Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Melbourne 2006 - Day 1 (221106)

Long overdued records of my Melbourne trip! As usual, had to get up at an ungodly hour because that's when the air tickets are the cheapest!

Being the old ladies we are, it was a relaxing first day. First order of the day was to check in at our hotel. Hotel Rendezvous! WooooOoOoOO! We took the airport shuttle to the hotel. Something I noticed was that the driver did not help us with our baggage! In Sydney and Brisbane, they do! Hmm...

First impression of Melbourne? "Am I out of Brisbane already?" I supposed it's because we have been travelling around Brisbane to different suburb that once in Melbourne, we felt that we were in just another suburb. Hmm...

Check in already need to do the most important thing. Fill the stomach!

Heading home soon but still got to eat some bak chor mee!

We settled for a place called Chom Chom in the city the sells Singapore food. Not too bad but of course not as good as the best we can get back home. Lots of vinegar is the trick to good bak chor mee. Haha!!

Just getting our bearings right in the city, to get ready for shopping tomorrow. There's a free tram that goes around the city. So that's a good thing to start off with. See the sights, note down what we want to explore further.

City Circle tram

The main mode of transport in Melbourne city seems to be the tram. Not exactly the fastest mode but quite convenient I suppose. Interestingly, they have some special traffic rules because of the trams. Say, a car wants to turn right. The driver needs to do a 'hook' turn, that is, first, he has to bear left so as not to disrupt the tram traffic and turn right later. Geddit? Never mind, being the kind soul I am, I shall draw you a picture.

Too bad, the picture doesn't want to load. Well. Lots of great architecture in Melbourne city. Their toilets are interesting too. Out of the blue. Take a trip there and you will see what I mean.

Inside the Royal Arcade [?]. I take a better picture than those on the website, don't I?

After spending more than a year in Brisbane, I wasn't used to the hordes of people in Melbourne. Ironic isn't it, with me coming from one of the countries with the highest population density in the world? Yes, in Melbourne, you dodge people. And flies. We were warned about the houseflies before coming. But it wasn't as bad as expected. At least we could talk without having to cover our mouths.

Take a map of Melbourne city and look at its grid-like layout. You cannot get lost in Melbourne. Everything is at right angle. If you so amazingly manage to get lost, there are a few elderly volunteers in the city (usually along Swanston St) who can help you get your bearings. They wear bright red tops with the word "Me!bourne" written on them. Very nice people! Great to ask them for suggestions on where to go in the surrounding suburbs too. They also carry with them maps and brochures. Oh yes, before heading for those paid places, such as Cook's Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, check out the tourist brochures. They have discount coupons. Smashing!

The city has many small lanes. In one of them, near FCUK, we found this serviced apartment.

I think it looks amazing, don't you?

First day was pretty uneventful. Headed to THE Vietnamese restaurant, Mekong on Swanston St. Bill Clinton reportedly had two bowls of Pho Tai there. For us, we thought it wasn't up to all the hype. Maybe we were just used to the flavours we get here in Brisbane. We had Pho Tai and prawn rolls. The Pho Tai had lukewarm soup and the prawn rolls' rice paper was a tad too hard. Hmm.. Picky, picky! Thanks for the recommendation anyway, Stanley and piglet!

Another amazing fact of Melbourne during summer. It doesn't get dark until after 8.30pm! As you can see from the picture, we were back in the hotel before 8.30pm.

Eating the free chocolates! I hope it's free anyway.

Hotel Rendezvous has one of the best beds! It was pure torture to wake up in the mornings. The room was small. The TV could have provided more free cable channels. Location is great (Flinders St). Design retained its heritage. There's a particular cute concierge. Shan't tell you his name. If you happen to stay there, let me know who you think was cute! :P

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