Melbourne Street Art

It is boxing day in Melbourne (what Aussies, Kiwis and British call the day after Christmas).

My Christmas Day yesterday was I spent mostly inside eating and watching movies. I like to celebrate my holidays the lazy way.

Today I decide to go for a tourist walk around town.

I start at the nearby park Fitzroy Gardens. I am obsessed with the beautiful purple flower trees – Jacaranda I believe.

Earlier I downloaded tourist walking tours. I use the maps to wander around town.

Princess Theatre: Now contains Harry Potter

Tattersalls Lane

It is the day after Christmas and shoppers are lined up around the block waiting for who knows what.

More artwork

Presgrave Place

Centre Place

Stopped for lunch at a cafe down a funky street (Eliana Lulu).

I could not resist these doughnuts. I picked up one for later.

Hosier Lane

AC/DC Lane

AC/DC Lane, named after the famous rock group, is one of the most popular tourist spots in town. Here you find street art mostly music related.

Strachan Lane

Finally I finish out the day at Strachan Lane where there is some more rock art as well as Alice in Wonderland themed art. I am heading back toward my apartment so I decide it is a good time to call it the day. Besides I have a very good looking doughnut just waiting to be eaten.

Another great day completed in Melbourne!

Yogyakarta Food Tour

Jogja fun after the food tour

Last night I was supposed to go on a food tour of Yogyakarta. Instead I set circle K on fire. Tonight I am trying to do the food tour again.

I am attending the Jogja Food Tour. Luckily the weather cooperates and I meet my tour guide at the a white monument in town. I am not the only one on the tour this time, two girls from the Netherlands are also on my tour. I am delighted because they stand out even more than I and they are the ones getting the picture requests while I am around them.

Tugu Pal Putih monument

Meat skewers are first on the menu. We pick out two to try.

To be honest I don’t remember which type I chose but one of them is probably the signature skewer of the region sate kere (made from beef or chicken intestines). It wasn’t terrible and I probably would try it again sometime.

We try some charcoal coffee. Yes, you read that correctly. We drink coffee with a large piece of charcoal inside. It tastes mostly like coffee with only a slight charcoal taste.

As we are walking to our next food location in the popular Malioboro street we make it just in time for a performance of a popular band. The main attraction is the wooden instrument called the Angklung. It produces a unique sound. The angklung plus drums and dancers makes for an entertaining performance. Luckily our guide secures us great viewing spots.

Wow! So much fun to watch.

Jajanan pasar and other sweets

After the music we are off to get some local sweets.

We take a Becak (motorbike rickshaw) to another part of town to try Java’s famous Gudeg.

Gudeg: jackfruit stewed with palm sugar and coconut milk.

Gudeg served with rice, tofu and I forget the other dish.

Jamu

We stop for Jamu drinks: Indonesia’s system of traditional herbal medicine used by many for the prevention and treatment of a variety of ailments. Each Jamu have their purpose.

Our last savory dish is at Soto Sampah restaurant where we try Soto Ayam (Indonesian style chicken soup). It is a great comfort food.

After our soup we walk to the square I visited earlier with the two large trees. The square is lively with games and fun cars you can rent to peddle around the square.

It is corny but everyone is doing it. It is a unique experience.

Here is video of the experience…..

After our little buggy ride we head to the area near the trees. Our guide tells us of a game where if you walk blindfolded and make it between the two trees then you will receive good fortune. It has rained too much recently so we skip that game in order to avoid getting trapped in mud. We did try walking on sticks. I was not good at it but a girl in my group was.

To finish off the evening we try a sweet ginger drink.

Hot ginger drink with pieces of bread.

I am so glad the weather held up. It is a great way to end my time in the great Yogyakarta. I hope to return to this special city one day.

Last hours in Hanoi

Get a late start to my final day of Hanoi Vietnam. I Want to visit the Ho chi Minh house and sights in the vicinity but I miss the opening hours since they are limited. I end up just wandering around town instead.

One thing I forgot to mention previously is the Hanoi pedestrian street crossing. It takes courage and special skills to cross the street in Hanoi. It seems so intimidating at first but once you do your first couple street crossings then you never want to go back to your old ways. Hanoi is busy. So many people, so many cars, so many motor bikes; plus bicycles and carts on the road. The traffic appears to stop for no one. There are some intersections with cross signals but in most cases you need to do the Hanoi cross. To cross the street you just walk out into the street and maintain a consistent speed. Vehicles and bikes will move around you. If you hesitate or stop mid-way that is when problems occur. It took me a while to get it but I eventually developed the skill.

