Dec 21, 2010

Sydney Part 1

My paper got accepted into Ascilite 2010 (an edu tech conference) and since it was held in Sydney, Joyce (my co-author) and I saved up and went to Australia to attend the conference as well as enjoy a short holiday there. hehehe.

Since it was all so last minute, we couldn't get good return tickets and had to settle for AirAsia. Our tickets cost us RM1700 per person which is pretty expensive for AirAsia because during promos you can get tickets for RM500. So because we were paying so much, we decided to extend our stay and visit Melbourne before coming home to KL. :D


*warning* lots and lots of bandwidth-killing photos. :3



-Day 1-
Arrival in Melbourne, transit to Sydney


I think you can tell from our faces that we were tired from the horrid flight.
Seriously, if I wasn't a poor student on a budget I wouldn't go for airasia's economy seats for long distance flights. Those 8 hours were the most uncomfortable 8 hours ever.

Pasta that tasted good but made me nauseous during the flight. Ughhh.

Had to wait a few hours for our next flight from Melbourne to Sydney.

The stupid Tiger Airways terminal was so freaking far away from the main building (We landed in Tullamarine airport). We had to walk out of the main terminal building and find our way to the Tiger Airways terminal (T4). Good thing the weather was cooling otherwise we would be sweating buckets.

And btw, Tiger Airways is exactly like AirAsia. Narrow, uncomfortable seats. But on a budget, we can't complain much. Good thing the flight was only an hour or so. Even with last minute booking, our return tickets only cost us AUD$150+ per person. :)

Things got much better after arriving in Sydney. Joyce's cousin Tammie and Alex picked us up from the airport and took us to another cousin(May Lee)'s home. This was the guest room they so kindly prepared for us. They even prepared towels, water bottles, tissue and a hairdryer for us. haha. We felt at home right away. :)


-Day 2-
Checking out conference venue and a city tour

Joyce's guma and her guma's friend took us out to help us find the conference venue and to show us around town. First thing we did was buy a multi-pass ticket for AUD$48. Expensive yes but considering we needed to use it for a minimum of 3 days (conference days) and that each daily ticket costs $20, it was very worth it. Plus, we ended up using it for the entire week. :)

Everything is extra big in Australia... lol.

The public transportation system in Sydney is amazing. You can get anywhere by train, bus or ferry. And it's pretty easy to plan your travels once you arm yourselves with a few maps of the train routes.

Didn't take us long to find the conference venue. :) Novotel Brighton Le Sands.

Located near Princess Street! So cool. I wish the street my house is on is called Princess Street. But in Malaysia it'll prolly end up as "Jalan Puteri" or something. meh.

Joyce's aunt took us downtown for some Malaysian food. hahaha. And yes, it tasted pretty authentic. :) This place was somewhere near Town Hall.

After lunch they wanted to show us the city and landmarks in Sydney so we kinda "toured" Sydney by foot. Yeah, never walked so much in one day before. haha.

Gorgeous flowers outside QVB (Queen Victoria Building).

And inside QVB was a huggggeeee Christmas tree decorated with Swarovski crystals!

Old school elevators in QVB. Very nice and it actually works. Awesome stuff.

The top floor of QVB has the most interesting shops, like hobby and toy shops that have gorgeous window displays.



After QVB we saw a Supre store along the street and I popped in to find they have a clearance outlet in the basement! SWEET! Everything there was less than AUD$15.

First round of shopping. Didn't have much time to rummage through all the clothes there so Joyce and I decided we would come back another day. hehe.

Wanted to have some coffee in David Jones (a new departmental store) but it was packed. Saw these cute penguin chocolates though. ♥

Walked all the way to the St. Mary's Cathedral. Saw a whole bunch of people just laying down and sleeping on the grass so we decided to try it too. hehe. I love love love the grass in Sydney. So clean and soft!


St. Mary's Cathedral...well the side of it. There was a wedding going on when we were visiting.

Most of the old buildings are built with sandstone. Pretty cool stuff. :)

Saw some people playing chess. In Malaysia, I reckon those chess pieces was be stolen in one day. haha.

You can see limos like this everywhere. They have some really big ones where people rent for prom/ parties.

I ♥ this sign! You can see this around the parks in Sydney. Unlike in Malaysia where it's usually "Please keep off the grass", this one tells you to "Please walk on the grass". Gotta love Sydney. ♥ ♥ ♥


We also went for a "bushwalk"! Hard to explain but it's kinda like a nature walk. :)

Two jakun Malaysian girls using a bubbler. haha.


