Saturday, December 01, 2007

Roadtrip! (Canberra Leg)

September 20, 2007

We started our journey to Canberra late in the afternoon due to my renal function test over at the Royal North Shore Hospital. They took 7 full tubes of blood from me and they collected a reasonable amount of my urine.

Like previous Canberra trips, I directed Dad onto the Hume Highway and off we drove down south. After turning off left onto the Bass Highway, I pointed out an enormous lake to Dad called Lake George.

"There, this entire place is Lake George!"
"Huh? Where? It's all grass leh..."

Haha.. trying to convince both he and Mum that the 'field' was once a lake was so hilarious. But it saddened us as well because it showed how dry Australia has been all these years. And to think that Sydney welcomed the month of December with rain (it's still raining now even).

By the time we arrived in Canberra, it was nightfall. For your information, Canberra is like Putrajaya, or should I say it's the other way around. You keep driving in circles and end up feeling very frustrated because every single precinct looks the same! Bah! When we finally found a place with shops OPEN, we had to fork up a hefty sum for only a passable meal of Thai cuisine. Premonition of things to come: no good at all. Speak about cari makan. Cari tempat tidur also susah. Gosh! All the places we saw along the way were fully booked! Last resort was a caravan park and thankfully, they still had a family unit. Throughout the entire trip, this was the cheapest place we stayed in. Did I mention that it was the dirtiest as well? It wasn't filthy or anything but because I was comparing it with the other places we'd been, it was not up to par. Oh well, as long as it had hot water and GIN AND TONIC! Wahaha, love that conconction - makes me sleep like a log.

September 21, 2007

Rays of bright sunshine seeped through the lace curtain. It felt as thought it was crying to be drawn to allow the overflowing radiance into the room. Yes, we were going to have beautiful weather at the Floriade and so we wasted no time.

The Floriade is an annual tulip festival held in Canberra during spring. It also showcases other types of flowers but they mainly use a variety of tulips. While we attended the Floriade a tad too late last year (the flowers were all withering), we were too early this year as many of the bulbs had yet to bloom! Mum was delighted to see the array of colours. Dad, on the other hand, thought it was nothing like the Chelsea Flower Show. But of course it wouldn't be, the Floriade is like 300 times smaller!

Personally, I thought the colours and combination of plants this year wasn't as attractive as last year's. Maybe it was the theme they used. Last year it was according to countries. This year, they went by an Australian theme. I don't recall what it was exactly but it was probably something to do with Australian landscape. To illustrate, here are the pictures:

Have you seen the inside of a tulip? Let me show you:

There was a pair of goslings with their mum (or dad?):

And I was fascinated by the pinecones still attached to the tree:

Having soaked up the sun and when Mum was satisfied with her tulip-watching, we looked up the map to follow the highway that heads up the mountains. Along the way, we stopped by a small 'town' comprising 8 houses to have lunch. An elderly couple ran the place and served us pies, pumpkin soup and coffee. They had a fat cat that was just adorable (look in the picture hard enough and you'd be able to spot the fuzzball)!

Kept wanting a piece of my pie! Surprise of all surprises, they were happy to learn that we were from Malaysia as the old bloke himself spent some time in Butterworth as a soldier during the Vietnam War.

Oh, I should really share pictures of what we see while we drive:

After passing by that tranquil cottage, it was bye-bye Monaro Highway at Cooma and hello Alpine Highway! Yes, we were driving across the Great Dividing Range into the Kosciuszko National Park. We stopped at Jindabyne to have a look at Lake Jindabyne. Funny how I've never been skiing and have always wondered what Jindabyne looked like. Now, I know.

Next stop was Perisher Blue. Well, it wasn't much of a stop. We could see the mountain and the snow from the Skitube. And there were kangaroos hopping about so Mum made us stop at the side to take some pics.

So I've ticked Perisher Blue's box. Next box to tick was Thredbo. As Thredbo is in the park, we had to pay a stopping fee because we were going to stop the car to take pictures. If we decided to just drive through, we wouldn't need to pay the $25. And you know what? There was PLENTY OF SNOW! This year, Australia had a bumper harvest of snow. Normally, the ski resorts would be closed by August but hey, it's September and there was still plenty of it! That was the first time I saw real snow! I did not feel cold. It was like a nice spring day but when you TOUCHED it, whoa, freezing!

Dad just couldn't resist the temptation to stop at a lookout to take pictures of the snowcaps. Breathtaking. Oh, and not to mention freezing. It was so hard to keep myself from shivering when Dad took his own sweet time adjusting the lighting and what not. So funny watching Mum take hers - she could hardly smile!

Before the sun went down, we managed to take pictures of the pastures we'd been driving past. Rolling green hills... aah... endless sea of green...

Then Dad spoilt it by mentioning one lecture he had lightyears ago in Oxford. Every beautiful scenery comes with a price. Just imagine the amount of trees fell to create this picturesque scenery. And they want us to keep our rainforests for them. Wah, so unfair - they get to make money by slaughtering cattle while we get zero for keeping our trees.

We then drove off into the sunset in search of our next slumber chamber. We drove and drove and drove until we felt a slight tinge of hunger. We managed to catch a glimpse of the enormous Lake Hume (it took us close to 45 minutes just to drive around it!) in the moonlight. We decided to stop in Wodonga where there was a twin room with Golden Chain. Mum prefers Golden Chain over Best Western because they are cheaper and greener.

And what's with motel owners? When he found out that we were Malaysian, he quickly praised our cuisine. He enjoyed his stay at Penang because of the food! The young English chap then recommended a Thai restaurant in town.

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