Friday, January 31, 2014

Perth: Day Fifteen

I can't believe how swamped I am with my academic schedule.

Let's see, I have two Media Arts assignments that include a vision logo and a peer tutorial video and a Human Rights presentation for Law - all of which are due on the Friday after Chinese New Year. I'm less worried for English because the only remaining homework left is to complete the readings of Life of Pi. Not to mention, I have to cover the Student Council election results on the same day for Student Voice.

Sigh, what a busy day it will be.

I suddenly remembered that I haven't finished writing about my travel in Western Australia and pretty much squeezed some time out to settle. Days sixteen and seventeen will be published in a couple of days' time.

I'll make sure that it is up before I return to campus.

Oh, Happy Chinese New Year to all of my friends and readers!

Day 15

It's an Anglican Church that we visited. No questions, please.

When the realization of not exploring Claremont Quarter while we were in the vicinity of Claremont knocked on our senses, we immediately knew that we had to return to the suburb again and pick up from where we left off from the previous day. Yes, we could've taken the bus down as another way of exploration but seeing that it was our second last day in Western Australia, it was best that we stick to the familiar routes for the fear of losing our way there.

Anyway, it was almost noon when we arrived and immediately headed for the health store to pick up a couple of items that aren't readily available in the organic stores in Kuala Lumpur - but certainly not before some photography sessions. Mama Carrie, being herself, demanded for my cell phone (I forgot to bring the digital camera out because it was running dangerously low on juice) and started capturing random photos of people and flowers.

I know what you're thinking, my dear readers. On one hand, I am complaining about the ridiculously high exchange rate yet on the other hand, we are buying things like we're not bothered at all. *shoots a glance at Mama Carrie* But she did say that if we were to care for the price after the conversion into ringgit, we can't even eat our meals.

Nope, I don't mean restaurant food.

While we were heading off, ready to head into town, the display of attractive heels on 70% discount in a shoe store attracted Mama Carrie's eyes, stopping her in her tracks. It only took her a split second before she dragged me inside with me, persuading me that if I wanted to buy a pair of heels for prom, it should be right now.

My eyes widened when I heard that because I intended to use for prom, the pair of 3" inch beige-colored heels from Vincci that she bought for me many years ago, not a brand new pair. After much convincing, I relented but since the store didn't have the particular color in my size, you'll have thought that she'd have surrendered, right?

Nope, she asked the sales assistant to check if other branches carried it.

We stopped by The Coffee Club for a late lunch when our stomachs begged for more fuel. Between us, we ordered a plate of Pumpkin Roll and two mugs of Cappuccino.

I really have no idea how much caffeine I have consumed throughout the stay in Western Australia, but I doubt it'll beat the amount I'm ingesting as a college student tackling the assignments a paper at a time. Believe me when I say that because there was once that I actually drank 4 cups of coffee just to stay focused on my academic work.

I thought that it'd be the end of our trip but no, when we were riding in the train cabin back to Perth Underground Station, Mama Carrie demanded that we take the Yellow CAT down to Harbor Town to buy that pair of shoes before someone else buys it after we caught a quick shower and a change of attire. Personally, I've always believed that if it's meant to be yours, it'll be yours. Plus, how am I going to match it with the prom dress of my choice? Both are of different colors.

Fighting back exhaustion, that's what we did. *rolls eyes*

This is the pair of heels that sent us from Claremont back to Harbour Town. >.<

It took us a while to find the store because although the shopping mall is of the same size as Subang Parade, there wasn't any personnel whom we could approach and seek for directions. Yup, I'm that serious. Claremont Quarter doesn't have an information centre. When we finally found the store (it was sandwiched in the quiet corner of the first floor), we checked with the sales assistant, who then confirmed that it was the last pair - in my size, that is.

I could see it in Mama Carrie's eyes that she was inferring that luckily, we came right away. If you were right there, you'd have seen how crazy we went with the shopping. There was some kind of discounts being offered that pretty much tempted us at every corner - from shoes to apparels.

