Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Enormous, enormous bite it is...

I had been forewarned. But somehow, sleep deprivation from boarding the night flight must have temporarily shut down some synapses in my brain, affecting my ability to recall what my friends had warned me before back home. where was I? (Just kidding)


The three of us took a shuttle bus on that sunny morning on a ride to Melbourne central. 

Blue skies everywhere. Waving trees in the breeze. A very English-y Indian/Punjabi bus driver who helped us with our luggage into the small metal container on wheels behind his bus, who asked us, "Aye, where arh-yoo stopping?" Ahh..a working foreigner...

We took the JetBus from Tullamarine Airport, paid AUD15 each to Beckett Street, near to where we were supposed to stay. 

Half an hour later, we were dropped off in front of Nomads backpackers, as our lodging was right opposite the road, and behind the quaint shops and apartments. My goodness, I thought to myself. This street looks right out of a scene from The Sims or SimCity! As we were a bit too early to check-in to the apartment room we booked, we had to linger for a while around the town that was quite empty. Pretty buildings, nice roads, beeping traffic lights and not many people to be seen!

Lady Luck must have been shining down on us with her spotlight that very morning. A kind old Aussie "uncle" noticed us standing there with luggage and all, had approached us and offered us some help with directions. How kind of him! Chanchan told the uncle, "We are looking for somewhere nice to sit down to have coffee!" and I had asked if he could point us out to the nearest location. The very nice Mr.-We-Did-Not-Ask-For-His-Name took us to his favourite cafe nearby for a cuppa on La Trobe Street (where we stood).

Being tired and hungry, we went straight to the counter and placed our breakfast orders. Forgetting that being Asians, we have much smaller stomachs. Looking at the purple menu behind the counter, I ordered a Raisin Toast and a Cappuccino - cost me, I think it was AUD6.40 altogether

Raisin toast sounded exciting! I never had raisin toast back in KL. It was either butter or kaya jam on toast. Interestingly, the cafe also had free WiFi.  Chanchan's sister and myself took the opportunity to Instagram so we could show our families and friends what we have been up to, and that we had safely reached Melbourne. While checking in online, the food came, I couldn't help but be in awe... 2 pieces of toasts sliced diagonally and arranged in a criss-cross manner. Each diagonal slice was as big as my face. And then my brain synapse suddenly rebooted from its hibernation and brought me into a momentary, swirling (exaggerated!) time lapse, back to what my friend Angie had told me. 

"Becareful when you order food because the portion is really big. You could order for sharing with your friends."

Well, what could I do then? I had no choice but to wallop at most 3 pieces of toasts. Luckily, they tasted really GOOD! Raisins and syrupy butter melted into the golden brown toast, coupled with a cup of Cappuccino served warm which was accompanied by a strawberry wafer stick for some sweetness on the tastebuds. Satisfying, really.

My breakfast in the photo doesn't look big enough. I had forgotten to pose with my toast for a face-to-toast comparison..hehehh. 

But I swear, the toast was HUGE!

Looking around, we noticed the other patrons of the cafe had bigger portions of food. As they were Australians, it wasn't a biggie to them. We even saw a man ordering a breakfast platter. That dish could feed the 3 of us for two square meals, go figure.

Ah well, having a taste of what Melbourne locals usually eat on a weekday morning was great! Although we could not finish up whatever was left on the plate, I felt happy to have tasted good coffee together with the giant raisin toast.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Flying in the dead of the night

The bright lights emanating from the aircraft's lavatory woke me up again. Dang, I should have bought the eye mask I saw earlier on at the shop in LCCT. Flying at night has its perils. We were given AirAsia's first row of Hot Seats - the ones in the middle of the plane. I told Chanchan, "How nice it is to be able to stretch my legs!". And she said "Yeah, wait till you experience people walking past going to the loo." And so, she was right. My sleep disrupted by the bright lights and shuffling of the lavatory shutters. If only I had the eye mask... Talk about being unprepared. Lesson learnt!

While I drifted in and out of my sleep, I noticed the passengers' "airport fashion". I had heard about this term from the Kpop variety shows - whenever celebs are jet-setting, there's a small window of opportunity for fans and papparazzi to catch a glimpse of what the Kpop celebs are wearing. And then, they would make a fuss of the style the celebs bring down from the plane. I took a glance at Chanchan. Her "airport fashion" was a black hoodie over tights and green, army-print sneakers. While her sister had pink boots strapped on. Sound trendy? :D

I believe that some people have compartmentalized in their head, certain clothings to wear when they are boarding a plane. While most of us do it casually, some like it eye-catchy. On the other hand, a handful of  passengers did it in their own stride, wearing sleepwear and bringing pillows; the type you would drool on at home. Respect earned. I would be too shy for that!  As for myself, I had been wearing my fave batgirl Tee, harem pants and a nice chequered stole I got from Uniqlo, KLCC. This piece of warm cloth saved my skin throughout my backpacking trip. (More on that later!)

And so, back to where I was being groggy...I - COULDN'T - SLEEP. The aircon was blowing icy-cold and I sat there observing people going in and out of the lavatories. The sound of toilets flushing was akin to a vacuum. Sucking human waste into a (black hole?). And then my mind started drifting towards how the people at the airport would handle the waste. That's what sleepiness did to me.

Many moments of imaginary thoughts later all going in confusing directions, an announcement came. We were almost reaching our destination. A blonde "angmoh" lady in a black skirt - (yes, a skirt. How could she stand the cold!) was pacing up and down the aisle and doing side lunges to stretch herself. We smiled and said hi while she unabashedly stretched in front of the sleeping couple on my left. Gosh, maybe that's just the shy me being doing such thinking again. I told myself I shouldn't think it looked strange! Everyone should do the same that she did, when they are strapped onto their seats for 8 hours.

Others were still sleeping with their colourful eyemasks on. A few ladies were queueing up with their toothbrushes for their turn to use the lavatory. Another lady came out from the lavatory looking fresh with full makeup on. I was thinking, "Wow.. what sorcery makeup can do."  Couldn't think straight at all. All the nonsense started sprouting again like mushrooms in my head. What I could think of then later on, was SLEEP!  And so I looked to my left. Dawn was approaching. What nice colors the sky has when you are up above the clouds!

While groggy, I did myself a favour and took a photo. Although the color green did not appear in this photo. I swear there was a layer of bright green... the colours were almost the full spectrum of a rainbow. I had hijacked the empty seat next to the girl sleeping in her pink windbreaker and colourful eyemask and this is what I have shot.

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