Example of crossing in busy traffic. See the two men that walk across on the right.

Example of busy traffic. I am in my uber waiting forever in traffic.

More images from around Hanoi

Grand Opera House
I happen to come across a game of shuttlecock? while walking by a park.

Monsoon Music Festival

The walking streets are alive at night. The previous weekend I watched a boxing match from the street at a distance. Tonight I watch an act from the Monsoon Music Festival. I love finding free concerts when I travel.

Beer street

I try my hand at beer street. This is supposed to be the place to try local beers. I didn’t stay out long but I got to experience a little bit of local night life. As I sat outside a bar at a cafe table I watch the constant street vendors and shoe cleaners (will clean your shoes for a fee while you sip your beverages at the bar).

My visit to Hanoi has come to an end. I fly to Hue tomorrow. Even with all the time I spent here, I missed so much. I’ll be back someday.

Bilbao Aste Nagusia

These guys are crowd pleasers

When I arrived in Bilbao I noticed preparation for some sort of festival. I had a hard time finding information on it and my hotel wasn’t too helpful.

After some research I found this link Euskoguide and Wikipedia.

There is a big party planned and it is happening a couple days after I leave. I contemplated changing my travel plans to stay for the festival. However I already pre-paid many things and am looking forward to my upcoming plans. I planned on coming back to Bilbao for another night before flying out for Spain but I am under the impression I had reservations at an airport hotel and would be too tired to come back to the action.

I am pleasantly surprised to find my new hotel is about a mile from the festivities and I am able to participate.

When the booths are being set up I noticed that they were put together in pieces, mostly from scratch. People hung by harnesses to attach the metal structures that would later form the booths.

A combination of plastic coverings and wood panels are assembled. On the wood panels the artwork is hand painted.

Many of the booths seemed to political in nature but it is hard to tell because most of it is Basque, a local language for the region.

It doesn’t matter if it is somewhat political; it looked like everyone wanted to have fun and the group was very inclusive with all ages, races, genders as participants. Seemed like my kind of crowd, even if I couldn’t understand much.

The festival mascot

If you order a drink they give you a string to help you hold onto your drink cup.

I spent a good amount of time watching this band do their sound check. I got bored and walked on. When I got back there was a huge screen blocking the stage. Not sure if they ever performed.

This punk band was great. I could only get a side view because they were so popular.

I walked around for a little more and decided to start walking back to my hotel to plan for my flight the next day. As I walk back I catch a fireworks display.

What an wonderful impromptu day in Bilbao!

Crowds thrashed to these guys as well

Beyond BBQ – Downtown Memphis Day 2

During my last visit to Memphis area I finally got to explore more of downtown Memphis. I wanted to visit the Civil Rights Museum however the day I chose to come I missed the opening hours. It is supposed to be a fabulous museum and I am sorry I missed it (I will have to catch it again on another trip). Fortunately there are some things to see outside the museum that I was able to catch for free.
The museum is located at the site of the Lorraine Motel Рthe hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was shot on April 4, 1968.

Informative podiums line the sidewalk in front of the hotel and tell the history that led up to the day and after the day.

The impact of racism and this time is still felt today evidenced in this table set outside the exhibit.

This powerful message given right before his death lines one of the museum entrances.

After the visit to the King site, I decided to take a walk down Main Street. I took note of all the nice brick buildings and street cars that are in use today.

This old building is ready to be demolished. It made me sad because I think it has a lot of character and would have been good to keep around.

Almost at the famous Beale Street I came across the Orpheum Theater. Many notable acts perform there. I found out that I was going to miss out on Morrissey who was to perform there later in the month.

Turning the corner and walking a couple blocks takes you to the famous Beale Street that houses many blues joints. I stopped in to BB Kings for a bit to catch a couple songs of a live band.

Walking further down the street you can catch live musicians.

And interesting architecture….

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After the music I wanted to stop for a brew. I walked a couple blocks over to the Flying Saucer to taste a local beer. Flying Saucer is a chain that has food and a great selection of foreign and craft beer. I would say I wish we had one of these in Orlando but Orlando has a pretty great selection already. It is nice to know I can find a place to try new things when I am traveling though.

After my brew I took a walk further down the Main Street where there are tons of restaurants to dine at.

It was getting late so I decided to take the streetcar down to where I had parked near the Lorraine Hotel. For $1 it was a cheap and convenient ride.

I almost can’t wait for my next trip to Memphis to explore more of what the city has to offer.