Saturday, July 15, 2006

Rainy day adventures

Saturday came and it was wet. I think it had rained since early Friday night and was still raining when I woke up in the morning. This is somewhat uncharacteristic for Melbourne, since most of the time it will be wet and be cloudy, but it will only actually rain for a couple of hours. This made actually leaving the flat very hard. But, I had promised to meet some folks in Chinatown for lunch, and I figured what better way to spend a rainy day than inside with friends?

Because of my neighbors' early morning routine, I was up and out of the flat in record time. (Oh yeah, a bunch of us were at the pub until the wee hours on Friday night so, this was actually a feat considering how short on sleep I was.) I hopped onto the tram and went into Toorak to the library to try and sweet talk them into giving me a library card. Mr. Librarian Nazi would not have it. I have to manage to get a bill with a local address or a letter from the bank or some such nonsense before they will trust me to borrow a book. I will have to see what work can do. Oooh, I do have access to the letterhead...

That plan thwarted, I was left with loads of time before I had to be in Chinatown. I decided to catch the train and head to the CBD and see what I could do to kill some time.

Since it was still pouring, the regular cast of thousands at Fed Square were absent. I decided to head across the river to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) to soak in some culture. There are about 5 NGVs in Melbourne. I haven't quite figured out what makes them all different, why they are all in different places in town, or most importantly, if they are all free. This gallery seems to have a good mix of art, with your paintings from the medieval to renaissance periods, textiles, photography, furniture, more tea settings than you can imagine, and the odd traveling show, this time of Picassos. I knew that there would be some folks interested in the Picasso exhibition, so I saved my dollars and skipped straight to the free stuff.

Because I was now going to be short on time (couldn't see the whole thing, anyway) I did the keep-turning-right method and saw paintings. Just when I was getting to the good stuff, a loud tour group came in and started infringing on my museum experience, so I ducked out to the lobby and the gigantic gallery with a stained glass ceiling. It was pretty impressive. It looked like a kaleidoscope and it was probably the only place in the whole building I could use my camera, so here you go:

Time was getting short so I made my way to Chinatown to the Shark Fin Inn, not to be confused with the Shark Fin House, also a restaurant that does Yum Cha on the same street (Little Bourke). "Yum what?" you ask? Yum Cha is basically Dim Sum. Why the two different names, I have no idea. I do know that if you call it Dim Sum, you get some pretty creative looks. It was really good and we had a nice big group of people, Lorenzo and I from the GA contingent, Lydia and Jorge, Julie and Peter and a few more of their friends (I missed a couple of names, but did catch Luann and George). Pretty interesting group actually, we had 2 "engineers" (I hate to class myself there, but for the story, it's OK), 5 architects, 2 Georges, 2 Italians, 2 Spaniards, one ballerina, and one person who I never figured out.

After getting kicked out of the restaurant after an hour and a half, (we were even refused dessert because we had taken too long! Can you imagine?! No egg tarts for you! Go home now! OK, it wasn't that bad, but if Chinese waitstaff were the eye-rolling type, you can believe we would have seen plenty.) Still raining, and so what else could we do but go for coffee? We headed up Little Bourke to Spring Street and found a cafe just across Parliament House called the European. Very... European. We all ordered lattes (except the Italians, they got espressos) and continued chatting away. Coffees gone and two rounds with the water jug later we ordered a bottle of wine. (It was still raining. Why leave?)

6:30 rolls around and it's dark. Time to change venue, if anything. Turns out that Julie had a fit of productivity in the morning and had made her first attempt at pizza dough. Realizing far too late that she had made enough for 6 large pizzas, she was very excited to invite us all over for dinner. (Peter was convinced that this really was the plan all along, but Julie had used her feminine wiles to fool him.) By this time, the mystery couple had left, the Italian architect/ballerina combo were on their way out, and the Spaniards were claiming serious need for siesta. Our party whittled to four, we headed to Fitzroy and to Julie and Peter's apartment for an adventure in pizza making.

When we arrived at the flat, Julie and Peter's roommates were seriously glued to the Season 4 Sex and the City DVD. Fee and Cassie had decided against braving the rain (apparently nursing killer hangovers as well) and were having quality time with the couch. We were able to wean them from the TV with our activity though, and the festivities began again. By this point, Julie was convinced she had done something wrong, and so Lorenzo took over with the pizza preparation (since he's Italian, he got elected anyway). The pizza ended up pretty good, by the way.

After we had had way too much to eat (we had been eating and drinking and talking all day after all!) I was feeling my lack of sleep. About to beg my way away from the party, I was lured back in by Uno. I loved this game as a kid and I've been known to take part in some pretty competitive matches, so I was definitely into it. Turns out that everyone plays it differently though and we had quite a few rules we had to vote on and lemme tell ya, that makes it a lot harder. The games were fun and fast and we all took turns winning and losing big, as it should be.

Next thing I know, it's 1:30 AM and I am so tired, all I can think about is bed. This whole social thing is tiring! Lorenzo and I shared a cab back to our 'hood and after he dropped me off, I crawled into bed listening to the rain on the roof.


Jaci said...

I love the longer hair! The pictures are fabulous.

Ben Devlin said...

Love the pictures. Stained glass is beautiful. The shot up your nostrils....PRICELESS : )~

Love hearing about your travels. I can honestly say, I'm jealous of them : )