Day 218-224: Prahran/Melbourne
Trip Start Sep 12, 2004
57Trip End Jan 05, 2006
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
German roomie moved out this morning, got up and went for a jog, 30 mins then had brekkie and showered. Met a guy called Michael who I'd been speaking to on the net for a coffee around half ten, just met on Chapel St and had a drink at Global Cafe. Chatted for about an hour and then got the train from Windsor into the city as Michael was heading home anyway. Caught the tram up to Lygon St, Carlton as I wanted to catch a movie at the Nova cinema, it's a kind of arthouse place and has $5 movies before 4pm so being a bargain I went to see Broadway: The Golden Age. Got there in time for the 1.10pm showing. It was excellent, really enjoyed it - basically a documentary about Broadway from the early days to present time...very funny, interesting and some great old footage.
Wandered around Lygon afterwards and had some lunch whilst there. Then walked over to the net cafe which was only 10 mins away. Spent a couple of hours there and then caught the tram to Flinders Station, then the train back to Windsor, was back at the hostel around 7. Chucked some dinner together and sat watching telly for a little bit before going up for a shower. Whilst showering some one moved into the room, I was in the shower so couldn't see who it was, but for some bizarre reason he felt the need to introduce himself while I was drying myself, knocked on the door, some 300 year old bloke who didn't exactly look like a backpacker - more some homeless bloke! He left as soon as introducing himself, he had no bags but he did have a respirator plugged into the wall!!! Jesus, it's like bunking down in an old people's home - was not a happy bunny! The receptionist said it was some bloke who works nearby and often stays over, said he looks dodgy but he's harmless....good job it's only one night!
Walked to the bus stop and got the bus up to The Laird as it was Vic Bears Den night so thought it would be pretty busy and worth taking a look. Turns out it was pretty dead really, got there about half 9 and left not long after 11, didn't really get that busy at all, nothing like the Harbour Bears night in Sydney but that is on a Friday and I guess a Monday night is never gonna be busy anywhere. Even cute bar boy wasn't on and I was all pumped up to give him my number....so jumped on the last bus back to the hostel. Stopped off at Porter Rd on the way back for a quickie but pretty quiet there too. 3000 year old man was 'sleeping' when I got in...well kinda coughing and wheezing, he must have heard me as he got up and went to the loo. As I was trying to get to sleep he switched his respirator on for a little while to stop the coughing, bloody good job I have ear plugs! Managed to get off to sleep but didn't feel at all comfortable with him in the room.
Woke up about 7 and for some reason the dorm door was open and old man wasn't in his bed, god knows how long that had been open, anyone could have walked in and helped themselves to anything not in the lockers! Anyway, managed to get back to sleep before being woken about half 9 by some new bloke moving into the room - it never stops! Had Brekkie and showered before jumping on the tram down to St Kilda - I was inspired on sunday by some of the pics I took so went down with the big camera and took a few around the pier and seafront....unfortunately the battery ran out after an hour so had to come back, but had some good stuff and will go back again and finish off what I was doing.
Had no idea what to do in the afternoon but Michael had mentioned a trip to Williamstown. It's a small historic port which is pretty close to Melbourne, only a 30 min train journey so I went into the city and caught the train there. Arrived about 3pm after a delight train journey where 10 billion schoolkids got on the train, luckily only a couple of stations away from my stop so didn't have to put up with them for too long. I must have taken the wrong turning from the station and ended up in some parkland on the waterfront but couldn't find the actually main town. Wandered along the waterfront, good afternoon for it too - another sunny warm day...eventually worked out how to get into the town, it was only a 10 min walk from where I was. It really was a small port, tho the water was pretty busy with massive cargo carriers down to little sailboats. It was all pretty quiet in the town, it would appear only the occasional minibus of pensioners visits, probably on pension day. But it was nice and relaxing to wander round and I stopped off and had a tea and smarties cookie which at the mo is my favourite combo for afternoon tea - don't you just love having the time to do afternoon tea!