The travel must have encouraged the digestion of the lunch because shortly after I paid for the heels, I felt a wave of hunger pangs torturing me. I didn't mind grabbing a sandwich from Subway, but we eventually decided on The Coffee Club (again!!)

The menus at Harbour Town and Claremont Quarter differed from each other, I must say.

Now, can you believe that we suspected for a moment that coffee grinders weren't sold in Kuala Lumpur? Not wanting to risk the chance, we went to Harvey Norman, which was behind Harbor Town, while we were still around and purchased a rather simple coffee grinder.

(My face dropped to the floor when we swung by the local branch of Harvey Norman and saw the coffee grinders grinning at me from the aisle. What?!)

Langley Park, taken during the sunset

Swan River, also taken during the sunset

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wordless Tuesday - 1/28/2014

After an extremely busy fortnight, I caught some time to swim to the surface for air and catch some breath. Even though I'm on the Chinese New Year break, there are still assignments to be done... hence this wordless (?) posts. While I clear the backlog and that of the blog's, that is.

Up until now, I still don't understand how I was able to create such an art. I remember being in my Period 6 Media Arts class, feeling bored and a little adventurous with the elements on Adobe Illustrator.

I call this "Malaysian Nemo". Don't ask me why; Mama Carrie suggested the name after seeing the image.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Perth: Day Thirteen

Since these last couple of days has been stressful for me, I shall let the post speak for itself.

Day 13

Smoke coated the morning air as we dashed across Hay Street from our hotel and up the drive to St. Mary's Cathedral to catch the 9.30 am Mass. Methinks that the wind might have blown the smoke from the Queensland bushfires westward hence the hazy-looking sky, which I didn't know will leave the temperature hovering around 39 degrees Celsius the next day.

I still can't believe that we were tardy even though we rose rather early, way before the alarm clock was given an opportunity to yell. Sigh, talk about rushing up on something at that very last minute. Anyway, the plan that we agreed upon the night before was to head straight down to Perth's Home Grown to catch some fresh local produce but because we rushed for the morning Mass, we returned to the hotel room to allow me some time to finish the leftover breakfast before continuing on with the journey.

Seating area for weary feet

Some of the stalls

What's your interpretation of this picture?

What is Perth's Home Grown, you may ask. It is the congregation of many stalls selling organic produce, fruits and food ranging from paella to ice popsicles. Because it was their first week after Christmas, there were fewer stalls and crowd hovering there. Don't worry, as the weeks pass, there will be more stalls and you'll start seeing more people thronging to Forrest Chase.

The first stop was the fruits section, where Mama Carrie bought lemons, avocados and plums (all of which she intended to and did bring home), followed by some thirst quencher in the form of a kiwi cucumber ice popsicles. I almost headed over to the booth selling liquid nitrogen ice cream but I was more anxious of the sweetness than of the method used. The cardboard sign "organic" hanging down from the tarpaulin layer of the stand caught our eyes and we headed there instead of leaving off.

The Popsicle Stall

Kiwi Cucumber Ice Popsicle

Organic Hot Dog

Organic Bread Loaves

Organic Pies

The organic beef pie that we bought was not chewy and rubbery as the one we ate at Cannington and contained way less salt than I expected. Mama Carrie paid for the organic free range chicken and bacon pie as well, but I can't remember the taste, unfortunately.

I was rushing up on the previous post when she was hand-feeding me with the pie.

The rest of the day was actually spent cooped in the chill of the hotel room and to the final match of the male's singles between Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and Switzerland's Roger Federer. Just because I don't watch tennis regularly doesn't mean that I can't enjoy it occasionally, right?

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Even though the dream was in fuzzy bits and pieces, it was enough to leave me in a deep wonder of the message it carried - since it wasn't long ago that I dreamt of something similar and one of the characters was being his usual playful self. I have no clue if both dreams are related and I'm hoping that they are not, but it probably means I'm overthinking about the orientation day group activities.

