Holidays!

Posted in Australia, Food, photography by Sandra on January 16, 2010

Since this is the BF’s first real holiday in two years, we decided to go somewhere further rather than just our local beach. Our destination was Cabarita Beach, about 100km south of Brisbane, where the BF’s family (well, one branch of it) were holidaying at roughly the same time. We made the drive up in about 3 or 4 days from Melbourne – the BF had to do all the driving – and arrived there on 2 Jan 2010. We left on 10 Jan 2010 and arrived 13 Jan 2010 – did the drive of 10 hours from Sydney to Melbourne in a day waking up at 5am!

There were a lot of beaches involved on the way to Cabarita and while we were in the general vicinity of Brisbane. Hopefully the pictures do enough justice as to just how beautiful they were – my favourite one was Hastings Point. The waters were significantly warmer than Melbourne’s and therefore that much more enjoyable – i.e., no shock freeze upon entering the water. The weather was cloudy for a few days after we arrived in Cabarita itself, but that was fine since the sun was so savage that I am now as brown as a coolie.

I plowed through six books while I was there, went body-boarding (now that was fun!), and we started watching Burn Notice. We also got to know this particular branch of the BF’s family tree a lot better (long story, complicated and too much trouble to explain really) and we had dinner as a family almost every night. Eight people, now that’s a crowd!

We’re going to get back to work on Monday – not looking forward to it at all. :(

Us, somewhere between Melbourne and Lakes Entrance

Us, somewhere on a beach between Melbourne and Lakes Entrance

Above-mentioned beach, without me for a better view

Ship on the Sea - Look at those colours...

Me on Windang Beach

Yamba, Morning of 2 Jan 2010

Surfers Paradise - 4 Jan 2010

Me on Cabarita Beach - 5 Jan 2010

Posing against Cabarita Beach - 5 Jan 2010

Cabarita Beach

Hastings Point was a little inlet which got to about waist height as we waded in. It’s protected by the embrace of rock formations at the point, which meant that the waves broke early on the rocks and as a result, the water in the inlet itself was really calm. There were even little whiting (a type of fish) in the water swimming curiously all around you! It was amazing – we felt so close to nature, I could hit my ToL hotkey (Shift+T) and rest in peace there. (WoW moment over :P)

Hastings Point with the BF and his cousin - 8 Jan 2010

Hastings Point

Hastings Point

Me at Hastings Point

Us at Hastings Point

There is one Sushi Tei in Australia, and its in Sydney. Whenever we pass through Sydney we make a point of visiting Sushi Tei (which is something we started last year) and this year was no different. However, this year’s visit – we went with the BF’s dad and his wife – was rather disappointing.

Salmon Sashimi

Slices were half as thick as any other salmon sashimi I’ve had in all the Sushi Teis combined (Aus last year and Singapore)

Salmon Belly Soup... though in hindsight I should've moved the vegs to the side.

Ebi Mentaiyaki

This prawn dish was the most shocking of all for me. The prawn flesh stuck to the shell and removing it was a four lettered challenge, while the entire thing looked warped –

Ebi Mentaiyaki looked disfigured this year.

Definitely a far cry from the previous visits to Sushi Tei International (10++ visits?). Look at the difference with the picture below (snitched from Google Images and therefore someone’s blog probably):

Ebi Mentaiyaki as it should be

Ebi Mentaiyaki as it should be

Absolutely shocking.

Perhaps I should start planning for a visit to Singapore for our next holiday for one day just to have good dishes again.

Oh wait, there’re outlets in Bali!

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Gunnamatta Beach

Posted in Australia by Sandra on July 20, 2009
Gunamatta Beach

A Cloudy Day at Gunnamatta Beach

We went to Gunnamatta Beach on Sunday. The weather forecast was gloomy – rain was to be expected. Nonetheless, we set off at one in the afternoon, our hopes buoyed by the brightness and clarity of the skies above. It was a 78.1km drive — about 1 hour and 17 minutes, by the Eastlink from home.

On the way there, the boys were very excited… and Zac was visibly upset by the sudden long drive, quite literally. He threw up on the backseat… Thank goodness we had used an old bedsheet to cover the backseat best as we could.

Duckie and the Boys at Gunnamatta Beach

The BF and the Boys

The beach itself was hiding over a high sandy dune which separated the beach from the carpark. The sand was fine, and impossibly clean… I don’t think I saw a shred of trash on the beach. The winds were very strong (as you can see in the picture, my hair’s all over my face… Wish I had taken the time to just tie my hair up!) and the waves did what they did best: crash upon the shore and scare the wits out of the boys. There were a few people around, some with fishing rods stuck upright in the sand with fishing lines cast out.

Gunnamatta Beach

Strike a Pose, Dion!

