Its a wrap.

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After 10 post, I’m finally here.

In the last lecture Robert talked about distractions. The ability to allow one’s self to get distracted, and the Internet as a distraction. Throughout his lecture, I found myself identifying with a lot of what he was saying. In this day and age, the Internet plays a big part in our lives.

My morning routine goes something like this : Wake up -> Open Twitter -> Read the news online.

Even during Robert’s lecture, I probably pulled out twitter at least 3 times. It wasn’t that his lecture was boring, but the ability to be distracted was widely available.

I remember having dinner a couple of times and observing couples each being so distracted with their phones while waiting for their food that they didn’t talk to each other the entire time. The only time that they put their phones away was when their food came.

(Photo Source: Top 5 Reasons not to check your phone during a date)

(Photo Source: Table Phone Talk)

Using one’s phone during a date has made its way to the DO NOT DO list. It also has a probability of ruining a date.

Dates aside, how many times have we actually been preoccupied with our phones that we miss out on conversation time with our friends? It is true that phones have probably gotten us through some awkward conversations (I’m sure it has for me), but the same phone have also made us anti social with our friends and families.

I quote my father, phones are anti social devices!

While waiting for our food during dinner one night my friends and I were so preoccupied with playing with our own devices. Some of us were on twitter, some were browsing through FaceBook and Instagram. The table was perpetually quiet. The only chatter was around us. Not within us. And with that, we decided on this…

Putting our phones in the middle of the table so that we are ‘forced’ to talk to each other. I personally think it is a good practice as it is the whole point of meeting up with friends! Being ‘socially unavailable’ defeats the purpose of hanging out with friends to a certain extend!

I would not deny that there was a moment whereby everyone kept quiet because we ran out of things to say to each other, and I realized, that was the void of ‘eliminating’ social devices. Social devices have been incorporated into our lives so much so that we don’t even realize it, until it is gone.

I would like to invite everyone to get their friends to try out this practice, even if it is just for once, and have a social gathering the way it is supposed to be.

Cheers!

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Laneway bars.

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Anyone who have been to Melbourne would know that it is a city with a lot of side lanes.
And it is in these (hidden) lanes where the good stuff are! And no, I do not mean weed or anything sleazy.

Here’s a list of alley bars I’ve uncovered, each place has its own distinct little feature. Some are great places for dates while others are great places to catchup with friends over drinks!

Section 8
(Photo Soucre : Section 8)


I love section 8! Section 8 markets itself as a container bar and it is easy to see why as the place looks like it’s in a container. Crate boxes and aluminum barrels are tables and chairs. There is something about section 8 that gives it a ‘makeshift’ vibe, turn an eye and it might not be there anymore. They have a wide range of local beers and martinis. Not a great place for dates as it is usually really noisy but it is a great place for pre-clubbing drinks!

27 Tattersall Lane.
Opposite QV, in between Lonsdale and Little Bourke St.

1806

(Photo Source : 1806)

1806 used to be a place for cabaret. Enter the premise and you will be greeted by frames of certificates hung on the wall. The cocktail bar is small and furnished with wooden furniture. It look a tad old but it’s red velvet curtains added a luxurious feel to its interior. I went down on a Wednesday night and the bar was really quiet and only a quarter full. Prices are a little on the high side, but it has a wide list of vintage drinks. It’s drink list is pretty impressive and you’d probably find drinks you’ll never find anywhere else. 1806 is a good place for first dates, or a business meeting.

169 Exhibition Street

Cabinet Bar

( Photo Source: Cabinet Bar )

I love cabinet bar! Climb up a flight of stairs and you will discover this jewel. Located in a back alley (with rubbish chutes) which may deter some people this place did not look promising at first! But enter Cabinet and this is that kind of place that will make you feel right at ease immediately. The interior is cramp but cosy and can get noisy when crowded. Step into the balcony and it’s a smoker’s paradise with a view overlooking Swanston St. A good place for people to get together.

