Friday, June 29, 2007

Australia - Day 4 Sydney

Like I said, my mom told me that I should try to catch sunrise at Surfer's Paradise. Being in Gold Coast the last day, I was determined not to miss it. Willie went and watched the sunrise the morning before and he told us that sunrise was at 5+. So, both Brian and I braved the cold and dragged ourselves out of the warmth of the coccoon of the comforter and left the apartment slightly before 5 a.m. We had actually wanted to take the car but for some reason the car wouldn't start. Oh no! Time was ticking away! It was already 5 a.m.!

Without trying to figure what was wrong with the car, we quickly walked towards the beach. There was no one around except for a few odd joggers (who were in shorts) and a man doing yoga in the park. The sky was pitch black and the wind was howling. Brian and I were freezing. When we reached the beach at about 520 a.m., the beach was empty and dark. The waves were roaring at a distance. Brian and I decided to wait for the sunrise at McDonalds opposite the beach. We waited and waited and waited in the freezing cold, drinking a cup of fast-cooling tea. Finally, we asked an employee and he told us that sunrise wasn't until 6+. GRRRRRRR...

Since we were already there, we continued waiting and the sun rose at approximately 615 a.m. but we could not see much because there were lots of cloud...

At around 6 a.m.

The sun had risen, the clouds were blocking it and my camera sucks. But nothing is better than freezing my nose off with Brian. :P

When we got back, we had to quickly pack and leave for the airport which was an hour away. The car started when Willie pressed the clutch before/ while starting the car. Apparently it was a safety feature. So anyway, we drove to return the car at the international airport, got a shock because of all the surcharges and was driven to the domestic airport less than 2 km away.

About 2 hours later, we were in Sydney!! We bought a weekly travel pass and took the train to King's Cross where our hotel is. King's Cross is a red-light district which is quite notorious. My father's friends have warned me to not to go out at night and to be extra careful when they heard that I'll be staying there. Well, accommodation in Sydney is expensive and the cheapest and most value for money place that we could find was in King's Cross, so King's Cross it was. We reached King's Cross at around 1 p.m., so we dropped our bags at the hotel and went for lunch nearby. Instead of retracing our steps back to the hotel, we went for a walk and went past many, many backpackers inns. Yup, it was a haven for backpackers, and not too expensive either.

We didn't want Willie to blame us entirely for spoiling his backpacking trip, so we asked Willie to stay at the backpackers if he wanted to. We had already pre-paid the hotel that we booked, so whether or not we stayed there the money would be deducted. Looking longingly at William packing his bags to go to one of the backpackers inns, Brian and I went to the suite that we had booked. Sigh...the problem with travelling as a well-protected girl - you can't do many adventurous stuff without worrying your old folks and your boss. I truly envy some people who don't give a damn and can do what they well please. Heck, I always tell my mom (she wouldn't allow me to go out on my own anymore these days. Damn those robbers and rapists!) that if something bad happens to me even after I've taken all those precautions, it will be just my luck la. SIGH~~ So anyway, like old folks, Brian and I stayed in a suite while Willie travelled like a youngster should.

After checking into our respective hotel/inn, we took the train to go to Queen Victoria Buiding (QVB) and Hyde Park which are near Town Hall. The parks there are simply beautiful. There are also many art sculptures scattered around town. And when I say art sculpture, it is art sculpture and not those giant durians that we have in the middle of a roundabout, which costs at least triple of what it should, courtesy of the people's money.

The famous QVB behind us.

One of the many art sculptures scattered around the city. Hmm...what art is that red one? :P

After that, we went to the Anzac Memorial and went past a few well-known cathedrals. Then, we walked all the way to Darling Harbour to have dinner. It is so beautiful and you can't help but envy the Australians for having so many places to just relax. Not to mention the weather was also perfect when we were there...

Anzac Memorial at Hyde Park.

Breathtaking view at Darling Harbour. Even my camera can capture the beauty!

Willie continued taking photographs around Darling Harbour and went off to get his free booze while Brian and I chomped down on our whole chicken in the food court(hey, cold weather and a lot of walking make people hungry, ok!). As Brian was worried for my safety (damn my big mouth for telling him what the uncles told me), we went back to the hotel right after that. Sure enough, on our way back, we saw lots of prostitutes and bouncers. Surprisingly, I feel much safer in King's Cross at night than in KL in the afternoon...