Gunnamatta Beach

Fishing at Gunnamatta Beach

I got wet up to my knees and just decided to go into the water with one boy at a time and get them to get used to the water. In our excitement, the Boyfriend and I neglected to take pictures of Zac’s first “swim”… Argh!!! The water was freezing – I thought my blood was actually solidifying in my veins as I hopped in and out of the waves.

Then, we got the idea to use their new favourite toy (a blue rubber squeaky ball). Well, the Boyfriend did – he tossed it a good way out to the sea and I shouted at him for a good few minutes before he told me to shut up and relax because the waves will eventually bring the ball back to shore – WELL I DIDN’T KNOW THAT DID I! I grew up in Singapore! Hmph.

Dion was truly a “fail”-dog. When the tide receded, he’d venture close to the ball. Once he was just a step away from being able to stretch enough and get the ball but the wave came in then and he ran like a faildog. He jumped and tried to get away at the faintest hint of the smallest swell in the tide. It was incredible. We can’t believe we raised such a timid dog.

So much for those “big dog” howls.

Zac did far better. The only thing he recoiled from were the salty taste of the sea water for the first time or two, and actual waves that crashed on him. He wasn’t a coward at all, and he was the more “beagly” of the two in this regard – utterly focused on the task at hand.

Gunnamatta Beach

Notice the Fine Sea-spray Over the Swell?

It was a good day. :)

Sleepy Dog: Zac

Sleepy Zac

Sleepy Dog: Dion

Sleepy Dion

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Summer in Australia

Posted in Australia by Sandra on January 29, 2009

The day starts early, with heat that I would be grateful for if not for the overwhelming intensity that it soaks into the house.

The portable air-conditioner struggles to cool the air, creating a ruckus as it works through the night and much of morning.

Lethargy sinks in.

Deep.

The hot air is alive with the essence of summer. It comes in waves, leaves me feel like I’ve been baked in a dry sauna.

I thank some unknown entity that I have a laptop, rather than a desktop. For this week, I think I shall install myself in the lounge room, which has a normal air-conditioner. Away from the stuffy heat of the study, which worsens every time there’s more than a single person in it.

Having a cool shower this morning, I thought to myself, that I’d never taken a shower so cold before and enjoyed it… And that I’d miss this heat immensely when winter comes around.

Even putting on clothes to go out was a chore – every stitch of cloth on me felt like a soft prison, wrapping the heat thicker around me.

The sun was merciless. I came back from the beach with two distinct colours on my arms, though by now the tan’s evened out so I’m a darker Sandra.

Days end late here… about 9pm. Temperature plummet in early evening, something that the Murloc rejoices in.

Summer in Australia.

Is nothing like “Summer” in Singapore.

Thinking back now, Singapore’s summer is humid, sticky, clingy, unwelcoming. Like a suffocating blanket. It renders one slow to motivation, just like Australia’s. But a thousand times worse, because of the wetness. One perspires profusely without air-conditioning, and it’s so difficult to keep clean. Dry-clean, like how I’m used to now.

But at least Singapore’s weather was predictable, since we have a constant climate.

Australia is like a fickle mistress. She forecasts for 35*c, and when the actual day comes she decides to have a heat party at 47*c.

Dion the Terrorist’s new favourite snack are ice cubes. And sleeping is increased to as much as 85% of the day. He finds a cool spot and lies down, belly up, panting with a red tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth. When we switch air-conditioners on, he’d be sure to plonk himself down right in front of it so that he gets the direct blast of cool air.

The Murloc gets somewhat cranky, has more showers, naps more, drinks more (water).

Me?

I behave somewhat in between the behaviours of the dog and the murloc. I sleep more, station myself in front of the air-conditoner, drink more, have more showers, and my new favourite snack is cold drinks.

Wouldn’t give this up for anything.

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Sensation White 2008

Posted in Australia by Sandra on January 4, 2009

Note:

This is a Very Long Post that you should read only if you’re Damn Bloody Bored because it contains Uselessly Detailed Commentary of my NYE.

So.

Sensation White in Melbourne at Telstra Dome.

I’d gushed about the event in general when I got home, but I didn’t really describe it in detail. Not that anyone would’ve cared, but this is after all “my” blog, so I’d like to sketch out how my lastand first days of 2008 and 2009 respectively were spent.

31 Dec 2008

Mid-afternoon the Murloc and I left for the Miami Hotel, which is within walking distance from Telstra Dome. We’d booked two rooms for two nights three months in advance – everywhere else was fully booked – because the Murloc wisely anticipated that we’d be in no shape to head home directly after the event, and that we would’ve been out cold for half a day after the event.