11 Rainbow Alley.
Just behind the intersection of little Collin and Swanston.

Lounge
( Photo Source : Lounge )

Lounge is a mix between a bar and a small club. It houses a pool table, a stage and a small dance floor! A live band plays on most nights! While its interior is a tad ‘club like’, its exterior is a little more ‘bar like’ overlooking Swanston Street. A great place for after work drinks and catching up with friends! Oh, did I mention the best part? Check out it’s student deals! $12 for a jug of beer before midnight!

243 Swanston Street

Workshop

( Photo source : The Age )

Workshop is a cafe by day and bar by night. It has great coffee and has a little ‘indie’ feel to it! The best part about Workshop, is that it’s kitchen is open all the way till it closes! So yay to pizzas at 2am! It’s a great place to hangout either by yourself or with friends!

413 Elizabeth St,
The entrance is on A’beckett St behind the book shop!

Who can say NO to SHOPPING?

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It’s a new era in fashion – there are no rules. It’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together.

— Alexander McQueen

Melbourne houses many local designers. The fashion scene is quirky, unique and well, expensive…I’ve seen ‘$100 ONLY’ sales rack! Seriously? There is nothing ONLY about a $100?

Topshop, Forever21, Zara and Mango are brands that are familiar in so many countries, they are seen upon as the McDonalds of the fashion world. So why not embrace the local fashion scene?

Here’s my list of shopping precincts and stores!

Chapel Street – The only reason why I go to Chapel Street is because Topshop and Aldo are both located there! The other reason why I go to Chapel, is because of Burch and Purchese! Burch and Purchese is the brain child of pastry chef, Darren Purchese, and it has one of the best desert I’ve tasted (thus far) in Melbourne! Try the Pineapple, mango and coconut! It is divine!
The one on the left is the pineapple! The one on the right is a salted caramel something…that was too salty for my liking!

Brunswick Street – Brunswick is another shopping street similar to chapel street. I find the shops at Brunswick to be a tad more localized as compared to the stores in chapel street who carries brand names with a more international vibe. Do check out Swim Galore, located right at the end of Brunswick for (branded) discounted swimwear!

Smith Street – Home to many big sporting brands, Smith Street houses the likes of Nike and Adidas. Major outdoor/sporting brands like Converse, New Balance, Nike, Adidas, Kathmandu, Timberland all have factory outlets located in the precinct.

(Photo source: Spirited Designs // Visual Distractions)

Bridge Road – Located in Richmond, I go to Bridge Road for off season designer items! They’re usually 30-50% cheaper than the RRP. I scored an Alexander Wang top for $70!  I’m not sure of the name of the shop but it has steps leading to the store and is located a few stores away from Sportsgirl!

South Wharf – Located next to the Hilton hotel and fairly close to Flinders Station, Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) can be found here. Expect past season items to be on sale! Discounts up to 70% are common! Brands that can be found include Steve madden, Country Road, Guess, FCUK, Seafolly, Nine West etc. Luxury Fashion Brands include Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Armani, just to name a few.

Docklands – Docklands is another place for factory outlets. I however personally find it more of a dead town. The chinese restaurant (Gold Leaf) on the second floor does however have one of the better Dim Sims (Dim Sums, 点心) I have tried in Melbourne.

David Jones & Myer – Both departmental stores tend to open later as compared to all the other shops in Melbourne. I usually come here after 6pm because it is honestly the only store open! Do checkout the food section in the basement of David Jones! Many local brands can also be found in these departmental stores so there is no need to travel all the way to for example Chapel Street to visit the concept store of Arthur Galan, as it is available at Myer.

(Photo Source : Herald Sun)

Sass & Bide / Decjuba – Homegrown label Sass & Bide carries unique designs that are bound to stand out. Decjuba, a local label as well carries more basic pieces for everyday wear.
Sass & Bide Spring 2010
(Photo Source: Mamasarollingstone)

Sportsgirl/ Bardot/ Forever New – I list these 3 brands together, as they somewhat carry clothes of a similar kind. Their target market seem to be teens and those in their twenties and is somewhat the Topshop/Forever21 of Australia.

