[20 Mar] – Gold Coast

It was an interesting mix of feelings when I got off the flight at the Coolangatta Airport. It has been 9 years since I’ve left Australia!  It was familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time!

Immigration was a breeze.  I was expecting that I will have to open my bags to show the 30 packets of Chicken Rice Paste + 5 packets of Curry Chicken Paste and 5 packets of Bak Ku Teh!  Also I was half expecting that the wooden artwork that I bought in Bali, for Jennifer will be thrown away!  I declared all items on the declaration form.  The officer asked what I have and after telling him verbally, he let me passed!

The Coolangatta Airport was almost still the same as when I last used it 10 years ago. There’s a tad bit more shops.  Can’t expect anything more.  The free wifi was really crappy!  I was apparently not connecting to the wifi but I could send messages on Facebook messenger.  I couldn’t use Whatsapp, Facebook and browsing.  Luckily Facebook messenger worked as Jennifer and I have been talking thru it.

Jennifer is a friend I’ve made when we met at the baggage carousel at Changi Airport while we were waiting for our bags (from Taipei).  She was in Singapore for work and we met the next day for lunch.  Subsequently we meet another time when she was in Singapore for work (a few years later).  There was an accident on the way to the airport and Jennifer was delayed.  She brought me to her favorite cafe, the Beach Shack for breakfast.  Pity it was raining.  It would have been an awesome view of the beach!

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Jennifer very kindly and generously bought me breakfast and drove me to the train station at Helensvale where I took the train to Brisbane.

There was free wifi on board the train!  But I didn’t know there was an usage limit on each device!  I was texting Dee on Whatsapp (as she’s not on Facebook) updating her on my arrival time when suddenly I realized that I have used up all the free usage!  Luckily I had my tablet with me.  I used Facebook messenger to message Lang and asked her to relay my message to Dee!

The intention was to alight at the Roma Station and as I was early and the train will stop at South Bank, I decided last minute to alight at South Bank.  It started to rain pretty heavily and I had to seek refuge at the library at the Queensland College of Art (QCA) (where I went to for my Bachelor).  The library has became a nice place to hang out, and to chill (I took a nap)!

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Took this photo just before the downpour!  I really enjoyed my uni days 🙂  Totally random, I know!

After taking a nap and when the rain subsided, I started walking towards the city.

The same old man-made beach at South Bank!

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The Brisbane Eye, also known as the Wheel of Brisbane, wasn’t constructed when I left (in 2008)!

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The iconic Brisbane sign, also wasn’t constructed when I left in 2008!

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I walked across the Victoria Bridge, from South Bank to the city, a walk that I have done countless times when I was studying at the QCA!

View of South Bank from the Victoria Bridge.  Such a gloomy day!

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Oh, the public wifi was pretty strong though!  And there’s no limit on the usage!  I was able to send messages to Dee on Whatsapp and post photos on Facebook!

Dee was done ahead of schedule and I started walking towards the Roma Station where she’ll pick me.  I couldn’t really remember the directions and had to ask for directions a few times!  Brisbane is a lot friendlier now!  I was looking at my phone responding to Dee’s message when someone asked if I’m lost and needed help!  I ended up at the Adina Hotel.  Dee actually gave a password/code word for me to reveal when we met, cos she was afraid of picking up the wrong person!  After all, we have not met in 19 years!

Initially we wanted to go to the DFO.  It started pouring heavily again and as the carpark at the DFO is open air, we will be drenched!  Dee brought me to the mall near her residence.  We didn’t do much except walked around for a bit and then headed to her place!

I was pleasantly surprised that I’m taking her daughter’s Elise’s room.  Elise has kindly and generously ‘gave’ her room to me while she sleeps on a mattress in her parents’ room.

I wanted to have Red Rooster for this trip and I was surprised (again) that Dee’s family was happy to have Red Rooster for dinner.  Red Rooster was actually pretty crappy.  They have revamped the menu and the food is a lot better than before!

Elise is also a fan of Lego and we had a look at her collection after dinner.  She has a lot more Lego sets than me!  I’m so envious!

With the time difference, exhaustion from an overnight flight and a day of walking around, it wasn’t long before we called it a night and I fell soundly asleep in Elise’s bed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[20 Mar – 27 Mar] – Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney!

Sometime late last year, I suggested to the girls that we should have a reunion in Sydney when Liv is back in Sydney!  To my surprise, everyone was up for it!

I was procrastinating for a bit as my plans were in the air and flights to Sydney were over my budget.  When I returned from Taiwan, Scoot was having a promotion and I bought an open-jawed return flight, Singapore to Gold Coast, return from Sydney for S$286.15!

It was a bag of mixed emotions.  I have not seen Dee and Sylvia for 19 years!  I’m gonna spend 5 days in Dee’s place in Brisbane!  I don’t know how well we will get along!  At the same time, I was really excited and happy to see the girls again!

