Red 7

4 Apr

Red 7

March 23, 2012

We were woken up by sounds of windy weather whistling through our open YHA hostel window. Originally we’d planned to visit Phillips Island and/or go surfing but it didn’t seem as though Mother Nature was willing to cooperate so we decided we’d head straight for Melbourne instead. Well not straight to Melbourne – we had to see a man about a tire first.

We started by stopping off at the local shop recommended to us by the man working the reception desk at our hostel. The mechanic there told us that Jamie’s back tires were a different size than the ones he had on the front and that the rear tires were a rare size. He advised us that it would be best to replace both back tires in the size that matched the size of the front tires, especially since the back tires were nearly bald anyways.

The quote we received there was $115 per tire and he left us to decide how we wanted to proceed. We decided to call around to a few other shops nearby and get a few more quotes before making our decision. We spoke with a nice man named Gary who worked out of a shop just up the street. He said he had a range of brand new tires and his prices were fair but more than anything we got a really good vibe from him. Choosing a mechanic is a lot like choosing a doctor, it has to be a fit, even if they are just tires.

We drove up to Gary’s shop where we discovered that his was in the middle of working on a car that he already had raised up. He dropped what he was doing to show us the tires he had available in the size we needed and answered all of our questions. We selected 2 middle-of-the-line tires to replace the existing ones on the back of Jamie’s car, paid the man, and hit the road.

Of course once we began to drive the sky cleared to a bright blue with about only half of the wind power it had shown us earlier that morning so we stopped at a lookout point on our way out of Lakes Entrance to get some photos of the beach and ocean along the edge of town. Not 5 minutes after we’d gotten back on the road the wind picked up, the skies darkened and the rain came pouring down. Before long it was once again blue, sunny skies. Most of our drive was like this – we even saw a double rainbow – and J.J. drove through it all like a champ.

We arrived in Melbourne to check into Urban Central, our hostel for the next 4 days, after the sun had set. We decided we’d drop off our things in our room, make up our beds, change quickly and set out in search of a place to have dinner. Melbourne is known for its food and music scene so after a long and hairy drive J.J. was especially pumped for a good meal. Living on the road makes it challenging at times to eat healthy and so my only request was that he choose a spot with a lighter option, like salad or sushi.

We began walking towards Bourke Street in city centre as we’d received a few recommendations along there from the people working the front desk at our hostel. The first place we looked at was Pellegrini’s which is a Melbourne institution. The décor hasn’t changed since its conception in the 1950’s and it’s not licensed. The only thing on the menu is pasta and it’s a limited menu in terms of what they have posted on the chalkboard (the chalkboard is the only menu they have) but they said to ask them about any pasta we were feeling and said they could probably make it. Unfortunately there wasn’t any salad on the menu, aside from a side green salad, so we decided to keep looking.

We found pub grub, several Italian restaurants and a sushi burger place that was unfortunately closed (a sushi burger is basically Japanese food placed between 2 bun-shaped pieced of sticky rice). We decided to head to China Town in hopes of finding Japanese – long shot but worth a try!

Lucky us, China Town was lined with sushi restaurants and we chose to sit down at Meiji. The restaurant was small and once we sat down every table in the place was taken. We thought this must be a good sign and we were right. The service was cheerful and the food was delicious. J.J. ordered the first 5-filler sushi roll that our waitress had ever seen while I had the 1-filler rolls (cucumber and avocado – no, fish hasn’t grown on me yet).

About halfway through our meal I looked up to see a table of Asian 20-something guys all staring open-mouthed yet smiling at something behind my head. Just then J.J. burst out laughing and he seemed to also be looking over my head. Upon turning around I noticed for the first time that the restaurant was playing a subtitled movie and a 2-minute graphic lesbian love scene had begun. (I know it was about 2 minutes because that’s when the table of Asian gentlemen resumed eating.)

By the time we’d finished dinner it was about midnight and we decided to walk back to our hostel instead of taking the tram or a cab. When we were close, we passed by the doors to the Crown Casino and decided to take a gamble. Each of us decided we were willing to risk $5 and I got to pick the game. I chose roulette (mainly because by choosing a colour I had a 50/50 chance). J.J. put down his first and only bet of the evening, red 7 and against the odds he won! We cashed out immediately, happy that in a matter of seconds we’d paid for Jamie’s new tires.

Back at the hostel and with new energy after our win, we decided to play a game of pool before heading off to bed. While I lost, I gave J.J. a serious run for his money and legitimately raised some concern in him that I might actually beat him. Now it was time for bed.

I have a good feeling about you, Melbourne.

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