Showing posts from January, 2009

Down Under '09 : Final Chapter

Tourism Capital of Australia : The Gold Coast

27 January 2009
Asrul introduced Marina, his colleague at UTHM to me. She reminds me of Sariati, my so called pet sister during my old days in Brisbane. It was so generous of her to let us stay at her place on the Gold Coast. We clicked right away and she was happy (well, I thought she was) to be our driver for the 2 days we were there. 
Any visit to Australia will not be complete without a close encounter with Australia’s most famous icons. I am talking about the koalas and kangaroos.  Poor Asrul, has never seen these animals since he got here 8 months ago. Sam was eager to see them too, though he has been to Lone Pine Sanctuary where I took him in 2000. So instead of going straight to Byron Bay, we stop at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This was the place where I first saw koalas when I joined the QUT excursion during the orientation week in February 1999. We had so much fun feeding the kangaroos, teasing the ever sleepy koalas and simply en…

Down Under '09 : Chapter 4

Byron Bay; paradise lost?

27 January 2009 
I was really excited about this trip to Byron Bay. It was my favourite holiday getaway out of Brisbane, because of its charm, rustic, hippie and bohemian culture as well as the abundance of its natural beauty. Byron Bay attracts visitors from all over the globe and many of them stays on and called it home. It was a backpackers Mecca. I used to go there once a year from 1999 to 2001. The place did not change much in those 3 years and I noticed how its popularity increasing.   It used to take about 2 hours drive from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay. Now with a newly upgraded Pacific Highway, this Most Easterly Point of the Australian Mainland can be reached less than an hour. The view along the journey was still as scenic but I miss the feeling of driving ups and downs the hills on a shady road of the yesteryears.

We arrived in Byron Bay at around 2pm. It was a sunny and hot summer day, perfect for a beach retreat. Then I noticed that so much has chang…

Down Under '09 : Chapter 3

Australia Day on the Sunshine Coast
Australians celebrate Australia Day on every 26 January. Australia Day is a national day of Australia. It commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. This year it fell on Monday, so most Aussies had a long weekend to their disposal. Majority of Aussies born with surfboard tied to their feet. It is only natural for them to flock the beaches comes holidays. So I guess this is a good dad for a trip to Australia’s famous Sunshine Coast. 
We rented a car from AVIS in Fortitude Valley and drove north. It was a great feeling to drive in Brisbane again. I did not even use the map they provided. I just drove based on the memories and visualised the route I took several times eight ten years ago. There was a lot of roadwork along Bruce Highway. We were lucky not to get caught in the holiday rush traffic.

We took a detour f…

Down Under '09 : Chapter 2

Walking Down Memory Lanes in Brisbane

Brisbane City From Goodwill Bridge I always wanted to go back to Brisbane since I left the city on 6 Dec 2001. I called this city home for 3 years when I did my 1st degree course at QUT. I have learned a lot about life here and have had many sweet and some bitter memories. I also met some very good friends while I was here.
Coming back here after all these years was like coming home after years out of the country or ‘Balik Kampung’. I suddenly remember a song by Peter Alan ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ but as for me it’s my second home lah.
I have been to cities that never close down From New York to Rome and old London town
But no matter how far or how wide I roam I still call Australia home
p/s I never been to New York
Thanks to Air Asia X, now everyone can fly Xtra long, but be prepared for an Xtra small seats that does not recline (It only slide a little, but then your knee will stuck on the seat in front of you) and Xtra costs for IFE and comfort kit.…

Down Under '09 : Chapter 1

Jumpshot at St. Kilda Jetty
Chic Melbourne 22 January 2009

We board a train from Southbank Station to Brisbane Airport. Check in was a breeze with the self check in machine, plus we didn’t have any luggage to checked. Most of the 2.5 hours flight was ok except when it got bumpy due to turbulence and gutsy wind during the final approach. It surely not for the faint hearted. We landed safely at Avalon Airport. I felt nausea but still ok. Sam on the other hand threw up upon our arrival. It was a windy day. The gale is not something we experience every day. The airport was so small and looking more like a makeshift buildings for an air show. But the good thing is, they are very well organised and efficient. The journey to the Southern Cross Station only took about 45 minutes by shuttle bus. From there we took a tram to Southbank and took quite a while to locate the hostel.
The City from seen from Southbank
We called Urban Central Hostelour home in Melbourne. The hostel must be one of the most…

A weekend to remember in Kuala Lumpur

Friday 16 Jan 2009

Etihad Airways flight EY 418 touched down KLIA at 3pm. me, not being a fan of red eye flights did not get enough sleep on the plane and was feeling rather sluggish. The flight was delayed for an hour, poor Nizar has to wait at KLIA when he was supposed to be at work. Thanks mate. I have a million of things to do before COB today. Getting a haircut, have a facial (a professional assistance is needed to rectify the acne and dry chapped skin problems on my face due to lack of sleep for 2 weeks and cold weather in Italy and Qatar), banking transactions, currency exchange and meeting Ila at KLCC.

I went straight into action after checking in at Melia and had one of the quickest showers to wake my senses. Like on a race show, I went from one task to another in a hurry. I managed to settle everything except the facial. The Dermalogica salon at Lot 10 was apparently already out of business and I have no choice but to face my friends tomorrow with the impurities. Well, does it…