Back to Melbourne

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

After my trip to Ballarat and the Grampians, you might think that I was going to have a boring few weeks here in Melbourne. As it was, I was working that whole weekend, starting 30 seconds after I got back that Friday night. Saturday was to be another 7-7 shift, but Kirsty called me, or rather messaged me, at about 3:00 in the afternoon asking if I’d mind going in to work at 9:30 instead and coming out for dinner and drinks with her and her roommate (Kristy) for Kristy’s going away. I was supposed to try and get the whole night off, but she’d asked Andrew to cover me until 9:30 so at least I could make an appearance. Now THAT’S how you start a long shift. By chopping two and a half hours right off the top. We went for dinner in Richmond and had a couple drinks. Well, I had a couple. They had considerably more, but it was a fun dinner and I was sad to leave. We asked James if it was slow or I was really needed but he messaged that they were swamped so off I went to work. It was not swamped nor even busy, but what could I do?

I worked until 7AM that night and the next day 7-7 as well, not a good shift. In fact, any number of things were unpleasant and wrong and I snapped at a rude customer who wanted a coffee and got a mocha and mistook it with the apocalypse. It didn’t help that I’d stayed after my shift had ended to help him out so he didn’t have to wait for a cook to finally do it. I don’t remember what made that shift so bad, but I knew I wanted to be out of there about four hours before I was. Thankfully for coffee lovers throughout Melbourne, I had Monday off and Kirsty’s parents invited me to a barbie at their place. Now that was some good tucker, as they’d say in these parts. All sorts of sausages, steaks, souvlakis, and goodness. Kirsty also went and bought two desserts from a place she reckons is the best bakery in the city. After dessert, I was unable to dispute. Aside from Kirsty and family and Dave, Carol and Ferg were both there. I had brought a Brown Brothers bottle and he had brought wine from his family’s vineyard that was named after him, plus the Turners had a bottle on hand, so between Ferg, myself, and Kirsty’s dad, we had a great time.

Anyway, that was a great dinner and I had a blast there, that entire group is so hospitable and just great people. We were going to hit a movie later but it got a bit late, though Dave did make it. We had to pass on the Shrek 3 and instead Kirsty and I watched Blades of Glory, which I still enjoyed the second time. I was supposed to be going out Thursday with some co-workers on a bit of a pub crawl but Eva was heading out of town and I owed her for covering a shift of mine when I went to the Goldfields, so I took that shift and we went out Wednesday night instead. Andrew, Heather, Frank, and of course Kirsty came out and we all had a LOT of fun. It was probably the most fun I’d had in my whole time in Melbourne up to this point. We started at Fed Square, spinning the wheel for $8 imports (and I had a Kokanee!) and stealing each others hats and poses, stopped in at Stalactites for a bite, and went bowling at the Strike Bar, combining the sport of drink and bowl as only the Europeans can.

I worked Eva’s shift to midnight as planned the next day (Thursday) and then Nick and I went to look at a cheap clothing sale Friday afternoon. We also popped into the fairly huge and famed Victoria markets for some fruits, veg, yogurt, honey, pumpkins, and most importantly, aviators. The mileage Nick and I have gotten out of these ridiculously awesome glasses has made them well worth the $15 investment. He also took me to his campus to see where he goes, or rather, went to school, and it doesn’t seem so different from home. Finally, we went into a bakery just off campus and had a hearty feed for almost nothing. Ah, student life.

Yet another weekend disappeared in a flurry of work and Monday when I came home one of Nick’s friends, also named Dean, was drunk-as and laid out on a mattress on the floor. Dave, another friend of Nick’s, also showed up with a girl in tow and we all had a good and amusing chat before calling it a night – well, most of us. I didn’t leave my room to get a snack, put it that way. Tuesday morning I woke up, we all had baked apples for breakfast, and it was off to work. That night, I went with Kirsty, Dave, Frank, and Harry to see Ocean’s Thirteen at the Jam Factory, which is a pretty cool cinema on Chapel St. Prior to that, though, we had some pancakes and marveled at the clock with the professor dangling from the minute hand. I tried to get Nick to come, but he’s a responsible student, what can I say? Afterwards, we went down the street to Chapelli’s and had some snacks and drinks. I went with a cocktail and inexperienced bartender, which result in 4oz in my drink. Strong. It was a good time out but we were all getting a bit tired and I wanted to be home before the booze started to kick in besides, so it went.

