Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

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The cheaper way to go to Gold Coast from Perth is to book a flight to Brisbane rather than book a flight directly to Gold Coast because this airport is very expensive. Rent a car and drive 42 kilometres from Brisbane CBD and you are in the coastal city in south eastern Queensland and largest concentration of themed attractions in the southern hemisphere. Originally known as the South Coast (because it was south of Brisbane) but in 1950 the moniker ‘Gold Coast’ due to  bloated prices for real estate and other goods and services, plus 70 kilometres of uninterrupted coastline making it the most popular surf breaks in Australia where along the busiest stretch of the Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise beach. In the 1980s the area boomed as a leading tourist destination.

We stumble upon Coolangatta by not minding what hotel I’m booking. Our aim is to visit the theme parks, surfer’s paradise and the Harbour town factory outlet for the long weekend of September for the Queen’s Birthday. Coolangatta is the nearest suburb to Gold Coast airport and southern end of the Gold Coast but has some of the Coast’s prettiest beaches so efforts of long drive to Surfer’s paradise was not wasted.

Surfers Paradise in pictures would display skyscrapers attached with a beach, joined by a shopping and entertainment district of Cavill Avenue – named after James Cavill the founder Surfer’s Paradise. Gold Coast experiences a humid subtropical climate with warm, wet summers and cool, moist winters although it was spring and the climate is transitioning from winter into summer when we visited the place so there’s lots of people swimming in the beach. This region is very vibrant and alive from morning til night. This is where we purchased tickets for the theme parks, it is much cheaper to buy in tourists outlets here than buying at the gate.

Theme park tickets is about 80 bucks a pop with 2 entrances combo i.e. Dreamworld and Sea World or Warner Brothers Movie World and Wet n Wild Water World. We opted for Dreamworld and Movie World and ditched the water parks and it was fun but technically sometimes I cannot point out what stands out for the rest. I have been to Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong’s Disney Land (and Disney Sea only in Tokyo), Osaka, Singapore, and Los Angeles’ Universal Studios, Seoul’s Ever land – You see one and you see them all.

Dreamworld is 30 hectares of fun from the parking lot you will hear lots people screaming as the Giant Drop – free-fall from 38 storeys will greet you near the entrance inside the ride variations are ‘The Claw’ – 9 storey adrenalin rush! Enjoy Wiggles World, The Australian Wildlife Experience, Tiger Island, V8 Supercars Redine, Zombie Evolution – combat zone Alien vs. Predator vs. YOU and Flow Rider – surfing, skateboarding and body boarding. Warner Brothers Movie World is more like the superheroes theme parks there’s a hall of justice building here that I only saw in cartoons every Saturday morning when I was a kid called Saturday Fun Machine. The structure also reminded me of the story of Maritess and the Super Friends – an animation based on a stand comedy-up act of Rex Navarrete.  Maritess is a story of young Filipina who hired by Wonder Woman to work as a maid in the Hall of Justice and relay accounts of how she tried to fit in with the super friends foretold her association with each of them or how Aqua Man loathe her when cooking fried fish for dinner. There’s a thrilling rollercoaster named Superman Escape and the adventure to the next dimension in the DreamWorks Shrek 4D Adventure and Looney Tunes Village. I enjoyed the theme parks but I think they should add more restaurants in both parks rather than serving fish and chips, pizza, donut, or Mexican all the time.

The Harbour Town Gold Coast is comparable to US outlets. Unlike the Harbour Town here in Perth there are more branded store like Tommy Hilfiger and that’s it! Esprit yeah a given but no CK or Coach, etc. mostly local brands but it is very cheap. Managed to purchase 10 bucks for a top that costs 39.99 in some shops here.

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Perth

Posted: July 3, 2015 in Perth
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“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” – Charles M. Schulz

Perth founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 named after the same city in Scotland. It is the most isolated capital city in the world, so isolated it was nominated by the original American astronauts as the ‘City of Lights’ — standing out as the bright spot on planet Earth. Perth is closer to Bali than Sydney. And it’s often cheaper to fly to Bali than to Sydney. Life in Perth is a beach and I mean that literally. The city prided itself of pristine beaches and being the sunniest capital in the world –the sun really shone here the brightest thus most people just head to the beach on weekend and holidays to jog, sail board, and wind surf. Perth experiences a Mediterranean Climate, with warm hot summers, and mild winters reminded me of the old Manila when I was young, when that crispy cold breeze greeted you in the morning. Also, the night sky are so starry looks bigger and brighter and I swear I have seen the biggest yellow full moon while driving towards the city my friends and I had a really good laugh in amazement it’s like s shot from the howling movie.