Finally we walked to a point where we could see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Halfway walking towards the Opera House, we took off our shoes and walked on the grass. The grass felt really good and was soothing for our already aching feet.

Finally reached the Opera House! :D

Went in for some nice coffee and tea.

Camwhoring in the toilet has become a must. haha.

But seriously the toilet is very nicely designed. :)

Started drizzling a bit after we left the Opera House. The weather in Sydney was pretty good considering that it should be warm like Malaysian weather during summer. Lucky us. :D

This was inside the Customs House.

Aussie version of our trishaws (三轮车). haha.

China Town! It was already late afternoon by the time we walked to China Town. Wanted to check out a market there but it was already closed.

*Ahem* Adult shops like this (adult books/ toys) can be found on every street. What it looks like inside is beyond me. haha.

We wanted to have Vietnamese food for dinner but ended up going to the Great Southern Bar instead. Had some drinks while waiting for Joyce's cousin Tammie and her husband Jason to join us for dinner. 

My steak that was on the dinner special menu. Only $9.90!

REALLY big portion too!

Tammie and Jason brought us to a special look out point to see the Harbour Bridge in all it's splendor. Really really gorgeous but too bad our cameras were dying already. :(


-Day 3-
Church, Harris Farm, Chatswood, Lindt Choc Cafe and ferry ride.

I absolutely love love love hydrangeas. This bouquet was from May Lee's own garden for her friend from church. These flowers are my grandma's favourite too. I remember she used to have them in her garden back in Alor Setar so seeing the flowers always brings back fond childhood memories.

May Lee's own blueberry plant! She even let me try some! hehe.

I followed May Lee to church. She attends a baptist church and during the sermon I spotted a praying mantis! How cute! :)

After church, we dropped by Harris Farm to pick up some fruits.

The variety of cheese available is crazy! :D

This is just the outside section, there's the inside section also filled with all kinds of fruits.

Joyce and I were really lucky cos we got to eat sweet mangoes throughout our stay in Sydney. Her relatives also bought pears, apples, avocado, bananas, peaches, watermelon etc for us to savor.

The idea was to balance out all the unhealthy food (eg. Cadbury Triple Choc ice-cream, christmas pudding ice-cream, pies, mud cakes, cheesecakes etc.) with fresh fruits. Very clever I must say. :3

Meet Ashley! Super adorable son of May Lee and Richard. I miss him already!

Waiting for the bus to get to the train station. May Lee and Richard were bringing us out for a treat.

Very cool underground station.

The trains are double-decker trains! :D

Came here looking for Max Brenner. Apparently it closed down already or something. So we did a bit of shopping. :)

Supermarkets in Aussie have really cool gift sets. We saw these in K-Mart at Chatswood if I'm not mistaken.

So freakin' cute! Imagine if it was dollar for dollar. Like this gift box was only RM19, I'd totally buy a few sets for friends.

The Simpsons!

A can of beer nuts! :D

Didn't buy any of the gift boxes back cos I didn't have the luggage space for it. :( Joyce got her brother and his girlfriend a really cool Wagon Wheels gift set from Arnott's. Pretty cheap too, around $9! Super worth it.

I've never seen this before. You can self check-out and pay for your stuff! :D

Always find it interesting when we can cross the road diagonally. XD

Gorgeous Christmas trees can be found everywhere. :) This is Martin Place.

We were initially planning to go to Max Brenner but we found Lindt Chocolat Cafe instead! And according to May Lee and Richard, they prefer Lindt. :) It was so sweet of May Lee and Richard to treat us. Thank you! ♥

Macaron tree! Lindt calls macarons "delice"...no idea why.

My hot chocolate drink. Seriously wanted to just drink the melted Lindt chocolate directly and forget the milk. haha. Very very very rich chocolate. (AUD$7.20) And prolly because of the quality, I didn't get any ulcers...I normally get ulcers near my throat when I take choc. So yay! :)

My delice! Strawberry and Excellence 70%. (AUD$5.50 for 2)

This is so so so so good! :3

The strawberry one was nice but flavour-wise biasalah. haha.

With the always adorable Ash, who finished his choc milkshake very quickly.

Camwhore in the toilet...what's new? haha.

We then went for a ferry ride! No need for tickets since our multi-pass covers ferry rides as well. Sweet!


We had a really nice ride. The weather was perfect and the breeze was super cold. :)

Luna Park! There's one in Melbourne too. :)

After the ferry ride, we went back to Joyce's aunt's place for dinner and then took a stroll up the street to check out the Christmas lights put up by this church.

