I’ve been promising to write up what went down in Melbourne for weeks, so I’m going to damn well do it! So there! 😉
OK, first of all, the reason for the company pulling up sticks and relocating to the east coast for the weekend. One of our websites was nominated in the Australian Web Industry Association Australian Web Awards. This is the first time any of our sites have reached such lofty heights, so Dale coughed up the money for us to head over to the awards ceremony, being held at Luna Park on the evening of Saturday October 6th.
(Spoiler: We didn’t win. Boo! Hooray! Boo! Hooray! Call me when you’re finished).
While Dale did cough up money for the trip, he didn’t cough up a whole lot of it, so we ended up catching a red eye flight on an economy airline, scheduled to take off at 11:00pm on Thursday night. Due to various delays and incompetence the plane didn’t actually take off until 1:30, at which point we’d been standing around in the departure lounge for well over an hour. To make matters worse, bad planning on my part (combined with the burger I’d had at lunch not sitting too well) resulted in my having to pay $14 for a bottle of water and a ham sandwich. Bloody airports.
Anyway, we eventually boarded the plane – having to walk out across the tarmac like chumps to do so. Honestly, what is this? The middle ages?
The flight was about as comfortable as one would expect. That is to say, not very. I was able to snatch a few scattered hours of sleep, which was apparently more than the rest of my colleagues managed. We touched down at Tullamarine about 6:30, and fortuitously grabbed a maxi-taxi right outside the airport doors.
This (eventually) delivered us to the general vicinity of Hotel Tolarno. Happily all our rooms were ready, and Cleyton and I lucked out by getting the largest of the three. Dale and Janina were almost dead on their feet and immediately disappeared, while Cleyton, Bruce, Daniel and I wandered outside in search of sustenance. The hum of the city waking up in the morning sunlight was enhanced by a Paul-Kellyesque smell of burning leaves, which turned out to be a rubbish bin someone had set on fire. Welcome to St Kilda!
We located food in a bakery across the street (I indulged in one of those gigantor sized Red Bulls and a quiche), then retired to Daniel and Bruce’s room where we sat around mocking breakfast TV and shrieking theatrically every time they replayed a shot of Tony Abbot’s lycra-clad crotch (honestly, it was about every three minutes).
After a while Daniel and Bruce both started passing out, so Cleyton and I left them to get some sleep. Cleyton got his laptop up and running on the hotel’s wifi, and I set off on confront Melbourne’s tram network on a trip to the Coatman.
Happily I’d done my research and after picking up a Myki card at one of the dozen or so 7/11’s scattered along Fitzroy street found tram transport no challenge at all. I arrived in Glen Huntly just before 9:20 – and discovered that the Coatman doesn’t open until 10:00.
I spent the next forty minutes wandering up and down Glen Huntly road, taking photographs of anything that looked even mildly interesting. Eventually the Coatman opened, and with very little fuss I was assisted in locating a very fine coat, which cost me only $125. I caught the tram back to St Kilda, feeling quite chuffed with myself, then went for a wander – mostly to check out a rather impressive church spire I’d spotted on my way down.
After some architectural appreciation I headed back to the hotel. Cleyton was asleep so I did some quiet reading, which soon evolved into some sleeping of my own. We were woken about midday by Dale who was getting everyone together to go have lunch and do some business planning so the day wouldn’t be a complete write off work-wise (he rather nicely said that I could be excused so I could go and buy my coat. The fact that I’d already done so and had time to come back and get some sleep seemed to genuinely shock him). We ended up at the Italian restaurant just across the street where I had a very nice chicken and vegetable soup, and loads of garlic bread.
Business out of the way, Bruce, Daniel, Cleyton and I caught a tram into the city and went for a stroll along the Yarra. We ended up at Federation Square where some kind of concert to save the Kimberly was being set up (I later learned that the John Butler Trio and Claire Bowditch were performing – I should have hung around). We then headed into the city proper and, rather suspiciously, kept running into places particularly suited to Daniel’s interests (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the Apple Store, a games shop with an entire floor devoted to Ninetendo…). We eventually ended up at Minotaur, where I quickly realised that there was absolutely no middle ground – I could either buy stuff, and end up spending hundreds of dollars, or buy nothing at all. I reluctantly bought nothing at all.
By this point it was getting towards evening. Bruce was meeting up with some mates he hadn’t seen in ages, and wanted to get back to the hotel to get cleaned up first, so we caught the tram back. Cleyton got back online and I got back to my reading. Eventually Daniel came knocking and the three of us headed out into Saint Kilda to find somewhere to eat.
This wasn’t easy. We found plenty of places, but none seemed to appeal. We followed Fitzroy street down to the bay, then continued along the Esplanade and eventually all the way down to the end of Acland Street. Eventually – sick of walking and quite hungry – we ended up at a little cafe about midway along Acland, and had quite an adequate meal before getting a tram back to the hotel at about 11:30.
TO BE CONTINUED…