Thursday, September 3

Day two onwards in Melbourne

The technology that allows me to describe to the world what I'm eating while sitting on a tram also just meant that with the touch of a finger, I just discarded an email which was my blog post. Here goes again. [Then I got distracted with shopping and didn't write a lot more for some weeks. Here goes again again!]


Day two, which was really only our first morning began well. We found a bakery style shop a very inter-cultural vibe -cheesecake, pork buns, custard donuts, sesame balls, ham and cheese roll things, and lots more. In fact it was so good that we went there for breakfast every day for the rest of the trip!

Couldn't get enough of the sesame balls, pork buns, and custard donuts (etc) - all perfect breakfast fare!

Now that is a little in the past, I can't remember as many of the culinary/shopping details of each day - but maybe thats a good thing for anyone that reads this. In summary of the shopping - we went to many shoe shops, and quite a few other shops. I was after wedding shoes. Despite finding some I really liked in the nearly first shop - about 500m from our hotel, it took me another day to decide they were the ones, and then another day for them to get a pair in the right size from their other shop, and then another day for me to decide actually they were too tight and I'd get the other size after all! In the mean time, I bought a pair of boots, pair of black work shoes and another cute cheapie pair that are confused as to whether they are sandals or not! Those 3 pairs came in together for less than $150. I won't mention the wedding shoes - but I love them! I also snagged a couple of handy workshirts and some cool dresses!

On one of the days, after a solid bout of shopping, we needed a little rest.. a sit down, and something to drink. A helpful shop girl somewhere suggested the new Lindt Cafe which was just the thing - just a short queue, for a very very tasty hot chocolate, and beautifully subtle creamy icecreams. Good thing it was tasty, because they clearly had a change of shift or something and left our 'hot' choc sitting there for a bit!

(It was better than the picture shows, but after being arty with my camera/phone, I began to spill the milk, so then I had to pay attention to get my value for money - it wasn't a cheap hot chocolate!)

On Saturday, with Tim in tow, we braved the Southern Cross DFO - along with many footy fans who were down that way watching some team or other be beaten by another team. Before we even got there, we found Tim a pair of bargain wedding shoes for him - camper shoes no less! He saved hundreds and they were quite reasonable in the end, and the only pair left was the perfect size for him. We also had great success at the DFO - including a wedding shirt for Tim.

Enough about the shopping - and a little more about the eating.

Thursday night Mum and I had a fantastic meal at the Wine Bar. We'd been on a hunt for some other place, and couldn't find it, and when our feet could carry us on further, and the two of us couldn't make our fancy phones find the place Mum had in mind (though apparently it was nearby but through a little door to upstairs!) we gave in and went in a warm looking place. There was a skinny bar area and then a long table with lots of people along it. We pulled up stools at one end and had a fantastic meal and didn't even feel like we were right next to lots of people. That is, until near the end when a new couple sat opposite us, clearly on a date and we couldn't help notice the lack of conversation skills on the man's part - she kept trying to start conversations, then he'd just talk about himself a bit and never ask her anything - it was hard to not listen!!

We planned to have a cocktail together, but since we ate at a wine bar, opted for a delicious wine with dinner and a dessert wine each as (another) treat

Friday, our culinary highlights included breakfast at the asian(ish) bakery, lunch at Movida, and dinner after Tim arrived, at a delicious Lebanese restaraunt. Apparently I'd been there before, and slept on my sheep skin under the table. At the end of the fantastic and substantial lebanse banquet the cook came out of the kitchen and said hello and made sure we'd had a good meal - I'm told she was the same homely Lebanese woman as about 20 years ago! I did get in trouble when I asked for Turkish coffee as my after dinner drink - just because it was Lebanese place! Apparently I should have said Lebanese coffee, but what about Lebanese delight?

Movida with mood lighting, and us being phone/foody geeks!

