24 May 2010

Discovering Melbourne : Going Places

Waking up on my second day in Melbourne, it was gonna be the day when I’d start going to those places that I had listed down. One thing about Melbourne that I like most is that, they really know how to make things easy for ‘newcomers’ like me. Apparently, the city council had seen to it.
They actually put somebody at most of the major intersections in the city so ready to give you guidance just in case you need one.
And they really know how to teach you how to line up before entering a tram.
Which was exactly what I did later. Taking my very first tram ride, I had almost missed my stop when my eyes were too fixated on this sophisticated-looking lady here. Making her pace carefully and flamboyantly off, she really had the sway of a…DATIN? LOL!
My first camwhore intended destination..
Melbourne Museum!
I can’t help but noticing that whatever they put up in Melbourne, it has to come with some beauty.
AUD8 for an entrance fee is actually OK for a place like Melbourne Museum.
Believe me, it’s worth it.
I mean, why would it really matter if you get to see the skeleton of a Blue Whale, the biggest living creature in the world?
And the biggest tortoise the world has ever seen?
Then you get to see a number of Dinosaurs.
Even though they are only skeletons now but at least you get the idea of how big there were.
And I felt so sorry for this one here. They took her head skull away. Now she would never stop asking 'Where is my head mate?? Where???? Where????'
The Melbourne Museum really is a wonderful place to be. It’s like going back to school to learn all the things that you might have had problem understanding back then. For one thing, they present things in such a way that is so easy to follow and understand.
With so much information covering just about every aspect of life and the world around, I really thought Australia needed more museums than schools.
I’d never seen so many embalmed creatures being placed in one room to form such a vast collection of wildlife.
Some of them had been confirmed to have extinct forever making your visit even a much more worthwhile one. I mean, you’ll never get to see them anywhere else in the world but here in Melbourne Museum.
Then my favorite section of the museum.
I have always been an enthusiast of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
Not that I believe ALL of it but somehow if studied thoroughly, his theory DOES make sense in many ways.
Oh well, most of his theories might contradict with Christian beliefs and I am a Christian but then, what makes sense makes sense. You can’t do anything about it.
Darwin’s theory of Evolution is one of the most powerful theories the world has ever been presented to it has actually changed the way we see the living world and provides the foundation of modern biology.
Then the Human Body section.
Oh well, entering the museum was really like going back to school indeed. For a moment, I was thrown back into a Science & Biology class.
I was actually holding my bladder when I came upon this. LOL!
It really is easy to understand why Aussies have a first-world mentality while we have a third. While we in Malaysia are still battling over whether Sex Education should or should not be introduced at schools, Australia already had this for many many years in their museums.
And they don’t have any of those 18SX restrictions and teachers bring their kids as part of their schools activities every now and then throughout the year.
I mean, don’t they deserve to know what they are going to get through in the later stage of their lives?
But then I couldn’t help but wondering how much did they pay to this guy to get fully naked and let the millions of visitors to Melbourne Museums to see his thing EVERY YEAR. :-D
Then they were more things to see at the museum.
Some of the sections in the museum would bring you into reflecting yourself in a way that you probably never did before.
They would ask you to lie down and watch a video that playing things that usually come in your dreams.
They MAKE you dream while you’re fully awake. Isn’t that cool?
I came out understanding more about myself. :-P
And there was the section for aboriginal people displaying amongst others their art collection and all.
You gotta have a very fast hand to get this picture here. Photography is strictly prohibited in this section of the museum.
The middle section of the 2-winged museum is the forest exhibition.  
It is more like a place to show how the earth and water complete each other to support the world ecosystem.
Out into the open later, I couldn’t help but noticing this beautiful European-looking building just outside of the Melbourne Museum.
Just when I thought that it’d make a romantic backdrop for a wedding photo, I came upon a couple doing just that!
For a moment I wished I was the groom. o.O 
A little more walk had led me to this beautiful park.
Melbourne, as I had come to find out later, is full of beautiful parks and this is only one of them. I was there during the autumn when parks are at one of their best looks.
I had always been fascinated how the leaves would fall from the trees every time the autumn comes. Of course I wouldn’t just leave without taking some photo. [I’d spare you the camwhored this time. :-P]
I was actually trying to find the famous Queen Victoria Market. Despite having bought an all-day ticket, I decided to take a walk. Main attractions in Melbourne are actually mostly within a walking distance but of course it needs a little bit of stamina and a pair of well-muscled legs.
Then I found this almost by accident.
Victoria State Library. It is actually listed as one of the major attractions in Melbourne. Since I had done quite a lot of reading back at the museum, I really thought I didn’t need any more of it.
You see, didn’t I tell you about how they put things in Melbourne? They always come with some beauty although this one here is quite weird to my eyes.
Then I was approached by a girl asking me to sign a petition for this.
I’ve always been following the issues on human rights raised by the Amnesty International Groups ever since I was in my campus years. Oh well, whether I saw some senses in the issue or may be because signing a petition AGAINST the Government like this one here is something for some reason I probably couldn’t do back in Malaysia, I found myself putting my signature down.
Then what would have been my best picture with the State Library in the background was spoilt by this guy who was trying to play James Bond right behind me. DUH!
I was starving by the time I managed to spot the Queen Victoria Market. Mind to tell you that a basic proper meal in Melbourne and Australia as a whole is priced at around AUD9 by average and that doesn’t even include drink yet!
Ohh and drinks in Australia are soooo expensive by comparison to what we are probably willing to pay here in Malaysia. A small bottle of carbonated drink is priced at around AUD3. So all in all, we have to fish at least AUD12 (MYR37) out of our wallet every time we take a meal.
The good news is, the likes of McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and KFC provide you with a better alternative. A menu set of the medium size for Big Mac (Burger+Drink+Fries) at a McDonald is priced at less than AUD7.
Somehow I found it quite funny to be a frequent visitor of McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s all throughout my trip to Australia. Luckily for me, there seem to be everywhere so as long as there’s McDonald or Hungry Jack’s, I’ll be safe.. :-)))
Despite being there at only around 3.30pm, I was quite surprised to find out that most of the hawkers were closing their stalls.