(Photo source: Sportsgirl )

Typo/ Kikki.k – Who can miss out cute stationary shops? Be it for their day planners or the cute pens that they have! This is one shop whereby I always walk in and walk out with an unnecessary purchase!

Ksubi/ Nudie – Jeans! Good old jeans which you’d probably overwear due to Melbourne’s erratic weather! Ksubi is a local jean brand and its iconic two square design is either something you’d fall in love with or hate. I personally find that their ladies jeans are better cut than Cheap Monday’s which are more suited for men. All the way from Sweden, there is a Nudie concept store in Melbourne. So there is no need to buy it online or visit TheDenimStoreSG and pay for overpriced Nudies anymore!

The iconic logo located around mid-thigh on its jeans!

Happy shopping and go be beautiful!

Cheers.

ISP

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In last week’s lecture, Robert talked about time and the network society. And he spoke about the the quest for increasing speed. And with that in mind, I thought I would link it to the topic of Internet Service Providers (ISP).

With the advancement of technologies in the past 5 years, video calling programs like Skype has become more stabilized as compared to in its earlier years when it was first launched. New programs like FaceTime got introduced and like the bulk of international students, such video calling applications tend to be the main source of medium that we use to keep in contact with our friends and family.

And with the medium in place, Skype and FaceTime is practically useless without a stable and fast internet connection. I have lost count of the number of times I have sworn at the screen of my Mac. No one likes it when the image on Skype freezes, or when the audio is not synchronized together with the image. And with that, I was on the search to finding an ISP in Melbourne.

The thing about most apartments in Melbourne is that most buildings would already have been wired up by an ISP. Which means to say, the majority of tenants would usually use the prescribed ISP in their building because choosing to go with another ISP would mean incurring more costs as you would have to pay for the company to set up a connection in the building.

These set up fees vary greatly! I’ve ISPs quoting me $50 And I’ve had an ISP quoting me $400!!

Things to take note of :

  • Setup Fee
  • Equipment Fee –  Wired/Wifi Modem Telstra charges about $70 and $100 respectively. Alternatively, you can always get a second-hand/third-party modem/buy it cheaper at any electronic store.
  • Contract period –  Monthly, 6/12/18/24 months
  • Delivery Fee
  • Cancellation Fee – Most people tend to overlook this!

There are a few types of connections ADSL, Naked ADSL, ADSL2, Dialup etc.
It gets quite confusing so here’s the breakdown.

ADSL – Requires an active phone line.
Naked ADSL – Uses some copper wire, so you are not required to pay for a phone line.
ADSL2 – Same as ADSL, but faster.
Dialup – Seriously? Do we really want to go there?

Here is my short list of my research:

TPG – I’ve been told by my Aussie friends that TPG is the best ISP in terms of speed and I’ll probably put my money there! Drawback: TPG plans are contracted.

Mytelecom – I’m with my telecom because my building uses it! Before shifting in, I’ve never heard of mytelecom. It is reliable both in stability and speed wise. I’ve not experienced a drop connection on my laptop yet….It requires no contracts and there is no cancellation fees involve. Furthermore, my building happened to be Wifi enabled, which means I got to save money on a modem! The only drawback is the lowest plan is worth 12GB of data and the next plan is 300GB of data. There is no plans in between 12 and 300, so I’m forced to pay $80 every month for data I don’t use! I highly suspect they do this on purpose!

Vivid Wireless – Probably the easiest way to get connected as it requires no lines, copper or phone whatsoever. Basically all you need to do is choose the plan, and the device to go with it! It offers a USB modem as well which is great for people who want to connect on the move! Allows customers to choose a month to month basis instead of a lock in contract. Only drawback: There might not be coverage in your area, so check before signing up!

