street art in the laneways
Pushing some buttons..
The same night I moved into the Majorca Building, I had a walking
degustation tour. The tour was approximately 3 hours in length, and
we made stops at 3 different restaurants: Neapoli, Izakaya Den and
Seamstress. I had 3 vegetarian courses at each place, and they were
all colourful, beautifully presented and combined well with the
paired wines. At Neapoli, I particularly remember this gorgeous
artichoke dish. Overall, servings of wine tended to be on the
generous side (not technically one unit per hour), and I ended up
considerably more looped than I expected to be. At Izakaya Den,
instead of three usual wines, one was a sake, and another choice was
a Japanese beer. Yes, I was open to everything..
This was my second Hidden Secrets tour. I had already taken the
Café Culture tour with Sarah. This one was conducted by Fiona.
I tried both partly because I was trying to push myself to be a bit
more social. When travelling in 2008, I was a little low on human
interaction. Plus, I can identify I like coffee, food and wine.. I'd
enjoyed degustations every time I've tried them (all 3 times in 9
years!) and so it seemed to make sense. Even the Café Culture
tour, which included a lot of info about the history and architecture
of Melbourne, also was a kind of coffee degustation, with some treats
added in: a baked custard dessert of some kind, a Koko Black truffle,
a La Belle Miette ('the beautiful crumb') macaron, and then lunch at
Captains of Industry.
street art in the laneways
The 'Magic' coffee I had at Captains of Industry "is steamed
milk poured over a double ristretto and served in a smaller 160ml cup
giving it the optimum coffee to milk ratio. (A ristretto is a
'restricted espresso', meaning that it's the first half of a shot of
coffee only and supposedly purer.)"
After the food and wine degustation, I headed back to Bar
Ampère, which had been pointed out by Fiona during the walk as
a place that served real absinthe (which I've never tried - some
years ago, I did try the other type, which was a lot of fun, but I
couldn't pass up the opportunity to try the real stuff. The bartender
there explained that you add sugar and water depending on your
personal taste. I drank my first cup without anything, and then he
mixed some for my second so I could see what it was like. My memory
gets a bit fuzzy at that point.. but I will try to recap a little
bit later in this entry.
But, although I am not normally a tour person, I do recommend the
Hidden Secrets tours. The guides are knowledgeable without being
unapproachable. It can be difficult to narrow down where to go in
Melbourne, and I think both guides were extremely helpful.
When I got up and showered, I headed out to the Victoria Markets. I
bought enough supplies for a while.
when shops close up for the night, doors like this come
My hangover breakfast was a colourful falafel wrap and an iced
coffee. I liked both.. a bit later I tried my first churro, for a
dollar. The next day, instead of Spanish donuts, I had Sicilian
donuts with coffee in the apartment - I also bought these at the
falafel wrap and iced coffee for breakfast/hangover
I did notice that at the Victoria Markets, they seemed to be selling
a lot of 'aboriginal art' that didn't seem authentic.
queen victoria market
queen victoria market
On the 11th, my idea was to do something of an eccentric pub crawl..
stopping at cocktail bars that had been pointed out by Sarah. I first
went to Romeo Lane. The street itself was originally named Romeo Lane
because it was a prostitution district. It has now been renamed
Crossley St, and the bar/restaurant itself is situated in a very old
building from the old days. It's very nice in there, and there's a
cute little fireplace that actually gives off a nice amount of heat.
I had this gruyère thing with raspberries and rhubarb, very
pretty, and which combined well with the rosé which was
recommended for me. And then I had The Violet Cocktail.
The theme of raspberries and pink hues continued as I tried out the
raspberry cupcakes at Madame Brussels ($5) with their very red Love
Basically, both Romeo Lane and Madame Brussels had lovely
And good ambiance. Romeo Lane was more romantic and warm (and the
hooks for hanging coats and backpacks/purses were good), and it's a
cosy spot for meeting friends, but it could also be a good place for
a 'romantic' evening. Madame Brussels was campy and fun, more flirty
Very Pink. Fake grass/astroturf carpeting.. I thought it was cold
outside, but they heated it.. which I didn't find out until I left.
But I did get a tour of The Parlour - which can be booked for
After, I was open to whatever.. and maybe thought I needed a savoury
meal, but a lot of things were closed, and I thought it might be
'safer' to stay to main streets or well-lit areas or not wander too
far where I didn't know my way around, and I ended up at
the Hells thing in the laneway here.. and the kitchen was closed, or
I would have tried to get some soup. to balance the sweetness. But I
got a house red called Hells something, and after, I tried a Chambord
(another thing I'd never tried before), to continue the raspberry
I have probably walked a lot many of the days of the trip. I don't
notice so much when on a caffeine-sugar high, or when
Ah yes.. I also liked how I looked in the Hells bathroom. But the bar
itself might be a little too trendy for me, or I feel 'uncool' or
something. Late at night, there were lots of people there, and I
wasn't really wearing something hip, and I was probably too
After the walking degustation, followed by the absinthe, I am not
really sure what happened, but I seemed to meet up with an odd
assortment of characters. My memory of how it all went is a little
foggy. One was a young guy.. I asked if he knew where I could get
some drugs, like ecstasy or acid, and he only knew where to get pot,
and I ended up smoking pot with him - something I haven't done in
many years. And I walked all over with another guy who seemed to be a
kind of Catcher in the Rye wandering the streets of Melbourne, but
less jaded, more eccentric.
absinthe at bar ampère
I would like to invite someone up here for a drink. And maybe a
snack.. I have a good collection of tasty things. Will I get another
opportunity, or is this it?