I was quite too late. But then upon checking out some of the stalls that were still open, the prices didn’t seem to be all that appealing to me though.
Quite expensive, I’d say. I ended up buying nothing.
At least I’ve been there. :=D
Ohh, and the adjacent wet market was actually quite worth to drop by.
I had no idea what things did they put to make the meats look like the way they do here but somehow, they looked as if I could put a big piece of them in my mouth right away, raw or not raw. LOL.
Ohhh, and despite the fact that I’d been hearing about people BBQ-ing Kangaroo’s meat and all, it had never been verified for me actually, not until I found it here at the Queen Victoria Market. So it’s confirmed! Kangaroo is a food stuff!
Ohhh, and I was making my way out when my eyes were caught by this rack they had put up on the wall nearby the exit.
Free postcards! And upon a closer inspection, I had come to realize that some of the postcards were just so relevant to certain things that I had been trying to be a part of.
Don't Palm the Orang Utans off! Oh yeah, this one here would go to the Prime Minister.
Hopping on a tram again, I was later at the Flinders Street Station.
It really amused me how they named some of the shops.
And stopping at bookshop, they’ve really got just about everything for books.
Ironically, just next to the bookstore is this.
I walked off past the Federation Square and on to the riverbank of Yarra River.
Unlike the Seine River in Paris or the Thames River in London, Yarra River doesn’t really have the size to accommodate big ferries. Most of the river cruises are meant for tourists.
But it provides a good spot for recreational activities such as kayaking and canoeing..
But then, just running and cycling along the riverbank is something that many of the Melburnians love to do which is of course, sooooooooo good for their health.
Oh, and you can’t miss seeing this strange-looking plague called Birrarung Marr that was placed right down the Federation Square. It was erected to commemorate the opening of the parkland named after what the plaque is named itself (Birrarung Marr).
If you don’t already know, the original habitants of the now Australian continent are the aboriginal people. There were known to have resided in most of the lands in Australia before England started to send their convicts over. Fast-forward, more and more white people from all over the world were beginning to pour in because Australia was getting more and more prosperous.
Oh well, things would have been OK but when Australia was firmly formed as an independent nation with their own government, they were beginning to increasingly intervene in the lives of aboriginal people. They did, among others, forcibly remove aboriginal children from their families and communities and placed them in government-controlled institutions to ‘civilize’ them through education and training.
Australia had been attempting to erase the Aboriginal identity of the communities especially the children. Those who lost the children pleaded for them to be returned. These children are famously known as The Stolen Generations.
Oh well, needless to say, this scheme by the Australian government had caused outcries by many groups from all over the world including human right activists.The Australian government must have finally gathered some senses somewhere they finally stopped it after awhile but the wounds and scars are still there for those who were affected. They finally came up with an agreement to leave them alone and give them their full rights as Australian citizens. It remains the darkest part in Australian history and the government has been trying to make up for what they have done.
SO, it’d be a no surprise that you’d see acknowledgement of traditional lands like everywhere in Australia.
I recalled how I relieved myself on a wall somewhere along the riverbank of Seine River when I was in Paris last year. Opps! Did I just say that? Oh well, I really had to because apparently it wasn’t easy to find a public toilet in Paris. Hehe. Melbourne, on the other hand, is full of toilets so you can always spare the trees and walls from your acidic and stinking pee.
You see, Melbourne put everything to come with some beauty that even a public toilet is beautifully painted.
By then, the sky was beginning to get dark over Melbourne.
I walked back towards the city centre on this beautiful wooden pedestrian walkway here.
On the other end of it is this.
It is actually a group of bells that ring rhythmically when the wind blows upon them, producing such a harmonious sound of ting!ting!ting!ting!
With the giant ferry-wheel rolling slowly within the view and the bells ringing a lullaby to my ears, it gotta be the best spot to watch the beautiful city of Melbourne from a distance.
I actually found it quite… lullabying? I don’t know what to call it but I could just lie down there and take a nap.
But of course I couldn’t stay there forever. I had to make a move. I was later back at the Federation Square. I’d been walking in and out of Federation Square since I came to Melbourne a few days ago, but didn’t really take my time to stop and check out the building.
The Federation Square building is really fascinating to see up-close. Its architecture and interior design is so different than any other buildings that I’d ever seen anywhere else before.
They put things that are just eye-catching like everywhere in and around the building.
It houses amongst others a number of halls and auditoriums and cafes and some shops.
Most of the major events in Melbourne are held in Federation Square, making it one of the most iconic places in New South Wales and Australia as a whole.
I was actually walking towards my hostel when it suddenly started to rain.
I ended up running for cover inside the building of another land mark of Melbourne – The Flinders Street Station.
The Flinders Station as seen from the outside would have looked like this.
It is like the epicenter of life in Melbourne with thousands of people coming in and out of it every day. For a moment I just stood there watching the ‘world’ revolve around me.
I was glad the rain didn’t last that long. I had something very special to look forward to. First, this.
Accompanying me at the dinner were these two beautiful ladies.
The Japanese food for dinner was good but we had a much more special thing to attend to.
A jazz live band performance! A jazz live band in the OZ! What could be more cool that that!?? I couldn’t remember when was the last time I attended a jazz live-band performance. I mean, a real jazz with a real jazz group. Oh well, who do we have here anyway? Sheila Majid? Ok, I'll spare her my Ewwww. :-P
And nothing could be more fun than watching it with the right company with whom you share the same passion for it. But then again, it’s not easy to find jazz enthusiasts especially here in Malaysia and that makes us quite Australian special I guess. LOL!
If you’re quiet of a musician that plays instruments then you’d know how jazz is the kind of music that is not easy to play. Watching the group play jazz with all the talent in the world was one the best things that happened to me in my whole trip to Australia.
What I liked about the group was that they do things so spontaneously and they interact so well with the audience. They are funny and hilarious and they really know how to bring in the relaxing atmosphere. But than, relaxing is what jazz is all about. Seems like Malaysian groups have got a lot to learn from groups like this. I returned to the hostel with a visual of this video kept playing in my head all night long..
Follow me as I hit into the soooooooooooooooooooooo beautiful beach of St. Kilda in my  next blogpost.. ;-)