Okay now for the most important question… How much data do I need? Most internet plans in Singapore are unlimited so I never knew how much data I use. It got down to me calling my ISP in Singapore and asking them for the figure but they didn’t have that information as well simply because I guess, well no one had the need to know! But being in Melbourne now, well you HAVE to know how much data you use!

Personally, 50GB is more than enough for me. My usage includes, Video Calling for about an hour daily, Torrenting about 2 TV shows weekly (No, I am not a pirate), the daily use of FaceBook, Twitter, Email and the occasional Youtube. I do not stream videos much, so I guess if you YouTube/Game a lot you’d probably need much more data. Hopefully my usage patterns provides a benchmark for determining the data you would need!

Confused yet? The amount of time I took to read, understand and digest all the information in the first week of moving to Melbourne was so taxing that I reached the point whereby I literally went

Photo Source: Geekzenith

Either that or I just don’t happen to be very IT savvy…

Cheers!

Of street art and secret lanes.

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Melbourne tops the list of my favorite city to live in, abide Singapore, but that’s home.

The thing about Melbourne that I love is how the city is full of character. I like San Francisco, and I like Hong Kong, and I have seen graffiti. But it is the mix of modern skyscrapers and contemporary buildings that give Melbourne its character that many other cities lack.

The skyscrapers dominate the skyline, but there is bound to be a quaint little European building lurking somewhere in the corner. The walls of side streets acts as the canvas for art. And it is difficult to term these street art as vandalism because they are literally tastefully done art. Every side lane located in the CBD acts as an art Galleria. And each wall posses its own attitude.

So off I went to photograph bits and pieces of the street art in Melbourne.

Random spray painted mustache on the ground.

20121002-171545.jpg

20121002-171537.jpgRandom painting of a man found at Queen Victoria Market.
Photo Source : Instagram @jarrelt

And I spotted Heath Ledger from the Dark Knight while dining at Movida. Located just opposite Movida on Hosier Lane,
There are many blogs dedicated to documenting the street arts of Melbourne and there are even tours that bring people to view the artworks located on different lanes. And it is always interesting to see what new pieces of work have come up.

Source: Streets of Melbourne
This is a new piece in loving memory of Jill Meager that was spotted on Hosier Lane.

Street art like such, gives every lane a unique character. And typing this post, it reminded me of a case in Singapore whereby a female street artist got arrested recently for vandalism. She painted ‘My grandfather road’ on some roads in Singapore


Photo Source: Stomp

and pasted stickers on traffic lights and lamp posts!
Photo Source: Yahoo News!

She now faces a 3 year jail sentence. Street art in Singapore, better known as vandalism, is punishable with a fine of up to S$2000 or jailed up to 3 years. Thus the freedom to express one’s emotions and thoughts via art, certainly adds character and depth to the city. It can very much been seen upon like a tattoo on skin.

This is something I pass by everyday on my way home, located on A’beckett and Elizabeth Street

This is one of my favorite street art. Found on Duckboard Place, this piece is both simple and creative. A huge padlock spray painted on a metal door.

There is a piece of art lurking on every corner of Melbourne! You just have to find it! If you have a favorite street art, do share it with me!

Cheers!

Here’s my number..So call me (Maybe)

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The first thing about getting settled in a new city, is getting connected. And in this day and age, the old school texts and calls just won’t cut it! The prepaid SIM card better come with a working Internet connection. How is anyone going to survive without tweeting, facebooking and whatsapping while on the move?

How many of us have actually bought a prepaid SIM card the moment we touch down in  a new country even if it was for a 5 day holiday? I know I have. Guilty as charged.

So now, Australia being the big country that it is, has thousand and one phone companies, mainly small ones that run on a major player’s network. The major players being:

1) Telstra
2) Optus
3) Vodafone

It took me 2 months to figure this out and it pains me to tell you that cellphone coverage in Australia is crap. I don’t know what it is with Australia but signal is really bad. I started out with Vodafone and I lost my 3G connection practically 80% of the time. I am now with Optus and well, I still lose my 3G but at least it comes back automatically.