My trip is going perhaps surprisingly well.
I might need to stay in for a few days to write and process, and
eat some of the foods I bought at the Victoria markets, drink a
little more.. I am having a lot of amazing food, drink, and coffee,
and am probably gaining a bit of weight.. but I had allowed for
that, and I think it's true that it is enjoyable to gain in this
My default coffee choice is usually a cappuccino made with skim milk,
but while here I have been trying other types.. there was the Magic,
and I've had a skinny long macchiato, espresso, a flat white, and I
had a latte at Pellegrini's - I think there is something about the
type of coffee they use, or something, but I think that one was my
favourite. (Pellegrini's. They are a Melbourne institution..)
chocolate éclair from acland cake shop and skinny long macchiato
Lots of 'healthy' breakfasts.. ha. A chocolate éclair and a
long macchiato on the morning of the 10th just before I moved into
The Majorca Building.. different donuts the next couple of days..
sicilian donuts and coffee in apartment 401
When I've had a bit of time to process, I will see if for my next
task I can manage to find out more about the Melbourne International
Film Festival (MIFF), which is on at present (but it might only be
for a few more days, so hopefully I will work it out soon.) I have
tried to check out the website, but it was kind of slow, and my time
on computers tends to be limited to one hour per day.
I've had a lot of contact with actual people this time. One thing I
haven't mentioned so far is that I had a tarot reading done (at
Spellbox, in the Royal Arcade.) I had a lot in common with the
reader, when it came to estrangement from family, being odd in ways
that much of the world doesn't understand, creativity and a kind of
sensitivity or awareness that allows us to see layers of life and
psychology that others miss.. I did not mention the depression and
suicide stuff, but we did focus on how at present I am in a 'good
period' for me.
The reading: Now is my time to 'shine', and to also receive
recognition, feedback and monetary compensation for my 'work'. It's a
good time for a move, and if I want to move to Melbourne, it seems
favourable. In the past, not enough groundwork was laid, but now the
pieces should fit together. There is not likely to be a new
relationship for another year or so, and then when there is, it will
likely start off with an intellectual attraction/a lot of discussion.
Basically, I think the reader and I got along very well, and in spite
of our differences, I think we did connect. There were emotional
moments, and I think it was good to get out of my usual headspace,
analyze less, and just let myself go with it all, links,
associations, symbols - ways to connect with emotions, unexpected
paths to emotions and feelings. I don't really expect feedback at
this point, and monetary compensation for my work? Hmmm. But it was
fun to get a reading, a good experience, and I'm glad I did
I also thought I would try to get an appointment with a psychologist
I found online, but I left a message through email and she didn't get
back to me. I haven't ruled this out for the future (and she even
states on her site that she is willing to do Skype sessions), and
this psychologist really stands out to me.
And another aspect of the situation as a whole: I thought I'd try to
get a consult with a cosmetic surgeon. The office also didn't get
back to me. Basically, I wanted to have a look at my options, and see
what a professional would recommend as far as how to achieve
significant results by focusing in on what would work best for me
personally - and of course I would have to be realistic about what is
possible, and be willing to accept risks. I'm curious about this. It
doesn't mean I have to get anything done, but I think it would be a
significant step to face this situation and ask.
The tours I went on were all composed of females. In some ways this
was easier. Along with me and the tour guide for the degustation,
there was a lesbian couple. One of the women had planned this as a
birthday celebration for her partner. I am not sure if anyone found
me weird, but I had a good time, and think both groups (composed of
guides and women) worked well for me.
But, I have had contact with males as well. Hmmm.. usually
considerably younger. Dancing/talking one night, walking around
smoking pot with another, and then just walking around and talking
After drinking, I do notice that bags and circles under my eyes are
more pronounced than usual, but even aside from that, there are
issues, and I am most comfortable wearing sunglasses. But, at night
when I met these people, I wasn't wearing sunglasses. I did leave the
sunglasses on for the whole Café Culture tour, but not the
When she asked about my work, I did tell Fiona that I hadn't left the
house in 7 years, and that my trip to Melbourne represented me
getting out there. She said we could keep it between ourselves, and I
think she thought I had opened up about it because I was drunk.. but
I then babbled something about how in order to reduce stigma in
relation to this kind of thing, it's not a terrrible idea to be open
about it. It happens, it is part of life and human
->exile on meme st: a diary