Movida, a favourite Spanish Tapas bar provided a good range: the classic and irresistable anchovie with tomato sorbet, a stunning egg dish with truffle, and some other delicacies. Dessert was goats cheese icecream with a tart/flan kind of thing.. delicious!

Movida's alley is full of graffiti - very cool!

On Saturday, after breakfast at the favourite bakery, and the day at the DFO, we met up with some of Tim's friends for Vietnamese. After some consideration, we picked a place in Victoria St - the Vietnamese heart of Melbourne, and settled in for (another) great feed. The classic Vietnamese salad was a hit, and the other flavours were all unique and authentic and most enjoyable.

Sunday, we nicked into Federation Square and Tim and I had a look at the exhibition that was on - which was a fantastic John Brack collection. I'd seen some before, but still thoroughly enjoyed our gallop through. Before we started however we needed some coffee:

Then we had to rush off because every trip to Melbourne should include yum cha, and we were running out of hours! We fitted in a top quality yum cha meal from the Dragon Boat Palace, about 3 places down from our hotel. We shared lots of different dishes and enjoyed catching up with my aunt and uncle, Hilary and Martin and another friend Hilary!

John Brack pic

And then, it was time to go home - Tim and I to Launceston, and Mum to Hobart. And that was the end of a successful foody and shopping trip to Melbourne!

More shots of Movida's alleyway:
There was also a bride and groom wandering down on the way to Movida getting photos taken! Pretty cool!

Tuesday, September 1


There are small signs of spring, springing up... its definitely lighter at both ends of the day, and warmer most days too compared to not long ago (well actually last night was pretty cold but it wasn't yet spring!) My little potted herb garden is flourishing for the main part - just a couple of the baby corianders are struggling because I left them in a tiny punnet and forgot them a bit!

A corner of my desk with flowers from the garden (the clean corner of my desk!)

The pot of mixed flower seeds I planted a while ago now has flowers! And some herbs in the background.

Slightly overgrown, but now flowering!

Monday, August 31

Wedding cake?

I think maybe I've found Tim's ideal wedding cake!! It probably won't actually look anything quite like this.

I do have other posts pending (even halfway through) but then there were visits to Hobart, an assignment due today, another one due next week.. and so on! Back to it... will blog again one day soon!

Thursday, August 6

First night in Melbourne

Naturally its all about the food (or at least the shops haven't opened). We went to a Korean restaurant called the Oriental Spoon for dinner and shared some entrees and a main. All very tasty with a good crowd of locals.

As entrees we had a familiar but tasty seaweed salad, some steamed pork and vegetable dumplings, kimchi jeon which was a kind of pancake, and some little balls which where a bit like croquettes with pieces of octopus hiding inside them. Main course, which was shared at the same time was pork ribs -  we think baby pork given they were tiny - but delicious!

By the time we finished it seemed to only be 9pm so we had a pleasant wander the long way home picking out all the shoe shops to come back to in shopping hours!

Tuesday, July 14

And the top 20 were...

If anyone is interested, I'm sure you can find this out but... look here for the full list or here are the top 20:

1. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
2. Rage Against the Machine - Killing In The Name
3. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
4. Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
5. Radiohead - Paranoid Android
6. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
7. Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
9. Foo Fighters - Everlong
10. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
11. John Lennon - Imagine
12. Oasis - Wonderwall
13. Radiohead - Creep
14. The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony
15. Radiohead - Karma Police
16. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
17. Hilltop Hoods - The Nosebleed Section
18. Muse - Knights Of Cydonia
19. Metallica - One
20. White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

Overall the group at my place enjoyed the countdown, but were probably a bit suprised by the top 5. Nathan wanted Bohemian Rhapsody higher, I never would have thought of Rage against the machine - although Richo liked it, and so did Hamish. After talking to Hamish and finding out Joy Division was the name for the nazi sex slaves or something, Joy Division has a new meaning and I'm not sure I like it. Still no suprise their song was up there. I liked White Stripes Seven Nation Army also - might have voted for it if I'd thought of it (though it was hard to pick 10!). The song I voted for that got highest was Massive Attack's Teardrop at #22.