Apparently they do this every year without fail. And yes, this is their compound...the church has a huge huge land with quite a number of buildings. This is the outside garden facing the main road.

The 3 wise men and their camels. :D We heard that there was one year, someone placed the camels in the middle of the road...so now they have security making sure those camels don't escape again. haha.

The nativity story.

Baby Jesus in the manger. :)

-Day4-
Ascilite 2010 Conference + Bondi Beach!


At the conference, Apple was renting out 200 iPads to delegates for them to use throughout the conference. The iPads came with earphones that we could keep. SWEET! Daryl told me the earphones are worth RM129. hoho.

Was a really good opportunity to try out the iPad and I must say I loved it but after a while it kinda felt heavy. And seeing my fingerprints all over it was kinda...er...irritating.


Scones for morning tea! :3 with whipped cream and jam. mmm ♥


I was concentrating on the conference too okay? Not just facebook-ing. :P The conference itself had an interactive platform where we could check the schedules, find the presentation venues, "star" certain presentations we don't wanna miss and the program would auto alert us when the time comes. There were also interactive polls, surveys, shout boxes etc.

The delegates there were also very twitter savvy. So much so that one of the 3 big screens in the main hall was a twitter timeline following the #ascilite10 hashtag. :)

Buffet lunch! :) Sampled a little bit of everything they had.

Desserts. I tend to head to the dessert table first before anything else. haha.


After the conference we took a bus back to the train station to head for Bondi Beach.

Stopped at Bondi Junction station, then took a bus to Bondi Beach.

Bondi Beach! Filled with cute surfer dudes and sunbathers.

We didn't hang around too long here. Inappropriately dressed for the beach and the sun was scorching hot even though the breeze was cooling. Just walked about, took some pictures and headed back. :)

Went back to Joyce's aunt's place for homecooked dinner and Tammie prepared some penguin shaped waffles with ice-cream for dessert. :)

*phew!* That's just the first 4 days in Sydney. We spent around 9 days in Sydney and took around 200+ photos everyday. And another 4 days in Melbourne. So yeah, at the rate this is taking me...I'd still be talking about my Aussie trip in the middle of next year. T_T

Hugs n Kisses,
Di

8 comments:

  1. Looks like you have a lot of fun :) Really glad you did :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. hahaha.. everything's bigger there eh? ;P

    I see lotsa similiar things with here in SF, the double decker trains, the grassy parks, and the self checkout. I tend to not really like the self checkout especially when you're buying stuff like fruits that don't have price, and you have to look for the item on get the weight there and then. x__x

    but anyway, THE PENGUINS!! hahaha. and the steak looks so good ;__;

    ReplyDelete
  3. fuhh.. just loading have of it makes my pc in office lag max and low on virtual memory..

    no oyster or abolone?

    the penguin looks like gingerbread man with a tummy

    ReplyDelete
  4. nice post on your sydney trip and i cant wait to see more! :)

    we shall conquer perth next year okaay :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Tha: BABE WHEN ARE YOU FREE TO MEET UP? lol. :P Yup, you and John should plan for a trip next year. Just dun spend so much time in Melbourne. Pretty...er...boring... :P Hopefully the exchange rate goes down a bit next year. I went wrong timing. Cheap stuff also jadi mahal cos 3 times the amount. :( But the sales are really good especially on boxing day (tht's what I heard). Owh and Easter is HUGE in Sydney. Worth considering that time to go as well. ;) Miss you lahhhh. *HUGSSS*

    @Em: nyek nyek nyek. :3 I think it's the same in the US right? Snacks and sweets all extra large one. I wonder when I can go visit San Fran. sigh. :( haha, food in Aussie is really awesome...hence the need to go on a diet now. QQ

    @Chen Kai: I'm sorreeeeee~ Orz Got got! Haven't post up yet. huhu~

    @Sandra: Thanks babe! Yeah, PERTH BAYBEHHH! woot! :D :D :D

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  6. one day, boo :3 at least when yuo do come to sf you'll have a tourguide to bring you around, haha.

    hehehehe.. yay! more love handles for me <3 <3

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  7. Wow!! Really a good place.
    Malaysia cannot compare with it totally.

    (Waiting for your another 9 days blog, I think should use a few hours to read through all.) :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. Haha, I finally have internet connection!!! Now I can continue blogging the about the rest of the trip. hehehe. :)

    ReplyDelete

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