Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Monsoon

Monsoon season has been here for more than a month and we had plenty of rain everywhere. It causes havoc at times when traffic are at a standstill on major highways. Or when it rain overnight, I will wake up to a mini pond-like all over the garden.  I love the rain, just not when I am travelling or getting up for work, so rain on weekends are the best, though it's not really up to me to control the weather as it seems to be a bit cranky  nowadays.  I wanted to take those pretty droplets photos, so off I went to dust off the good ol' 'big camera' (aka the dslr) as my son calls it. Seriously, it took me a few minutes to remember how to use it and that poor camera has been under-used ever since we had the compact one. However, I must say as convenience as the compact it...there are instances where photos can't be as good as the dslr, especially on fast moving ones.  Anyway, here are some shots I took in my garden yesterday.


Love those tiny droplets on this lotus stem.


A favourite flower of mine, it blooms first in yellow and then red..though I still don't know it's name.




We don't have a Christmas tree at home but have two sweet flowering orange jasmine tree with tiny white flowers  flanking our main door. I was trying to capture the a droplet of water on my crystal ball..which I hang many on the tree. On sunny days, we get hundreds of rainbow rays permeating into the home :)


Another fav of mine, my pink lotus which went into hibernation for the longest time.  With lots of over-fertilization (it worked!) and lots of rain, it started to bloom non stop again.




I am a sucker for water plants, so here's my water lily and I planted two different colours in one pot!



Just throw in a water lettuce or two and watch it grow like crazy, here they are sharing with the lily.




The largest bloom and lotus of all is this white lotus, opened fully it measures a good 6 to 7 inches across, however, it's such a pity as it bloomed only for 2 to 3 days and fade away.  However, it does smell divine, not strong but very mild and sweet.


While I love all these photos, I must say this is my favourite. It's from the white lotus.


An old lotus pod which had shed all it's petals, waiting to be cut and thrown away. However, I just love how those droplets of water looked like small diamonds on it, each on it's own and I was careful not to touch it as I'd probably won't get the same effect again.

In less than two weeks, school holidays will be over and we will be back to our normal busy work-school-tuition-after class-dancing class-and other lessons routine with the kids.  They've had a pretty laid back December and missing their friends. December seemed to have zoomed past and at times I wondered what I have been doing for this month, except for that soon...I am a year older and have to think of what  I want to do for 2011. I've decided to skip the normal 'resolutions' since most of them are the same as like 10 years ago, eg..loose some weight (sigh....) but one thing kept popping in my mind and I hope to practice is - organic living. To eat healthily and as close to nature as possible...not being vegetarian but generally, we eat very little red meat but lots fish and vege, but we do want to cut down tremendously on eating out - which are basically junk and MSG laden. To finally exercise (eek..such a scary word haha!) but really, I will do more than think about it.

I've had a couple of requests from friends on unfinished post on Vietnam and Indonesia and hope to find time to post more.  It's always an issue with me, I take a long time to finish a post of any trip and by the time I do it, like a few months later, sorting hundreds of photos become another chore ..and as for remembering what I did then, is another problem.  However, I do want to travel more and want to cover a few more countries I have been dying to go.  China, India and Korea will be on my list in 2011..and more of Indonesia as well.

So, to all my buddies, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays too.

Cheers :) M

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Docklands, Waterfront City, Melbourne

I hope everyone had a good time shopping. I know I have and still lots of Christmas shopping to do..seems like never ending. The malls here are all fully decorated with everything Christmas-y, the children are excited and with the school holidays on, it only meant busy and packed everywhere.

Going on to Melbourne.  When I was looking for a place to stay in Melbourne, somehow, I stumbled upon Docklands. I had no idea where or how it was but looking at the website while scouting for an apartment, I really liked Studio Lane, Docklands.  Jason, our contact there was super helpful with lots of information about Docklands. Studio Lane was the home to Harbour Town shopping , which was a brand new direct outlet area. We lived a lift away and just above Harbour Town and obviously very popular on weekends as it was so crammed on the free tram.  I was sold on the idea by Jason, shopping at Harbour Town downstairs, 3 minutes tram ride to Melbourne City and the   Free City Shuttle bus  came round every hour or so.

The apartment we stayed was practically brand new. We had a two rooms with a sleeping couch, just perfect for a family of 5. I am sure there are plenty of nice place to stay in Melbourne, but if you want to stay close to the city and have the Waterfront City within reach, plus retail shopping at door step, here's the place.

This was the apartment we stayed. Very clean, it had everything you want for cooking, dishwasher, washing machine (so good to go home with clean clothes :), dryer, iron, fridge..a complete home to stay for a few days.



My blog friend Gina recommended DFO, which I did go in Melbourne.  DFO was good, but I have to say our preference was here - Harbour Town shopping. Maybe because we lived just above and got everything we wanted.


There was a free city tourist bus frequently here but we preferred the free City tram to the city and all the tourist areas we wanted to go. Super convenient!  If we missed it, we just hop on the pay tram. We did sat the wrong tram two times, but just hop off to either Flinders Street or Southern Cross Station, and we were on the right track. BTW, Docklands is the first (or last) stop for this tram.

Here's Danial dozing off while taking a ride to the city.


Photo taken outside our apartment's balcony.




The Waterfront City was just a five minutes walk from our apartment and here's sharing the pictures. A wonderful place with lots of fine dining facilities.

Enjoying sunset at Waterfront City. Go to here for more information. It was a beautiful place and I think not to be missed and I would stay here again the next time.









A fav shot of mine. Though it looked gloomy here, it did not rain and we had perfect weather throughout our stay in Melbourne.



Cheers to all :P

Monday, 6 December 2010

Still on Sydney

Hello everyone and hope your weekend was good.  While we were in Sydney, we took a day tour as it saves time and the advantage of the tour was you do get some of the best views ever. After the cold in the mountains, it was very welcoming here. The weather was fine and just wonderful to see everything :)



Loved the views here!


The famous Opera house!





We stopped by Bondi beach, bright and sunny!


At the end of the tour, we were dropped off at Darling Harbour and got the chance to walk around and be closer to the Opera House.  Obviously it was a very busy area with many people around taking photos.





Walking around and the kids took pictures with some Aboriginals performing. He was showing Elissa how to use the boomerang...but not really throwing it. I really like this picture I thought taking pictures with them was definitely a highlight of the day.


We could not miss the chance to hop on the Captain Cook's luncheon cruise to have another beautiful views of everything. Highly recommended and should not be missed.

 More views from our boat.



When we finished off the cruise, the kids wanted to go here :)


Kids got the chance to get up close again with the Koala :) 


Some re-production of aboriginal paintings within the Wildlife centre.


Kangaroos enjoying the sun :)


At the Sydney Aquarium, looking at this picture one would thought it was taken from a beach...





Leaving Darling Harbour..



..and going to Sydney tower..


..to have a 360 view of Sydney...


This was one of the views..




We took a walk back to our hotel at Hyde Park Inn, not exactly very near but it was a good walk and we were happy to have did that as we got to stroll pass the Queen Victoria Building.  They had the largest Swarovski Christmas Tree inside and from here, you could see part of it.


Upon entrance at the ground floor, this was the base of the tree. If you look up, you cant actually see the whole tree as it was huge but it was certainly very pretty.  It was covered with lots of swarovski crystal and as pretty as it looked, one cannot touch or take any crystal away..






Have a great week everyone :P  Stay warm for those having winter now and it's still sunny over here with lots of rain due to monsoon season.