Saturday, October 07, 2006

What Happens When You Have No Plan

First of all, let me say that I had no intention of going out Friday night. This week had been really busy (I got the Draft Preliminary Groundwater Assessment for Tooronga finished and off to the client in record time, complete with eight appendices. 8!) and after the harried rush to get the deliverable out the door, I crashed with a cold. Thursday I slapped the alarm off and slept in, and so Friday I was having the "if you're not well enough to go to school, then you aren't well enough to go to the party" kind of guilt.

So they talked me out of that pretty easily and I ended up at the Arcadia, Don's local pub with Richard and Don. We were soon joined by Steve and eventually by Dee. It was a pretty good evening involving far too much Draught, and ending in some late-night Italian food down the road in South Yarra.

OK, now for the interesting part. (I could tell you more about our increasingly silly conversations, but really, you've had them all yourselves. Probably.)

This morning I had a bit of a sleep in and then Barb and I took off to Fed Square with very little on the agenda: check out the Federation Bells and then head to Lygon Street for some shopping and Greek food for lunch.

When we arrived at Fed Square, we saw that there was an art exhibit on. Something about man's impact on global ecology via air photography. It ended up being much better than I expected (all I expected were google earth images of mine sites, so that's not saying much) and we thoroughly enjoyed looking at the photos of giant flocks of flamingos, glaciers in Iceland, and textile dyeing in Morocco. It was very National Geographic.

Then we continued down along the river to the Federation Bells. The bells are another of the many art exhibits placed throughout the CBD and they are programmed with songs that play twice or three times a day. While we were there, they began to play, and after getting over my shock (I was standing very close to the first bell to ring) I can tell you that they are loud and not exactly in tune. But, interesting to hear and see nonetheless.

Finished with our art requirement for the day, we headed up to Lygon Street.

A few weeks ago, I had dropped Cybele off at her house after field work in Geelong and ended up driving down Lygon Street to get back to the CBD and maneuver my way back to Hawthorn (I can get around well enough, but I only know a few streets!). My impression of Lygon Street was a crowded center of retail stores and sidewalk cafes, full of people and pretty far north of the CBD.

Barb and I took the tram up to Lygon Street, and as we kept going north through some dingy neighborhoods, I kept waiting to see the bustling few blocks I had remembered. No such luck. We got off the tram just before it curved around to another street and we were essentially at the end of Lygon Street. Whoops. Convinced we could still make an adventure out of it, we walked back down towards the CBD to find the one cafe front that boasted souvlaki, since I was sure that this was the greek neighborhood.

When we arrived at the cafe to find an empty burger joint that just happened also to have souvlaki, we abandoned all hope, hopped back on the tram, and headed back to the CBD to find some lunch. Anywhere else.

By now I was feeling a bit bummed since I was so sure that this was the street I had driven on that night (and we all know what happens when I am sure about directions), and I dragged Barb out for this misadventure. Soon enough, the tram stopped at a light in order to make it's dogleg turn to get to the university, and as we rounded the corner, I looked up. There it was. The blocks I remembered. The cafes and the people and the shops and everything. And we had just gone in the wrong direction from the start.

We hopped out, doubled back, and started walking. Soon we found the University Cafe, and we had our lunch at a table on the sidewalk. It was perfect.

Oh yeah, and it wasn't the Greek neighborhood either. It was the Italian neighborhood. I'm sure that the Greek neighborhood is centered around a street starting with the letter L. Heh.

Content and full, we made our way back to the next block and Swanston Street to the tram line that would get us back to the CBD.

Before reaching Flinders Station, we were sidetracked by the impressive looking State Library building and we popped inside to have a look. The library is centered around a huge dome- the reading room site below and they have a museum of sorts that lines the outer edges of the dome all the way up. We checked out the museum, but I was most impressed with the feel of the library reading room itself. The dome was pretty impressive as well, but photos don't quite give it justice.

After this detour, we found that we were just across the street from Melbourne Central Station, and we headed into the mall that sits atop the station to make our way down. I've been to this station (and its mall) before, but only really took a quick look around. When we stepped in, I was astounded to find a historical building right in the center of the mall. Turns out that the city planners wouldn't let the building go and so they built the mall around it. I can't remember the official name for it, but they made lead shot here by dripping molten lead off the top of the tower and letting the air on the way down cool it and shape it into shot. Pretty impressive process, but I was more impressed with the cone they'd built around it. It just seems to go on forever.

Tonight, the plan is to settle down and watch some Australian cinema. Drew lent us three Aussie movies, and so far we've only watched one: The Castle, from the early 90's. Hilarious. Even funnier now that I've lived here. I'm looking forward to seeing the next two movies!

Vocab of the Day
Bloody oath: exclamation. This can be an affirmation of something said as in "damn right!" (said with an upward inflection at the end), or an affirmation of something bad, as in "that sucks!" (said with a downward inflection at the end).

After Steve told us about the house prices in Geneva, Don replied, "Bloody oath!"

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