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Friday 28 Feb 2014
Melbourne, Australia

Pancakes, Grease and Gravity

I hadn’t planned to start my weekend with a hangover, but I probably got away more lightly than I deserved.  I checked out of the hostel and went back around to Base to try and reclaim my sunglasses, which had fallen off my head while we were dancing last night and were promptly kicked out of sight and never seen again.  Annoyingly, they hadn’t been picked up by the cleaners, as I had hoped, so I was left squinting until I could get some more.

I made my way across the city to the Radisson Blu on Flagstaff, my much nicer home for the next few nights.  I took advantage of their delicious buffet lunch until my cousin Jill arrived.  I wasn’t able to get up to Moruya on this visit, so Jill had flown down to meet me instead.  We had a lovely girlie weekend planned and I was so happy to see her again.  Despite living in Australia for over 20 years, Jill had never been to Melbourne before, so I was in the slightly strange position of showing her around. 

We checked in, changed and headed over to Federation Square for cocktails in the sunshine and a nice long catch up.  Even though we have lived on opposite sides of the world for most of our lives, we get on really well and have become close very quickly in the last few years.  I introduced her to some of the great sushi and Asian places on Swanston Street and we shared an assortment of dishes before walking up to Her Majesty’s Theatre to see Grease, a first for both of us.  It started off feeling a little patronising as the ‘Headmistress’ taught everyone in the audience to sing along with one of the main songs – it felt more like panto than a show – but they soon got into the swing of it and we found ourselves singing along with all the big hits.  The cast included a couple of the Australian Idol finalists plating Danny and Johnny Casino and an old TV favourite, Bert Newnham, as the radio DJ (akin to wheeling Bruce Forsyth out for the occasion).  Overall, it was a great show and we loved it.

The next day we ate breakfast in the hotel (which never actually made it on to our room bill), and then decided to go and explore the sprawling Queen Victoria Market.  One end of Fitzroy Gardens was full of tents set up for a beer and food festival, but we could also see a large gathering of people in white shirts around a stage, so we wandered over to investigate… 10 minutes later we, too, were wearing white t-shirts and attempting to break the World Record for the biggest number of people flipping pancakes simultaneously.  We spent half an hour laughing and failing miserably to flip as efficiently as the guy on stage – luckily they were thick Scotch pancakes so they were fairly resistant to disintegration.  We failed to beat the world pancake flipping record – that’s still held by the Poms, hee hee – because we were about 20 people short, but did set the Aussie record.  Jill and I also made it into the Guinness Book of world Records for being among 878 people wearing identical t-shirts in the same place.  Not a bad achievement for a random Saturday morning stroll in the park.

Up at the QV market, Jill bought a beautiful leather jacket and I got some sunglasses and an Aboriginal dot painting.  I wanted to buy one on my first trip to Australia in 2011, but hadn’t found the right one.  This one used gorgeous reds, ochre and rich browns and included three kangaroos - I love it.

We spent the afternoon pottering around town and enjoying the weather.  I wanted to go to the IMAX at the Melbourne Museum later in the week, so we headed up there to see the times.  Gravity was due to start in half an hour, so we decided to see it there and then.  We bought beer, popcorn and ice-creams and sat down, trying to ignore the vertigo of extremely steep seating and the enormous screen.  The film was a typical Hollywood big-budget special effects overload, but the effects were so well done that we were absolutely gripped.  3D glasses look silly and feel uncomfortable but they absolutely made the experience.  Fantastic!

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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #4 New Zealand and Australia

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I had so much fun in New Zealand and Australia that I'm going back around again! This time I'll see more of the North Island and catch up with friends and family in Melbourne

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