Got the train back just after 5, thankfully much quieter than on the way there. Eventually got back to the hostel just after 6 and chucked some dinner together. Spent the rest of the evening in the TV lounge watching Simpsons and America's Next Top Model, quite a few other people around for a change which was good. 3000 year old man came into the lounge and my heart sank, thought I'd be in for another night with him but luckily he was in a different room tonight. Went to bed just after 11 and met the new guy in the room - American guy from Seattle who's name I can't remember. He's doing Oz in 3 weeks so not sticking around for long before moving on to Canberra - we chatted for a bit before going to sleep.
Had booked the Phillip Island Penguin Tour for today but the bus doesn't pick up until 12 so decided to do some exercise first. Had discovered a swimming pool when I went for a jog on Monday so went for a swim, unfortunately some brat children had taken over and it was closed to the public, only a 25 metre pool anyway so not too heartbroken....however I couldn't let that be an excuse not to do anything so went back to the hostel and went for a jog instead. In the 30 mins I managed to get from the hostel down to the end of St Kilda pier and back, no idea how far it is but a pretty good jog route anyway. By the time I'd got back, had brekkie and got changed it was pretty much time to catch the bus.
Had to wander over to Pint on Punt which was my nearest pickup point, only 10 mins walk. Bus turned up at 12.15 and I was the last one on, it was only a minibus so there was only about 20 altogether - a few couples too....now good on em for being all happy and in love and everything - I'm not bitter - but couples are just crap to travel with, they have no interest in talking to anyone else while they float around in their own loved up bubble....ggggrrr - I'm not bitter or anything! Anyways we made our way off - our guide Luke doing a little schpiel on the way out of Melbourne.
First stop was a small fishing village called Tooradin, basically a loo and fag break whilst Luke picked up lunch. Had a brief chat with him as I was getting back on the bus - he'd actually heard of Norwich, mainly from the football team, we had a brief conversation about football - see, gays can talk about sport! Next stop was a vineyard called The Gurdies Winery where we had a little wine tasting followed by lunch. Didn't really get much wine to taste at all, just 4 before lunch and 3 after, lunch itself was some flimsy bland sandwiches in plastic wrappers, with some fruit....mmmm, filling! If Luke had said it was this shite I'd have gotten something substantial at Tooradin. We stayed there for an hour or so....and amazingly at this point I still hadn't spoken to anyone and no one had spoken to me - yes I know it's 50/50 and yes I should be more proactive about it, but I'm so crap with new people!
Next leg of the journey took us to Wildlife Wonderland (no website unfortunately) which mainly had aussie animals such as wombats, roos, koalas, dingos, cockatoos, etc. We all got to hold and have our photo with a wombat...which are huge by the way as you'll see on the pic. The good thing about this park is that some of the animals aren't behind fences or cages, the kangaroos are in a paddock which you can walk into, they're all pretty tame and you can buy roo food so you can feed them and they eat out of your hand which was cool. There were loads of them around and one of the females had a Joey in here pouch....aw! There weren't many Koalas and you couldn't just wander into their area but the ranger was about to feed one of them so she let us go in one by one to pat him and have our taken with him, my first pic with a Koala! The park also had a 5 metre Great White Shark on display in formaldehyde - it was a real one which was legally killed a few years ago after getting into a tuna fish farm. Amazing seeing a real one so close up, god knows what I'd do if I saw something like that coming up to me whilst swimming in the sea, think I'd just roll over and let it take me! Actually got chatting to a couple of people here, a young couple from Slovenia which I thought was cool, they're doing Oz in 18 days and asked me for some ideas of things to do in Sydney.
