behind – here, are the highlights from March.
In early March I flew to Sydney. As someone who has flown in and out of the Melbourne airport frequently over the last few months, let me tell you, getting to the airport sucks. I live North of the CBD (above Brunswick) – and in an Uber it takes about 20-30 minutes (in light traffic) to get to the airport and costs about $30-$35 bucks. During this trip I was downtown, so I hopped on the Skybus. Omg. Downtown, Friday, rush hour. The Skybus sat in traffic. It was excruciating. The point here is that Melbourne is a hub of transit and needs a train to the airport. As I write this, I am ironically sitting in the Sydney airport and it took me 18 minutes on the train from the CBD to the aiport. Come on Melbourne. You can do better.
Anywho, back to Sydney. So we flew to Sydney’s for the Mardi Gras Pride parade. If you know me you will understand how impressive it was that I did not check a bag and just had a 6 kilo carry-on (ignore the fact that it was only 3 days away). We stayed at the Village Surrey Hills, which was…… an interesting experience. Right outside the hostel we saw not one but two Redblack spiders. These are highly venomous and dangerous spiders. I was not exactly enthralled with the idea that there seemed to be a nest of them right outside where I was going to sleep but nothing I could do but hope for the best. Avoiding the spiders and after dropping off our bags we went out for delicious Thai food. Another thing Sydney has on point, Thai food. Seriously. Check it out.
The next day we headed to Watson’s Bay. We took the ferry across and so crossed the infamous Opera House. This was my second trip to Watson’s Bay (yes I totally forgot that I was here 2 years ago) but it was nice to explore the Bay at a more leisurely pace. We literally walked all over the Bay. Did you know there is a candy cane lighthouse there? I didn’t. After a long morning and afternoon of walking around, we headed back to the hostel for an afternoon nap before the big parade.
When we headed out in the early evening, celebrations had already begun. Sydney’s Mardi Gras is huge. It seemed like everyone was out on the streets celebrating. This was a special year for the pride parade because not only did Australia say yes to the same sex marriage postal vote but it was also the 40th anniversary of Sydney’s pride parade. I have never seen such a huge parade. The parade and floats started at 7:30ish and ended at 11ish? There was also a steady stream of fireworks into the sky. It was amazing!! After the parade finished there were random parties happening on the streets. We walked by a hair salon that was blasting music from its speakers and everyone just started dancing in the middle of the road. What a great night!
The next day we wandered to the Barangaroo Reserve. After taking a quick walk around, we hopped on to another ferry to Manly Beach for more Thai food and beach time. Manly has some awesome water dragons. If I could take one home, I wouldn’t because obviously they are an endangered species that should be kept in their natural habitat (that’s the right answer right?). After a lovely relaxing day, we headed to the airport and back to MEL.
Back in Melbourne, we headed to the Yarra Valley to check out this famous region. We stopped by Coldstream Brewery and the Oakridges Winery. Just a quick peek on our way to the 1000 steps. It was not the ideal weather for the 1000 steps given that it was a million degrees outside but you got to do, what you got to do. The steps are all different sizes and widths. It’s not safe to run up them but that didn’t stop people from trying. I was dressed too casually for the steps in a sundress and flip flops (aka thongs). Everyone beside me was decked out in their full active gear like this was the Inca trail or something. Once you get to the top, you don’t know you are there. There is no sign or spectacular view. It’s sort of just a clearing with some water fountains. Worth it?…. Not sure. But the Ethiopian food we ate after was definitely worth it.
After being in MEL for a couple of days, I headed to Adelaide for the Fringe. Now everyone has told me that the best time to be in Adelaide is during the end of February/March for the festivals. It is at this time that Adelaide is known as RADelaide. I don’t actually know if anyone calls it that, but in my mind that’s totally what it should be called.
My first Fringe show was Good Morning Comedy. What a great way to start the morning. To be honest – I’m glad that there were other people in the audience because I was worried that I would be the only one in the audience. So much pressure. But I wasn’t! There were 3 comedians. I thought some of the most hilarious jokes were related to flying domestically in Australia (because it is weird) but that is a story for another time. Later that afternoon I headed to Cirque Africa 2.0. It was awesome! It was like a much smaller Cirque Du Soliel. There was this one guy who was standing on unstable circular tubes and planks and he kept adding to them to make it taller and taller. I was sitting at the edge of my seat. I was terrified that he would fall. After taking a very short fringe break, I returned with N and his family and we had dinner at the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Omg. The food here is incredible. This is a must do. It must be on everybody’s list. After dinner we saw the Best of Ed (Edinburgh) Comedy! It was good, although one of the comedians was the same guy I saw earlier and he had promised the material would not be the same (…not entirely true). Don’t get me wrong, the first time I heard the jokes I was in tears laughing, but it’s not as funny the second time around. After this I saw my fourth Fringe show of the day (I know, I got addicted to Fringe) which was Baby Wants Candy. This has to be one of my favourite shows – it was an improv musical show. It was hilarious! It is also just so impressive how the actors have to feed on one another and do it all to music too boot.
