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10/5/2014: And off I head...: The temporary exodus

7/29/2013: Don't miss me when I'm gone, for it's only temporary.: A self-explanatory apology.

6/26/2013: It's a sale!: I'm not going to impose it on you; it's just that I've decided to have some items up for sale. Feel free to take a peek. No charges for a mere view. *winks*

Friday, November 14, 2014

Travelodge Perth, Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia

(written from our December 2013 - January 2014 summer visit to Perth)

First of all, please allow me to apologize that this post is a year in waiting. It wasn't until I looked at all of the pictures taken in Western Australia on the iPad that I was reminded to share my experience of staying in Travelodge Perth. Also, it is with the deepest regrets that I don't have the actual pictures of the hotel room we stayed in.

The reception

After being cooped up in the aircraft for almost 6 hours with another hour spent at the domestic airport and on the journey into the city centre, it was lovely to be out, smelling the welcoming but chilly air of the city centre to refresh the exhausted soul.

Discarding all original plans of a prior booking, which was a gamble, mind you, we decided that it'd be best if we straighten our inquiries with the hotel employee on duty before actually moving on to the reservation.

The receptionist in charge, Manuela, clarified all of our questions with patience and explained that it was a hotel policy to collect a refundable security deposit of AUD$50 before proceeding to make arrangements for us to view some of the vacant rooms - all on different floors: one was with a balcony, overlooking St. Mary's Cathedral and Mercedes College whereas the other two were on different floors but furnished in a similar manner. After a quick's moment of hesitation and discussion, we settled for the 2nd option and settled with the procedure, which included paying all of our 17 nights stay in advance. Using the December 2013's exchange rate of AUD 1 = MYR 3, the total amount was AUD$2023 (= MYR 6069)

Credits to Travelodge Perth for the image

A quick reference to the aforementioned, only a valid credit card is allowed for the security deposit and it's refundable - as long as you don't consume anything from the mini bar, break/spoil anything in the room or purchase their temporary Internet plan. (I'll elaborate more on this in a short while.)

I was greeted by a comfortable and enveloping aura the moment we unlocked the door. On the right, behind the door, there is a luggage tray for you to place your baggage and next to it is the wardrobe, where the ironing facilities can be found. On the left is the toilet. If you walk in further, you'll see the bed, all nicely made and decorated with a telephone and alarm clock on the side tables that are placed on both ends of the headboard. The mini bar is within reach. Sachets of Mocona instant coffee and tea bags are provided (I have no idea whether they still do; we're talking about something that happened almost a year ago). Anything that is consumed from the mini-bar is chargeable, so keep this in your mind before you reach out to the fridge on instinct. The dressing table is below the wall-mounted cable TV and is arranged in such a way that you still can watch the channel even while writing something on the table. The dressing mirror is opposite the one-seater sofa, with the floor lamp at the far end of the room, providing a soft and relaxed lighting after sunset.

Since it was Christmas Eve and we were dead tired from the flight, we buried ourselves under the mattress in exhaustion and called it an early night. There was a part of me that didn't want to wake up in the morning and wanted to glue myself to the bed as it was extremely cozy. Although the pillows at home were of the same quality as the ones that hotels are using, there was a different feel to Travelodge Perth's bedding; it was gentler and silkier.

The facilities include:

•Wi-Fi (fees apply)
•Telephone with Voicemail Facilities
•Electronic Security Lock and Peephole
•In-room Safe
•Hair Dryer
•Iron and Ironing Board
•Individual Climate Control Air-conditioning
•Work Desk with Lamp
•Tea & Coffee Facilities
•TV- Flat Screen with Radio and Cable TV
•Mini Bar - In-room (fees apply)
•Restaurant Delivery Service (fees apply)

The lobby

As hinted in the abovementioned, the Wi-Fi is strictly only for 15 minutes per room every 24 hours and it's only accessible on the ground floor - at the sitting area opposite the reception. (I threw in the towel and purchased the 24-hour wireless broadband plan, which left me AUD $19.95 poorer, towards the end of our stay, eventually.) There are Internet packages that you can purchase once you're connected to their system from your hotel room, ranging from an hourly rate, a daily rate and a weekly rate.

