Friday, 29 October 2010

A visit to the Australia Zoo

21st October 2010 (backdated update)

Who doesn't know Steve Irwin? It's such a huge loss that he passed away not so long ago. Thankfully, his passion for animals is still around and his legacy is continued by his wife, children and followers.

Because we missed visiting the zoo back in 2008, this time mummy was adamant that we visit the place. For this reason, we rented a car and drove almost an hour from the city. The zoo is located at Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah which is close to Sunshine Coast, Queensland. We spent the whole day there and it was surely worth the trip!

Here are some pictures that we took with animals at the zoo...

A must for tourists in Australia... taking pictures with kangaroos. Baby Safwan was happy too that he was smiling the whole time. Poor kangaroo though, it almost jumped when Safwan tiny hands grabbed his fur too hard... sorry kangaroo!

Thank goodness we were small enough to ride the cute little ponies. Some kids were frustrated since they exceeded the height limit.

A huge area of the zoo was dedicated for South East Asian animals, mainly elephants and tigers

In front of Tiger Temple

We caught some tigers in action ~ those were huge cats!

Wetlands - an area dedicated to some of Australia's beautiful birds that live near the waters

A pat at the sheep's thick fluffy body was phenomenal

Eye-to-eye with an eagle for the first time

We also watched a show at the zoo's crocoseum where we learn more (live) about elephants, snakes, birds and of course, crocodiles.

Hehehe... Nope, that's not a real turtle!

But this one is! We were lucky to come across a Tasmanian Devil ~ awake during the day although these animals are nocturnal

And here are some more of the animals that we saw... clockwise from the top: comodo dragon, cheetah, Australia's own echidna and cassowary, a huge snake and giant turtles.

Microwave magic

20th October 2010 (backdated update)

On our initial to-do list while in Brisbane was to have dinner at baby Rania's parents home in Kelvin Grove. We were to do some grocery shopping and then cook there. Unfortunately, uncle Sateria was caught up with work and had to postpone his trip to Brisbane.

To make up for the failed plan, our parents decided to do some cooking using the only equipment in our hotel room ~ a microwave! On our menu was chicken rice, mussels soup and vegetables. In order to get halal chicken, in the afternoon, we went to China Town (Valley). We walked to the city and then boarded a bus that goes straight to our destination.

It was nice to be able to revisit the area once again, as we used to frequent the shops there in order to get our halal meat and seafood supply. Back then, we either hopped on a bus or boarded a train.

Chinatown had a slightly new look since the open area has been upgraded with partial roofs and some new statues. Other than that, everything was practically the same as before.

After our shopping, we went back to the city and straight away walked back to the hotel. On the way, daddy decided to stop by the Wheel of Brisbane. I have been begging him to board it and finally my wish came true. The ride took about 20 minutes with 4 revolutions. I was excited, but Safiya was a bit intimidated by the altitude.

Afterwards, we walked back to the hotel. One of the decorations that we find unique and mesmerising was a long canopy of Bougainvillea flowers (bunga kertas) that must have taken a long time to shape it as such.

Back at the hotel, mummy worked her magic and prepared our dinner. We also invited daddy's officemates and we had a satisfying meal.

It's amazing when a microwave is put together with a creative cook like mummy!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A happy reunion

19th October 2010*
(*another backdated update)

It's a bit sunny today and the temperature has gone up a few degrees. Thankfully it was just nice, a bit warm but not too hot and is a perfect day for going out.

In the afternoon, daddy had some time off from his conference and we decided to go to St. Lucia; the suburb that we spent most of our time back in 2008. That was where we lived for almost a year and it's the place where mummy went to university and I went to kindergarten!

After a few days of shutting down due to murky waters, Brisbane's famous City Cat (water taxi) opens again today. It was really convenient for us since the City Cat jetty was close to our hotel and it goes direct to the university.

Once we arrived, our first stop was of course my old kindy! At first we planned to make a surprise visit but then our parents thought that asking the school first would be better just in case it was a term break holiday. Although we informed them that we would be coming, but we didn't specify any date, as such it was a surprise for my teacher after all.

