Destination : Australia

27 05 2008

Today, we went to the Queen Victoria Market to get more things as we – mainly me – don’t have enough to keep for ourselves and our friends.

We bought some boomerang fridge magnets, more koala clips, some more boomerangs, two purses – shaped like a koala and a kangaroo head – and a kangaroo pencil box with a few tea towels.

Later, my mum and I went to a doughnut van and bought two for $1.80. There was strawberry jam inside them.

[I just figured that doughnut is the English spelling and the American spelling is donut]

After that, we went to the city. We went to somewhere near Swanston Street. My dad parked in the parking lot and we went up to Elizabeth Street.

Soon, we were in the Royal Arcade. It was a very nice building with marble floors. First, we stopped at a place called Babushkaa. It was a shop that sold Russian dolls. There were many varieties of them.

Later, we went to a shop called Westminster. It sold very delicate things that were beautiful but very expensive. Some of their goods’ prices went down a LOT! Amongst the things we bought were two musical carousels. One for me and one for my aunt as her birthday is coming up. It was only $19.90 – which was, very, very, VERY cheap!. We also bought 4 nice brooches with ribbons on it. It was only $2 each, which came down from $29.95 – how shocking, I know.

After that, we went to buy new shoes for me. I wanted some boots. Because I live in Malaysia, I could only buy the ankle-high ones. I bought some black ones for $34.90.

They were very nice. I had fun with them. It went nicely with my black jeans. I was very happy!

Unfortunately, I have to go back home tonight. Our flight is at 0015hrs, Melbourne time. Its sad but, hey, at least I got new boots! 😉

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

26 05 2008

Today folks, I was in Ballarat. It was a 2-hour drive from the city of Melbourne. How tiring it was!

When we reached there, there were school kids from at least 4 or 5 different school. On our way to the entrance, we passed a small gift shop with a toilet and some beautiful souvenirs. My dad wanted to go to the toilet so in the mean time, I ventured into the shop and looked at some jewellery.

Later, we walked on towards the ticket counter. There was this elderly lady dressed in a green vintage dress. She gave us each a map. Apparently, everyone in the whole town was dressed as if it was the 19th century. Even the buildings were nothing like what we have now. The attention to details is really amazing!

Its like travelling back in time!

After my dad paid for the tickets, we went into the town. The people had made it look like it was in the

1850’s. The workers there were dressed in vintage clothes.

It was very interesting. We waited patiently for the musket firing demonstration. The ‘policeman’ there was very sarcastic.

Later, while we waited for the ‘red coats’ march, we went on a carriage ride. There were four big horses pulling it. It was loads of fun, though it was only for five minutes and it cost us AUD 13.50.

After that, my mom and I went to Tinsmiths. A shop that sells brass and copper products. We also bought some nice initialized handkerchiefs from the silk and garment store, next to the Tinsmiths.

Soon, the red coats came out and marched. When they stopped, three of them – there were only 5 of them : the captain, a drummer and 3 soldiers – got ready to fire their pistols. It was very loud and they asked us to put our fingers in our ears.

It was a very memorial ceremony.

Later, I insisted on going to the gold mining place where we can take can plates and pretend that we’re actual gold miners. This is what it was how they prospected for gold.

It was a lot of fun.

How it feels to go into the world of Ballarat in the 1850’s!

We had a meal in one of the restaurants there. It was very 19th century, as my dad says.

There, we ended our day in Sovereign Hill. It has a lot of memories for us to remember forever.

Melbourne, Australia

25 05 2008

Melbourne, Melbourne and more Melbourne!

That’s what I’ve been seeing today. First of all, my dad decided that I – and also my mom – should experience going to the Queen Victoria Market on a tram.

At first, my dad asked the person driving it for the tickets but the man just pointed at the back. My dad didn’t get it at first but while we were walking to find a seat, he saw this man putting his ticket into this some kind of machine. My dad asked the man and he said we can get our tickets at the back.

As we walked, we saw a big machine which looks like a ticket machine. My mom went to get a seat while my dad tried to figure out the ticket-machine. He tried to follow the instruction but it was really confusing. He asked a teenager nearby how it worked and she practically did it for him.

After he got two adult tickets and one child ticket, we went to find a seat near my mom. We waited until we were at a stop near the market and got off.

We went inside and bought 3 boomerangs, 5 T-shirts and 8 packets of koala clips. Soon, the extra bag we brought to fill the shopping things in was full. We were satisfied and went home.

Later, my dad wanted to go to the Mornington Peninsula. It was a long drive from Parkville. I slept halfway there.

When we got there, there was a long – and I mean long – stretch of beach. The water was really clear. There were also lots of bathing houses of all shapes – especially colours! It was very, very colourful.

After that, we went to Schnapper Point. It was beautiful there. I could see big, orange jellyfish, starfish that looked like the glow-in-the-dark ones and a very, very large stingray. There were two people getting ready to dive. The oxygen tank was obviously very heavy.

Later, when we finished looking at the gigantic stingrays, we headed off to a nearby restaurant called ‘Schnappers’. The food there were very delicious. My dad ordered a plate of fish and chips, a cup of hot chocolate for my mom and a glass of milkshake for me.

Before we went home, my mom and I went to see where a narrow staircase leaded to. The staircase was actually leading to a small circular balcony where you can see the peer, the ocean and the bay itself. It was a beautiful sight.

The was another few steps leading upwards towards a monument. I insisted to go there and see what it was.

