Hey Milieu Pals,
It has been a while since I last posted, but I honestly have not had the time. It has been very hectic over the past few days but I now have a lot to tell!
On Friday Night (25/11/05) we made our way to the Blues Ball. It is a prestigious event that has been held at Monash for over 42 years. It is in honour of great sportsmanship (which is a central theme here in Aus land) and thus awards those who have made an outstanding effort or have shown the most improved performance within the immense sphere of sports entertainment. At the event the most honoured guests are bestowed with either a Half-Blue or Full-Blue. Becoming a member of the Blues opens many doors for the recipients as the award is apparently internationally recognised.
The event was quite good even though I must honestly say that i was expecting more. To put it into perspective the Monash South Africa Spring Ball was simply better in many respects; such as venue and food. However that is not to say that the Blues ball was rubbish, it is just that from a university this size I expected more. Granted the food was delicious (a full three course meal) and the entertainment pleasant (a group of Music students expertly played jazz for the evening), it was just the venue. It was rather small and the air conditioning wasn’t working properly… so I was sweating like a pig!
For the event I wore my pure white linen suit, a pair of smart light-pink leather shoes, new white lady emblazoned belt, and a pink striped formal shirt. I looked quite smart, even if I do say so myself, and received a few compliments which is always good! LOL!
After the ball ended… the group wanted to go out and party!
Those of you who know me well will know that i don’t really like clubbing, I prefer to socialise. I’d rather go to a movie, for coffee, a restaurant or other smart and trendy place where individuals can just chill out (not like a pub). Well most of the group had gone out at least once of twice since they had been there, obviously I declined each of the other times because I’m not into the clubbing thing. This time I decided to be a sport and tag a long for the ride.
The time: 11:55pm; the place: corner of Blackburn and Normanby roads. This is what Australia is like. Can you believe the time… out on the street, the street of all places, trying to hail a taxi. At home in SA you don’t walk around outside after 6pm, actually, you don’t really leave the house at all if it is by foot, unless you have some kind of death wish! Anyway, we finally got a mini-bus taxi… No, they are not like the SA ones, these actually have real brakes that are not made of cardboard and also proper steering wheels that are not substituted by spanners (I kid you not about the cardboard and spanners my International readers!). So after eerily eyeing out this taxi, we all climbed in and made our way to Melbourne City.
It is strange to think that in some parts of the world, people can safely travel by using their public transport systems. Anyway, we arrived at this club, went in… and were disappointed. It wasn’t that great, rather dead and lifeless, but our group of girls had a brilliant time. After sitting around for a while with the guys, I decided to leave… first clubbing isn’t my thing and secondly this club wasn’t a good one so I really didn’t want to be there. If it was more like Vaca-Loca, Shukara, Sudada or Nightshift (Clubs from home) then I would have stayed. Anyway, Bobo accompanied me and we went walking down the streets… picture this now… two South Africans, in the middle of the night walking in the Middle of a busy city. In SA you would last 5 minutes. Well we walked around and came across a place called Lambs, which we had visited the previous day. It was crazy. All of these food places were open at 2am… I couldn’t believe it! I went in, had Baklava (one of my favourite desserts) and then we headed home. We caught another taxi. Granted taking taxi’s to Monash from the city to Monash or Monash to the city isn’t the wisest thing to do in terms of cost, but it’s quick and works; especially if you don’t know how to navigate around the public transport system.
We finally got home just a bit after 2am and then hit the sack… Saturday (yesterday) was going to be a long day!
Oriental Market… eat your heart out!
Saturday, glorious Saturday. That was the day in which we went to the Victoria Market a place that is similar to the Oriental Market in Sandton/Bedfordview, but it is like 25 times bigger. This market is huge… it even has separate departments for it’s various items and products which can be located through the use of signs or a map. Before the market though, we drove around the city to pick up Mpho’s camera (which she had ‘lost’ in a massive shopping mall, but surprisingly someone handed it in, amazing huh?!) and to the Nike factory store for Bobo to change some clothes.
After arriving we were simply amazed at the size of the place. It truly is very big. Lawrence (our tour guide, you guys should know this by now! LOL!) took us through a quick tour of the various departments before letting us loose! The time: 1:01pm; time left before departure: 1 hour & 59 minutes… let the shopping begin!
Granted we didn’t have enough time to thoroughly explore the market, yet two hours was enough to actually overview and buy what you needed, even if just barely.
I made my way through and bought various items but the thing is, I’m have rather poor ‘haggling/bargaining’ skills. I don’t like doing it, but have done it quite a few times this holiday and it has in fact paid off (get the play on words there, I ‘paid’ less so i got an amount ‘off’ the price! LOL!). The market was cool, but then we decided to go and chill out a bit before Lawrence had to head back home.
