Barret had a strained smile on his face- the kind that looked like it was about to escape censorship. “I can see your eyes from all the way down the block!”
Secretly I had hoped that some of the makeup would have worn off by the time I made it to Wynyard Station, but I guess that only happens when you use half a bottle of liquid eyeliner.
“So…” Barret cautiously asked as he studied the thick foundation caked on my face, “What’s going on?” His left eyebrow had rocketed halfway up his forehead where it remained frozen with shock.
This was not the response I had hoped for when I left work early that afternoon. I had been excited to redeem my free makeover coupon from the Body Shop, but in hindsight I should have known better. The last time I went there for birthday makeup I walked out a tame drag queen. Damn coupon.
“I was trying to look nice for you.”
“Of course! Yes, of course!” Barret quickly backpedaled. “Maybe the lip liner is just a little too dark.”
He was being generous. It was 2:30 in the afternoon and I looked like a raccoon with swollen lips, which is to say my glamorous birthday weekend in Melbourne was not going to plan.
Thankfully, the other chance I took on our accommodation really paid off. It was the first time I had used the website AirBnb, which is kind of like a paid version of Couchsurfing. The properties ranged from entire houses to single rooms to backyard yurts and the there was a price for every budget.
The listing I chose was a residential condo called Little George St that was located within walking distance of Melbourne’s CBD. The moment we arrived I knew I had picked a winner. There was organic chocolate on our pillow, thick cotton bathrobes hanging on the back of the door, a walk-in shower overlooking a courtyard, and award-winning vintage décor (that’s what the brochure said).
Although the best part about Little George Street would have to be the bread box filled with freshly baked gluten-free rosemary and olive bread. Heaven. HEAVEN.
Fortunately all stomachs have limits, so Barret and I eventually left our comfortable corner in Fitzroy to catch one of the city’s iconic trams. It was a free ride around the downtown and from there we jumped off to explore on foot. For some reason Melbournians and Sydneysiders have this feud as to which city is superior- Sydney prides itself on its harbors while Melbourne points to its quirky alleyways famous for housing boutique shops, bars, and culinary gems.
Melbourne does have a good point- there really are some amazing businesses hidden down the tiniest of alleys. Some of them are actually are so well hidden it’s a wonder that anyone finds them at all. Barret and I had to do a double take to discover Manchester Press on Rankins Lane. The roll top doors tricked us into thinking it was an industrial print shop, but inside was some of the best sandwiches and coffee in the city.
After covering the CBD on foot and dining on pickled watermelon and quail, I decided I liked Melbourne just as much as I liked Sydney. Both cities have amazing restaurants, unique shops and lots of easily accessible trash cans. Marsupials might not agree on this criteria, but this North American raccoon gives Melbourne and Sydney two extremely dexterous paws up.
About: Little George Street
About: Manchester Press