Enough about that - it was a pleasant laid back party but now its a new week. And I'm on urology which mainly means 7 or 7;30 starts (or 6:45 on Fridays to check up on patients before grand rounds with the consultants). As far as surgical specialties go, its not bad, and the consultants are pretty nice. Still, despite the interesting parts, I'm not sure I'm that keen on endless prostate examinations! Last Thursday was good though: journal club = breakfast at a cafe with intern, RMO, reg and consultants (their shout) and we discussed a couple of journal articles! Eggs benedict was a good way to start a day - and I was grateful for a good feed after assisting in a nephrectomy operation for several hours later in the day (yep we took out his kidney).

Sunday, July 12

Hottest 100 of all time party

Its a rainy Sunday and there's a bunch of us at my house listening to the final 50 of the countdown. One reason for this post is because I have a new toy and I'm trying out blogging from it- its a new HTC magic phone with Google android operating system. It links in really well with gmail, gtalk and all other Google bases things. Its arival to iphone and so far I like it!
The party is low key but fun. We had to turn up the music go hear over the hail, and the brief sunny spell is gone!
Better go be social, plus the orange glow at the bbq suggests our lunch is on fire!

Thursday, June 4

Dinner was Gorge-ous!

Last night Tim and I ate out at the Launceston Gorge Restaurant for our 2 year anniversary. It was a beautiful setting - in fact, not actually the spot I'd pictured. I'd seen the building before but not realised it was actually the restaraunt in the Gorge!! It was lovely at night - lit up and surrounded by very wet and drippy trees!

The waiter with his slightly English accent was very helpful and frequently refilled our water glasses, attended to the wine glasses and looked after us well. The winter special was on so we got 3 courses for $40 which was a very good deal.

We got a bottle of wine - some WA one called Bandit, because it was one of the cheaper ones, but also because it had a grape called Tampranillo which we'd never heard of. We asked our English waiter, and he said he'd not tried it but the bottle was pretty and it had been very popular and it was possibly the last bottle left - so we got it! Reading the bottle told us that the Bandit label was based on a WA bushranger, Moondyne Joe who was caught drinking wine in the Houghton cellars in the 1860s.

For Starters, Tim had half a dozen natural oysters, and I had deep fried King Island Brie with tomato and peach chutney. We shared of course because I'm not sure how that much deep fried cheese would have felt later - but it was delicious!

For mains, Tim had Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon with Proscuitto and some herb butter or something, while I had confit of duck with shiraz figs I think. The duck was delicious! Tim's fish was tasty although he did confess to wondering how the steak (his other shortlisted option) would have been!

By dessert time, Tim was very full. Still, he pushed through and managed to eat all of his chocolatey swirly icecreamy thing (didn't look at the names as carefully) with kahlua and a meringue nest on top. I also enjoyed by duo of brulee's - although I believe they were different flavours and mostly I could taste creme and brulee! But I always love the crunchy top and the smooth stuff underneath!

Then we were done.. we finished up the wine, and had a quick play in the gardens! It was raining and late but while we waited for Tim's Mum we had a quick wander around the pogoda thingy!

Wednesday, June 3

2 Years

Tonight Tim and I are going to dinner at the Gorge Restaurant in Launceston to celebrate our 2 year anniversary! I'll hopefully report on the meal later but it should be good - it has a good reputation and is in a great setting.

This day 2 years ago, we didn't actually decide 'go out' or anything specific, but after a few more days we discussed that we must in fact be 'together' and Tim beng the sentimental fellow he is made sure we had some date to remember things by and the 3rd of June seemed as good a day as any! That day we'd been to the IMPACT Indian Night - and in fact, we both went again only a week and a half ago to the most recent one! Since then we have celebrated monthaversaries (?!) our first anniversary and Tim even knew the date of our first date and bought flowers to mark the day! In just less than 6 months we'll have another date to remember in the years to come - the 21st of November when we get married!