This is my advice to you. Go straight to Telstra. DO NOT PASS BY OPTUS AND VODA. Just save yourself the frustration.

It is not uncommon to see consumers complaining endlessly about their telcos on their respective company’s Facebook pages. And it is extremely frustrating when there is no signal at all.

A examples which I took a Screenshot from the company’s FaceBook page
And my favorite post,

Here is my list of which telcos would best suit what need:

  • Lowest International Rates – Lebara.
    Lebara runs on the Vodafone network, which in my opinion is the worst out of the 3. It however offers the lowest international calling rates with free calls to landlines in Singapore and its mobile call rates are the cheapest out of all. It runs on Prepaid and no contract is needed.
  • Best all rounder – Virgin
    Virigin runs on the Optus network. Coverage is decent for Optus and it’s Bring Your Own (BYO) plan seems to be a popular choice among many. This basically means you get to use your own phone and they just supply you with the SIM card. This is Post Paid so there is no need for a top-up/recharge every month. There is no cancellation fees involved and gives customers a good balance of calls/texts and data.
  • Most data – Woolworth’s Prepaid
    Everyone knows Woolworth is a supermarket. And it embarrasses me to publish this but… I use Woolworth’s. Okay now before anyone gets judgemental, Woolworth’s offers me 5GB of data. And being the social media whore that I am, I need every single MB of that 5GB. It runs on the Optus network and coverage is decent as well.
  • Best Coverage – Telstra
    Telstra offers the best coverage out of the 3 and they know it. Which is why they can charge a premium price and still have customers flocking to them. The thing about Telstra is that the bulk of their plans require a 24month contract, which is what deterred me from going with Telstra. It’s prepaid plans on the other hand are really expensive.

Overall, for some reason, data is offered at a very low volume for most cellphone plans in Australia. It is not uncommon to see plans that offer 50MB of data and 1GB is considered standard. It was only then, that I started to appreciate the 12GB that every telco in Singapore offers it’s consumers.

I also learnt how to appreciate the coverage that I get in Singapore. I remembered there was this particular day in 2011 when the M1 network was down for a couple of hours

M1 Service Disruption

(Image Taken from Stomp.sg)

and it received so many complaints that M1 dedicated a day of free usage for its customers as a form of apology.

(ScreenShot taken from Today Online)

Well, low coverage is a daily affair in Melbourne. So there is no choice but to get use to it.

One thing that I would like to bring to light, for some reason, Optus prepaid does not support the personal hotspot function on the Iphone. This only applies to Optus prepaid as I had no problems with the prepaid services of other companies. I only found this out after I got my Wollies SIM card and it annoys me but I’m sticking to it because the 5GB of data is more important to me than its ability to act as a hotspot. By the way, Optus is owned by Singtel. But for some reason the coverage is no where close!

To end of this post, it took me very long to come to the fact that I am unable to get the best of both worlds from telco’s in Australia. But I got used to it eventually and choosing the right plan for your needs boils down to choosing what is more important to you.

Cheers!

Chin Chin

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I’ve been meaning to try Chin Chin for the longest time ever and finally got down to doing it a few days ago. Chin Chin has a strictly walk in only policy and falls into the category of one of those restaurants that you would visit at unpopular hours as it gets really crowded during dinnertime. The last time I went down, the waiting time was an hour and a half long and I gave it a miss. This time round I went down at 3pm and it was a breeze!

I’ve heard so many people rave about Chin Chin and it made it’s way into my list of  ‘must try restaurants’ in Melbourne. So I went in already knowing what I wanted needed to order!

Refreshing with a tinge of coconut. Definitely a must try!

The taste of the pork was a tad too strong for my liking. The plum sauce was sweet and refreshing and it reminded me of a Peking Duck dish that is common in Chinese restaurants.

