Monday, August 07, 2006

Melbourne Winter Adventure 2006 (Episode 4)

Day 3:

OK, I don't have to remind you how we usually wake up in time for lunch during the holidays. So, yes, we woke up in time for lunch. We, or rather Auds drove us to Box Hill so that we could have the infamous 'swimming-in-the-sauce" roast duck rice that Shaun can't get out of his head. And seriously, it was good, way better than what Eastwood's bbq one serves. It was literally swimming in sauce as they serve so much more sauce, a bigger serving, better service, more VEGIES and to top that off, super spicy chilli sauce! And no, it's not the cheesy chilli sauces you buy from Asian groceries but freshly chopped chillies with er, oil and I think garlic. Two thumbs up from me!

After lunch, we headed to our next destination - Phillip Island. Yes, we went to Phillip Island at the peak of winter. Yes, I hear many of you saying, "Wah, crazy ar? Winter you know! It's dead cold there now!" But hey, we're already in Melbourne, so we might as well go, right? So off we went in the opposite direction from the day before and we arrived the island in 1.5 hours.

As soon as we opened the door to get into the Tourist Information Centre, we had to quickly grab our jackets and whatever that we think would make us feel warm to put on. Yes, it was freezing all right. And we had this crazy idea of buying ice-cream to eat, as well.

As per the friendly lady at the Info Centre's advice, we forewent the bushwalking and Churchill Island and went straight to watch the seals first. And to think the Info Centre was freezing, The Nobbies was excruciatingly cold! The wind was so powerful, I was pushed sideways when walking! We were there to catch a glimpse of a colony of creatures on a small cluster of rocks just offshore. As it's name implies, Seal Rocks is where the largest colony of Australian Fur Seals congregate in Australia. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any of them cute albeit vicious creatures due to a family so indulged in looking, they wouldn't budge from the telescope.

We did, however, take a group photo to remind ourselves of how freaking COLD it was there and how many layers we put on and some pictures of the raging sea (you can tell the wind was a killer).

Lady luck was with us, though. There was a small flock of penguins under the wooden boardwalk and of course, cameras started clicking away.

We ran to the car. Yes, ran. We then drove to a different side of the island, where the main attraction lie - Little Penguins. We paid $17 to watch them come home to their nests after spending 3 weeks at sea. We weren't allowed anything that could take pictures - digicams, phonecams, you name it. We weren't allowed to stand or to make a sound. We sat there waiting for them to come up since 5pm. The first tiny, cute penguin came on shore about 1.5 later. Ooooooh, they WERE cute!!! And as the guide said, they would only move from the waves up to the grass in groups to fend of prey and yes, they did wait!

It was then my turn to drive home. We had to go hunting for food. There was a restaurant along the way (on the island) that served steak on a hot slab of rock (or so they claim) but we had to decline as it was absolutely way over our budgets as uni students. So, I suggested La Porchetta, the Melbourne version of Borelli's, just cheaper and bigger in portions. And yes, the atmosphere had Nic smiling from ear-to-ear.

The night actually ended on a bad note. Well, you see, I'm not good with taking instructions, especially driving instructions. And I don't enjoy it. I am a pretty good driver, I think. But, I have to admit, I was very touchy that night. Something must've bugged me sometime in the day to have made me react in that manner. Oh, and the way some people talk to me, it's as if they think that I'm nowhere near as smart as they are just coz I'm doing a 'less prestigious' course than they are. Puh-leez.

Not so good, but I won my first ever round of poker. So it's all balanced out. No complaints now. =P

Friday, August 04, 2006

Melbourne Winter Adventure 2006 (Episode 3)

Day 2:

We woke up late, as usual. I stayed home to try to finish off my assignment to email to Emma before she left for Hong Kong. Erin stayed back as well while the guys and Auds walked over to a car rental place to rent a big car to fit all 6 of us. It took them a very long time to get back with the car. They rented an automatic Tarago (Estima to Malaysians) from Thrifty and people, please don't rent anything from Thrifty because they are anything but what their name implies. But, I have to say, the car drives very well. Smooth, quiet and comfy. So, we headed to McD's to grab a quick bite, bought a toll ticket from Shell and we were on our way to our destination.

Miow constantly entertained everyone with 'Are we there yet?'s and we took to looking out for peculiar names of towns. The journey took us 2 hours (I think). The drizzle had just stopped and it was freezing once we stepped out of the car. Yes, we have arrived at Sovereign Hill, finally. Bought our tickets and headed into the infamous gold digging/panning town. They claim that they are an original settlement but I think it's more of a touristy place. I reminded myself to get my ticket stamp at the old-fashion post office so that I'd get to come back in for free within the year. Who knows? I might be coming again.

And so, we starting playing. Yup, loads of fun playing I tell you. Posed with mannequins, pointed at things, tried panning for gold, took pictures with and of the 'locals' and we stayed for the last session of gold melting. It was pure gold in a big bar! Ooooooh, have never seen such a huge chunk of gold ever in my life! Not even at my grandfather and uncle's shop. Pity we arrived so late, otherwise we'd have been able to join the mine tour. It runs in a real underground mine where in the past, they mined gold. It would have been a first-hand experience but time did not permit. That would be the main pull if I were to return.

In summary, Sovereign Hill is a historic attraction. If you're not into historical stuff, don't bother driving all the way out here.

We had to rush back to the city to meet up with Alan and gang. We quickly grabbed dinner at Cili Padi, where Miow boldly asked the waitress her name and her ethnicity. I think it scared her as she didn't return to the table after that .Yes, I have very interesting friends. Wanna meet them personally? I think you'd love them. If you like Malaysian food, Cili Padi is not the place to go. Food is costly for Melbourne standards. And why did why have to rush back? The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest started at 8:30pm so of course we had to rush! I loved the show. Shaun thought it was so-so. He doesn't like movies that hangs in mid-air at the end. He prefers movies with definitive outcomes. I said he's traditional, not creative. Haha.. It's definitely one show I'd recommend to watch when you need a good laugh.