aud said...

I think you had a great 'accidental' itinerary for the 2nd day. Makes me really really want to go to Melbourne soon!

Food prices are really steep, huh. (after conversion). I don't think I can eat fast food more than twice in a week.

Kelvin said...

Aud 8 is damn worth it. And i thought kangaroo is a protected species?

kenwooi said...

so niceeeeee!
makes me wanna travel again! =)

the museum reminds me of london's natural history musuem =)

JIPP said...

kenwooi: Travelling is always fun.. the travel bugs are biting on u again. hehe.
Kelvin: some controlled harvesting of kangaroos is permitted to licensed shooters. in fact they are times when they are considered overabundant that cause damage to Australian production as well as environmental damage. :-)
Aud: yupp, their foods are quite expensive. Better cook at the hostel. hehe. Oh yeah, u shud consider going to Melbourne.

thomas said...

A very long review on Melbourne,good for me because i haven't been there.

JIPP said...

yuppp, you should consider going there Thomas..:-)

Lizeewong said...

Awesome pics Jipp..I like the one with the Ferris wheel at night.

You've given me ideas on where to go in my trip next Oct :)

Bridget said...

hehe 'beautiful ladies' eh... as always. lol.

Anyway, the pics in fed square and along southbank are gorgeous! And yes, food is expensive. But ok ba dat if u stay in the hostel and bring a rice cooker. Just buy some dishes from Chinatown, it can last a few meals. Hehe, speaking from experience.

JIPP said...

Hi Widgie. yupp, I still believe cooking our own meal is the best to cut down expenses. But so many restaurants there all so appealing to me. :-) Liz, you'll like there. I was having some problem with the weather but since u're used to the colder NZ, I think u wouldnt hv any problem with it. Enjoy.. :-)

Rahul Patel said...

Wow nice snaps.....you also get the various fun places in pench.Pench is a beautiful resort.It is famous for its tracking.For more details visit hotel booking pench


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