The barramundi is my favorite out of everything! The combination of mint leaves, peanuts, lemon grass and green mango was intense yet light on the palette. The pork was sweet while the fish was sour giving the dish a good balance.
The skin is indeed crispy and goes well with the salt,peanut, sesame combination dip.
The corn fritters is apparently another highly raved about dish! I however found it a little too much and I only managed to eat 1.

I’m a desert kind of girl. And no matter how full I am, I will try my best to squeeze in a desert and I’m so glad I did. The palm sugar ice cream sundae is to die for! It was so refreshing and the honeycomb sprinkles added a crunch to its sweet and sour taste! Definitely a must try.

Overall I would definitely visit Chin Chin again and it’s one of the better fusion places I’ve tried. Chin Chin is an experience, I’ve never tasted anything like that and it is interesting to see how they combine the ingredients to come up with a dish. However, one drawback: everything started to taste identical after a while. The overuse of fish sauce, lime juice, raw bean sprouts and peanuts started to be a familiar sighting in every dish.

The dirt (literally) with UniLodge

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In my previous post I wrote about house hunting and this post will be a follow-up on my experience with UniLodge. Before I begin this post, I need to include a disclaimer that this post is solely base on my OWN experience and does not indicate that everyone shares the same experience that I did. I’m sure that there are many happy UniLodge Residents, I just didn’t have the opportunity to be one of them.

I did thorough research online before settling my accommodation with UniLodge on Lonsdale via email, I compared the photos on the web, googled for reviews and tried to find out everything I could about my new home for the next 6 months! But no amount of research was enough to prepare me for what was in stall for me.

Firstly, there were very little recent reviews of UniLodge online. But a quick google search lead me to this site: Do Not Lodge which gave me a glimpse of what life would be, and the comments left by residents on its respective Facebook pages gave me a little more information.

Base on my research, I knew that there are mice at the UniLodge on Swanston and a friend living at 740 has seen a mouse in her room. The photos available online for UniLodge Lonsdale seems the better of the few but here’s what went wrong for me.

1) The place was filthy!! Even though we had to pay for ‘professional’ cleaning. There were remnants of food left in the cupboard!

2) The carpet was in need of a serious steaming. It was so badly stained.
3) The sofa was… beyond description. It was so soiled that well, it left me speechless. ( I wished I had a photo to show but I think I was too distraught to take a photo)
4) The apartment came with a heater. BUT, the heater is located in the living room instead of in the rooms (this is with reference to a 2 bedroom, so I guess they expect the tenants to sleep with the doors open?)
5) The fan in the bathroom was spoilt
6) The place could have been better maintained. (Picture shows cracks of the sink)
Apparently, each unit at UniLodge is privately owned and thus the interior of each unit may defer. And even though the staff (Yvonne, and Daniel) did agree to ‘pressure’ the owners to change the sofa, it is ultimately the owner’s decision.

In case you’re wondering if I may just be really picky, Daniel agreed that the carpet needed steaming and the whole place needed to be cleaned again. At the end of the day, I broke the bond and Daniel very kindly gave me a full refund because the place just did not meet my expectations.

I would not say this is false advertising, as every marketeer would know, a business would definitely advertise its product the way that best sells it. However, did reality defer from what was advertised? Definitely.

However, that being said, there are a few UniLodges that are known to be the better ones out of all the other UniLodges and they are :

1) Villiers (newly open and apparently extremely clean)
2) D1
3) D2

UniLodge is also open for inspection so it would always be safer for future tenants to arrange a viewing. Overall, I was just not fortunate enough to stay at UniLodge and I sincerely hope that you’d have better luck than me!

Do you have an experience with UniLodge that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it.

Cheers!

Home Sweet Home.

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People usually are the happiest at home- William Shakespeare

I don’t know about you, but to me it’s always comforting to come home to a place that I can call my own at the end of a hectic day. My house is probably the place where I spend most of my time in, and thus it’s the most important thing to me.

House hunting is a B****! Period.

