Thursday, August 18, 2016

Exploring Melbourne

Since arriving in Melbourne of the best things has been my friend Sanna. The poor girl got stuck with me as a couchsurfer/mooch ‘just until my sister and I got an apartment’ and then I ended up becoming an actual roommate. Together we’ve been partners in crime while sightseeing, burning on beaches and exploring the Melbourne nightlife. Also she has my eternal love because the day I arrived in Australia she asked me, ‘what food have you been craving?”. Being cheese deprived I replied nachos and she greeted me with nachos and goon.

A point of pride for me was that after 8 months in Asia I never got a sunburn, well two days into Australia Sanna and I decided to hit up the beach and I came away with the angriest red tanlines you have ever seen. I also saw my first Australian beach and while it was pretty great, the water was surprisingly cold. That was my first inkling that Australia may not be the land of perpetual sunshine and warmth I thought it was, Melbourne especially. Since getting here I’ve also had a beach day with Sanna and some Aussie buddies were we visited the famous Brighton beach where we took the standard tourist photos in front of the brightly coloured beach huts and I finally braved the cool waters. It also took me a while to find a job so in my ample free time I spent a fair bit of time on St. Kilda beach which was conveniently located a 20 minute walk from my apartment! Australians keep ripping into poor St Kilda beach but clearly they’ve never seen Ottawa beaches. There were chill reading/tanning days on the beach, swimming days, drinking days with friends, and sometimes playing water volleyball with friends. Basically I spent a ton of time on St Kilda beach and the only time I didn’t enjoy myself was when some weird foot fetish guy interrupted my reading to ask me questions about my feet and if he could touch them. Left pretty quickly that day!

General Sightseeing
I’d spent a ton of time wandering the cbd (downtown) in Melbourne but it was actually a while till I got around to some sightseeing, until one day Sanna suggested we be tourists. That day we checked out the ACMI museum, and I quickly remembered I don’t like museums, we wandering done Hosier Lane looking at the cool street art that is all over the city, we went through the giant and beautiful Botanic Gardens and we even hiked up the stairs at the Shrine of Remembrance and were greet with a pretty spectacular view of the city.

Shrine of Remembrance

Australia Day
I arrived at just the right time since it meant I was able to witness Australia Day, which is very similar to Canada Day. Everyone dresses up in flag colours or silly outfits, then gets overly drunk. Throw some poutine in the mix and it’s Canada Day with an accent. Sadly there was no poutine in the mix but after starting with some 10am goon Sanna and I joined some Aussie buddies where we celebrated at their place till joining the block party at the Secret Beer Garden.

Melbourne Bars
Melbourne is a super hipster place with things like deconstructed coffee and secret bars and while I’m not hipster enough to appreciate the coffee the same way (Tim Hortons is my version of ‘good coffee’), I’ve done my best to check out some of the bar scene. I’ve so far avoided the infamous Revolvers bar that opens Friday evenings and doesn’t close till late Sunday but the places I have been have had great drinks and/or atmosphere. Our favourite bar hands down is Sister Bella, partly because it has a fantastic atmosphere, partly because you have to go down several narrow creepy dark alleys to get there and especially because they have $10 jugs. Living on Chapel street has also been excellent since it’s the ‘bar street’ and if you time it right you can go happy hour hopping from 2pm-8pm. There also numerous rooftops bars that provide wicked views of the city, The Croft Institute where you drink from plastic syringes, and a nearby bar, Jungle Boy would already be winning at life because it serves poutine but to make things even better, it’s a hidden tiki bar behind the pantry door of a small sub shop.

AFL Games
You’ve never seen people so hardcore about a sport that is played almost nowhere else in the world but Melbournians love their Australian Football and I have to admit, its pretty entertaining. I’ve seen 4+ games live so far and here are the rules I’ve figured out:
1.   Players can use other players as ladders
2.   The guys wear really, really short shorts but its okay because they are jacked
3.   The field is a circle
4.   The ball looks funny and should be thrown between the middle posts, though the side posts work too
5.   Drink beer and then you can pretend to know the rest of the rules

Sums it up right? GO TIGERS GO!

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