The next day I went for a run in the Adelaide Greenbelt. I then prepared for my next Fringe filled afternoon. My theme for this afternoon was magic. The first show I went to was called RanDOM. It was quite small and intimate. It was your pretty traditional magic show but the magician was quite personable. The second show was called Unfair Advantage. To be fair to this show, I did not really read the description before checking it out but it was about card tricks and less about magic per se. While it was not really my thing, the magician or whatever you’d call him was amazing. The last show I saw was called, Unsolved with Matt Tarrant. This was in a huge tent. The magic was a bit more polished and on a large scale. Overall, I had a fun day but my mind was not blown and I am totally one of those individuals who is willing to suspend my belief. All of the magic shows were at Gluttony which was a bit cool because I felt like I had a gluttonous intake of music.
The next day, I took a (tiny) break from Fringe and headed to the Adelaide beaches – Henley to be specific. This should again be a must! Adelaide wins for beaches. The sand is so soft and the weather was perfect. Later that night, I stopped by the Garden of Unearthly Delights again and then went to a musical cabaret/comedy show called the Birds and the Beats. The singer was great, but the crowd was small and it was a bit awkward. Guess the topic of the show from the name.
On my second last day in Adelaide, I headed back to the Greenbelt for another run. Along the way I stopped by some Japanese gardens that are in the Greenbelt. They are quite stunning and beautiful. I then walked to the Art Gallery of South Australia and attended the biennial exhibit. It was so cool. It was focused on fashion and sculptures and called the Divided Worlds. There was this amazing piece, which was a car (maybe a Mazda) that was broken down into all of its pieces and wrapped in Japanese netting. It was incredible.
Unable to give up my dream of magic, I went to another three shows. The first show I saw – [Chronicle] – was excellent. The magician was a 19-year-old mentalist – who clearly excelled at his craft. I loved this show and I was blown away when he told me to open a Harry Potter book and turn to a random page and pick the longest word. Once this was done, he guessed the word! I mean come on. How did he do that? He then followed up guessing my word, by performing the same trick for 3 other people for 3 different books. Spectacular! The second show I saw was the Edge of Magic. It was…3 amateur magicians who….were doing comedic magic? Not sure. Moving on, the last show I saw that night was the Card Ninja. It was a bit unfortunate as it was a crowd of 10 in a room for 70 but the Card Ninja was hilarious and great! I totally recommend this show. One of the audience members was the designated DJ and the soundtrack he picked was the exact opposite of the intense action packed vibe the Card Ninja was going for and it was perfect!
During my last day in South Australia, we went on a wine tour of the Barossa Valley using Trailhopper. The tour was excellent. The first stop of the day was Bethany Wines. It was fantastic and the staff was amazing. Definitely make sure you go to the top of hill at Bethany and get a view of the Barossa. The second stop of the day was Yalumba Wines. The grounds here are stunning and there is an painting of an upside down Farlap by the fireplace. The third stop of the day was the village of Angaston where we had lunch. The final pit stop of the day was the Home of the Brave (I’ve got to admit it appealed to me because there is a bar in Toronto that is similarly named and is so reminiscent of baseball). Overall, the tour was great and we had a fantastic day.
Later that night, we returned to the Garden of Unearthly Delights (I’m telling you this is a must) for my final meal and final fringe show – A Night at the Musicals. It was great – the song and dance and drama and performance of it all was fantastic. The last few songs were from Grease and I totally loved it!!! My only comment here would be that both I and the audience really enjoyed singing along with the songs at the end and I only wish there had been more well known songs throughout. After a Night at the Musicals we went to the light show that was across the northern terrace buildings. Awesome! One of the coolest light shows we saw was called Northern Lights. Not entirely sure how it was done but lights/mist were projected into the sky and it felt like a mini northern lights (from someone who has never seen the real thing).
Tips for the Fringe – Tip 1 – between 12 pm and 3:00 pm you can get half price tickets if you aren’t too particular about what you see. Tip 2 – On Tuesday I think that most shows are half-price. Tip 3 – half price tickets run out – so buy quickly.
Back to MEL, I went to my second AFL game ever (Collingwood v Hawthorne). It was a lot of fun although I still have no idea what is happening. To finish up this blog post and March, I went to Holey Moley. It’s this indoor mini-golf thing, with 4 or 5 levels, blaring music and really cool courses. While it was fun it was also absurdly expensive and the security guards were asses so I would not have this on my list of must-dos.