About six in the evening, “Puls” came along and the three of us went off to a pub for dinner. The food was decent, and the Murloc and Puls were busy discussing logistics for the event later. Soon we got a call from “Hiho” who’d reached the place.

All very humdrum, of course, but bear with me, dear webspace.

We got back to the hotel – an utilitarian block of building which was neat and spartan – and I was introduced to three ladies looking sweet and dapper in an all-white/beige ensemble. They were also wearing heels, while I was wearing runners. I felt like a major fashion sin, but was advised otherwise because at least my feet weren’t aching.

All seven of us headed up to the rooms and organized the rooms such that one was for “passing out”, as the Murloc put nicely, and the other for “hanging out”. The Murloc’d brought his speakers, subwoofer and laptop for music, and it filled the room beautifully. I was feeling a little extremely out of place, since they were talking drugs and drinks -I’d come from a conservative upbringing and such things were “bad”. So I simply kept quiet.

And I’d probably have kept my trap shut for the rest of the evening but Hiho offered me some Jägermeister, which of course I tried. It smelt like cough syrup, and it tasted a little like syrup, but it burned in a cool way. My tongue tingled for minutes after, and I was flushed within minutes.

Soon they started taking turns going to the bathroom, and it was kindly explained to me, the clueless one, that they were taking drugs in there. I’d promised the Murloc that I’d “do a line and half a pill”, and one of the girls told me that I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. But I did it anyway – curiosity killed the cat.

It didn’t feel like anything much – the Jägermeister was doing its magic and I could feel my blood rushing. My heartbeat resounded in my ears in waves and I became quite exhausted. This alcohol is strong stuff… Perhaps I should’ve exercised caution and not taken that second half-glass.

Soon it was time to go, and the three ladies left before us. We left quite a while later – about ten or so. The event started at nine.

I nearly didn’t get into it. The gate marshal stopped me and asked for ID, which I didn’t bring along. Hiho, who was behind me, had to convince him that I was nineteen. Then the man got a little grumpy and made me take my red scarf and yellow hoodie on, since it was a white dress code event. We eventually mollified him with the assurance that our friends had a bag that I’d leave the items with, and that I really was nineteen. We managed to get through.

And my god, the venue was enormous. Fifty thousand people – that’s four zeros my friends. Not just from Melbourne – it was like an international event, and some people even travelled just to get to it. It was a humbling, awe-inspiring sight. Everyone was dressed in white – from wearing only underwear, to bathrobes to overalls. I no longer felt conspicuous in my scandalously short, tight white dress. The mass of people meant that it was quite warm, a welcomed temperature which kept my jacket off. The fabled Tree of Oak/Tree of Love was in its full glory, centred in the stadium. The DJs would play from within the Tree, and the performers would be in the general vicinity of the trunk.

It was crowded, people pushed, shuffled, danced, wiggled, and there were empty cups littering the floor. we spent our first two hours in front of the drinks store and had our rather uneventful countdown there. For me, my true countdown would begin later, alone on the floor when I began finding my feet.

After that the hours blurred into each other. I had immense fun just bouncing around with no rhythm whatsoever, constantly having to pull my dress hem down for fear of it riding up over my ass. I met one man twice with hours between, who remarked on my happiness — “How are you so happy all the time? I want some of the stuff you’re on!!” I was simply having fun, and I guess it showed on my face as well.

I had one guy from Sydney sidle up to me and try to dance with me. His hands kept going to my hips and waist, and he drew me in close twice to go “Muah!” at my ear. I got creeped out and when the DJ’s set came to an end, I went up to the Deluxe stands to find my Murloc.

Through the night I would return to the dance floor two more times because the people on the Deluxe stands were simply… boring. They didn’t seem to feel free to dance as if they were on the dance floor, possibly because of the tables placed in the area for people to drink and such. Eventually though, I would remain in the stands because when I returned to the floor on two occasions, a guy got a photograph taken with me and I didn’t even know who it was, and then some guy tried unsuavely to pick me up by asking if I were with anyone else. With the answer that I was indeed with friends he stopped talking to me, but lingered on nearby. Weird.

And when I got back to the stands, the Murloc nicked my g-string from me.

I met two very wonderful couples after – the first of whom got me to dance with them. The man took my hands and placed it on his girlfriend’s ass, and in hindsight it was all rather amusing. The second couple were less superficial fun – the lady tried to teach me how to dance in a Latin fashion – on my toes, back straight, hips moving in a figure eight and shoulders not moving so much. Suffice to say that she failed that night since I was getting tired, but I find myself swaying on my toes every now and then since then.

The Murloc insists that countless people had perved on me that night, though of course I disagree heartily. After all, I am just an Asian girl with a conventional Asian upbringing with no sense of rhythm.

