Sunday, September 03, 2006

Vietnamese on Victoria and Shopping on Collins

Saturday night I joined Suzy, Richard and Dee for some authentic Vietnamese food on Victoria Street in Richmond.

Barb came back from her day of trekking around town just before I was about to leave, so I dragged her out with me, and we headed to the tram stop just down the street from our apartment.

The plan was to meet at a pub on Church Street and then tram it up to Victoria Street, where the ladies knew the good from the too-old chicken in the window.

This was a great plan in theory, but was soon mangled by the fact that Suzy and Richard couldn't tell me exactly where the pub was or exactly when they'd be there. I took this to mean that they weren't too worried about when we had dinner, and I didn't think too much about it. Barb was a bit more concerned. (She's a bit more of a planner than you can get away with in this group. I was hoping a pint of beer on both sides would ease the getting-to-know-you tensions.) But, she handled her first test very well, when we accidentally missed our stop on Church Street, which then caused us to miss our connecting tram. (whoops)

Instead of waiting another 20 minutes for the next tram, we hoofed it south to Swan Street, the general area of the pub. A quick call to Richard and we found the pub, got our drinks, and settled into conversation. (A quick note here- this particular pub served you a 3/4 pint, and called it a schooner. I was under the impression that a schooner was larger than a pint, but what do I know?)

A schooner and a pot later (a pot is a half pint- bet you never thought you'd need to know something like what the heck a half of a pint is called, eh?) we were on our way to Victoria Street. No missing the stop this time, since the tram line we were on ended at Victoria Street.

We made our way down the street, peeking into each restaurant, and as Barb and I took turns going "Oh, I recognize that one from the Lonely Planet!" it was pretty obvious that all the restaurants we recognized by name were the same restaurants everyone else had heard about because they were packed. No problem for us though, because Suzy and Dee were seasoned Vietnamese connoisseurs. Half a block later, we settled on Qu... 88. I can't remember the name. (The font was all funny and I couldn't read it.)

We ended up getting four prawn-based dishes (two of which were basically sweet and sour) and one chicken satay and passing them all around. The chicken was the best.

After dinner, we found our way to the tram station to discover that we had just missed the tram and so settled in to wait our 20 minutes. Since I forgot to take a photo at dinner, I gathered everyone up for a photo here. From left to right is Barb, Suzy, Dee, and Richard. Once we took the photo, we gave Richard a hard time for undeservedly looking trashed, so he insisted I stand in and do the "I'm trashed but trying to gather up my sober looking senses" look.

It was very hard for me to keep a straight face.

Sunday I woke up to rain on the windows and decided that this was a sign and I should have a quiet day. I went to the store, got my paper, watched "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers", which I had rented earlier in the week, (apparently Geoffrey Rush used to live two streets away from where I am right now! Carl was very excited to share that with me as we drove past his house the first three times.) and then I decided that a person can only stay inside for so long.

I took to the tram and headed downtown to Target in order to find some more bath stuff.

The selection here for your basic cosmetic needs is severely lacking, and even a standby like Target left me wanting. I headed down Collins Street to Myer and the more upscale choice of their departments. No bath stuff to be had, but I did find my cheap Maybelline eyeshadow and I learned that the Estee Lauder free stuff week is in two weeks. What kind of place has Maybelline a few short meters away from Estee Lauder, you ask? A very confused one with bad Target stores.

Anyway, with my purchase made, I gave the store a quick look and came upon a whole floor of accessories. They don't carry face wash, but you can get a hat, a purse and shoes in any color.

It was a little bit scary.

They even had $150 feathery combs for your hair, which apparently also come in and out of fashion, as I heard two women commenting. (Polka dot feathers are the way to go, apparently.)

In all fairness, this is all to do with the upcoming horse-racing season. There is about two months of preliminary races all around Victoria until the Melbourne Cup on November 7. I will (sadly?) be over the Pacific during the race, but I hope to catch one of the qualifiers.

Hopefully I can just borrow someone's hat.

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