I headed out around noon and took the tram to St. Kilda, the touristy beach area of Melbourne. Before heading out, I looked up the address of an Indian place in the area that was supposed to be good. St. Kilda greeted me with a downpour of rain. I walked, wet, alone, lost around the area, searching for my restaurant, occasionally stopping into a random book store to warm up. There comes a time when a man just needs a cup of coffee, so I stopped into McDonald's, bought a cup, then analyzed my map to try to find my way to food. Turns out I was only a block away, that was the good news.
The restaurant was a bust though. It was being ran by a group of Chinese ladies and that made me feel a little skeptical about the food. Not to say that a person from China could be any less or more competent at a curry as a native Indian, but it typically makes me feel a bit odd to see incongruous ethnicities running an ethnic food joint. It was that, and the half Thai, half Indian menu. I instead had a Malaysian curry at another place across the street.
My little excursion to the beach was not turning out how I wanted, so I started back for the city. On my way, I saw a sign for Rare Records. The name and the rain compelled me to enter. I walked in, hoping to find a few CD's from a Klezmer/Jazz hybrid series by John Zorn. Going through the staff picks, I saw a whole bunch of his albums, but not the ones for which I was searching. Finding this artist in the states can be a hassle, so I knew the shop keeper must have had great tastes. I asked if he had the other CD's I wanted, but he didn't. We then started talking about all sorts of bands that I would never guess would reach Australia; they aren't even popular in the states. He put in a bunch of different albums that I had to hear. Turns out the guy and I have nearly identical tastes. Looking at the wall, I noticed photos of him with various bands I likes. "Is that you with the Mars Volta?"
"Yeah, this is Omar's favorite record store in the whole world, he stops in here every time he comes to Australia."
"Is that Johnny Knoxville and John Frusciante?"
"No, that's me and Johnny Knoxville." He looked a lot like John Frusciante (guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers).
After an hour or so of listening to music, I finally had to pull myself away to see the rest of the city. It was hard to leave. In the end I purchased a couple of albums by local bands that I was assured were awesome.
Leaving the store, I looked to sky to see the rain had stopped, though it was still cold and windy. I took a tram north to downtown and walked around a bit more, then headed back.
That night we went out with Jess's cousins Joel and Sabeena for Italian food at the famous Lygon street, home of much of Australia's seedy underworld and fine cuisine.
We went to bed only to wake up again at 3:30 to catch a cab and then a bus to the airport so we could catch our 6AM flight.
Overall, I enjoyed Melbourne a lot. It was a beautiful city, large, but very manageable. Sadly, finding that the highlight of my vacation was a record shop really shows how much of a nerd I am.