We arranged to meet four friends in Victoria Street, Richmond, for dinner. The trip in the car should take 15 minutes, we allowed 20 and it took nearly 30. How I hate Punt Road and Hoddle Street. There are too many people in Melbourne for our trains, trams and roads. We entered our favourite restaurant, Tran Tran, but there weren't any tables available. The Mama San, who remembers us, was very apologetic. 'Why you no book? Just quick call and I could have fixed it'.
Richmond is an area where many Vietnamese refugees settled in the 70s and 80s and the street has a very Asian feel to it and is well known for its cheap but good meals. Unfortunately over the past decade or so, it also became a place for drug dealing after dealers were pushed out of city. I think it has improved a bit of late.
But the character of Victoria Street is changing. Across the road is a bar called The Vic, I think, with most of the customers white people. The bar had taken over the side street and behind a cyclone wire fence, patrons listened to very loud music. Thump, thump, thump.
We should have headed the other way along the street, but instead entered the huge restaurant Tho Tho, within what was once a pub. It was so hot inside the sweat was pouring from us, we could barely converse because of the level of noise in the restaurant, it was chaotic and R did not receive his soup. In the background was the constant thump from the music across the road. The hand written bill was unintelligible when we wanted to work out who owed what. I will say though, the food was ok but we couldn't wait to get out of there.
We were home by 8.30, out of the humidity and away from the noise and we concluded going out was a bad idea. Usually we enjoy ourselves when we go out for dinner, even if it is an effort at times. Often before we go out, we say, it would be nice to be staying in. This time, I really wish we did stay home.