From far, we can already hear a familiar friendly voice. Daddy and I ran up the stairs and went inside the school in search for my lovely teacher ~ Miss B... and there she was looking all pretty in red! Mummy, Safiya and baby Safwan waited anxiously on the school ground until Miss B came out and greeted them with her big smile. Hehehe... Miss B said that our parents "got busy" and she couldn't stop admiring our cute baby brother.

I was happy but a bit nervous when Miss B started making conversations with me. Thanks to my good English (ahem!), it went well. I even recited 2 poems that I had learnt at school for lovely Miss B. When asked about my favourite subject at school, I said it's adding and subtracting. Hehehe... mummy was surprised with my answer ~ she didn't know that Math is my favourite. We also gave two souvenirs from Brunei, one for Miss B and another for Miss Miller who unfortunately was not at school at that time.

It was such an unforgettable experience going back to my old school. We never thought that we would be able to go there again due to the costly air tickets but hey, we did! Lucky us!

After saying good-bye to Miss B, we took a walk around mummy's university and took some pictures before boarding a bus to go to Hawken Drive; the place where we always buy groceries with NiniLaki on foot. It was still the same except that Coles supermarket has been replaced by another supermarket.

After that, we walked back to the university and hopped on a bus to go to Toowong Village. This was our favourite shopping place, especially for mummy and Nini Bini. Amazingly, it still is our favourite and we bought lots of clothes and some kitchenware. We also revisited the fruits market and bought some white flesh nectarines and avocados.

Then, we waited for a taxi at the basement and went back to the hotel.

Wow! I just cannot believe that we could relive the experience once again!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Our first day in Brisbane, Australia

16th October 2010*
(*a backdated update)

We arrived in Brisbane, Australia at about 5 am in the morning, Brisbane time (3 am Brunei time). Being overly confident about the warm weather since it's almost summer, daddy decided that light jackets are enough. Apparently not! On board the plane while we were approaching land, the pilot informed the passengers that it's about 16 degrees outside! Thankfully, we didn't have to wait long for a taxi and we were at the hotel within half an hour after landing.

For our whole trip, we will be staying at the Rydges Hotel in Southbank which is across the Brisbane river from the city centre. Funny enough, throughout our one year stay in Brisbane back in 2008, we had never explored Southbank although it's really close to our home at that time. Perhaps having two small children somehow limits mummy's adventure mode and decided that staying home was the best thing to do.

Anyway, we were given a double bedroom at Rydges, i.e. we had a large room with two queen beds. We also have a small kitchen area with a microwave and a sink and the room has a balcony too.

After taking a short nap and freshening up, daddy and I explored the area at the vicinity of the hotel in search for a supermarket nearby. It was a fun, cold and windy walk and we did manage to locate the place and did some grocery shopping.

Afterwards, we all went to explore Southbank on foot. Hehehe... now I realise that not all countries are the same. If we were in Brunei, we'd definitely be going around in our car but here, walking is the way to go. I felt a bit tired and occassionally complain about my aching legs whilst Safiya was relaxed as she sat on the pram most of the time. Hehehe...

Amazingly, Southbank is the centre of culture in Brisbane. Firstly, we visited a man-made beach about 5 minutes walk from the hotel. It was too cold to have a dip as such we continued strolling along the riverbank.

We took some pictures along the way...

Brisbane city across the river

In front of a Pagoda replica

The famous Wheel Of Brisbane

Walking along one of the bridges that connect Southbank to the city. In Brunei, this could be a bridge connecting Bandar Seri Begawan to areas like Sungai Kebun / Lumapas (that would be nice!)

After a short visit to the city, we walked back to Southbank and visited the museum. I was extremely excited because there are lots of animal displays, and my favourite was of course the dinosaur! We also learned about other animals, experiment what it would feel if we were to have wings and see how big a dinosaur egg must have been.

After all the excitement, we decided to call it a day and spent the rest of the evening resting. What an enjoyable first day in Brisbane!