Tim and I attempted to have a little day-date on Saturday. It was my day off, he didn’t have work, and we’d been given a Christmas gift of money with explicit instructions to go out and do something nice with it, not use it for bills or anything else. Always willing to spend someone else’s money, we took Tim’s “mum” Heidi’s advice and went off in search of something good to do. I wanted to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and (helpful hint) in Brisbane, the Southbank Cineplex is the cheapest place to go.

So we headed into the city with plans to get an early dinner and head off to the cinema. We wandered around Southbank, listened to an awesome busker (Micka Semfel of Pacha Mamma), and after I said no to every place we walked past, we finally found South Side Diner. I immediately said yes, as it’s too-cool vintage feel really appealed to me. And they had multiple choices for mac and cheese on their menu. I was sold.

I totally stole this (oops)

I totally stole this (oops)

Their site says “South Side Diner brings together everything we love about the US of A.  The Diner creates a little modern nostalgia in the heart of South Bank offering local, fresh, honest fare mixed with American popularity and playfulness.  Complete with booth seating, swivel bar stools, endless cups of coffee, and the best mac ‘n cheese in town, we open up early and stay open late!”

I can definitely attest to the best mac and cheese, I ordered the goat’s cheese option and it was soooo good. Tim had the NYC Tower burger and being in one of his ravenous moods, also ordered sweet potato fries (and finished off my generous portion of mac and cheese as well!) and they were all super tasty.

Mac & Cheese

Goat’s cheese mac & cheese with crumbly goodness on top.

Burger & Fries

Sweet potato fries with chipotle sour cream, and Tim’s NYC Tower burger.

We sat on the outer edge, and got to spend our meal watching people come and go on the street, which was quite nice and relaxing. The food came really quickly after we ordered, and I was absolutely stuffed about halfway through my meal (the chocolate injected banana I scoffed before lunch probably didn’t help). Tim ate everything – his burger, the fries and the rest of my mac and cheese, and then he was full.

Our view of Grey Street from our indoor bench.

Our view of Grey Street from our indoor seats.

They have a really extensive and unique vintage cocktails menu, which neither of us were really in the mood to try, but there were a few I would consider going back for if I wasn’t going to stop drinking. The staff were really helpful, a little too helpful in Tim’s opinion but that’s because he’s a solo kind of guy. I dropped my glass of cider all over the table and myself and they were totally cool about it all. Which was good because it embarrassed the heck out of me and I made a very quick escape afterwards.

Some of these sound really interesting!

Some of these sound really interesting!

I would definitely go back (when they’ve forgotten that I throw cider about) and try out their lunch or breakfast menu and get a bit of variety in. Our meal and drinks came to $63, which fits in the average category out of the cafes and restaurants located along Grey Street and Little Stanley Street in Southbank. And South Side Diner has the advantage of serving actual meals, not just tapas or share platters like a lot of the other choices available. It was a tasty experience, complete with a cool retro feel and music from Grease and the Jersey Boys soundtracks.

Tim can't decide what to drink.

Tim can’t decide what to drink.

Why did this glass have to be so slippery?

Why did this glass have to be so slippery?

 

 

Christmas is over. I submitted my first uni assignment (and will probably get very average marks as I don’t want to write factual articles for newspapers). Movers came and took all of our belongings away to Melbourne for $1000. I spent a lot of money at Boxing Day sales and I feel very guilty about it and have now placed myself on lockdown. I got very very drunk last night at the club my best friend works in and threw up in Tim’s car. I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and thought it was great.

All in all, it’s been a pretty interesting week.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Christmas was really nice, I got a lot of great presents from my family and Tim’s friends, like nonfiction books, my first ever Lonely Planet that wasn’t photocopied in Vietnam, and Dean Koontz books. For travelling I got a food tour for Tim and I in Vietnam, and my first pair of Havianas, which will be a really good pair of flip flips for Asia, and pyjamas so that I don’t have to go half naked if we stay in hostels. Tim bought me a lovely pair of earrings and expensive makeup I refuse to splurge on myself, and a cute collage photo frame with pictures of us.

My uni assignment was boring and not fun. I don’t want to be a journalist and writing completely boring articles with no opinion or interesting input really sucks. I don’t expect good marks and I am looking forward to 8 weeks away when I can move on to my next course.

Our movers were friendly and chatty, pointed out to us that nearly every piece of furniture we had was scratched, and told us they were going to pull our BBQ out at Byron Bay and take our bikes for a spin. Our things should arrive at Tim’s parents’ house tomorrow at some point, and hopefully it’s all there and all of my fragile stuff (teacups and teapots) survived the ride.

The rest of my week was just work, shopping and getting too drunk last night because my bartender best friend kept filling me full of alcohol. It was just what I wanted though, I just didn’t want to spend the drive home puking on myself/Tim’s car. It’s not the first time or even the tenth time that I’ve had a really horrid end of the night with alcohol, and I think I might just give it up except for special occasions. I love having fun, but I’m sure I wasn’t born a drinker (and don’t feel like conditioning my body to destroy itself just to become one).