A tad bit of history on our friendship.  We met in Dec 1996 in Taiwan on what is now known as the Love Boat study tour.  This is the same tour when Jack and I met 🙂

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Woven Pouch

Made this weave last year (08 Feb 14) and didn’t know what to do with it. Finally made it into a zipper pouch (with lining)!

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[31 May 2015] Day 02 – Lazy Day in Shanghai!

We slept in a tad bit this morning as we had such an exhausting day yesterday.  Decided to take it easy and went ‘shopping’ at 七浦路 / Qipu Lu.

It was an exceptionally boring day, randomly walking around the 七浦路 area.  We had a very yummylicious dinner though.  The tooth guy wanted authentic Shanghainess food and so the cousin took us to 小南国.

I quite like the decor of the restaurant.  High ceiling!  The tables next to the windows are really popular.  It wasn’t a busy evening as we went past the locals’ dinner time, but yet there wasn’t any available window table for us.

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The cousin recommended these!  Absolutely yummy! 小南国 31May15 02

The cousin took us for a walk around Laowai Street.  It was renamed from Hongmei Pedestrian Street in 2010.  As the saying goes, the night is still young, the cousin and the tooth guy decided to get a beer at one of the many pubs.  We didn’t stay for too long as the next day is a working day.  They had one beer each and we called it a night.  Actually, we chatted and watched TV when we got home and didn’t go to bed till 2am!

 

 

 

 

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[30 May 2015] Day 01 – Shanghai!

We managed to get a pretty good deal on Singapore Airlines.  Flying into Shanghai and out from Beijing.  We had to book our tickets separately in order to enjoy the promotion fare. Strange that the SQ website doesn’t allow us to enjoy the promotion fare when we tried to make our reservations together.  No big deal, as long as we get a good price on the flights!

It’s not my first trip to Shanghai and Beijing but it’s sort of the tooth guy’s first trip to China.  He has been to Shenzhen (from Hong Kong) and didn’t consider that a trip to China!

The flight was pretty uneventful.  Fully booked as there were groups of students on their China Immersion trip.  Didn’t manage any sleep though I was tired.  We were slightly hungry when we touched down but decided to head to the cousin’s place before getting our tummy filled!  We didn’t last till we get there though.  The metro took too long and we were starving pretty badly.  We went into the convenience store (at the metro stop at the cousin’s) and got something to eat before making our way to the apartment.

The cousin was supposed to be out but decided to stay home to wait for us.  As soon as we put down our bags and washed up, we were out of the apartment!

First stop, Tianzifang 田子坊!  That’s my top favourite in Shanghai!

It was pretty crowded and almost too touristy for my liking!  The tourist crowd has gotten bigger over the years 😦

We were still hungry and went to get more food!

Not sure if it’s a good choice!  Pizza and fries!  Pretty yummy though!  The tooth guy actually wanted local Shanghai food.  Decided to leave that for the ‘proper’ dinner after!Tianzifang 30May15

Apparently the ice-cream drink is the craze now!  And the ice-cream looks really enticing and flavorful!

To be honest, Tianzifang is a disappointment (for me).  Removing it as my must-go and top favorite in Shanghai!

Our next stop is The Bund!  As expected, pretty crowded on a weekend!Shanghai 30May15

We needed a massage pretty badly and I have requested for the cousin to make a reservation for a massage the week before.  We wanted to have our dinner before the massage and had to hurriedly find a place for our yummy dinner.   The cousin took us to a Thai Restaurant, Simply Thai, in a small alley.  It’s a pretty small place and they were pretty crowded despite that the time is way after the locals’ dinner time.  We didn’t want to eat too much as we are having a massage later.

Our yummylicious noodles!  The salad and chicken are really good too!Dinner 30May15

So the tooth guy didn’t manage to have any local food today!

We were sort of rushing for the massage appointment.  As soon as we are done, we walked to the shopping mall where the massage center is located.

Apparently the cousin got ‘cheated’ out of her money for the massage package.  The spa center went bankrupt and another company bought over the spa center and honored the package the cousin bought.  They didn’t fulfill 100% of the terms but definitely it wasn’t a 100% loss for the cousin.

The massage was pretty ok.  Nothing fantastic as compared to Thailand’s!  But it was still good after a hectic period at work!  Pretty sure that we will be able to sleep well tonight!

 

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Specially Made, for a Special Friend

I am clueless what to get for Jack every time I visit.  Decided to make a wallet for him.

Hope he likes it 🙂

wallet-for-jack-24-may-15

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Originally intended it to be a woven pouch.But fell in love with the colours and gradients after leaving it to dry overnight and decided to use it as it is. Managed to find a piece of fabric bought years ago, for the lining. Extremely happy with the end product!

Hand painted zipper pouch with lining

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