Stay tuned for more of Sydney in the next post!

Dedicated to you...

Got a dedication request from my boss this morning. Haha... so this is it:

Wider, goofier and older. Lubdjuu Grandpa!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Australia - Day 3 Brisbane City

The next day, we went to Brisbane City. Yup, I forgot to tell the guys that it would be better if we were able to make it to the city during the weekend because there would be more activities there. So, because of my blunder, there wasn't much to see in the city. Well, because it is just another city.

We drove an hour plus to get to the city. We originally wanted to go to the Art Centre but the parking there was expensive. After a bit of discussion, we decided to just walk around the shopping area and maybe try to get to the koala sanctuary out of the city. My initial "mission" to Australia this time was to cuddle a koala (not many places in Australia allow it).

So anyway, we walked around the main shopping area *Willie says it's Queen Street Mall* and went to visit a couple of cathedrals/ churches. Like I said, there is really nothing much to see in the City - we basically just walked around, looking at the sights and that was pretty much it.

Finding our way around the city.

One of the many beautiful parks around the city.

Inside one of the cathedrals.

For lunch, we bought Pizza and ate in a park near where we parked the car. Lunch that day was one of the most filling one we had in the entire trip! Haha...Anyway, after walking around for another hour, we decided to head back to Surfer's Paradise.

The view from our picnic spot.

In one of the shopping malls in the city.

While Willie went off to more of his walks, Brian and I went shopping (again, YAY!) at IGP. Yup, shopping is the best thing to do when you have nothing to do. Hehe...Anyway, like most Malaysians do when they are in Australia, we bought loads of Tim Tams. And I do mean LOADS. After shopping for other stuff like instant noodle and what-nots, we decided to head back to the apartment.

My mom told me to watch the sunrise at Surfer's Paradise because it was beautiful. We missed going out in the morning (Willie complained about it as usual - :P) because I couldn't get my cold butt out of the warmth of the bed. So, determined not to miss it, I decided that Brian and I would go watch it the next morning before we leave for the airport to go to Sydney.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Australia - Day 2 Movie World

Yup, after much needed rest (about 12 hours for me, haha), the three of us were eager to start another round of thrill-seeking. This time, we went to Warner Brothers' Movie World.

Like the day before, we were there by 945. So there were not many people, save for a few tour groups and some people wearing cocktail dresses who were there for the premiere of Shrek 3. With the map of the theme park in hand, we started our day in the Batman-themed rides. First, we went on what looked like a much lower version of the Solero Shot. We were the first batch of people to go on it so we did not know what to expect. It was just a ride that propels you to the top of the tower and then drops you slowly. We went on that ride three times that day.

After that ride, we went to the Batman Mansion for a motion-master-like ride. Before the ride began, a bunch of us were told that we were on a mission. And with the mission, we went from room to room and helped Batman deal with the Joker, Catwoman and Freezone.

After the Mansion, we went to the Superman's ride. THIS IS A MUST TRY FOR EVERYONE!! We went on it twice and if not for the long queue, we would have gone on it again and again and again. The story is like this: we were on the Metroline or something but the station has been destroyed by bad people. Our train cannot stop at the station and has to keep moving. Alas! Our train came to a complete halt just after the burning station. What are we to do?? Then, Superman appeared at the end of the train and calmed us down, "Don't worry. I will push you out of here...FAST". And with that, we travelled super fast (something about 4 G and negative 1 G?? - or like my friend told us, from 0 to 100km/hour in 0.3 secs) down the roller-coaster-like rail. Whoa...I came down with bruises on the back of my arms because I was afraid and kept pushing back at the chair. Hahaha...but it was simply AWESOME!!!

You can see William here...

After the super-thrilling ride, we went to the Lethal Weapon-themed roller coaster ride. It was another awesome ride. We went upside down many times, with the ground just barely a metre or two above our heads. That was why they not only have a minimum height, but a maximum height imposed for that ride. I took photos of William on the ride. I was too slow to take photos of him coming in, and took the people behind him instead, that explains his "d'uh" look afterwards. Hehehe...

Me camwhoring with William's stuff. Look cool, eh?