I dreamt that there was a meeting at the conference hall and I was one of those in attendance, taking important and relevant notes. It was in the late afternoon that the event came to a close and as the three of us departed the ballroom, we exchanged some short words before going our separate ways. Just as I walked past an older woman on the five foot way walking her pet monkey on leash with one hand and carrying a bucket of eggs being soaked in liquid with the other hand, it suddenly occurred to me that the monkey was actually a disobedient cat in its previous life after observing its body movements.

Shaking the random occurrence, it was shortly after that I was cornered by two men in front of the shop, who refused to let me break free. Each move that I tried to escape was hindered by them. They didn't do anything to me; they just left me standing there in fearful consternation. My eyes dilated with silent shock when I saw that approaching us was probably their mastermind and my World Issues classmate, Hooi, who wore a displeased and tortured look with his hands most likely tied behind his back.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Perth: Day Nine

Another week to go before we're on the flight out of Western Australia and thrown back into our daily schedule.... well, inasmuch as I want to be home, I'm not looking forward to studying under a pressure cooker.

Sorry, guys, expect to see me surrounded by multiple rounds of caffeine and loads of assignments.

Macaulay Park

Feeling in the mood for more exploration and familiarity, we boarded the Blue CAT from its Town Hall stop and alighted at Northbridge partly because of the two baby strollers occupying the cab of the sandwich-packed bus. We didn't browse through the smaller side of town and picked up random, interesting things because there was no one to ask and we didn't know where to go to. Satisfied with what we needed to see and growing extremely bored, we took the next bus to head off to our next destination: Perth Underground, where we changed to the Red CAT and rode down to Kings Park.

Not exactly; we actually walked from Ord Street all the way there.

Well, how can I describe the park?

First thing is foremost. There was loads of greenery with unique trees that can't be found in Kuala Lumpur, which led to Mama Carrie dubbing it as branded. Oh, not to mention, a couple of them were radiating a sweet fragrance in the air. This side of the park is rather quiet with very few people walking past, but head all the way up and that's where the crowd is - either sprawled on the smooth lawn under the cooling heat or enjoying a beef burger in the nearby cafe.

The lush scenery overlooking the Swan River and of Perth City is really, really beautiful and breathtaking. I'll let the pictures do the talking, again.

Kings Park


Partial city view

People chilling under the cooling heat

Tree branches

Another angle view

The beautiful sky above me

Come in from Ord Street, and you'll be engulfed in a wave of natural fragrance

Since the digital camera's battery died on us in the midst of the photography session and my cell phone was running dangerously low on juice, she called it a day and we were stumped for a while, thinking on how to return to the city without making the arduous journey back to the Ord Street bus stop and joined the queue for Bus No. 37 after seeking the assistance of a resting visitor. I knew that I needed to leave immediately and shot Mama Carrie a visual signal that it's time to hop off the bus (even though we'd have to walk a little further) when my ears were pounded upon by the incessant cries of an infant and the lackadaisical attitude of the mother. I scowled the moment we were out on the walkway that she was being inconsiderate to other passengers by not attempting to pacify the crying baby, oblivious to the waiting woman next to me.

A life-sized monument, commemorating the first Anglican Bishop of Perth, Mathew Hale, with a brief history about his accomplishments

It was another 500m or so before we arrived at Cloisters. Mama Carrie saw something that caught her eyes and instructed me to stand in front of the monument on the pretense of reading the history of the building while she took the pictures, ambushing me in one shot. Once she was done, we, again, hopped on the Blue CAT from there and left when it arrived at the Murray Street stop.

What was planned in the beginning as a window shop in the Levi's store at Forrest Place became a shopping trip in the end. She bought 2 pairs of jeans for AUD$100 (RM 300) and according to the sales assistant, who is originally from Hong Kong, a pair of Levi's in WA or rather the entire Australia is cheaper when compared to HK and Malaysia. As if that wasn't enough, we slipped into Woolworths to catch some groceries and returned to the hotel by foot with exhaustion and a stomach ache on my part.

