Christmas is just around the corner. I suppose most people did their shopping this weekend before one final weekend leading to Christmas. I was among the hundreds of shoppers in the city doing the same thing. It was busy. The busiest I have ever seen in the mall, aside from Boxing Day – the biggest sales of the year.
I started early on the Saturday, making my way into the CBD main shopping precinct, which was a short 20 minutes walk. I have decided to use a different route and streets into the city to explore the different street scape.
First, along the Yarra River along South Wharf.
Next I made my way across the Spencer Street Bridge and up Flinders Street towards Kings Street, a red light district. But, pale in comparison with most bigger cities red light district like Amsterdam. There wasn’t anything interesting to see at this end of the CBD with mostly commercial buildings which was very quiet and dead in the weekend. But, once I got closer to Elizabeth Street, about four blocks away it got busier and livelier with interesting small boutique retails shops, cafes and laneways. Melbourne CBD is designed like a grid. It’s easy to navigate your way around the city.
The shopping precinct spreads across a few blocks along Elizabeth Street, Swanton Street with cross streets Flinders Lane, Collins Street, Little Collins Street, Little Bourke Street (Chinatown), Australia’s biggest department stores – Myers and David Jones on Bourke Street Mall. Further up Elizabeth Street and Swanton Street are two city malls – Melbourne Central and Queen Victoria Building.
Along Swanston Street, the city was decorated for Christmas with the small city square set up for the children to meet Santa.
I had a little break in between my shopping for lunch. A year ago when I first arrived in Melbourne, there are only a few Asian restaurants along Swanton Street between Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street. There are more restaurants now on both stretch of Swanston Street. Choices from Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Taiwanese, Vietnamese to Chinese. It was almost a hard decision as to which one I was going to try this time. I ended with a dumpling house called “Dumpling Plus”.
It has a nice interior with a glass wall behind which two women were making and folding fresh dumplings. I was fortunate to get a table next to the glass window and watched them fold the dumpling. I timed one of them. It took her 10 seconds to fold one dumpling! That was amazing.I ordered the traditional pork Shanghai dumpling “Xiao Long Bao”. 6 pieces for $8.80. I also ordered a bowl of fresh handmade pull noodle with Braised Beef Belly in Soup for $8.80. It was very reasonable priced. The Xiao Long Bao was perfect. After a big lunch on my own, I was so full that I could hardly move but went on with my shopping for another two hours before walking home. Along the way, I saw a street performer with his invincible stool. This was the first time I have seen such an act. But, some friends on Facebook told me this was nothing new and a trend in Europe at the moment.