Friday, September 15, 2006

Freaky Friday

Ever since I slept through my alarm Thursday morning, I've been a bit off.

Friday morning I woke (on time) to find that in my strange state on Thursday, I had forgotten to buy more breakfast stuff. No bread, no milk, no oatmeal. I'm sure that is what made this day so... Interesting. I mean, how can you be expected to have a normal day when you don't have breakfast?

I got to the office and headed downstairs to work with the CAD/GIS/database gurus. I ended up chatting with them for a while and during that time, we decided that today we should swap music. This becomes the goal of the day- I give Melinda and Luke my ipod to play with and they transfer their collection to me.

Soon enough, it's 12:30 and time to actually work. So, I head off to St. Kilda with Nick to have a meeting with a client, a big developer, about the Tooronga project. (This is the meeting I was stressing over on Monday that got cancelled at the last minute and drove me to reaching zen-hydrogeologist state in the aftermath (why stress when you can only do so much?) thus enabling me to spend this morning futzing with my ipod, but I digress...)

Nick and I meet with Stockland and the meeting goes as planned. We were able to convince them to let us do the test pit/extra monitor well idea we (he) thought would be best and now I have two proposals and an interim contaminant assessment report to get out in less than two weeks. Yikes!

Back to Hawthorn and Nick must have been taking pity on me because he takes me to lunch at the cafe down the street. He eats really fast.

Back to the office and it's time for the weekly investigation assessment group meeting. Christian, the group leader, had caught me in one of my actual productive moments earlier in the day and informed me that Richard and I were volunteered to give a brief talk about our DTP issues during the meeting. (Last time I miss one of those meetings, who knows what I'll be volunteered for next!)

We get to the meeting and Richard completely takes over the talk. I was a bit surprised, but he had just had a meeting with the auditor that day and was well rehearsed, so I let him run with it. Everyone was soon convinced of our genius.

Group meeting over and it was time for the weekly tech talk. This week's topic was the mentoring program, so I basically took that time to space out with a beer. Happy hour was next and everyone was in good spirits. We chat and commiserate like we had just done battle, although most of the people that I'm chatting with had just spent the day playing with my ipod. Pretty much a typical Friday afternoon in Melbourne.

Now for the real adventure. Cybele has decided to take me under her wing and take me on a tour of the seedy, underground, hard to find bars of Melbourne. Cybele is one of those people who have moxie. Not a term used too often, but very fitting here. She is petite with lots of attitude. (Once again, I've befriended the short person.) She's a native Australian, and like most, she spent time traveling during university. She was actually a snowboard instructor in her previous life. Too bad we didn't get onto the slopes this season, I could have gotten some free lessons!

We headed out from the office to downtown and wind our way to the arcade off of Flinders Lane and meet her friend Jamie. Jamie is one of those very rambunctious, good hearted, pierced people. She was also already drunk. Entertainingly so. Jamie convinces us to go to E55 on Elizabeth Street for our first stop.

To get to this bar, you have to enter though a poorly marked doorway and go downstairs to a hot, crowded, very eclectic crowd. We have a drink and are joined by Jamie's friend LeAnn.

I knew I'd be scorned for actually letting a flash go off, so I couldn't get a photo of the place. I did however take a photo of the inside of the unisex loo, so here you go.

Jamie and LeAnn decide to head to the Black Cat in Brunswick (I've already been there with Gen and Lorenzo) so we part ways and Cybele leads me to the next bar.

We head north, cutting through lanes and arcades, shopping malls, the multi-level Myer, and as we do, I make a comment on the sad state of girly-products shopping in Melbourne. Cybele is inspired to introduce me to her favorite shampoo, which you can only get in Myer anyway, so we head to the Aesop display. She buys the big jar and the salesgirl loads me up with samples. Excellent!

St. Jerome's is next, off another back alley, and it turns out that I'd been there already as well. Since the place was packed, we weren't heartbroken to skip it and move on.

Soon we reach our next location, Cookie, on Swanston Street. Turns out Cybele used to work here, and we squeeze our way to the back end and belly up to the bar and have a chat with her friend the bartender. He gives us an outstanding deal on drinks and we scoot around further to find a place to stand without being squished. One drink is enough here, since the crowd is overwhelming, and we head off again.

Next stop, The Croft Institute, deep in the heart of Chinatown, at the end of a back alley that looks like it's dead-ending twice before you make the final turn and find it. The inside looks remarkably like an apothecary. It worked though, and assuming I can ever find it again, I would go back.

Our drink finished, we head back out to Chinatown. The next bar was just across the block and it turns out Cybele used to work here as well. The bar is called Eurotrash, and we got carded. What?! We are both 31, and the drinking age here is like 18. Funny. We secure a seat on the big couch in front of the DJ set up and resume swapping life stories. Eventually, one of the owners makes his way by and chats with Cybele. I now understand why the bar is named Eurotrash. This guy was screaming eastern Europe. It was a pretty good place though, but as we got up to leave, I thought Cybele was going to start a fight due to her parting of the bodies on the way to the door. I've never seen so many horrified expressions as she made a path for us. Maybe it was time to call it a night?

Well, not quite, because the next stop was back towards Flinders Street at Honky Tonks, the bar to see and be seen in for Melbourne. Once again, Cybele knows someone who works here, and this time it's the guy at the door. I'm pretty sure our $15 cover was more than most since we were dressed so casually, but what else is the social network for, eh? Up some stairs and we are the sixth and seventh people in the place. Not exactly hopping at 10 PM. Since the drinks were expensive here, we get some beer and have a seat in front of the bar. Soon enough, our friend the bouncer comes over to inform us that the people we had just stolen seats from (patrons four and five) had just got kicked out before even starting on their drinks. They looked a bit suspect to me, what kind of guy orders a drink with coconut or kiwi in it? We ditched the free drinks and headed to the back of the room where we could get a view of downtown.

More chatting and as we finish our expensive beers, we decide to call it a night. I head to Flinders Street station and catch a train back to the suburbs. The crowd on the train is a bit rowdy, and I realize that this is the first time I've been out and able to catch the train home. It is the second-to-last train of the night and all the people who can't afford cabs are getting back to the burbs on the same train. I don't think I'll worry about saving the cab fare from now on. As I busy myself and concentrate on not making eye contact with the crazy next to me, I look over the price list from the free stuff I'd collected at Myer. $99 for conditioner? I think I'll stick to suave. Assuming I can find it.

Vocab for the day
Jeffs and Duncers: Jeff as in the name Jeff, and duncers like the dunce cap you get when you've been a... dunce. This is the slang reference to the fashion victim boys and girls that are the regular clientele at places like Honky Tonks. A classic example of a duncer is the girl who was wearing leggings, scrunchy "Muskateer" boots, and a wide belt over her nightgown/dress at the bar last night. All of these things are (questionably) in fashion now, but should they really all be worn at once?

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