I collapsed onto the bed in fatigue and kept reminding myself that once I'm home and settled, I'd probably need to book a slot with the masseur to relieve and soothe those sore muscles before the second part of a stressful and sleep-losing schedule.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Perth: Day Eight

The incessant noise from the television dragged me out of Dreamland and left me with puffy eyes as I rolled myself down the bed in the morning. A quick check with the iPad would show that it was 9 am and 90 minutes later, after a quick breakfast and a shower, we were out the door, taking the Red CAT to Wellington Street and alighted from the bus at Forrest Chase before catching the train to Cannington from the Perth Train Station. If there's one thing I noticed, it's that there is no one manning the ticket booth but the ones for the reloading and application for a SmartRider card. Costs on labor management are tremendously lowered but it may pose significant difficulties for tourists in purchasing the tickets. Mine, I jumped on the wagon and went for the Standard type since that was the simplest.

Don't worry, readers, if you're not familiar. I'll be penning something that resembles a traveler's guide for first-timers in Perth, pulling all experiences from our explorations (yes, that'll include the shopping centre that we've visited) when I'm able to squeeze some time out after the Orientation Day as I've not planned the activity or the personalized design to draw on the T-shirts to be given on that day itself. Creativity and I have never been on the same page and especially since after the disastrous results at the I Am Seminar.

Anyway, we didn't need to wait long for the train to arrive at the station. Even if we did miss it, it will take us roughly about 10 minutes before we're able to catch the next one. The cabin was surprisingly cleaner than I expected as the floor was clear of any litter and the seats were in a perfect condition. Not a single wear and tear could be found. Growing up in an area where trash can be found in public transports, I am surprised at the willingness and civic consciousness practiced by the citizens in Perth to maintain the cleanliness. Gosh. If the Malaysian Transport Minister ever finds himself visiting Western Australia or its neighbor and utilizing the public transport, he or she should open his or her eyes wide enough to observe the spotlessness and efficiency of both the bus and train and implement some better changes back home. As almost everyone in Kuala Lumpur knows, our public transport is in dire need for severe improvement especially the ones I mentioned.

Cannington Train Station is in the midst of a quiet suburb with not many souls or traffic on the road. Feeling lost, we sought help from a kind, friendly Aussie who was more than willing to show us the directions to Westfield Carousel (after a quick check with Google Maps), which was a ten minute walking distance away. There was a fright; we were almost ambushed by the three young Aussie chaps on skateboards who shouted something at us as we treaded to the mall. Please, I know what it means (since I've friends in Sydney and Melbourne who've experienced something far worse than this) and rolled my eyes behind those fellows when we were far away from them.

Just as we thought we were losing our legs to the exhaustion, we passed by IGA Supermarket and sneaked through the car park of Carousel's before arriving at the entrance. We loitered around the mall and eventually found what we were looking for: the elusive New Zealand Natural. Truth be told, the main reason behind our trip down to Centro Galleria was because of this and we landed there only to find that the branch has closed down, pfft!) Whether it was because of the lack of sleep again on my part or the language barrier on the sales assistant's part, the flavor order that Mama Carrie desired differed from the one paid for and that earned me a rebuke.

Gee, if I knew, I'd have paid more for the baggage weight and included her name in it as well.

Since New Zealand Natural was in the food court and a double scoop wasn't enough to satiate the hungry stomach especially after the mishap, Mama Carrie veered off to the Korean restaurant and after much hesitation and thoughts, chose the beef bulgogi.

AUD$ 9.90 (around RM 29.70) for a plate of beef bulgogi, which comes with two types of vegetables: cucumber and juicy bean sprouts. The kim chi on the side would set you back by AUD$ 2.00 (RM 6.00).

Here's the address, if you need it: Arirang bibimbap + T/A, Carousel Food Court, 1382 Albany Highway, Cannington, WA 6107

Loads of onions and leeks were used in the stir-fried beef, probably in an effort to mask the strong smell of the meat but it slightly reeked and a little chewy. Whether this is the natural texture of the beef or it is overcooked, I won't be able to tell because I rarely have it and in those lucky days, it's in the form of meatballs either at Ikea or in Subway's Meatball Marinara.