One thing I like about Perth is there’s no traffic, the road is practically yours after 7pm. It is so spacious that it’s the highest standard of housing in the world— five bedroom, two bathroom homes with swimming pools are very commonplace. Most of my colleagues and friends lived in this kind of commodious homes and resident with average or middle incomes can afford to have one easily. Perth has the largest inner city park in the world – Kings Park. It’s even bigger than New York’s Central Par. WA’s economy boomed because of the mining industry, the world’s top selling gold, silver and platinum coins can be seen in production at Perth Mint. It has the richest plot of land in the world for natural mineral wealth but it is the driest continent in the world. It is also the home of INXS and Heath Ledger.

I had major adjustment with communication as Australian have their uniquely slang usage of day to day terminologies and this is apart from the use of British and American slang like ‘arvo’ means afternoon, ‘maccas’ is McDonalds,  and the constant use of ‘no worries’, ‘cheers,’ and ‘no dramas (there)’ as expression of forgiveness or reassurance, and ‘Bob’s your uncle’ – It is often used immediately after a set of simple instructions and roughly means the same as ‘… and it’s as simple as that!’

I met a lot of Filipinos here in Perth and when meeting one I had to ask how they came here and get to know about Perth because prior to 2008 before joining my company I never knew that a city named Perth existed in Australia. By default when you talked about the land down under it’s always Sydney or Melbourne that is but this is where the main office is located. Fast forward to 2013 after 5 years in the company I got the chance to get relocated in this city. I moved smacked in the middle of winter of July 2013. Perth climate is lovely and the city is very laid back but having lived in Singapore for almost a decade I experienced some culture shocks like mall closes at 5pm, movie tickets costs 20 bucks and there’s no Starbucks. I am not a coffee person but I like sitting in this coffee shops catching up with friends. Although there’s some stuff unavailable in Perth there’s other stuff like Fremantle, Hillary’s, and San Churro Chocolateria it can offer and I guess that’s part of this Western Australian charm

View from Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.  –Lin Yutang

 

I managed to score a job in Wellington, capital of New Zealand from September to November 2005. I found a flat just 10 minutes walk from my office. It was their summer but coming from humid Singapore it was still too cold for me. I remember wearing a matrix jacket, boots, mittens, scarf just to walk from my flat to my office where local kids passed me by with just their tees on and eating ice cream. I enjoyed the place more so, if I could just wear a shirt. Wellington has picturesque natural harbor and green hillsides adorned with tiered suburbs of colonial villas. This place is the closest I got to nature while living in the city.

Most of the friends I met lived at the suburbs and most of them have a lovely home and cool cars. It’s like watching desperate housewives but you are in it. So every weekend I got the chance to go and see what’s outside of the city. One time, I went to a suburb mall where I find more people in one place than in the city on weekdays. There are more sheep than people in New Zealand. Contrary to popular legend, they aren’t always walking over the highways. At least, not all the time.  Most of them you can find at the hillside. I had my first close encounter with a sheep when my friend showed me the outskirts of Wellington. I had to ask my friend to pullover just to take a picture with the sheep. They are just there roaming freely eating all the grass and nobody owns them.

Every year of November 5 they celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. I grasped the concept and the story when I saw the movie V for Vendetta.  Guy Fawkes was part of a group of men who wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. He was caught red-handed with the explosives, foiled after years of planning. Guy Fawkes and his group were terminated and as a mockery to the conspirators it became a yearly event accompanied by firework displays, the lighting of bonfires and the ceremonial effigy-burning of one Guy Fawkes. The origin of this celebration stems from events which took place in 1605

Another highlight of my stay there was attending a photo exhibit. My friend’s hubby was into photography. They toured Europe shoot all the good stuff and organized an exhibit.  Many of their friends graced the event. I like the place where they held it. A wooden museum in a small town. Where everything was old that it’s too familiar but at the same time new to you. It’s like you been there before and seen the place but just don’t know when and how. I also get the chance to see a play, The Little Shop of Horrors and I love the concept of their theater where you will sit in a chair with table and have drinks and food while watching the act. Like you are in a bar but the live acts are not the band. And my friends showed me Peter Jackson’s house and some spots where they shoot LOTR.

I forgot how cold I felt when I was in NZ. All I can recall are how warm the kiwis were – the friends I met, the colleagues in my office and people I encountered. I remember the view of the sea from my flat, the ray of sunlight in my office desk, Friday afternoon at the bar having beer at 4pm, and how striking even everyday people were – the sales clerk in 7 11 and even the construction guy down the street.

Notes:

The name “New Zealand” comes from “Zeeland” in Dutch. Zeeland was a province of the Netherlands. It means “Land of the Long White Cloud”. About 4 million people live in New Zealand. They call themselves kiwis. Most of them have European ancestors. New Zealand has become more popular since New Zealand born Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies were all made there.