Housekeeping wise, it's okay, although there can be improvements made. The housekeepers will usually only empty the trash bin, make the bed (including changing the bed sheet and pillow cases) and clean/wash the bathroom, but if you want anything additional like vacuuming the carpets or for additional towels, you'll have to make arrangements for that through the reception. Plus, we're all familiar with a complimentary pair of flip-flops, right? Well, in this case, there was none and it caught us off-guard because we never planned on bringing flip-flops with us.

Dear readers, here's a tip from me: don't make the same mistake as we did. Even though the hotel may provide those flip-flops free of change, it's always best to include an extra pair or two of the disposable (if possible) ones in your luggage as a backup, unless you don't mind walking around in Converse or sandals most of the time.

As you explore further, past the elevators on the ground floor, you'll stumble upon a business centre, which usually is vacant. Feel free to use the computers at a chargeable usage of AUD$2 per hour or leisurely browse through the provided books and indulge in some reading to kill some time. Hidden behind the business centre is a mini gymnasium. It doesn't carry everything that you'll find in the fitness centers, but the basic machineries like treadmills (the only one I recognize) are provided. You could also carry weights, if you wish to.

The anchor restaurant is opened for hotel guests and public likewise and serves Western and Asian dishes, but since I didn't sample their dishes, I can't say much about it.

The receptionists are more than friendly and helpful; they will try their utmost best to guide you and assist you in all of your inquiries and questions. If you're lucky, they may be even able to suggest touristy places that are not as popular. Ellie, who was working on the day we dedicated for exploration, recommended that we should give Harbour Town a visit as it was a shopping place that most travelers patronize whenever they are in town. Centro Galleria in Morley was another recommendation.

Outside the hotel

Travelodge Perth is located within walking distance to both Murray Street Mall, Hay Street Mall and St. Georges Terrace, a pharmacy, a couple of restaurants and cafes, Croissant Express (this sandwich cafe sells one of the best sandwiches in town), St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral and St. George's Anglican Cathedral, Royal Perth Hospital, Dome in Adelaide Terrace and Swan Lake.

Failing which, you could always hop on the free red CAT from the Victoria Avenue stop in front of the hotel and familiarize yourself with the area. The remaining Blue and Yellow CAT buses are accessible from Hay Street Mall and Forrest Chase, respectively.

The hotel itself

Name: Travelodge Perth

Address
: 417 Hay Street,
Perth,
Western Australia 6000,
Australia

Phone
: +61 8 9238 1888

Website
: http://www.tfehotels.com/brands/travelodge-hotels/travelodge-perth

Monday, November 10, 2014

Craving for the unexpected

I dreamt that it was a Monday morning and we were all waiting outside the Level 1 office, stressed out in our sleep-deprived mode. Unlike the other classrooms, which were unlocked, our History classroom was held in the Collaborative Studio 1, which was behind the Head of Department offices. Jon was leaning against the wall, fighting hard to stifle a yawn. I was approaching him with half-opened eyes, hugging a laptop with one hand and holding a venti-sized cappuccino from Starbucks in another.

It was still empty when we entered, but we took the opportunity to steal forty winks. Kyle chose to sit opposite me and shoved a paper towards me. It looked like a petition for something.

My thoughts: I can't believe I am beginning to miss the memories we had in Period 1 History under Mr. Gordon. Even though the entire semester left me walking in stress, managing 3+3 subjects at one go, if I actually peel back the pile of stressful layer away, it inadvertently provided me with the knowledge that served as a basis for Law.

"You need time out - or you'll die from a mental suicide"

It's a vague dream that I had a couple of nights ago with details that are confusing me, but one thing's for sure: it's connecting with my current intentions.

I dreamt that we were in a resort and I was the only one in the swimming pool with only my eyes and nose exposed. I was just letting the stagnant flow of the water guide me to the other end and watching a couple walking by the poolside, leaving a trail of blood in their wake.

With that weird occurrence behind me, I was with a friend in his car, heading to the university dorm. Since there was heavy traffic en-route, he deviated from the bright roads and swerved into a quieter but faster road that will get us to the university grounds in no time.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Disappointed Hopes

From a reader response's lens, the interpretation of the succeeding poem will vary from reader to reader.



The Disappointed Hopes
by Ciana Carrie

Curled in my shell,
The silent sobs are my company in the eerie silence.
I am detached from any human contact.
The bone-chilling cold is my only confidant.

Eighteen months ago,
Their words surrounded me with a heavy force,
Suppressing and weighing me down.
Being poisoned by their evil-driven jealousy,
They are satisfying themselves with my misery,
Avoiding the facts of their unhappy lives.