Next we journeyed on to Phillip Island itself. It's most famous for the huge colony of Little Penguins which come ashore after sundown every night. They spend the day out at sea feeding and then come back at night to their burrows....watching penguins waddle up the beach has become a tourist attraction amazingly - and yes I'm one of the idiots who's paying to go see it too. We started at a point on the island called 'The Nobbies' which is mainly a scenic lookout onto some rock formations out in the ocean. The sun set while we were there so we then moved on quickly to the penguins. It's all very organised now, mainly to protect the penguins as there can be over 3000 people going to see them each night over the summer months and you go in through the visitor's centre and then walk down some boardwalks to the beach where two grandstands have been created for viewing. One problem was that it was BLOODY FREEZING!!! I had ¾ length trousers, a t-shirt and my Berghaus jacket but it was so not enough layers.
Sat down at about 6.10pm and the penguins were due around half past, the thought of sitting in the freezing cold for 20 mins was not appealing, but I stuck it out. They started waddling in roughly on time, and yeah they were cute and everything, and definitely little. I guess it's kinda worth seeing, but if you ain't got much money there's better things to spend $80 on (how much the whole day cost). I stayed to see 3 groups come ashore and once you've seen one bunch of penguins.....so I escaped back to the Visitors Centre to warm up and getting some proper food in me...well Lasagne, Salad and Chips anyway, needed it tho after the flaccid sandwich at lunch. There's no record of the penguins unfortunately as photography isn't allowed - which is understandable as all the flashes wouldn't be good for the pengies.
We hit the road just before 8, the journey back seemed to take aaaages and I was dropped off around 10pm. Made a cup of tea and plonked myself in the TV lounge, crap all on telly, they were watching some crappy American cop thing - Law and Order: SVU - then Battlestar Galactica came on and some bloke wanted to watch that....so so bored! Went to bed about 11 and read.
Rudely awoken around 7am by American bloke who was still there getting up and checking out, guess he decided to stay the extra night but the bed is empty again now. Couldn't get back to sleep and thought it might be an idea to get down to St Kilda and finish of the photo project early to get some different light, weather was good for it, tho there was no cloud at all which isn't great for pics, the skies can look too plain. So had a shave, shower and sh....and then went down for brekkie - very very healthy this morning; banana with yoghurt and muesli! Trammed down to St Kilda and was there before 9 - up and out before 9!!! Madness!! Spent about 3 hours wandering around taking pics of all sorts of stuff...all my creative juices had run dry by 12 and went back to the hostel to drop the camera off and have a little snack.
Jumped on the train to the city coz I immediately wanted to see what incredible works of art I had created so headed off to the net cafe. Stopped for tea and a muffin in the city first and a read of the paper. Got to the cafe about 2.....was really pleased with the pics and of course they'll end up on webshots soon. Hadn't done the diary for 4 days so had to sit and type all that and went through the messages, etc. Made my way back to the hostel about 6 and chucked some dinner together. Watched TV with everyone for a little while but as usual it was shite US cop shows, which seem to be the show of choice for the long termers who generally get their way with the TV. Couldn't be arsed with another night in plus it's my last night in Prahran so decided to go to DTs bar which I haven't been to yet.
The tram which runs along Chapel St goes all the way to the bar so caught that just before 10. As it's a Thursday night I wasn't expecting it to be very busy but would rather go for a couple of drinks than sit and watch crap TV again. It was pretty quiet when I got there but there was a pool competition on which gave me something to watch. It's actually a really nice bar, got a pub feel about it rather than some swanky bar. Just plonked myself down with a vodka and diet, pity I hadn't realised how easy it is to get to this place as I wouldn't have minded being here on a Sat night....anyway, killed a couple of hours and jumped back on the tram just before midnight and went back to the hostel...just me in the room tonight so no disturbances.
Great nights sleep - woke up around 9am, check out is 10.30 so plenty of time. Can't be arsed to shower as I'll only sweat like a bitch hulking all my crap around, so got dressed and went down for brekkie. Finished packing my crap up and checked out just after 10, didn't want to check into the Greenhouse again until after 11 so hung around the TV lounge. Not long after 10.30 receptionbitch asked me when I was leaving!!! Jesus...talk about outstaying your welcome. Never been in a hostel where they're bothered about you walking out the door straight away, told the cow that I was waiting to get the 11 o'clock train.