And now to make up for not blogging often, by posting lots of old pictures - starting from 2 years ago exactly, and working forwards though maybe not in order!!

Indian Night - the start of me bringing Tim to all sorts of global health events!

My 21st

Med Cocktail - one of the various dress up events we've been to!
Some friends of ours had a 'formal night' - a fun chance to dress up!

Falls Festival 2008
Cutting the cake at the engagement party.

And of course there are many many more events we've shared together - and in most cases with other close friends and family which we both enjoy. Long may it last!

Tuesday, May 26


Just a quick note to let anyone interested know that Tim has now arrrived safely in Launceston as of this evening. He had his last day of work at his former employer in Hobart today and starts a new job tomorrow! He's starting off at head office in Devonport tomorrow for induction and so forth but mostly will be in Launceston office or in 'the field' - which could be anywhere Northern Tassie direction I gather. Its the job he hoped for and hopefully will go really well - they seem like a great bunch from his reports - and many of them graudated around his time. They also have offices elsewhere - like in Hobart, so future options are promising.

He'll be living back at his parents for the next few months until we start looking into a place to live down the track which he may move into earlier! It's great to have him here already - seeing him only 1 day since the weekend is a treat these days! Tonight we even made it to the 2009 Uni Revue which was entertaining, crude, political and all the rest you expect!

Tuesday, May 19

Africa: Social side of things!

The conference wasn't all serious hard work! There was quite a fun social program - although it was hard to keep up with. Each evening after dinner there were plenary sessions where the presidents of each member country voted on various things - and the social events didn't start till after that. If there was a big issue, things might not get going till around 12, and certainly didn't stop till around 4. I think I probably averaged around 2am - skipping one event, and staying later to the last few! I was actually surprised by how I managed to get up each morning for 8:30 sessions - sleep deprivation and uni don't seem to work nearly as well.

One night was the International Food and Drink night - everyone was prewarned by folks who'd been before so each country brought along something of their own. Most countries did focus on the drinking a bit more than the eating! (Czech Republic had dangerous looking stuff in a plastic bottle!) As Aussies, we had Tim Tams, vegemite on crackers, fairy bread, furry friends and Bundy. We also had Aussie flag tattoos!~The food was well mostly received though people weren't so keen on the straight rum - not sure why!! (Some did ask how we can like it - I think I said, don't be stupid I'd never drink it straight, and I don't drink it much anyway!).

Aussie stall with Austrian stall behind. Yep it was alphabetical.

The Austrians also had a good set up - flaming Mozarts! Mozart balls (which are awesome anyway), cut in half, hollowed out a little and filled with some kind of alcohol and set on fire. You have to pop it in your mouth and shut it quickly before it gets too hot and so the fire goes out!! It was good!!

Another favourite of mine (although maybe biased) was Sweden - they made you sing a drinking song in Swedish and then drink something, but they also had yummy Kaviar past, and Bils - little car lollies which I'd had before.


Recently I went on a trip to a conference in Tunisia of all places. It was in a place called Hammamet, near to Tunis which is the capital of Tunisia. The conference was one of the two general meetings a year for the International Federation of Medical Students Association, IFMSA. The theme was conflict and health - so some of the meetings focussed on that. Other sessions were stream specific - I joined 'SCORP' which was the standing committee on human rights and peace - sounded more interesting to me than medical eduation or professional exchange - reproductive health and AIDS was another one that sounded interesting though. It worked out quite well, because out of the 15 Australians, we were reasonably well spread between the streams and we got to hear updates on each day at the 'NMO hour'.

I went to most of the sessions I could - some were not so good, but overall they were pretty interesting. It was cool to see what some of the different student groups are up to around the world. Some had started initiatives like breast screening/awareness for breast cancer, changing nappies in orphanages, or promoting paper bags and recycling - most of which were great to hear about and a good reminder of how good we have it in Australia! The UK team, Medsin, had some good programs and I did some sessions run by one of them about setting up primary health care systems in countries with role plays of refugee camps, the UN and other parties involved.