I'll have to warn you that unless you're starved for fuel, you might want to share this dish with a companion.

Oh, did I mention about the biscuits for the carbohydrate lover?

On the return trip, we toyed with the idea of taking the Red CAT from the pick-up station that was just next to the train station back to Victoria Avenue but chose to walk through Forrest Chase since Mama Carrie realized that she needed to head down to Woolworths to catch a packet of coffee powder. While she was inside Levi's, perusing the apparel that the store was selling, I almost tripped on the makeshift hump after taking a picture of the Christmas tree.

After I set aside the heavy bags from our shopping, my legs finally gave way and were glued to the carpeted floor of the hotel room for 10 minutes before I was able to pull myself up and head off for a hot, refreshing shower.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Perth: Day Seven

Day 7

For the second time in this week, as the sun brightened the hotel room with its radiance, I woke up shortly before 8 am with puffy eyes and only because Mama Carrie chased me out of bed, nudging me to rise and shine. She said that it was of no use to loll in bed any longer and should haul my butt up to take full advantage of the day.

Victoria Park

Well, what do you expect? Even as I'm penning this post, she remarked that I looked incredibly exhausted and should catch some rest while doing my facial mask. You see, it was only at 1 am that I was able to fall asleep amidst the quiet sobs and that was because I forced myself to do so, knowing that there was a day of exploration ahead of us. I needed to or I'll be looking and feeling like a possessed zombie. As a matter of fact, I feel like a walking panda at this current moment with the permanent green shadows under my eyes. Throw in some black eye-shadow, and I'll really be one, much to the chagrin of my loved ones.

Anyway, right after breakfast, we threw on our most comfortable footwear and took the short walk to the nearby bus stop in Barrack Street where we boarded Bus No. 55, heading to Morley Bus Station at the advice of the hotel receptionist. When we arrived at our destination, it was an hour later and Centro Galleria (formerly known as Morley Galleria) was within a five-minute walking distance.

Water Labyrinth, Forrest Chase

We browsed through the entire building, looking for the kiosk selling that premium New Zealand ice-cream brand to no avail. Surrendering to fate, we landed in Cafe Galleria, where we shared a Steak and Mushroom Pie and a Flat White before heading over to Target since the store was offering the year-end sale.

The Pie

The Coffee

There were such good bargains around the gallery that we ended up purchasing more than we should and struggled to bring them back to the hotel as even though the bus stop was next to Murray Street (or rather in Forest Chase, to be exact), there was still the five-minute walk to tackle.

Not to mention, Mama Carrie adamantly insisted to buy that bulky item from David Jones.

Town Hall, Hay Street

I was surprisingly able to lug the items and sustain even with the exhaustion until we arrived in our hotel room, where my legs immediately gave way and I collapsed on the floor. I stayed seated there until I recovered some of the lost energy to drag myself to catch a refreshing warm shower. Man, I can understand if I've been shopping the whole day back home because Kuala Lumpur's humidity can easily zap the energy out of anyone but here? Here in Western Australia, where the weather is much cooler and windier?! It's either the lack of sleep (again) or the realization that we've been on our paws the whole day.

Mr. John Roe, the first Surveyor-General for Western Australia, who chose the current locations for Fremantle and Perth's CBD

I was pretty much glued to the mattress until the next morning, only leaving whenever necessary and unavoidable.

Wombat Lodge, Barrack Street

This shop has loads of goodies that are worth buying home. Mama Carrie bought my tote bag from here. ^_^

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Perth: Days Three and Four

I'm pounding my head to Flyleaf's Dear My Closest Friend while penning this post on days three and four of my vacation in Western Australia. Yeah, I know that it is an emotional and sad song that tugs at one's heart. In fact, my eyes went all glassy the first time I listened to it but the thing is, that's how I'm feeling now: sad and a little homesick.