Our next Wednesday night out we swore to step it up a bit. For starters, we had more people. Nick, fresh from his last exam… ever… was out for a few drinks. Andrew brought his Canadian sensei whose name is escaping me at the moment. Bianca made it out and brought her friend as well. Unfortunately, we lost Frank this time, but you win some you lose some. We started across the street from Stalactites at Mai Tai, a cheesy Hawaiian bar that at least we knew everyone would be able to find. With another Canadian, the drinks definitely went a little quicker, and soon we were at Cookies. We weren’t there all that long because we were almost all feeling the effects of the alcohol, though we were there quite long enough regardless. I can’t even remember all the drinks we had, though apparently I shouted (bought a round of) some ouzo and sambuca. I remember turning down tequila but also sucking on a lemon, so I’m not sure which was that went. Judging by, well, everything, a bit later, I had the shot too. Andrew was in the worst state of us all, and we discovered him passed out in the handicap washroom. The bouncers basically had to pull him out of the building in a chair and sat him on the curb. Bianca was going to drive him to the hospital as he did not seem to be doing well or waking up at all, but I guess he woke up en route and they just drove him home. He was at work the next day.

Me on the other hand, well, I apparently went to Stalactites for a bit of food and wound up helping Cathy alongside Kirsty for about half an hour before catching a ride home from one of the regular Greek cabbies. At which point I definitely decided I didn’t want my liver to have to process too much and responsibly took a lot of alcohol out of the equation. It took several attempts over the course of the next 8 hours to remove it all, but I was successful though not necessarily the better for it. And I was definitely not in a good state for most of the next day. I had also started upgrading Nick’s laptop with a new hard drive and I went to work a little early despite not wanting to at all so I could pick up an external drive case/USB adapter for his old drive. I got to work just at 6:00 only to find I could’ve slept for another hour because my shift didn’t start until 7. I went next door and had coffee and a chat with the boys and picked up some kourambiethes for everyone back at work. I only had to work until 5:00, but it was a long shift.

I did the 7-7 on Friday and came home, cleaned the house a bit more and did my laundry for next week so I could have the weekend off without worrying about it. Nick’s parents were coming up while we were down in Ocean Grove having a party celebrating Nick’s completion of uni. So two hours of sleep later, I drove down to Ocean Grove with Kirsty, who was planning to pop in for a drink and go catch up with some cousins she never sees from down there. But she popped in and because the both of us were so tired, she stayed at the party. It was pretty big and a good time, though it might’ve been moreso with a lot more sleep and a bit less drink on Wednesday. Still, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves in one degree or another and Nick served up a great dinner and was a terrific host as always. Everyone stayed the night at Nick’s and Kirsty and I took off the next afternoon for Melbourne once more.

The day was meant to be a return to Melbourne, but we stopped in Geelong for lunch and a walk around the waterfront again, not to mention more pancakes, and ran a few errands for Nick’s present. We got back home in time to do a quick tour of Williamstown, which is a cute little ocean town within a bustling metropolis, and then went up to the top of the Rialto to have a view of Melbourne (the tallest “reinforced glass structure” in the southern half of the world) from 55 floors up. It was a beautiful if chilly view. Then, both Kirsty and I were tired and picked up a few groceries, had some steaks and salad for dinner, and watched The Island. So it was a full and fun day filled with all my favourite things: skyscrapers, food, movies, road trips, and getting stuff done.

Finally, I spent Monday and Tuesday working two-person lunches in a restaurant needing at least one more staff. The second day we had a reservation for 17 plus a walk-in of 14 not to mention a full restaurant and a line. The cooks had to help bus tables, we were so behind (though that’s in part due to the fact that the table of 17 upstairs seemed to think they were the only ones in the restaurant). I also had to run some errands in between and around work, running twice to Flinders Lane to get Nick’s gift semi-done before he left between serving tables. That’s a good 20 blocks. But it was worth it to have it done. Now, I’m going to get some sleep, because tomorrow night is most likely my last Wednesday-Out-In-Melbourne™ and it sounds like it has caught on in popularity and will be a big one – even the boss and her husband are coming out. Maybe these Wednesdays out will continue when I’ve gone and be my legacy to the crew, who knows? Then this weekend, a trip to Yarra Valley and Phillips Island to see some penguins! So it’ll actually be an entertaining blog post next time, I promise.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Dean,

I remember you asking me to make a comment. Well, if you don't mind me saying, it might be me but your commentary of your movements would make more sense if it has dates not just the days. Otherwise you know I enjoy your writings.

Turkey Norm

Dean said...

Not a bad idea, Norm, though you mistake me for someone far more organized than I am. :) I'll try to give it a try on the post after my next post.