Like many other international students, I settled my accommodation before I arrived in Melbourne. I’ve heard the countless advice:

1) Do NOT sign any agreement without physically being there to view the place. Photos are deceptive! I cannot reiterate this enough, photos are really REALLY deceiving.
2) It is advisable for first time students to stay in the hostels before moving out.
3) UniLodge is probably not your best choice. ( I will explain this in another post)
4) Refer to rule number 1 again.

After about 5 days of research, it was ‘Information Overload’ for me, I got so tired and frustrated, I just wanted to settle my housing ASAP.

I must say, despite hearing the above 4 rules, I didn’t follow a single one of them. Well, I did try. I applied for a place in International House, ( one of the many on campus hostels in the university) and well, I got it. But I did not end up residing there ( I will get to that in a bit).

Firstly let me state the pros of staying in a hostel.
1) Food is taken care of.
2) You get to know ALOT people.
3) Residential tutors are available for assignment consultations
4) You feel as if you’re in a community, there are more activities
5) Every night is a party! (Alcohol and more alcohol)

And the downside,
1) It’s more expensive than living outside
2) Walls are REALLY thin (You hear the hanky panky, whether you like it or not)
3) The majority of the bathrooms are not en suite.

So I declined my place at International House simply because there was no en suite bathrooms and I’m embarrassed to say this but I’m afraid of showering alone at night! Besides that, I felt that for the same price, I could get a bigger place.

If you ask me now, a part of me probably regretted declining the offer. Because a community is indeed important especially for someone who is alone and in a foreign country. And the people I know living on campus sure seem to be having a lot of fun!

There are a couple of off campus student accommodation as well if living on campus is not your kind of thing. Well there’s not much of a difference between on campus and off campus lodging. Off campus hostels probably have more rooms with en suite bathrooms though and even though there are activities organized for the community, it is not as close knitted as compared to those in the university campus.

A few off campus student accommodation are
1) Unilodge
2) Student Housing Australia (SHA)
3) College Square by YMCA
4) Merlin Properties

Base on reviews from friends, College square is the best out of the 4. SHA seems to be decent with popular apartments like Micasa8 and other new developments. As for UniLodge I have had a bad experience with them (which I will share in another post) so it wouldn’t be fair for me to state my opinion because it would be biased.

In the event that you decide to stay off campus, I advice you to come about 2 weeks earlier to actually attend an inspection of the place. A good real estate websites to search for housing is http://www.realestate.com.au/rent

The thing about real estate agents in Melbourne is that each agent is assigned to a particular building or buildings unlike in countries whereby an agent is in charge of many properties in different locations. I personally found this frustrating because I couldn’t just say to my agent ‘ Okay do you have anymore properties elsewhere?’ thus it is highly important to do your own research. You need to know the name of the apartment that you want to inspect before you can actually get an agent to help you.

A lot of the apartments open for inspection are actually listed on the realtor’s website itself. A few of the realtor’s that handle quite a lot of apartments in the CBD are:

1) Melcorp Property
2) Hocking Stuart
3) Dingle Partners
4) MICM

For those looking for a roommate/share a house, gumtree.au is a good place to start. Gumtree.au actually offers one of the cheapest rentals I have seen. All in all, I’ve inspected about close to 10 apartments before I finally signed on the dotted line.

A few apartments to check out :
1) A’beckett Towers
2) 8 Franklin Street
3) Zen Apartments
4) 43 Therry Street

Most of the apartments listed above comes with gym and/or pool facilitates.
A studio, fully furnished goes between $350-$410/week, a one bedroom can be anything up to $450 and a 2 bedroom can go for anything between $550-$610/week. Of course there are cheaper options but base on my research, city living is quite expensive.

There are a lot of apartments close to the university and any apartments close to Elizabeth’s or Swanston will definitely be convenient. Public transport in Melbourne is quite efficient and getting around is not a problem at all! I’ve had people warning me from staying on Lygon because of safety concerns at night but I’ve no idea how true that is.

After about a week of house hunting and viewing of more than 10 properties, I finally settled for a tiny apartment with a stunning view!

