Monday, May 10, 2010

Almost there!

Cant wait to move in. We had several issues with the builder, one of which we had to take it up to Consumer Affairs. It was a long drawn affair with a lot of anxiety, heartaches and confusion hanging over us the whole time. Now it's coming to a close. Such a total relief! Hopefully no more challenges. It's coming along very well.

Now I am planning the interiors - colours of the wall, curtains, blinds, lights, mantel, dining table. For the exterior - the trees, retaining wall, landscape, driveway, what do we do with our garden??

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wilson Promontory - Squeaky Beach

Wilson Promontory also known as Prom Country is 3.5 hours drive from Melbourne. We took a short walk, 1.2km from the visitor centre to the Squeaky Beach. It was really windy the sand was churned up and like the sand dunes, the sand patterns were forming and changing constantly. What a beautiful sight!
Squeaky Beach seen through different filters.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Melbourne Zoo - it's not only for the children

Last Saturday we were invited to a blogger event at the Melbourne Zoo. What a way to celebrate earth hour! Mister was hesitant at first "what are we going to do in a zoo?", "isnt it more appropriate for kids?".  So he needs some coaxing, what's new?

He was actually beaming after the event. We loved our time there. We were treated as VIPs at the event. We got there earlier than everyone, our knowledgeable guides took us, the bloggers on a personalised tour. This was after the zoo was closed at 5.30pm. How cool was that!!!

The wildlife within the zoo was all within comfortable walking distance, great for the young and the old. We were surrounded by wildlife in confined areas, really stunning white polka dots on black guinea fowls free range around the lawn and even up in the air - while we were visiting the giraffes, a flight of birds flew by and one of them decided to make a deposit on my hair. It was definitely my lucky day :)

What was most memorable and enjoyable was our "backstage" tour at the Reptiles Section. John, our guide is a unique exhibit himself. He had a long white beard with a dangling earring on his left ear, he is the walking wikipedia on lizards and snakes. John talked about the origins of the animals, their nature, habits, explained about how they mate, no question was answered satisfactorily and more. The best part of all is we could experience and touched the lizards and the snakes. I was amazed with Mister, holding a python with total calm.

Feeling the black headed python was really something I could never forget. The skin felt silky and smooth, nothing like skin on a handbag I can tell you. For this very reason, I dont think anyone should have a snakeskin handbag. It is not really the real thing. Far from it.

After a decent meal, we were enjoying live music at the Zoo's bandstand in an area exclusive to bloggers. Boy, do we feel like royalty that night. What's even special is having the lions' roar accompanying good music.
Zoos are not just for kids, I always enjoy my time when I visit a zoo, coming away with wonder, rejuvenation and feeling good about life. That is something that no one should deny themselves of.

Blogger Check-in - the lovely Masha Wheeler (on the right) who invited us to the event. We were even given a little pressie.

Three giraffes - Arent giraffes ones of the most graceful?

African Wild Dogs - they actually look dangerous as a pack

This leftover leg of some animal was hanging in the african wild dogs confinement.

Guinea fowls running free range around the zoo.

One of the musical performers having a quiet smoke.

John, our guide invited us in through the back door into the reptilia home "backscenes"

Fijian Crested Lizard - territorial reptilians: if a male sees another, the colours on their body turns dark green, ready to attack.

Fijian crested lizards tendency to climb to the highest point.

John's office

Snake skeleton


Rattlesnake looking right at you.

Black headed python

The snake was doing a handcuff

John was trying to show us where the sexual organs are placed in a snake, this one was a female.

Milk snake non venomous

The world of bloggers - even while we are eating, some of us are updating on their PDAs?!!

Free Maps

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blue Mountains in the mist

Do you know the Blue Mountains is ten times older than the Grand Canyon? The ancient Wollemi Pine from the Dinosaur age is a testament to the history.

We were very fortunate to arrive late evening after a heavy storm. From the Echo Point viewing deck in Katoomba, the valleys in Blue Mountain were covered with mist. The clouds of mist moved so quickly, one moment the Three Sisters were in plain sight, the next we couldn't see them. The mist signifies the impermanence of life.

You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4: 14

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On top of the world in Blue Mountains

Panoramic view of The Three Sisters from Echo Point

Closer view of The Three Sisters

We have been back for 2 weeks and getting back to the grind.

It was a wonderful discovery holiday, Australia really has much to offer. Driving holidays is our kind of vacation, we have done that a few times in the States driving from one state to another. In each stop, we stayed in one place for 2 or 3 days depending on our itinerary. But this is the first time we are doing it in Australia.

Our route begun on Hume Highway from Melbourne in the direction of Sydney. This is the shortest way to get to the capital of NSW but there isn't much to offer in terms of sights on the way. Goulburn is where we stopped for a night after driving for a continuous 8 hours with occasional bio breaks. Goulburn used to be a gold mining town and the first inland town in NSW. The town did not leave much of an impression.

But the journey really begins in our next stop which is the Blue Mountains. Boy, did I underestimate this place. All I can say is The Blue Mountains National Park definitely stacks up against the world acclaimed national parks I have explored in the States.

After setting my sight in this area, I only wanted to know more. There is nowhere in the world quite like it.

In 1998 the Australian Government launched a bid to have the Blue Mountain listed for World Heritage because of the international significance of its natural and cultural heritage. The area covers a modest 1 million hectares.

Blue Mountains became a World Heritage site in Nov 2000. I can just picture the thousands of buses transporting millions of visitors to the Blue Mountains during the Olympics. The title recognises the many special natural features world's only wild Wollemi Pine, a relic of the age of the dinosaurs.

This magical place have a way of making you feel big and small all at once. The deep gorges, massive rock formations and green encarpments makes you feel small. Yet the pleasure of taking in such an abundance of natural beauty can make you feel like a giant.

In my opinion, it offers some of the best walking trails through some of the best scenery in Australia. If you haven't visited to the Blue Mountains, you haven't really visited Australia.

Katoomba, the largest town and closest to Echo Point viewing point.

Vibrant colours from Kangaroo Paws

The sun was setting after a heavy storm.

An elderly couple enjoying themselves, performing step up exercises.

Whose voices drift with the white mist. Passing like the ghosts of ocean waves?

Sometimes when I glimpsed this world lit by a dew drop. Hanging like some beautiful crystal ball from a minute fern frond.

An immense gulf is unexpectedly seen the trees. This kind view was to me quite novel. And extremely magnificent.

The mountain terminates in abrupt precipices of immense depth. At the bottom of which is seen a glen. As romantically beautiful as can be imagined.

Katoomba, Kedumba, Godooba  The Valley of Falling Waters.

After a storm, snails come out to play.

 Click here to Visit Blue Mountains