There are not as many rides in Movie World, so we managed to go twice on most rides. We also went on the Scooby Doo ride which basically tossed us around in a dark room. Super cool wei...There was another ride whose theme was an old Western gold-mining movie which got us all wet (and sent William's cap flying. Hahaha). What I like about the rides there is that they do not just propel you forward, some rides reverse and make the ride even scarier because you cannot see just how steep the fall is.

After the rides and some lunch, we went and watched Police Academy-themed stunt show.

You can't go to Warner Brothers' and not watch the Parade! Austin Powers, Scooby Doo and gang, Shrek and gang, Batman and gang, and not to be missed, Bugs Bunny and friends were all there waving away. After much hysterical screaming for more of the cartoon characters (no, seriously ;) haha), we went and watched Shrek 4D. The 4th D, to some who might not know, is the special effects such as water or air that can is on the 3D screen e.g. Donkey sneezed and you get a bit of water sprayed onto your face etc.

Sesat characters? Nah...just three flers on their way to the 4D cinema.

After another fun day out, we went back to Surfers' Paradise for some shopping! Look what we found!

Vibrators!! And lots of different brands too. Haha...I also saw some things that I never knew existed. For guys, girls and SMs...Hahaha...

Who can say that they've been to Surfer's Paradise without actually going to the beach? While William was busy taking photographs of the beach and himself at night, Brian and I were also camwhoring. Haha...Ooh...and William got a super cute present from the beach too. Maybe he will update about it later.

Anyways, more in the next post. Hehe...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Australia - Day 1 Dreamworld


Australia...a beautiful country with an interesting history. A country with a unique mix of culture. A country with many unique animals. A country whose food and lodging cost a lot. The country which 3 naive youngsters decided to go for a "budget" tour and with 2 who returned broke last week.

Hehe...yup, time for me to update about the trip to AUSTRALIA.

Let me start from the beginning:

The adventure began some time end of last year when William asked if I wanted to travel because he still has free air tickets (his mother works for Thai Airways and they get lots of benefits). I've always wanted to go to Australia again because I enjoyed my trip there very much back in 2000 and because we have friends studying there, so I suggested that we go to Australia. The planning began in December when our friends who are studying there came back for holidays. It started with Brian, me, William and Woon - 2 guys, 2 girls PERFECT. As planning began and we looked at the air fare, my parents suggested that we go in a tour. Tour to Brisbane is about RM 4 k but William thought it was too costly (which I agree after the trip). We decided to go on our own. Woon decided that the trip costs too much and decided not to go. So it became the three of us again. We tried to look for a fourth person but it wasn't easy.

So anyway, fast forward to the trip. William, Brian and I flew there together by MAS. Although I did not sleep for two nights before the trip, I watched 4 movies in a row during the 12 hour flight. We had to transit in Sydney, which was a waste of time. We reached Brisbane International Airport at 1130 pm (Australia's 2 hours ahead). The train service had stopped by then, the shuttle bus to Surfer's Paradise from the airport costs Aus $ 40 per person and taxi would cost around Aus $ 150+. With these choices, we decided to rent a car which costs Aus $ 29 per day, terms and conditions apply.

We rented a yellow Hyundai Getz. Great car!

With a map in hand (in Brian's hand- the boys never even considered letting me hold it), we drove an hour to our 2 bedroom apartment in Surfer's Paradise. This is what I call backpacking in style. Hahaha...

Our 2-bedroom apartment with washing machine and dryer and a full-function kitchen!

So anyway, the next morning, William made breakfast and lunch for us (thanks Willie!) and we headed off to Dreamworld, which is about half an hour away. The theme park opens at 10 and we arrived at a quarter to ten. After paying Aus $ 64 per person, we went in and (I) screamed our (my) heads off for one whole day.

First, we went on The Claw (the first ride that we saw as we entered the theme park). It was super scary. I mean, I've never had such a wild ride ever! We were swung around everywhere. The arrow shows the ride and how our world was upside down for lots of time.

Look at those people being swung around at The Claw!!

After that, we went on a tamer Wipeout which tossed us everywhere. Good thing we didn't eat much for breakfast. Anyway, we went on every ride there was in Dreamworld. We even went on the kiddies' ride. Kiddies' ride basically just turn you around and around until you are dizzy.