One of my favourite sessions, was an interative art workshop. I partly like the idea because of its potential, rather than its actual outcome - but I did have fun playing with clay while thinking about conflict and health!

The place we stayed was pretty wacky - a fake medina resort/conference centre! There was a wierd indoors area with fake trees stuck on the walls, and real touts selling stuff - real stuff but not sure about the real prices - perhaps real resort prices. I still bought a few things because I rightly predicted I wouldn't have much other time for shopping.

The last day when everyone was leaving the conference centre and there were no sessions, I managed to join up with some US guys I'd met and join them on a little exploring. Two of us had a flight later that day, and two were sticking around till the next day. We got the 6am bus to the Carthage/Tunis airport where we failed to check in our bags early - but our back up plan fell into place nicely. The boys who were sticking around got a hotel in Tunis and we left our bags for the day. They'd had a day in Tunis pre-conference, and had randomly met an American who they then had dinner with - so they got a hotel near to his place in order to catch up again. By chance as we set out to find the train station, we met their new friend's flat mate and he gave us a semi-guided tour to the station. He also answered our question as to why everything was so quiet - it was Mohammed's birthday and a public holiday. But fortunately it didn't stop us getting tasty almond/chocolate pastries for breakfast!

Our agenda for the day was Carthage followed by lunch in Sidi Bou Saíd - which we managed to do nicely. We did a fair bit of walking around Carthage - added to unecessarily by not realising the price of admission was for all the sites of Carthage! We went to one place, thought it was a bit expensive just for a museum, and tried somewhere else - then had to go back! The museum was well worth going back for with some amazing lamps, pottery, sarcophagi, and a good collection of mosaics. We also looked into the Roman Villa, and failed to find any archaelogy in the 'parque archeologique' or something. It was just a trail through some bushes...

We had a great lunch in the 'ridiculously romantic' though slightly touristy place up on the hill in Sidi Bou Saíd. I had a 'Tunisiain Specialty' - delicious stuffed squid, as well as a Briq (thanks Big A!). We'd had a big week, early start, and lunch was slow to arrive. The four of us were pretty quiet as we waited for our food to come, and did well to stay away, but it was certainly worth the wait. We also grabbed a freshly fried donut/pastry thing of some kind on the way back down the hill to begin out train-taxi-via hotel-taxi trip to the airport. At my request we jumped out of the first taxi a little early so I could spend a few extra dinar/look in the supermarket. As well as tissues to stem the travel cold dripping nose, I found some tins of halva, Turkish coffee and 300% harissa to take back home (these puzzled customs slightly as all the writing was French/Arabic, but they were allowed through!).

Monday, April 13

Celebrating 60 Years

I have written that post I said I would about Tunisia, but the pictures didn't work and then I forgot. I will do it this week - I do have the week off, and clearly nothing else to do. In the mean time, I enjoyed this youtube clip about human rights: (It seems to unavoidably stick out the side of my nice box but hopefully you can see it)

And now back to something that resembles an assignment.

Monday, March 2

Away again?!

No doubt there is something important I should be packing, but while I remember what it is, I thought I'd write a very short post (for a change). It's 5:34am, and I'm up and showered and it can mean nearly only one thing - I'm off to the airport. I'm heading to Tunis, which is the capital of Tunisia in North Africa for a medical student conference on conflict and health. It should be good fun, although I'm a little daunted and I've felt like my preparations were slightly last minute - but whats new! I was supposed to read up on Gaza, which I haven't really done, but to make up for it, I've printed whatever Wiki has to offer to read on the plane.

Whilst I hope to appreciate at least a tiny bit of Tunisia, I'll be pretty much in conference mode most of the time - arriving and leaving the same days it starts and finishes. Well that's my time slot used up - time to do something useful!