At 4pm, it was time to leave. But I didn’t want to leave. The one thing that I have really wanted to do this holiday, has been to go off and explore the city, with my own time, and doing what I want to (some time alone). I therefore politely asked Lawrence if I could remain behind and find my way back home, to which he replied: "Yeah, of course you can. That is actually a brilliant idea, it is your holiday after all". He then proceeded to write down the route I should take to get home from the city itself. He is a really cool guy and has been very good to us.
After bidding farewell to the group (no one else wanted to join me… thank goodness) I hailed a taxi and asked to be taken to Melbourne Central (a shopping centre we had visited the day before). On my arrival I walked around the mall to JB Hi-Fi in order to buy a Canon Digital Ixus 750 digital camera for my dad (the update to the one I was currently using on my trip). I got there, haggled a bit and finally bought the camera with various accessories (like a 2 gigabyte flash disk) for a very good price. After that, I made my way back to Melbourne Central and simply walked around a bit for a while, checking out the mall. Obviously I stopped at an EB games (couldn’t help myself) after which I then bought a New Zealand Natural (milkshake/smoothie).
On my way out I saw this very interesting place called Max Brenners. I made my way in only to be greeted buy a Willy Wonka type setting. The restaurant/shop was actually a Chocolatier. It was amazing! Basically this guy, Max Brenner, wants to create a Chocolate culture, similar to a Coffee culture. From what I could see, it was working beautifully and I will therefore definitely be making my way back when I can. I also couldn’t just leave without buying some of the chocolate (which is divine by the way) and proceeded to buy 5 boxes: two small ones (as gifts for Lawrence and Sandra who have been helping us around), two medium boxes (for my cousins that I will hopefully be seeing next week) and a large box for myself. The chocolate is fantastic but very expensive. Each of the chocolate cubes (essentially truffles) are like miniature works of art as each is decorate with an individually particular coloured pattern. Apparently I am the first person to by so much of the chocolates as gifts… and gifts they definitely will be (my poor bank card is feeling rather light right now)!
After Max Brenners I walked to Crowns which is this huge mega complex that has basically everything (movies, cinema’s, a theatre, a casino and so on and so forth). After crowns I went to this other mall (the name fails to be recalled) where I visited the Warner Brothers studio shop (so cool… spent up a storm too! LOL!). I then proceeded to Vito Cito where I consumed an Avocado Ritz and a gorgeous fillet steak with blueberry saute and potato fritters. It felt so good to be eating well for a change. Up until that moment we have mainly been eating at fast food places or at the cafeteria. While at the restaurant, which is built on the banks of the Yarra river that overlooks Melbourne City, I called home and some of my cousins.
After eating well, it was time to go home.
This was the first time that I was gong to use a form of public transport other than a taxi and it went quite well. I bought a two hour pass, for very cheap, and made my way to the relevant platform at the train station (obviously I had asked several people how to get back to Monash and thus made my travelling decision).
While waiting for the train, i was shivering my little ass off as it was freaken cold, but I survived. On the train I overheard a group of three guys talking about Monash. Now this is something I love about this Country. You can talk to anyone and they will respond or help you out. Well, I spoke to them and we all ended up chatting the whole way to our relevant stop which was the station at Huntington. The cool thing is that they were all going to the Clayton Campus and also stayed at the residences, so they accompanied me basically the whole way back home.
We ended up being a rather diverse crowd as our group of four consisted of a South African, a German, a Mexican and a Korean. We chatted about a whole lot of stuff, yet I can’t seem to remember actually getting their names. I simply said to them "Are you guys from Monash?" and off we all went. Once we arrived at Huntington I was really surprised to find that the others had actually chanied their bicycles to the posts just outside of the station. If you had to do that in SA, everything but the frame of your bike would be gone after at least 15 minutes. They had left their bicycles there for the entire day… that is just so cool! After that, because it was so cold, the German guy offered me a coat he had in his rucksack. I mean… hello, I’m a perfect stranger yet they were treating me like they had known me for ages. All of the people in Aus land are like this which is why it is such a nice place to live. Apparently Melbourne is the second safest city in the world with Toronto coming in first.
After the 30 minute train ride, and a 40 minute walk (I couldn’t hail a taxi and leave them all behind as they each had bicycles) I finally made it home. I was dead tired and my calves were worn out… not to mention more blisters! LOL!
Well, I have to be off, they are waiting for me, but I will be sure to write more when I can. Today we are apparently going back to St. Kilda to the Luna Park and then the St. Kilda Market. Later in the day we are supposed to go to The Shakers, which is like a Church youth group. I’m not sure if I want to go though because they say it is very similar to the Rema church and i don’t like how Ray McKauley has commercialised the Lords Name. Well, whatever my decision is, I will be sure to let you all know!
I’m missing you all Milieu Pals but remember to keep in Touch!