People being tossed around at The Wipeout.

We went on a couple of other rides before this, but I can't remember what they were. I think they were the usual roller coaster rides which were nothing after The Claw. The Vortex is a room that just goes around and around until there is zero gravity or something which made all of us woozy after it. Then, I decided that I wanted to ride on a kiddy ride which made William incredibly dizzy. :P

Dizzy but still smiling after The Vortex.

Behold the ride that made William light-headed! :P

Because William was still unable to adapt to the nauseating motions, only Brian and I went on the next kiddy ride. Hehe...sorry can't resist mentioning that again! :P

After that, we sat down for lunch and went on the scariest ride in the whole theme park. The Giant Drop. Genting's Space/Solero Shot? Nothing and I really mean NOTHING compared to this World's Tallest. It's a little disappointing that Brian and I didn't go for a second time, but nevermind, there will be a next time, right Sweetheart? Hehehe...

Whoa! Is it high or is it high?

Then we went to the Tower of Terror which is shaped like a car going at dunno what speed, which shot us up the other side of the World's Tallest tower. Not as exciting, but not bad either. I screamed as usual. Hahaha...every shot of me showed my eyes closed and shrieking while Brian sat emotionless next to me. :P

We also went on a log ride which got us all wet but there are no pictures for that. We wanted to catch a show at the IMAX cinema so while William went for a second ride on The Claw, we old folks sat down near the IMAX cinema and ate...GELATO!! macadamia nuts! Yum-yum...

Macadamia nuts, chocolate and rum and raisin. Mm-hmm...

After that, it was another half-hour ride back to the apartment while William prepared dinner. Hehehe...thanks William! Next time I go travel, I bring you along so that you can cook. :P Hahaha...That's all we did on the first day. More in the next post. Cheerios!!

I'll be there for you...maybe

Question of the day:

You are exhausted after a long trip. Suddenly, you got news that your dear relative who lives 400km away is sick. Would you:

A) Drop everything and rush to be with your dear relative and his/her family, at least to show emotional support. ?


B) Say, "Oh, that's too bad" and wish him/her good health over the phone and forget about it. ?

I may be biased but I think most guys and (being racist) Chinese would do B. It's not just a matter of being sexist or racist, it's through my observation of what they call "practical". Sometimes, my mom would say: We are not the doctor, go there for what? And most recently when my nephew was sick, eventhough my dad was worried, he doesn't see the need to rush to Singapore. To him, going down and returning less than 24 hours later is unnecessary. I mean, I do understand that it doesn't help much when we are there for less than 24 hours, but I think the emotional support that we provide to my sister and her husband is also important. Not to mention that we did relieve them of the burden of taking care of their other child when we were there.

I don't know. I feel that it is very sad that some people are so practical that the phrase "just being there" doesn't make sense to them. I am not talking about my father la. He's too old and busy to rush up and down that way anyway. And my mother for that matter, should not be subjected to that kind of hectic-ness. But in the times of need, is the phrase "I'll be there for you" just a cliche?

From my observation of my Indian friends, family-togetherness and friends are very important. Friend's grandmother is sick, let's all go to the hospital. Friend's cousin passed away, come on let's go and help out at the funeral. And when you are at the hospital or at the funeral, first cousins, second cousins, far relative and friends are all there to provide emotional support. The Chinese, or my family on the other hand, are only there with a sick friend or relative when they are really, really close. I think they try to avoid being with the sick and dying because it is bad luck for some. Hmmm...Sad, right?

Well, what to do? That's life, or should I say, culture? I suppose it is truly difficult these days to find a friend, or family even, who will stick by you through thick and thin. ~SIGH~ What are we to do if this is the way of life these days, right? But fret not dear friends, because eventhough I am of not much help in times of need, you can be sure that I am just a phone call and a few permissions away. Haha...

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Hi there! Yup, I've been home a couple of days now. Sorry for not updating, but I needed the rest after walking so much for the past 2 weeks! Well, it was an overall good trip, albeit the constant worry of having not enough money to use. It is really tragic that I had to control my urge to buy all those nice looking t-shirts and souvenir...going shopping with mom and dad is still the best! Hahaha...

Will update about the trip in a couple of days. There's just too much happening now. Take care and keep loading my page! ;)