Sigh, I wonder how I'm going to cope when I'm heading abroad to further my studies if I can't sail through this.

I've to apologize if it sounds like I'm crapping away. I'm writing off memory here and it's quite difficult to remember every little detail when you've a companion who has an overworked mind.

Day 3

The last couple of days were hectic, like really hectic and stressful partly because I treaded around the city in the wrong footwear. I'd have brought my pair of sport shoes instead of the heeled sandals and avoid suffering from aching paws if I knew that other parishioners were wearing athletic shoes to attend Mass. When Mama Carrie whined that she needed to catch something edible after that since we didn't eat breakfast, I remembered passing by Croissant Express en-route to the grocery store that we went to on the first day and suggested that we sample their sandwich with cappuccino.

Sandwich and coffee at Croissant Express, Hay Street

Man, the type of sandwich that Mama Carrie ordered was great! It was au natural with no sauce and contained less salt than the ones I'm buying back home. Man, if my Writer's Craft lecturer were to read this post, I think I'm going to get a sweet lecture from her for not being descriptive enough but I doubt I have a choice here. It's been many days since we visited Croissant Express and I doubt if the unique taste is still lingering on my taste buds.

A monument commemorating the lives lost during the battles of World War II

Entrance to Murray Street Mall

After ensuring that we were satisfied by the meal, we happily walked down the street to Murray St. Mall where there was a Boxing Day sale offered by most of the retail outlets there. I'll have to say that the Christmas discounts offered here are more genuine and even though I'd have loved to buy more than the goodies mentioned on Facebook, I couldn't because everything seemed terribly pricey after conversion. =(

We took the Red CAT (Central Area Transit) to Forrest Place where we switched buses and sat on the Yellow CAT, heading for Harbor Town in search for the nearby Harvey Norman at City West Shopping Centre. I'll tell you why; Mama Carrie was toying with the idea of purchasing a coffee machine here and bringing it back home but couldn't because of the ludicrous weight. There's no way we can check it in or hand-carry it on flight without incurring some type of cost (either a fine or the burdening of the shoulder muscles).

One of the four free bus plying the city routes

The return trip home was next to horrendous. Because the Yellow CAT was sardine-packed with the loads of shoppers from Harbor Town, I was sandwiched in between passengers of various ethnicity from Asia in the bus and swear that I heard a range of Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Indonesian and Malay being thrown around. Exhaustion washed over me while we rode in the Red CAT back to the hotel and what we usually eat for breakfast, we had it again for dinner: a spread of softened organic butter, feta cheese and avocados on the sliced sourdough bread from Woolworths and a mug of oats with skim milk.

Gosh, I'm aware that there's a long period of school holiday back home but we weren't expecting to see so many Malaysians here, especially in the hotel where we're staying at. I should've seen it coming when I saw so many red passports and overheard conversations in Malay at the Customs. Oh, wait; I can't believe how affordable the edible goods are in the Australian dollar. The Milk Arrowroot that I've loved would have set me back by about RM9 in Cold Storage, but here, it was only AUD$2 (RM6).

Day 4

Seeing that we needed to confess our sins before the Sunset Mass, there wasn't much we could do but take the slow ride down to Swan River, which surprisingly was about a two-minute walk away from the hotel. =) Even before we could reach the place, I felt the breeze messing with my ponytail and engulfing me with.... a weird feeling that has since stuck and screwed with my emotions.

It happens whenever I'm in a windy area.

Overlooking the Swan River

I was a little envious that Western Australians were lucky to have such a humungous lawn to exercise and play with their dogs by the river. Yes, you heard that right; the locals here are allowed to bring their lovely pets only if they clean up after them, maintaining the beauty of Langley Park. There's no way in the world you can have this in Kuala Lumpur. The park near my childhood residence can't even beat this as there's a high-tension electrical poles and the countless parking bays for the specialists working at Sime Darby Hospital (formerly known as SJMC).

I'll let the photographs that Mama Carrie and I captured do the talking since pictures speak a thousand words.

