Wanderlust: Australia

24,000 Steps in the Melbourne CBD + Aladdin

01:23

What do Melburnians do on a weekend? 🤔

I've heard that it involves delicious brunches, so I duly made my way out the door at 10AM in search of...

BURGERS! 🍔


I had my burger with onion rings, and it was A+ delicious.

Best of all, unlike on my birthday, the weather was mostly sunny and balmy all day long, facilitating a great walk from Carlton to the CBD.

Before I flew to Melbourne, I already had an idea of the kinds of things I wanted to eat. No Asian food, for example. I wanted Western-influenced staples like fish and chips, burgers, fries, and some sprinkling of Italian/ Spanish/ Mexican food.

What I didn't know was where, exactly, I'd find these offerings. When I walked to the city, I had no intention of walking to Betty's Burgers. I simply Googled "Melbourne CBD Burgers", and the first result that came up was Royal Stacks CBD.

So there I was, walking from Carlton to the CBD...


a glimpse of what's to come that night

... and texting my friends, when they said: "I heard Betty's Burgers is pretty good."

I was still determined to go to Royal Stacks CBD, but then... I saw Betty's Burgers just down the road from where I was walking.

OKAY UNIVERSE. I WILL TAKE YOUR SIGN. NEXT TIME THEN, ROYAL STACKS. ✌️

When I walked into Betty's Burgers, it was merely 11AM in the morning, and the restaurant was 75% empty. Just as I was about to sit down after getting my order of Betty's Classic, Onion Rings (BEER FRIED BATTERED ONION RINGS PEOPLE) and Garlic Mayo, the couple at the "window" bar left... so I quickly took over their seats.

I mean... just look at this lunch view. Certainly better than the sad desk lunches I've been having lately. 😭


Just sitting down and watching Melbourne pass by was a leisurely joy in itself. I ate my meal slowly, watching trams 🚊, people, cars, and buses go by, while also catching up on my social media.

It's the kind of small moments I live for, where everything seems to conspire to bring me joy. I watched a great musical the night before, the whole day stretched ahead of me with nothing urgent for me to attend to, the sun was shining, I felt neither too hot nor too cold, I had a delicious burger and onion rings to consume, and there was YET another musical to look forward to that night...

At that moment, I truly felt at peace, and I'm glad to say those moments came often during my trip in Melbourne (and only manifest mildly during the weekends now that I'm back in Malaysia, but oh well, real life and all that jazz).

This, I thought to myself, is what I go on holidays for.

Perhaps I've gone soft, or perhaps I've never really had grand ambitions in the first place. Yet, I'm glad that just eating a burger and having a quiet moment to myself while watching the world pass by is something that brings me great joy. Fine dining is great and all, but I firmly believe mundane moments SHOULD bring equally as much joy and peace, if not more.

(Actually, probably more; fine dining makes me slightly anxious)

If this makes me a mediocre person, so be it.


Here is the face of a person who is at ease with her current surroundings. It also helps that a cute guy pulled up to sit two seats away, AND smiled at me. 😂😂😂

^the real reason Mich is at ease and peace. 😂😂😂

Ahem.

Anyway.

It was past 12PM when I realised there was an actual QUEUE to get into Betty's Burgers, so I got up and left to make way for them. #considerate

I then spent the rest of my day getting lost... somewhat on purpose. I simply walked around the CBD, looking at Melbourne city life.

I saw a guy in a sharply-ironed suit, carrying a bouquet of flowers, and wondered who the lucky lady was.

I saw the homeless sitting or sleeping on cast-aside mattresses or piles of clothes, with signboards that said "don't judge us".

I walked past a gym, and saw muscular men in black walking out the doorway.

I walked along the side of the Yarra river, and a man selling ice-cream smiled at me.

I loved just meandering without a purpose, without feeling like I NEEDED to have a purpose. This is the Melbourne life I came to see, not to rush through in an attempt to find the next attraction.

I did, however, walk all the way to the Royal Botanical Gardens (I burned off that burger good), before I plopped down on a bench. The sky then alternated between raining slightly and then shining brightly again, proving that Melbourne weather changes its mind more than I do.


Look at those clouds of "MAKE UP YOUR MIND WHAT WEATHER YOU WANT TO BE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS AT LEAST, MELBOURNE". I found the Shrine of Remembrance, which was slightly packed with tourists at the front, but then I went round the back and found this.


Shade, silence, and a GORGEOUS view to look upon as I pondered about life (and my aching legs).

Barely anyone went to the back of the shrine, which was a PRETTY GREAT THING. I think I sat there for half an hour before I reluctantly decided it was time to walk back to Carlton.

Yes, I was still up for walking MORE at this point in time.



On my way back, I found La Trobe's Cottage, which was first built in 1839. It's the home of Victoria's first governor, Charles Joseph La Trobe. It's basically a glimpse of what the houses of the rich were like back in the mid-19th century.

I certainly wouldn't mind having a cottage and white picket fencing like this for a home. I have a feeling a home like this will get broken into very quickly in this century, however.

I also found a bunch of these birds (clearly I have no idea what they are) just feeding off the ground, not even bothering to move away as I got closer to take this shot.

Ah, Melbourne. Have I mentioned I love you already? BECAUSE I DO.

I gave up on the walking by the time I reached Federation Square, and took the tram back to Carlton, though. 😂

***

I went off to watch Aladdin afterwards, this time with friends who are also Disney aficionados!

As luck would have it, Aladdin started playing in Melbourne on 15th April, and I was there to catch it exactly one week later. 😊


My colleague told me that I looked tiny in this photo.

Me: "I'm tiny everywhere in Australia."
#bringmeback #nobodycallsmefatinAustralia

To be honest... if I had to compare between both the musicals I watched, I actually preferred The Book of Mormon 😅, ESPECIALLY in terms of value-for-money. Aladdin cost me a whopping RM160 more, which is A LOT in Malaysia.

This is not to say Aladdin was bad - I actually liked it, especially the genie (who certainly enjoyed hamming it up on stage).

It didn't immediately grab me from the start, though, the way The Book of Mormon did as soon as the first song ("Hello!") started. It did gradually grew on me, which I was thankful for, since I DID spend RM729.00 on the entire musical. 😂

If you asked me which one I'd rather have a second viewing of, though, it'd be.... The Book of Mormon (once again, The Book of Mormon is not suitable for sensitive people/ children).

There were lots to like about Aladdin, like the props and sets on stage (the Cave of Wonders scene, for one), the shiny costumes, the elaborate dance performances (especially during "Friend Like Me"), and the side characters of Genie,  Kassim, Babkak, Omar, Jafar, and Iago.

The story, however, felt rushed at times. I could not feel the romance between Aladdin and Jasmine (there was probably more chemistry between Aladdin and Genie), and I was left feeling baffled by how certain scenes felt rushed. It felt glitzy and glamourous, but I suppose I was looking for a little more... heart.

Michael James Scott as Genie was quite the show-stopper, though! I felt like we should have renamed Aladdin to Genie instead. 😂

Not sure when I'll get to watch my next musical, considering large-scale musicals don't really come here (and public transport isn't exactly ~accessible~ in KL), but I'm happy to have had the opportunity to watch TWO in Melbourne this year. I mean, that's two more than usual. 🤐

***

At the end of the day, I checked my Health app, and it turns out I walked 23,846 steps / a total of 16.1km on my "Meandering in Melbourne" day.

I guess that's pretty magical. Exactly one month later on the same date, I've walked... 2,664 steps. 😂

What I'd do for a magic carpet ride to my next holiday destination now. 😅