Canberra 2

Canberra, the capital of Australia, is totally different from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The city is small, unpopulated and filled with monuments such as fountains and statutes. The city is also a planned city where geometrical designs shape the city.

It’s been an exhausting day. Esther’s gang brought me around Canberra. Our first destination was Lake Burley Griffin. It’s a man-made lake with an average dept of 12 feet. We took a stroll round the lake before we went for a paddleboat ride. Candy and I shared a paddleboat while the 2 other couples (Esther/Ritchie and Cheryl/Harry) had shared theirs. We started a water fight in the middle of the lake. Boy, the lake was extremely dirty! We were totally soaked by the end of the boat ride.

The Parliament was next. Entrance to the Parliament was screened by x-ray and a metal detector (probably to detect bombs). There weren’t any personals to guide us or brief us and we had to wander on our own. We somehow managed to get into the senator and house representative’s hall. We headed outside to hike up to the top of the Parliament to have an aerial view of the city.
Soon we were bored. We decided to head to Melbourne and Sydney. There’s a museum inside the memorial. The museum has an excellent display of the wars that Australians were involved. It was huge and I couldn’t go through everything thoroughly. Their World War I display is extremely huge. It emphasized in detail of every battles that Australians were involved.

Btw, we’re going clubbing tonight!
6:40PM

I’ll be staying in Esther’s room while Esther moves to her boyfriend, Richie’s place. Her room is well equipped. She has a tv, fridge, internet cable connection and even a Play Station one. She introduced 2 of her friends to me, a Hongkie named Candy and a Malaysia named Cheryl. They’ll be bringing me around Canberra tomorrow.
1:33AM

Sydney

Sydney Day 1
7 August 2002 Wednesday
The journey to Sydney was awesome even though nothing spectacular has happened.

Umeng sent me off to the train station. We shook hands and then I said, “I will see you soon”.

I stood beside a drunkard throughout the whole train ride to Robina (the station that I’m supposed to take my bus). He kept on talking non-stop. I dozed off couple of times throughout the journey to the train station but sometimes awaken by slight bumps or noises.

I felt totally lost in Robina. I have no idea where my bus is. After wandering for more than ½ hour, a lady bus driver came up to me and requested for my ticket (yay!). I am on my second step for my Aussie-backpacking trip!

I read some magazines and slept in the bus. Everything outside was pitch black except for the crowded stars in the sky. The bus wasn’t packed at all and everyone was silent (except for a noisy brat sitting behind me). However, there was once the bus driver stopped the bus and walked to my seat. She shouted “Sir, I have told you not to consume alcohol on the bus! Now I have a right to ask you to get out from the bus!” It seems that a father of the noisy brat had been drinking beer. He shrugged and refused to leave. After few moments of tension, the lady driver decided to let him go.

The train to Sydney was horrible. Ugly fixtures, smelly toilet and couch filled with senior citizens. The elderly couple behind me kept on burping while the one besides me kept on coughing. Despite that, the seats were comfortable, I slept like a baby throughout the whole 14 hours journey! The elder man beside me was sleeping throughout the journey too but thank god he snored quietly. I only spoke to him once but it was during the end of the journey. “Don’t ever touch drugs, keep away from anyone who does it, I always tell my children and grandchildren this, I’m very strict just like the army, I was a major in the army for 54 years” said the old man. He has declining hearing thus I had problem talking to him. There was once I had to repeat my question 3 times but yet he still couldn’t get my question. He showed me a torchlight that his wife gave him before she died. He told me that he would be staying with his daughter because he’s sick (hopefully he doesn’t die there). With the overnight coughing and declining hearing, no doubt he is sick. He wished me a safe journey before we depart.


Sydney Central

Timothy and Ka Bien greeted me at Sydney Central. I knew them since high school. Timothy lost weight but he looks better now and Ka Bien hasn’t change much. They have been together since high school and now they’re staying together.

Sydney is a city of high skyscrapers and ancient old building. It used to home of English criminals until the British government stopped sending criminals there (due to the high cost). Then the influx of English settlers begins and in 1852 Sydney is proclaimed as a city.

We had lunch at a Japanese restaurant. It serves dirt cheap and delicious una-don (eel rice) for $6 (it usually cost $10). I’m staying with Timothy and Ka Bien at a 40+ stories apartment called Princeton. Not wanting to waste time, as soon as I bathed, we headed to Queen Victoria Building. A shopping centre build in 1898, its structure is Victorian design based. It is home to a large number of clothing and jewellery stores, with lower levels devoted to food outlets, from Asian cuisine to French. Furthermore, it has also devoted small sections to history. It has a huge ancient Chinese emperor Jade carriage and also few English Royal jewelleries.