Langley Park

A collage of pictures of Langley Park and Swan River

The lovely river view

The cycling and walking path at Swan River, surrounded by the river view and trees

Sunset view

Sunset view

More pictures can be viewed at The Tempremental's Perth, Western Australia album.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Perth: Day One

I really don't want the situation between me and my good friend to influence the remaining days in Western Australia as I'm supposed to be enjoying every moment spent here, exploring the city and its suburbs and not sitting in front of Swan River, feeling lost.

So, how was the first day in the city like?

Well, having to rise at 3.30am to prepare for the early morning flight was of no fun at all and as a result, my mind was turned topsy-turvy and not in its normal state. My eyes felt like it was to be sewn shut by the lethargy as I slid my way around the kitchen, preparing a quick breakfast to satiate our hunger before the hour-long drive to the airport.

Throw in the realization that the clouds threw buckets of showers during the journey as well...

2.5 hours later, after the smooth check-in and attempting to no avail to find a Coffee Bean retail outlet, we were at the airport's Starbucks, savoring cappuccino to temporarily knock back the weariness as we retired to bed rather late the night before.

Duty Free Area, Perth International Airport

The moment we arrived on the grounds of Perth International Airport and alighted from the aircraft into the duty-free area, I was taken aback with the growing queue at the Customs before noticing the Singapore Airlines stewardess queuing at the special lane. Ah, so two planes (AirAsia X and SIA) disembarked at the same time, leading to a rush of passengers at one go.

Because Mama Carrie hid the pouch containing the AUD$100 that we converted at the money exchange centre and I didn't know where she placed it, I forgot to bring it along with us. Yes, I know I committed one of the serious mistakes in the traveler's book of tips as you can forget anything but the passport and adequate amount of money in the currency of the destination you can forget anything but the passport and adequate amount of money in the currency of the destination you're headed to. We'd have been stranded in the airport until our return trip home if it weren't for our Aussie debits cards that I remembered. As if that wasn't bad enough, on the Aussie yellow (Mama Carrie thinks it looks more orange than yellow) declaration card, I miswrote the current year of 2013 as my birth year before I realized the mistake, corrected it and initializing it before touchdown. It was a relief when the Immigration Officer didn't pay much attention to the mistakes and the ETA that we applied for showed in the system, immediately paving the way for a smooth entry.

After spending ten minutes waiting for the connecting shuttle bus with our luggage to Terminal 3 and another ten minutes thinking of what to do next there, we found ourselves sharing a cab with a sweet lady from Melbourne and a friendly lady from New Zealand's South Island, exchanging words of conversation while we all headed to our separate destinations. I didn't know that my tone of speech resembled a foreign accent when I was replying to the Melbourne lady's question until the Kiwi lady inquired if I was from Canada or the States. Whoa there! Like, really?! O.O

The amount of biscuits I bought - for my own consumption

The need to satiate the growing stomach and the giddy head grew by the hour and with that, we threw the luggage in the hotel room and set off in search for the nearest grocery store. There was no choice; we were exhausted to our core and needed to catch something light or suffer a wave of intense hunger pangs until the end of Christmas Day Mass.

We were slammed by the chilly evening wind the moment we stepped out on the streets and regretted in that instant for not bringing the cardigan from home along. Please don't flip, dear, but while we were pursuing the ample Australian edible products in the supermarket, a local shopper grazed the bottom of my pants (whether accidentally or on purpose, I won't know) and probably decided to make us uncomfortable by following especially me around.

He probably meant no harm, but it was still freaky enough.

The breeze intensified as we began the return walk on the eerily silent road to the hotel with the necessities such as fruits and milk on hand. It momentarily and mentally transported me back to the time spent in Taipei as I threw my head back and allowed the chill to engulf me.

Some random Christmas decoration at the hotel

That's pretty much how we spent Christmas Eve. We were supposed to attend the Vigil Mass at the nearby St. Mary's Cathedral, but the idea of treading to the hotel by foot an hour or ninety minutes later didn't fall well with me and crashed in early.
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