Tim and I had a nice day yesterday.

Tim and I had a nice day yesterday.

On a brighter note, I finally got to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty today and absolutely loved it. I thought it was shot really beautifully (cinematography skills really speak to me as a wannabe cinematographer) and it was played out beautifully. All of the shots in Iceland also rekindled my burning urge to go there, and I think when I get back from this trip to SE Asia I’m going to try and look into it a little more and start saving to go there. My new freeze proof camera can actually be put to good use!
Even Tim mentioned that the film made him want to jump on a plane and travel right now and the film did the same for me. I would recommend that anyone reading this blog who hasn’t seen the movie goes out and sees it immediately.

I’m going to spend the rest of the night in bed, sorting through clothes with Tim while we try to create a packing list for our trip, which is only 22 days away! Eeeeek!

Thinking about all the things I still have to do.

Thinking about all the things I still have to do.

So there’s a whole bunch of stuff I want that I dream/cry about at night because we’re travelling, on a budget, have no room, or whatever other reason my parents chuck at me. Seriously, people say pregnancy cravings are bad, but I’m having real life cravings.

They’ve gotten so bad that when we go into a shop I pick things up and say “If we were on a REAL holiday, I would totally buy this!!” There’s also been plenty of stores I’ve gotten all emotional in because they’re selling something so perfect and I absolutely cannot carry it.

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If you missed part one of this post, feel free to read it here to get the full story of the overnight train from Butterworth to Bangkok. 

I didn’t sleep much in the night, but when I did it was a decent nap. Listening to my music helped to drown out the noises of the carriage, but we were right near the door so it was a lot harder to fall asleep. We also had the fan on all night, so I nearly froze to death! I tried to roll over a little, and got a bit freaked out because I nearly fell out of the top bunk! I’m an average-sized 17 year old and even I was pretty much too big for that bed. More »

We recently came to Bangkok after staying for two weeks on the lovely island of Penang. What nobody told me about Penang was that it’s a long way away. An overnight train is needed to get there, and to get back from there as well. I won’t reiterate the trip from KL to Butterworth, because my mother posted about it here and she pretty much got it all down. Except for the bit where because we waited so long to book tickets, we had first-class seats and not sleepers. That meant a whole forty minutes of sleep for me the entire trip! Not cool.

Always book your tickets ahead if possible. Don’t think it’s lame, don’t tell yourself you’ll be spontaneous and whatever happens, happens. Because if you know you need a sleeper in order to be in any kind of human state the next day, getting seats will not make you happy. Not even first-class seats! Book ahead!

Also, it’s freezing on that train. If you get seats, take a blanket or something similar to wrap yourself in. Trust me.

So, after a really lame time on the first train, we still had issues convincing my mother that we should book the train tickets as soon as we got to Penang. You’d think she’d agree. But no. She’s adopted this “we have all the time in the world” attitude which leads to no plans, arguments, disarray and the urge to smack her. More »

A lot of people travelling to Asian countries seem to ask the question “What is durian and should I eat it?” and my family was no different. We’d heard of durian when looking to book accomodation, and the hotel stated that durian could not be brought into the hotel because if the smell got into the air vents, it was impossible to get out.

On our first day in Malaysia, whilst being taken on a tour from the Air Asia airport towards Kuala Lumpur to our homestay accomodation, the lovely Malay man we were staying with, Hassan decided to let us try some durian.

If you’ve never heard of durian, it’s an Asian fruit with sharp spikes making up the skin, and inside it is made up of sections of the fruit.

Hassan informed us that most tourists hate the smell of durian, but the locals absolutely love it. He said it was similar with the taste – the locals love it and tourists mostly hate it.

So once we were out of the car and at the durian stand, the men there kindly chopped one open and let us have a taste. You have to pull out a piece from the inside, and it is white and has a mushy and somewhat slimey feel to it.
Once you bite into the fruit, it becomes very mushy and has a strange taste. My younger sister described it as tasting of onions, whilst the rest of us couldn’t place it. It is definitely not sweet like most fruits are in Australia, and that is probably what threw us off the most.

My sister tried to swallow hers and immediately threw up, I couldn’t bring myself to swallow it and spat it on the ground, and my younger brother swallowed a tiny bite and complained of the taste. As for my parents, they both swallowed theirs down, and my step-dad seemed to like it a lot more than my mother.

One surprise about durians that we found out later was that it was, as my mother said, “the gift that keeps on giving” as it makes you feel gassy and every time you burp, you taste the durian again.

So while it isn’t sweet and has an unexpected texture, durian is an adventure that you should definitely take when in Asia. Ask a local to check if it is “good durian” or not, and then take the plunge. You may not want to force the kids however, as anyone with less developed tastebuds seemed to reject the idea.