Our next destination was Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The weather was great; the sun was shining with cool wind breezing, we couldn’t resist taking loads of photos. Sydney Opera House is elegantly gorgeous from afar. However, when we descended the stairs towards the building, the ever-shining pearly wall was just combination of small square white blocks.


Sydney opera House


Me


Sydney Bridge


View from opera House


Ka Bien & I


Timothy & Me


Me

Bondi Beach was next. The beach isn’t a long stretch. The two ends of the beach could be seen with the naked eye. The beach wasn’t crowded at all. Timothy and I took a stroll along the beach. The sand was cold and the water was even colder but it did not stop the fanatic surfers. We rested on the huge stone stairs admiring a model posing for some photo shoot. There was this perverted looking Chinese man snapping pictures of the model behind the real photographer. The blonde model was dressed in skimpy short blouse. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of her.


Bondi Beach


Me @ Bondi Beach


Model and perverted man on the right

Jin Han told me about the fried mars bar he tried at Bondi beach. I asked Timothy to bring me to the shop. The place is called Bondi Surfer Seafood. It’s a fish and chips shop actually but it seems that the fried Mars bar is their speciality. The mars bar is dipped into flour; deep-fried until batter; sprinkled with fine sugar.


Fried Mars Bar

It looks like the fish in fish and chips. But when the first bite is taken, melted caramel will ooze out. Lovely!!

We headed home after that. Timothy had a look at my 700++ scanned photos collection. It took him more than an hour for him to browse through everything.

We had dinner at a place called Thainaland. We were greeted with “sawadee kap” and we replied with “sawadee kap”. As soon as we sat down, the waitress handed us a menu written in Thai. Seems like she has mistaken us for Thai because we replied her “sawadee-kap”. The food was absolutely delicious. Their tom-yam and duck noodles were great!
After dinner, we went to Darling harbour. According to them, it is where the nightlife is but it seems dull to me. We walked around it and headed home next.

Sydney Day 2
Timothy and Ka Bien had classes this morning. I had to meet up with them at their faculty. Timothy introduced his friends to me, Bob (she’s a girl, her real name is Cheng Wei) and Lui Yi. We decided to have lunch in the Fish Market. It’s located next to a harbour overlooking Anzac Bridge. The seats and tables, covered by umbrellas were located outdoors. The tables and chairs were dirty, bombarded by seagull excrement. The fish market is inside an air-conditioned building. We shared a huge seafood platter (battered fish, chips, oysters, octopus, and scallops) and $10 worth of sashimi salmon (huge long block of salmon!). The drinks were outrageously expensive, $3 for a bloody bottle of Lipton ice tea. The meal was great and we ended it with cheesecakes as dessert.


Fish Market


Inside Fish Market

Ka Bien and the rest had to go for classes after lunch. Timothy decided to bring me around the city. We went to Hyde Park and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Nothing interesting. St. Mary Cathedral looks a bit like St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. It seems that I’ve conquered most of Sydney city’s attraction. I didn’t want to shop or gamble in the casino.


St. Mary’s Cathedral


Sydney Tower


War Memorial

We had a lovely dinner at Chinatown. Timothy, Ka Bien and I shared a plate of steamed fish, black pepper chicken and Peking sauce pork ribs. Their portions are extremely huge. Their single bowl of rice is equivalent to 3 bowl of usual portion! I had a bowl and a half (Ka Bien gave more than half of her portion to Timothy and me). Timothy and I barely finished the dinner and we were extremely full throughout the night. However, we decided to get some alcohol. I got myself a bottle of Midori illusion. We walked around the city while holding a bottle of alcohol each before heading home.


Chinatown

Day 3
I left Sydney in a hurry. My stuff wasn’t properly packed and Timothy had to go for classes. Ka Bian served me a piece of chocolate mud cake for breakfast. I had to finish it within seconds. The train station is just few blocks away from Timothy’s apartment. But with my heavy backpack (about 17kgs), it gave me a horrible backache.
The train to Canberra takes roughly 4 hours. The scenic view wasn’t that great. All I could see were just houses and highways.
4:57PM

Brisbane 5

I’m not leaving Brisbane for Sydney today. I couldn’t get a train ticket! However, I’m leaving tomorrow evening. The journey will take 18 hours.

Jin Han, Su Cheen and I went to Mt. Choo-tha today. It’s a scenery spot where you can see the whole of Brisbane from one end to another end. We took loads of pictures and had a drink before heading home an hour later.
11:44PMI’m leaving Brisbane tonight..sob sob. Sydney here i come!
1:15AM

Brisbane day 4! gold coast!