But that night… I had so much fun, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. My first hardcore party ever!

About five in the morning I sorta shrivelled up and came down from the drugs and drinks I took. I was cold, tired, and without my g-string still. The party would be ending in an hour, and local deejay Tydi was on. He was very good, I remember thinking through my haze. I think I preferred him to Marco V – who became impressive only in his second half. And of course Fedde le Grand – he was great, though not as impressive as the Murloc had made him out to be before. There were smallish fireworks and spouts of flame, and at six, a sonorous voice came over the microphone and intoned, “Sensation… ends… now.”

Everything went off for a few minutes, and then some music came back on along with the lights. People began streaming out of the stadium, and we decided to move off too. The sun was up already, filtering in with a cheeriness that I did not feel because of the bitter cold. As we trundled through the sidewalks of central-north Melbourne exhausted, I noted that my muscles were aching, I was covered in a film of grime thanks to my nonstop dancing, and my god, was I glad that I wore runners.

Thank you, Murloc, for advising me against wearing any other form of footwear.

The Murloc and Hiho still had the energy to discuss the deejays. I weren’t. The moment I got to the rooms, I hit the bed for ten minutes, then got up and had a shower. I was amazed that I was still conscious and, interestingly enough, concerned about my hygiene enough to bother getting out of bed.

After getting between warm sheets and dozing off, I vaguely remember the Murloc entering the room and having a shower himself. I got up at one in the afternoon the next day, and started reading. He woke up a few hours later and said he had a headache, so on went the dress and runners, and I was out looking for medication. Once he took the meds, he was out again till seven in the evening, when we and Hiho got up, had dinner at a cafe that was open in a street of closed shops, and headed home.

My scatteredness, as the Murloc calls it, didn’t kick in till the second day after the event… I swear to god I might seriously consider never taking drugs again if the aftermath was so bad, but I couldn’t decide if it was the drugs or the early morning walk that caused my severe cold and drowsiness. Who knows, eh?

In a final note of Victory, the Murloc had to rest for twenty-one hours runnning just to get his energy back! :)

My new year’s was great. It was amazing. I feel like I’m getting my youth back (since I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ve aged mentally decades in advance)!!

Melbourne Dance

Posted in Australia by Sandra on November 5, 2008

On Monday night, after the Black Temple raid with Old Guard (they got Illidan down at last), The Murloc brought me out to a trance club in Melbourne. It was cold out, and we got there about midnight or so. I didn’t bring my ID, but The Murloc knew the owner of the club so the bouncer (are they called bouncers there, or doormen, or guards or… hm?) let me in.

It’s a pretty small club, size-wise, about the size of a 2 bedroom HDB flat in Singapore, I’d wager. The smaller room is what you got to once you’ve descended the flight of stairs, and it was the dance floor, basically. The stairs led you to the back of the room and the DJ was upfront. There was the standard smoke machine making the place all misty too. The bigger room was more spacious with couches and booth-style seats.

I felt absolutely out of my element, but it was rather amusing and entrancing to watch the clubbers dance. I don’t know how to describe it, it’s very energetic, sharp, and hard-hitting. The one time I stayed late enough in Zouk for people to actually hop on the dance floor, people were mostly bouncing on the spot in their own place. Here in Melbourne, the dancers seemed to move as a single entity. Their moves were similar en masse, but with so many differences you could tell it’s not the same one, but probably with the same simple basic steps. Everyone was interacting, whether it’s by moving to make space while still dancing, or turning to engage a friend in a duo.

It was very fascinating, and I’m rather envious of them. I can’t move my body like theirs – I’m more of a slow and lazy girl. But the “fashion” that’s there, my god. There were these “X”-shaped belt-things that people wore clipped to the back of their pants. A girl turned up in big furry boots and a Spongebob Squarepants bag, cap on head and lollipop in mouth. Most of the guys wore “phat pants” like this:

The website from which I unceremoniously took the picture from, “http://itslikethisaccordingtome.blogspot.com/” has a specific entry on the dance style, apparently called “The Melbourne Shuffle“. Which makes sense – these clubbers were so smooth on the dance floor, like they’re gliding. I remember telling the Murloc they look like tap-dancers or something because of it.

The DJ that was on rotation when we got in was, unfortunately, rather boring. Within 45 minutes I was asking The Murloc what time it was… That DJ was playing sound. There were the loud and hard beats that the crowd loved because of the tempo, but otherwise I was close to falling asleep by the time the next DJ got on.

The new DJ was pretty good, way better than the previous. He was a DJ from Sydney, and I thought his second track was excellent – it suited my music preferences, I guess, but was trancified. The crowd was rather energized by his appearance, I’d say. We still left before his rotation was finished though, it was closer to 3am and we were both tired.

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