It was actually a monument meant for the memory of Captain Matthew Flinders (1748 – 1814) who was a navigator. That was another lovely view of the ocean and the peer.

There was also a compass like thing which shows the directions of certain places and its distance from there. Melbourne City was 42km from that point.

After that, we went to find the airport so that  we would not get lost on Tuesday night.

Later, we headed to Park Squire.

That was the end of the day. I really hope to go to Schnappes Point again!

Melbourne Zoo!

24 05 2008

Melbourne Zoo was our plan for the day. The animals wee categorized in groups such as tropical animals, Australian animals and so forth. The way they lined up these animals were in loops.

We passed through the gates at 11.05am and were just in time for the ‘Meet the Keepers’ briefing about wombats. It was supposed to be at 11.30am. But instead of going there straight away as that animal was on the other side of the zoo, we decided to stay and listen to the meerkat briefing at 11.45am.

My mom and dad drinking coffee while waiting for the meerkat briefing

The meerkat was very cute and I learned a lot about them from the briefing. In the next pen was some Quokkas, a species of a wallaby. It was munching away, eating its breakfast – or lunch, I don’t know. The pen across the Quokkas was a red panda. I heard that it was very rare and is an endangered species.

After that, we passed some tree-kangaroos and some baboons, we arrived at the main road. We stopped for a while and continued our adventure. Next, we went to the Platypusary. The were a pair of platypus but one of them was more active then the other. That one was swimming all around the tank as if it knows its picture was getting taken. Actually, cameras were not allowed but most people used theirs anyway.

We walked on and arrived at the kangaroo pen. There was a railing that stopped the kangaroos from crossing to the other side. All of them were lazing around, eating grass.

After that, we passed the giraffes, the zebras and an emu. All of them were in the same pen. We had to pass that pen in order to go to the koala pen. There was another ‘Meet the Keepers’ briefing on koalas at 3.30pm which was in 10 minutes time.

The keeper said that there were three koalas in sight and they were an 8- year-old male, Mellow, a 6-year-old female, Lily and a 3-year-old female, Alice. He said that they took koalas that were in trauma. Alice was one of them and he said that she has already improved. Alice’s mother was killed by a car and they found her clinging to her mother. By that time, she was 2 months old, I think.

The only thing they eat are eucalyptus leaves. There are about 800 species of them and about 50 of them are edible. The koalas can find them anywhere they go. They are the only animals eating that plant so they don’t have any competition among them and other animals.

After that, we went to see the wombats. We only saw one and it was curled up sleeping. That wombat was in its pen. We followed the path and we went into burrow-like tunnels because it was supposed to be how the wombats ‘houses’ look like. There, we saw another sleeping wombat. That one was called the hairy-nosed wombat I think.

That was a really exciting – and of course, tiring! – adventure for me and to my parents too. I hope to come here again and try to be at all the ‘Meet the Keepers’ briefing!

After the Melbourne Zoo, Papa took us straight to Melbourne City centre. He asked Mama to go look for my gandma’s ‘telekong bag’. She wanted something with “Australia” written on it. When we got there, Papa drove towards DFO on Spencer Street. The police stopped us as there was a game at the Telstra Dome, next to the DFO. So Papa parked at Bourke Street and we walked a block towards DFO.

We finaly got her something nice. When we ‘collect’ Bourke Street, I saw a Papa at a coffee place on  Melbourne Tram upclose. It was really something new as I never seen a ‘train’ on a street before. It was also almost dark then. So on the way home, we stopped by at the Macca Halal Meats fr some chicken and Safeway supermarket for some groceries, both on Racecourse Road. We bought a lot supply of ‘Tims Tams’ for give aways, back home.

Australia – the Land Down Under

24 05 2008

Hey people!

I’m really sorry I haven’t been posting new articles as I have so much homework and the latest exams.

So anyway, I’m in Australia now and it’s been 2 days and 1 night but it feels like its been a week. How I got here? Well, let me tell you the story…

My mom had this work in Melbourne, Australia on the 27th of May. My dad wanted to go there too because this is a great opportunity to travel to a country we haven’t been to before. So he booked an apartment in a motel on Flemington Street.

We boarded a Malaysia Airlines B777-200. It was a very, very long flight. They served dinner and breakfast, but more on that later. I, as usual, got the seat next to the window. For a 12-year-old, it was a quite boring flight. The TV was there but I have seen all of the movies. The games weren’t very exciting either. I was quite restless because I was just in Melaka the day before for a motivation camp and slept for 15 hours straight. But that was another story. Even though I got a very long nap, I was still restless on the flight. Eventually, I fell asleep.

When I woke up, there was still 5 more hours to go. By then, I had run out of ideas to do. I tried to sleep but I got awaken by my hair – trust me, that isn’t very relaxing. In the end, I had slept the total of 2 hours. But that still leaves 3 hours. By then, I gave up on trying to entertain myself and took my book from my bag – why didn’t I think of that in the first place?? – and read it. By the time I reached the middle of the book, I got a bit bored. So I walked towards the toilet at the back.

There were three people waiting for the toilet so the first thng that popped into my mind was “Now <i>there’s</i> something I can do!”. As the third person went into the toilet, a friendly stewardess was bringing some perfume out to sell them on the plane. Finally, when I came out of the toilet, the was still 2 and a half hour left.

However, I managed to survive the period of time and when it was time to come out of the airplane, it was dawn in Melbourne.

The first thing we did was get our bags, get our grey Ford Falcon and drove off to find our motel.

Our motel is called Park Squire Inn and its very cosy. How it feels to finally reach land!