» Gold Coast was great. It was about an hour away from Brisbane by train and bus. JinHan, Soon Loong, Kiang, Umeng, and I were extremely tired but Su Cheen and Su Min seemed energetic. We did not have enough sleep and we ended up sleeping on the train.

Racism is one of the main social problems in Australia. Some of my friends were victims of such social ill. Umeng and I were sitting next a young white boy. We were speaking in Cantonese but then suddenly the kid started saying, “yes, yes, what’s your name? Where are you from?” and his friend sitting infront of us started laughing. Umeng was pissed and screw him “shut up!” The boy was shocked and he kept quiet. We were suspecting that the boy thinks that we don’t understand or speak English. We plotted revenge. As soon as the boy gets out from his seat for his stop, Umeng said, “See you later guys!” the boy replied, in a surprised and embarrassed tone said “You can speak English???” Everyone on the bus started laughing.
First stop was a shopping centre. We had lunch before heading to Surfer’s Paradise by bus. In the beginning, we had no idea where the hell is the bus stop. We wandered around until we saw few benches in front of a 7-11. I sat down and asked a Japanese girl for directions to the bus stop. She replied, “oh this is the bus stop!” We started chatting. Her name is Noriko. She’s from Kokaido and 24 years old this year. Extremely fair with huge eyes, friendly and pretty but has really yellow tainted teeth. She can speak English (most Japanese cant) but she has a limited vocabulary (she doesn’t know what’s an architect). I asked her why are there so many Japanese around Brisbane and Gold Coast. She answered “because there are many Japanese shops and Japanese here!”

Umeng joined our conversation and we started chatting more. But soon Umeng and I ran out of things to say. However, this friendly Japanese girl kept on talking and asking us questions. She even led us the way to Surfer’s Paradise. We asked for her email so that we could keep in touch. She replied, “oh I don’t have email!”
We separated with a simple bye-bye.
Surfer’s Paradise was filled with people picnicking, sunbathing and taking photographs. We took off our shoes when we walked on the beach. Unexpectedly, the sand was cold despite the bright sunny day. The beach is clean but there is still rubbish around. The seagulls happily feast on left over food.
We weren’t properly dressed for the beach. Most of us were clad in jeans and even brought our sweaters along. Hence we didn’t spend much time on the beach. We took loads of pictures before heading to some of the shops around.

8 Hens in Gold Coasts!

God of Gambler – Hen??

Kiang feeding seagulls

Surfer’s Paradise’s Town

Sunset!

There was this entertainment centre that has shooting games that uses a real gun (but it was too expensive) and even a make-your-own-mtv (but it was damn lame). Soon, we were bored of that place and we headed back to the beach. We took couple of pictures again, ate sushi at “Sushi train” for dinner and then headed to Hen’s house. His place is just few minutes from Bond University (his uni). I took a picture of it before we left for Brisbane.
11:30PM
» We had a yamcha session in La Dolce Vista (café), Milton. My friends call it Bangsar because it has similarity as our Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur. But this “Bangsar” doesn’t have much pubs and cafes as they do back in Malaysia’s Bangsar. It’s just a row of single story shops. However, there’s a small radio tower which looks like the Eiffel tower within the shops. They call it Brisbane’s Paris. According to my friends, Dolce Vista serves really good ice mocha. They put gelati and chocolate syrup topped with chocolate powder and whip cream on it. yummy! We started talking about ghost stories. Him was telling us about his experience in his old apartment when he first stayed in Brisbane. His stuff sometimes gets missing or sometimes something that doesn’t belong to him appears suddenly. We then started talking about Ouija games. Him, Kiang and Soon Loong were telling us their experiences. They held a pen together on a piece of paper and kept thinking about summoning the ghost. Soon the pen started moving. They asked about some stuff and even asked about what’s the winning lottery number (sadly, the ghost answered he doesn’t know) and what’s the ghost’s race (he’s a Malay). And for the ghost to leave, all the do is just tell the ghost that they’re done. *phew* scary!

I’m going to Gold Coast tomorrow morning!
1:33AM

Brisbane 4 – we are familyy!

