Anyone who has been keeping up with the blog will understand how our East Coast trip has been labelled the “worst ever.” Somehow, we managed to do everything wrong. We had fun, that’s undeniable, but it felt more like smiling through adversity than pleasure for pleasure’s sake. More than once, Sarah turned to me and said, “Are we being tested?” If we have been, we must have passed, since the rewards of the past few days have wiped any misery from our minds and put the adventure back into high gear.
Or: How Sarah and Amy wiped out the Crown Casino (relatively)
Neither Sarah nor I count ourselves as major gamblers. In fact, Sarah has never been to a casino before and my experience is limited to cruise ships and a very poor run at Casino Niagara (not even the beautiful Fallsview casino, but the other one.) Nevertheless, we decided to treat ourselves with one night out at the awe-inspiring Crown Casino in downtown Melbourne. We ate dinner in one of the bistro-style restaurants there and were feeling lucky. We entertained the idea of winning enough money to buy us last minute tickets to the Australian Open Men’s Final (about $250/each) and headed straight to the slots. Five minutes later and twenty dollars poorer, we abandoned slots as a slippery slope into debt. Instead, we decided to try our hand at blackjack. After watching a couple of rounds, we each put in twenty dollars and made the attempt. We just managed to crack even and decided to call it a night. But is it ever easy to call it a night in a Casino? With one last vain hope, we sat down at a different table. Now our luck really changed! When we finally decided to finish “for real,” we were up $200 and feeling good. It wasn’t enough for tickets, but it would cover our grounds passes, dinner and a taxi home. We were happy.
Or: How Sarah and Amy got box seats at a Grand Slam men’s final
As a huge tennis fan, I’ve been following the Australian Open with something bordering on religiousity. I’ve found TV’s or bars at every hostel in order to keep up with the scores, especially concerning my favourite player, Roger Federer. Naturally, I was really disappointed by his loss to Djokovic in the semi-finals, but I was excited to be in the same city as a Grand Slam final. On the evening of the men’s final, we decided to go down and watch it from the big screen TV on the grounds and support underdog Jo Tsonga. Armed with facepaint and matching Australian Open t-shirts, Sarah and I descended on Melbourne Park.
Only a couple of minutes into our stroll to find the big screen TV, but two men approach us asking about our facepaint. Sarah and I bought the facepaint for $2 at a dollar store, so we offer to paint their faces (on the condition that it be French flags) instead of them waiting in line at the official face paint booth. After chatting for a bit about how we are poor tennis-loving backpackers with only lowly grounds passes, they offer to try and sneak us into their superbox. An offer we can’t refuse! With a little help from their wives and families up in the box already, they manage to procure a couple of passes for us to use in the elevators passed the tight security. Once up there, we don’t dare to venture down again – but there was really no need! We had unlimited food and drink and the best seats in the house. We got to watch the mixed doubles final and the men’s final and both games were incredible. An experience we will never forget.