It's 6.37 p.m. Australian time and I'm sitting in my hotel room typing this because all the shops were starting to close at Melbourne Central and I had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. And in all seriousness, after doing little more than shopping for the past few days, I am sick and tired of shopping, and spending money on things that I don't need (like a AUD$77 dress I bought today because I had nothing to do. Okay lah, the dress is nice also lah).
I had a sudden craving for fried beehoon this afternoon and I remember seeing a stall at the basement of Melbourne Central selling fried beehoon. They didn't have it when I went back, so I bought fried noodles. It's the worst noodles I've ever had in my life, including the crappy Chinese food I had in Paris with Mag in 2008. You'd think that Chinese food from a stall manned by a Chinese woman who spoke Chinese-accented English should be good, right? It's oily and tasteless.
All the positive reviews of Melbourne I heard from my friends had inflated my expectations of the place. All that I can think of after 5, 6 days here is that it's really hard for me to get excited about an Australian city when I've been to London (I'm not putting Paris in the equation because I won't ever live long term in a non-English speaking city, and Paris is even more overrated than Melbourne). The fact that I could navigate the city area perfectly well this afternoon by myself, when I got lost trying to do the same in London and ended up taking the tube to my destination that was just one stop away, says it all. I can definitely see why Singaporeans would like to escape here: it's relaxed, it's easy to navigate, it's relatively clean, the weather is tons better, there's a great variety of food due to its immigrant population; but in terms of whether it's a place I'd recommend for a holiday, I'd only do so to friends who love cafes like I do. The coffee and the cafe culture here is the only thing that's saved my holiday for me. Because for every food item that I've had so far that I thought was good, I can think of at least one other place where I've had the same food item that was better. And honestly, honestly? Paris has better coffee than Melbourne.
All that being said, I didn't venture outside the main city area save for the Monash Caulfield campus. I didn't want to pay to go to Great Ocean Road when there's a good chance that I'd have my own transport within the next 3 years, and it's too damn cold to go to Phillip Island. Maybe if I'd done either of the two I would've found this place more exciting than I do; but as it stands, I'm not that impressed. The history doesn't interest me, and I can't get over the fact that it's Australia. Maybe it's my Singaporean idiosyncracy; but Australia has never been a place that places on my list of places that I absolutely must visit.
And like I said earlier, after London, a city with such rich, extensive history, it's hard for Melbourne to elicit a response in me other than "so what?"
On a positive note, the weather here is awesome. I'm not a fan of the cold, and it was too cold yesterday for my liking due to the rain; but generally, I love being able to wear my winter coat and nice boots out and not start to sweat after 5 seconds. Even better, I love not sweating, period. I miss a few things about Singapore; but rest assured that the fucking weather is definitely NOT one of them.
The shopping is decent when you get to the shops before they close, but the exchange rate is ruining everything. I yearn for the days when the Singapore dollar was stronger than the Australian equivalent; now I just feel poor when I buy things with my credit card.
I've been eating so much dessert that I'm afraid to find out exactly how much weight I've put on. But like I told Wei Chuen, there's nothing else to do here. All I tell him in my text messages are what I'm eating, and they're usually things like sticky date pudding, pancakes, cupcakes, chocolate cakes. Credit where it's due: the desserts are good generally. But oh my god, I hope all the walking I'm doing is taking care of some of the added calories.
I will be back in humid PAP land Wednesday morning at midnight, 1 a.m.-ish. For now, I'm gonna head downstairs to join mom and brother for dinner.