We played football at Milton just now. We played against an Asian team and a mixed team (Peruvian, Bolivian, French, etc). Any team that scores first will be entitled to remain on the pitch. We could easily beat the Asian team but we lost to the mixed team twice. In both games, the mixed team scored in just few seconds! We exited the pitch shamefully. We played till dark, until we couldn’t see the ball and people. There were few mishaps such as banging into each other and tripping.
After football, we had dinner at this place called Spice house in Milton. The owners (husband and wife) are very nice and friendly. They gave us prawn crackers and dimsum while waiting for food to come. I had sweet and sour pork. Boy, their sweet and sour pork is really nice, it’s one of the best I’ve tried!
10:00PMClubbing was fun. Kiang, Elaine, Mien, Umeng, JinHan, Hen, Soon Loong and I went to this club called Family. Apparently it’s one of the good clubs around. The club has 3 floors with 3 rooms namely the main room, Hard House room and the chill out room. The hard house room is a suffocating small foggy room while the chill out room is mainly a bar. We had couple of drinks before heading to the hard house room. Their drinks are horrible. A vodka redbull cost me $11 and their jedi coke tasted awful. I even felt like puking when I was on the dance floor!

Kiang and Him has been showing me the Brisbane dance ever since back in Kuala Lumpur. And today, I was able to witness it! Almost everyone could do the Brisbane style (probably cause it’s easy to dance)! Due to the fact that the hard house room is hot and suffocating, we headed for the main room. Initially, someone told me that the main room plays R&B. However, it soon turned into trance and lastly into hard house and techno.

There were more locals that Asians in the club. It reminds me so much of UK. Sometimes the locals would be so fucked that they would just come up to you and shake your hand. However, according to Umeng, he saw this local trying to get close with 2 local guys. The guy annoyed the latter and soon they smashed the guy’s head onto the wall. On another occasion, we had a local trying to get friendly with Mien (she’s a friend of Kiang). He kept on touching and dancing with Mien and she was trying to avoid him. We got up and approached the local and he left within seconds (however, he soon found another Asian girl to molest).

By 3:30AM, all of us were exhausted and we headed home. We shared a taxi van with a gay couple. They were hugging and touching each other and kept on talking to us. They even go till the extent of touching Umeng and Hen!
5:58AM

Brisbane day 3

Hen came down to Brisbane from Gold Coast. He’ll be staying here until Saturday. Kiang, Umeng, Soon Loong, Jin Han, Hen and I had our customary drinking session. We were playing uno the whole night and the loser has to bottoms up a mixture of Sprite and Smirnoff. The winner will also be entitled to draw graffiti on the loser’s hands. I drew a penis on Hen’s hand. hehe.

We went wild for few hours, running around and laughing the whole night.

After 3 hours, we were totally drunk. We shifted the beds from the rooms and placed them on the living room so that all of us could sleep together.

However, Umeng couldn’t make it to the bed (he was too drunk), he ended up on the floor till the next morning.
1:07AM

We didn’t do much today. Soon Loong and Umeng couldn’t wake up for the early classes due to yesterday’s heavy drinking session. We ended up in the city; walking around and shopping. Hen bought a backpack and I bought a Bota bag (the traditional Spanish wine skin) from a shop selling army accessories. The shop also sells gun replicas (damn they’re heavy!), Samurais swords (aud199 to aud300, wanted to get one but don’t think I could get it through Malaysia custom), crossbows, Mao caps, etc.

Soon Loong has been telling me about the arcade in Brisbane. He was saying that the players arent good at all. We then walked to a video arcade nearby. I was glad to see a King of Fighters 2001 machine there. Its been weeks since I played a game! I happily inserted 2 tokens to challenge someone. However, within few seconds, I regretted playing. Their fucking buttons are all mixed up! I couldn’t play properly! Predictably, I lost and I left the place disappointed.

They brought me to this place called King George’s Square (its in the city itself). It’s a small garden with fountains and statues scattered around it. And there also lies a huge clock tower next to the garden. We took couple of pictures before returning home so that Hen could cook dinner. His soy chicken and mushrooms is really good!
1:42AM

I just had dinner at Sunny Banks (a suburb in Brisbane, about 30minutes from the city). My friends and I had dinner at this small food court which has Vietnamese food, Taiwanese food, Chinese food, steamboat etc. Sharon (oinkie) and her cousin joined us for dinner. Her cousin is only 20 years old this year but suprisingly, she owns a cybercafe in Toowong, drives a big black Holden (some Aussie car) and has her own lawyer. Sounds like a very successful person. However, Sharon told me that her boyfriend died not long ago from an incurable cancer disease. Poor girl. However, throughout the conversation she seems cheerful. And she even gave me a ride on her Holden! Cool!

I had a quick photo session in the evening. My friends took me to South Banks. According to them, it’s one of the great places to take pictures. The city’s panoramic view can be easily admired from the walkway of the bridge that crosses the Brisbane River. However, due to the fact that it is still winter, it gets dark quickly. By the time we reach South Banks, the sun has already set. I was hoping to take some pictures of the city on a sunny day. But i guess I’ll just go on with the photo session. I managed to finish my first roll of film for this Aussie backpacking trip. yay!
11:12PM