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Sometimes I feel as if half of my rent goes to paying for air space! And with that I hope this post provided informative information for those looking for a place to stay and I wish you the best of luck!

Cheers!

Coffee Junkies!

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The chatter goes on in class and conversation runs from student to tutor, peers to peers and in some cases (read: yours truly) nothing goes on in my head.

The questions sound so familiar. I myself have reiterate the same sentence probably a whole lot of times that I’ve lost count.

” Yea, what are you gonna write about…”, ” What’s the content…” “Can I write about…?”

I hear the replies “Oh i’m gonna write about HISTORY….
CURRENT AFFAIRS…
POLITICS…
ADVERTISING…
ECONOMICS…”

Oh my God! A small little voice inside me felt like shouting ‘Shit, I really just wanna write about fashion and food and being a sloth!” But I think I should keep my thoughts private! There and then, I felt my thoughts being judged! Food, fashion and sloth didn’t sound very intellectual. What more a combination of all three? I must be screwed.

So here I am blogging in my comfort zone, the very first post out of ten (or hopefully more)!

In the very first lecture Robert talked about White Noise. With the technology today, everyone can be a producer, a writer, a singer etc. There’s a millions of song covers and short film productions uploaded on Youtube, billions of blogs available online and even more twitter accounts! This ability to produce and share gives people their very own platform to showcase pretty much whatever they want. But because there is just so much content being produced, it is essential to not become white noise and to stand out from the rest instead of just ‘filling up the space’ with meaningless content that has no substance.

Thus I hope this blog will provide some relevant information to ‘future melbourne movers’ as there was very limited up to date information (housing, telco, ISP, food, etc etc) available when I did my research. First off, like all travel books will tell you, Coffee is big here. As in, really big and not in the Starbucks kind of way.

In the three weeks that I’ve been here, I’ve probably only come across 2 or 3 Starbucks. The best brew, comes from the local cafes which are situated on practically every street!

By the end of this post, you will know how to order coffee like a pro.  ‘It’s just ordering coffee good Lord, how hard can it be?’ Trust me, it was enough to send me googling!

Here’s a digram,

I wished someone told me this beforehand! I went into a brunch place off chapel street and ordered a macchiato thinking it was gonna turn out like the caramel macchiato minus the caramel from Starbucks but… no, it came like this!

In a super small cup! Okay I think that was just me being silly because I think all macchiatos are like that!

I’ve also never heard of a flat white! it’s basically coffee with milk or what I know as a regular coffee. The milk equals the white.

Long Black = Americano
Short Black = A shot of Espresso

Okay and just for comparison’s and a little entertainment, I’m gonna throw in a diagram of how to order Kopi (Coffee) like a pro in Singapore (from where I am) in a hawker center (basically non air conditioned food centers)

Photo Credit: Burpple.com

Cheers!

(EDIT 24 OCT 2012)

My favorite 2 coffee places in Melbourne:

Market Lane coffee

Sip the coffee at Market Lane and you will understand why it is voted one of the best in Melbourne. The rich aroma of coffee beans lingers in your mouth after each sip allowing its fragrance to overwhelm the senses of the drinker.

109 Therry St
Opposite Victoria Market, next to the Chinese grocers.

163 Commercial Road
Located on a sidelane of Chapel Street. You will first bypass a supermarket (Wollies or Safeway) before seeing the coffeehouse.

Brother Ba Ba Budan

I’ve had friends who lived all their lives in Melbourne and they’ve searched all over town for the best coffee and they swear by Baba Budan. A tiny coffee house located on Little Bourke Street, this jewel is difficult to miss because there is bound to be people waiting outside the shop for their coffee. The foam milk is light and smooth on the palette that compliments the natural sweetest of the coffee beans. The cafe is small and cramp and provides little seating. My advice is to grab a coffee to go. Located close to Hardware Lane, this place is my new ‘must visit’ after brunch at Hardware Society!

359 Little Bourke Street.
Located near Crumpler.