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Published: February 23rd 2009
Crown Casine Fireshow
Okay, not my picture, but still amazing...
So, my mother told me that everything about my time in Melbourne has sounded "perfect", and though it may sound corny, I'm just going to have to agree. I actually had to stop myself from using the word perfect too much this weekend, because I didn't want to cheapen it. But it quickly became our weekend theme, and thankfully it lived up to just that.
Wednesday night started with another trip to the Queen Victoria Market. I finally met up with Christina, who is another Michigan medical student doing a rotation at a different hospital in Heidelberg, which is about a 15 minute train ride from Melbourne. We were joined by the remainder of the UK contingent who were leaving for Adelaide the next day. So we had dinner and drinks at the market and then walked down to the Yarra River to see the fireworks display from the Crown Plaza Towers. We then went into the Crown Casino to watch horse racing and many, many people lose lots and lots of money. The Crown is ridiculously posh. It's like a mini-Vegas all incorporated under one roof. There is the casino, obviously, but also a ton of stores (think Gucci,
Dolce and Gabbana), balcony bars, and high end dining. We, of course, partook in nothing of the sort, but were content with our overpriced flat beers and cheering on random Asian women and men at the craps tables. It was a great way to say goodbye, but bittersweet because I had made great friends.
On Thursday I was treated to an amazing dinner at Eli's restaurant, Seamstress, along with his girlfriend Mel, and her sister and husband. Seamstress is a contemporary, four story Cantonese restaurant with two bars (one which won the Best Bar in Melbourne award in 2008.) The building has a lot of history, as it was at one time a brothel and another a Buddhist temple. The ambiance is very relaxed, but quite young and trendy as well. We were served family style, and shared dishes like scallop and shrimp dumplings, whole fish Barramundi and green chili curry. It was amazing to say the least. http://www.seamstress.com.au/
On Saturday, Christina and I took off for the Dandenong Ranges, one of the great bushwalking and hiking spots of Victoria. We were happy to find out that only the edges of the ranges have been touched by the
bushfires, though just in the news today I heard that the fires were encroaching further on the territory. We climbed the famous "1,000 Steps", which to our chagrin, is not a misnomer. We were huffing and puffing around step 200, and some people were RUNNING up these slippery, barely carved out steps. We then walked some trails and then headed to Belgrave Station to ride the Puffing Billy, a historic steam train that was used to develop rural areas in the early 1900's. "Puffing" Billy is a great name, as it is still powered by coal, and puffs heaps of black smoke into the sky on its journey. Kids (and we...) were just hanging out the windows of the train, NEVER to have happened in the States. We then arrived at Emerald Lake and did some more hiking before heading back in the evening.
On Sunday, we hit St. Kilda's Beach for a little R and R. It was the best beach day with a gorgeous sea breeze. Then, to end a perfect weekend, we headed to Trop Fest, "The World's Longest Short Film Festival." Honestly, events like these are what make Melbourne so special. The actual event is
held in Sydney, and has been running for I think 7 years now. Nicole Kidman donates prize money, and Russell Crowe attended last year. The event is telecast to Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, and Byron Bay, where thousands of people come to watch on the big screen. We watched it at the Sydney Myer Music bowl, which was just like Pine Knob, except absolutely free! So Christina and I packed up dinner and a bottle of wine and watched 16 short films on a grassy knoll with thousands of other onlookers. The films were so creative and funny. I recommend checking it out if you have the chance: http://www.tropfest.com/home/
I can't believe I only have a week and a half left in Melbourne! I'll let you know what trouble I can rouse up until then...
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