Friday, February 8, 2013

Australian Open

We arrived in Melbourne on Australia Day but it was the day after we were looking forward to -- the men's finals match of the Australian Open. Seats at Rod Laver Arena didn't quite fit in our traveling budget but fortunately it was almost as fun to watch from Federation Square, a cultural center in Melbourne with frequent events, including live broadcasts of the matches.

We did get as close as we could to the famous sports arena and this is the result.

Everything in Australia seems expensive but fortunately we could turn to our old standby, cheap Asian food! In Asia and Oceania, 'food courts' outside the context of malls are exceedingly popular and we often found an economical variety of options there. We also enjoyed all-you-can-eat basic Indian food at Om Vegetarian for $6.50/person. Side note, my bubble tea addiction resurged in the hot weather.

Two standout restaurants we went to deserve special mention. First, Lentil As Anything is donation-based (read: free food), all vegetarian and mostly vegan place, focusing on hearty, tasty and cheap foods that recall India and Africa. We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere and really admire their mission.

Second, Dessert Story is a restaurant dedicated entirely to Chinese desserts, an often overlooked category, but that really has a ton of variety and offers unique flavor combinations. Their extensive menu made it really tough to choose, but we ended up with a mountain of green tea ice along with chocolate and red beans that we've been dreaming about since!

We spent the time we weren't eating checking out Melbourne so here are a bunch of random pictures -- public bikeshare (rental) system, Luna Park, old churches, city sights, street performers, a sad group of penguins at St. Kilda beach, and public art. We also have this video souvenir from the Australian Center for the Moving Image!

CURRENTLY: Melbourne, Australia
UP NEXT: Bali, Indonesia

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