Eighteen months later,
I rose free from the fetters,
No longer wanting to be their joke.
I broke through the pile of their vicious words,
Finally comprehending their true colors.
Masked beneath their kindness was a vendetta,
One that was so soundless that I missed its approach.
Gone were the friendships and kindness.
A trail of regrets left in its wake.
Forgiveness knocked on my door.
Pleading for mercy, it was them.
Stoicism filled my heart, not sympathy.
All traces of ego and hatred of me vanished.
Remorse, instead, was swimming in their glassy eyes.
I'm sorry, I said, it's too late.

Leaving the gaping hole of a hurting heart for them,
I turned my back on them,
Removing them from my life like rotten apples.
Let the wrath set alight the cowering fury of a Scorpio.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What is this, man?



No matter how many times I convince myself that it doesn't matter, it still affects me somewhere in the depths of my heart, and it's something I've never been able to comprehend.

Am I caring too much?

A majority of the friends know that I don't like to see them with furrowed brows in consternation or anxiety and adopting a façade to suppress all worries from the public eye (although I'm guilty of doing it more than once). Inasmuch as I dislike their decision to do so, I understand there's always more to their choice than meets the eye; something that they are adamant of handling it alone and personally, perhaps?

With that, I have a confession to make.

The negative side of being thoughtful for acquaintances and friends is that I won't have any idea if I have been taken advantaged of or being griped about without my knowledge - or so I have heard recently, but harbor no intentions of investigating (there are traces of a lack of probity and candor, mind you). The contents have been withheld from me for my own protection; according to the chum, she doesn't want to hurt me with the spoken words as she knows it bears no weight and how sensitive I am.

But what has been said aloud about me cannot be rescinded as walls have ears and the winds carry tales.



It'll be a tad bit too tardy for any repentance when I choose to stop caring about anyone or anything. A person's patience is never infinite; there's always a boundary where, once crossed, takes the person beyond the point of no return. That will be me. I'm not made of sterner stuff; I'm merely masking myself with the façade and stoicism and letting my actions speak for itself.

By then, I'll be a much happier lass, working towards her dreams and goals.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mushroom and Potato Quiche

There's not much to accomplish on a Sunday, especially if you're having a lack of sleep due to the previous day's matters. Having the mood for something light yet satiating, I ransacked the fridge for the leftover items and the ingredients that were recently purchased to bake... quiche!

If you're unaware of its humble roots, a quick search with Wikipedia would reveal that even though it's a typical French dish, it originated from Alsace-Lorraine, and means "cake" in the German language.

Mushroom and Potato Quiche



Pastry Crust
2 bowls of flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup water

Directions: Preheat oven to 200C and oil a suitable baking dish.

In a bowl, mix flour, salt and butter until it forms into a dry-like consistency.



Slowly add the water and continue mixing the batter by hand, adding more water or more flour whenever necessary.



Once the dough has been formed, knead it on a clean working space and incorporate the excess flour.



Roll it into an inch thick in width.

Turn the pre-oiled baking dish upside down and use the base to measure the actual width of the required crust, trimming away any excess piece.

Carefully lay the dough into the aforementioned dish. Stab it with a fork, creating an escape route for the air and heat while blind baking.





Blind bake at 250C for 10 - 15 minutes.

Filling



2 eggs, beaten
4 Tbsp chopped cooked pumpkin
6 medium-sized Swiss button mushroom


Mushrooms

310g spinach, washed and chopped
1 tofu, cut into cubes and mashed
2 small-sized chopped cooked sweet potatoes


Tofu and sweet potatoes

1 medium-sized carrot, grated or sliced

The one I used is the purple carrot, but feel free to substitute it with the orange type.

1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions: In a pot of boiling water, blanch the spinach for 5 minutes or until soft.



Strain the water and lay the cooked spinach on a separate plate to cool.



In another bowl, pour the eggs in.



Mix milk, salt, nutmeg and pepper together and leave aside.





Chop the spinach into fine pieces.

Arrange the pumpkin and sweet potato around the baked crust.



Followed by the spinach...



Succeeded by the tofu...



Before being joined by the mushroom...



And last but not least, the egg mixture...



Bake at 180C for 30 to 40 minutes or until a stick inserted comes out clean.







Cool for 5 - 10 minutes and use a knife to cut around the side to loosen the quiche before transferring into a serving plate.



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