Hulked my rubbish to the train station, on the train, and then to the Greenhouse. Arrived there about half 11. In a different room this time, again none of the guys in the room were there when I checked in so no idea who I'm staying with. Unpacked and then went to the gym. Jogged down there and then spent a couple of hours at the gym, ran a little, cycled a little, then done a whole body weights work out. Left there about 2 and jogged back to the hostel. Needed to do some washing so jumped in the shower first then got started on the wash. Had some lunch whilst it was running...some cheeky bugger took it out of the washer when it was finished coz they were all being used, but I was then a sock missing!...bastard.
Then started drying the stuff and some idiot kept opening the door to my dryer, probably to see if it was being used, which of course stopped it, so I kept going back to find the dryer not on and my stuff still damp...and that costs money!!....was experiencing dryer-rage at this point. I finally got it all finished about half 5. Still no one else in the room when I was putting my washing away. Relaxed on the bed for half an hour before getting changed to go out. Got some booze and a chicken wrap and sat waiting for the tram, decided to go to the net cafe for a couple of hours before heading off to the Laird for the evening. Tomorrow is Better Midler so won't be out drinking on my last Sat in Melbourne. Have seen a few reviews of the show and it's supposed to be fantastic so really looking forward to it now.
Stayed in the cafe till about 9 then caught the tram to the station and the train to the Laird. Busy as usual when I arrived, spotted a guy I'd been chatting to on the net since arriving here but had never met, called Michael. Basically hung out with him for the rest of the night, chatted to some of his friends, nice and made a change to standing around on my own for the night. Stayed there till about 1am.
Had a lazy morning doing bugger all for most of it....had booked to go see a footy match at the MCG with the hostel this afternoon so just hung around until we were ready to leave for that. Made our way to the MCG around 12, chatted to a couple of people on the way there, but when we got to the ground the group sat in seats which were in the sun, and it was way too hot for me so I moved higher up the stands out of the way in the shade. Today it was North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Hawthorn Hawks....the Hawks were one of the teams I saw last time.
The match was pretty good, they held an Anzac commemoration before the match being Anzac weekend. Match was pretty good, was close for most of the game but toward the end the roos started taking the lead, so much so that loads of Hawks fans were leaving with still 10 mins to go. When the match was over they allowed fans onto the pitch, which I don't remember happening last time, so I wandered down to pitch level and had a walk round. It was one of the rare occasions that I didn't have a camera on me so didn't get any pics of me on the pitch at the MCG but did take a little video with the phone, it was pretty dangerous wandering round too with footies flying around as everyone kicked a footy on the hallowed turf. Strangely it didn't look so big when down on the pitch - or arena as they called it but I can now say I've walked on the grass at the MCG - which probably means more to serious sport fans than me.
Wandered back to the hostel and got changed and showered ready to go out and eat before Bette! Went to the cheap Asian food place, $7 plate and you help yourself....was lovely! Then caught the tram down to the Rod Laver Arena...the tram was rammed, literally, with people all rushing to get there for 8pm, of course there's no way she's actually gonna be on stage on time, they never are. Just managed to squeeze myself on the tram coz frankly I couldn't be arsed to walk down there. The tour is entitled Kiss My Brass so you can check the site for more info....the reviews have been really good so far.
Arrived with plenty of time to spare, the venue isn't too huge so although I was up in the left hand corner from the stage I could still see pretty well - though to see detail you definitely needed to rely on the screens either side of the stage. Did notice that a number of people were being moved down the side closer to the stage, I overheard that they were filming the Melbourne shows and so wanted all the seats which would be in camera shot to be full, so some lucky buggers got closer to the stage on cheap tickets. I was tempted to go find a single seat a bit nearer but the show started so I stayed put. She came on stage riding a carousel ride horse which floated down from the roof. First half was pretty fast paced, singing, comedy, dancing....basically a good old variety cabaret type show, she had a live band, sang live and had 3 dancers/singers on stage too. She took the piss out of herself, out of Britney, Christina, George Bush, etc, etc. The first half lasted an hour before interval.
Went for a wander to stretch the legs and accidentally bought an ice cream too. I'm trying to be good coz I think I'm putting on weight now I'm not exercising so regularly or doing the gym thing, I guess I'm going to attempt to be strict during the week and allow treats at the weekend - we'll see how well that works out or how long it lasts - but I've definitely gotta keep an eye on things. Decided I would hang about and see if I could see a single empty seat before the second half started, found a couple about 20 rows closer to the stage so waited near them until the lights went down just in case there was someone in them.....but no one appeared so I plonked myself down for the second half.
Second half had most of the big hits that people remember like The Rose and Wind Beneath My Wings, in fact they're pretty much all I know and only know The Rose coz I sang it with the Sydney choir, but it was really good as she got the audience to sing it with her....lump in the throat stuff. The second half was excellent too though I was disappointed with the ending, she had a couple of encores and the final song she sang was some slow aussie song I'd never heard of....I was hoping for some big number all singing all dancing to finish off with, so it all kinda ended a bit quietly - I thought maybe there was gonna be another but the house lights came on and that was it. Definitely worth the money tho, not the sort of person you get to see on tour everyday. Walked back into the city, nice warm night, and went straight back to the hostel, couldn't really be bothered to muck around getting out to the bars.
Nice lay in this morning, got up around 10 and showered. It's free pancakes on Sunday morning at 11am so hung around for them. Someone makes up the batter and basically you cook them up yourself....the slight problem is that all the frying pans are about as non-stick as No More Nails. So my pancake started off as a beautiful circular pancake shape, as they should be. However attempting to turn the thing over it ended up being a lump of brown batter....and I'm not sure the batter recipe is quite right either coz I ended up with a lump of hot, doughy, batter rather than crisp pancake....but I'd slaved for 10 mins to make the bloody thing so ate it disguising it's disgustingness with maple syrup.
Thought I'd try to get to a suburb called Chadstone which has a big shopping centre, though looking at the public transport map it didn't look that easy to get to. Anyway, I worked out that I needed a train and then a bus so that shouldn't be too difficult now should it. Got the train to Caulfield to then get the bus to the shopping centre.....arrived only to discover that the bus doesn't run on Sundays....joy! Called the infoline and they suggested I go 2 more stops on the train to Murrumbeena and get the 822 bus....so I did that. The bus stop outside the station was for the 822 and I had 30 mins to kill before it was due. Went for a wander around the town and whilst walking along saw an 822 bus whizz by with Chadstone written on the front....going down a completely different street!!! Looked at the bus stop on that street and the next bus to Chadstone wasn't for 2 hours....jesus, god forbid anyone should want to shop on a sunday.
So in the end I consulted my transport map and found a shopping centre near a train station at Glen Waverley - had to go back several stops first and then get the train out....I finally arrived at half 2 after leaving Melbourne at 12, ah the joys of public transport and not knowing where the hell you're going. Spent a few hours wandering around the shops, had a little sushi for lunch and a cup of tea and read the paper before catching the train back to the city just before 6. Got some stuff in for dinner and went back to the hostel to cook it up. Couldn't really decide what to do this evening, the whole faffing around with public transport thing makes it too much of a pain to go out to the bars, however it's Anzac weekend and there's a public holiday tomorrow for Anzac Day so it'll be pretty busy out and about. Went to the net cafe after dinner first and spent a couple of hours there.
Got chatting to an English bloke who was staying in Melbourne and travelling back home tomorrow, chatted for about an hour and in the end decided to meet up for a drink in the real world. Name is Pete, really nice bloke from Kent, a paramedic who's been in Melbourne for a couple of weeks staying with a friend but decided to spend his last night in a hotel in the city. Spent a couple of hours drinking and chatting which was cool as it was nice to have some company and someone to natter to....tho by 1.30am I was getting a bit knackered so parted company and headed back to the hostel....we'll might keep in touch online, that's the intention but sometimes these things fade away. Straight to bed ready for the last day in Melbourne.