Archive for 2010

Australia: Twelve Apostles & Great Ocean Road

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Now, for that long overdue post of Great Ocean Road.

Don't say I didn't remember, coz I sure did. Apple didn't let me finish, and instead of being the flawless cool and non heart breaking laptop they proclaim to be, they broke my heart and even pissed me off that it took me days to cool down. In fact, I'm no where near entirely settled with them.

So let me begin with my (as per normal) introductory speech before I begin with the pictures.

Gosh, I swear it feels so ridiculous typing something that I have typed before.

Last year, when I headed to Melbourne I had only three free days there. My BIL brought me to a few places but Great Ocean Road was the one I'd say I wanted  to go to most. I'm a sucker for great views and green ocean, so how was I not to be attracted to Great Ocean Road?

Before my flight to Melbourne this year, I Googled (what would we all do without Google?) for picture of the well-known Great Ocean Road only to find the most stunning (some heavily edited, unless it's really stunning like that) pictures of that particular famous road.

We started our day bright and early but let me tell you something that I've learnt from this trip. Our bright and early was 10+ am and by the time we reached home it was very dark already! And we didn't even make many stops.

So if you wanna drive to great ocean road, start at 7 am! Seriously. Unless you're there during summer where night doesn't fall at freaking 6 pm!

We drove past the most stunning view of the ocean I wanted to stop each time I saw access to the beach. I was imagining the pictures I could take at the beach. Stepping into that beautiful green sea, digging my feet in the sand and standing atop the black rocks scattered on the shore.

But since my BIL was driving, and he was tired, I didn't want to trouble him. It's enough trouble I've caused making him drive me there. Next time I go to Melbourne, maybe I'll ask my husband to bring me to the beach only.

It's about an hour and half drive there. It wasn't as long as the 10 hours drive back and forth (including stopping for a quick lunch) to the twelve apostles.

Anyway, I slept through 3/4 of the way because I felt so nauseous in the car, sleeping was the only way to curb the feeling of throwing up even when my tummy was completely empty.

The road had so many bends and turns my head started spinning. It's amazing how my BIL managed to go through all that bends without complaining. I would have passed out by the 10th bend.

Credits to Google 

Got that picture from Google and see all the bends that road has. AND LOOK AT THE GORGEOUS SEA!

By the time we had lunch of the most awful Fish & Chips I have tasted in my life, at a place where we had to pay $1 (each) for tartar sauce, ketchup and thai sweet chilli while everywhere else in the world that I've had Fish & Chips provides those for free, I had to force the food down my throat coz the nauseousness hasn't subsided (and the food was horribly bad).

After our meal, we actually had a discussion whether or not to continue our drive to the twelve apostles. It's unbelievable I almost gave that place a pass! That 10 hours drive was totally worth it. Of coz for a person who got to sleep almost all the way, it was worth it. :X

The moment we saw the first sight of the sea, my BIL stopped the car (to a designated spot where car can stop) for me to take a picture. MashaAllah! Beautiful I tell you. I actually had thoughts of climbing over the fence to feel the sand and ocean. And, I was wearing a maxi skirt!

BIL brought us to the lighthouse (we didn't stop because we didn't want to waste time) and we passed a house. Cute! I would love to stay there. I'd grow many lemon trees in my garden.

Sheep. My BIL told me that sheep is already a plural form. I don't know. I only know of equipment and furniture. There were a lot of different animals along the way. No piece of land is entirely empty. There are a lot of animals to see when you drive along the roads in Melbourne.

There were horses, sheep and a lot (I really do mean a lot) or cows. The one I saw most were cows. Even the standard black and white cow people draw but not everyone get to see. The ones in Malaysia are always brown, I don't know why. I was so excited to be able to see black and white cows.

Those aren't black and white cows unfortunately. Where we stopped, the cows were plain black.

Nothing in particular. Just a view of a piece of empty land.

Our stop at the cafe that sold the most awful Fish & Chips!

After a long, long drive where I slept ALL THE WAY. We reached The Twelve Apostles. Before going there, I had no idea what the twelve apostles was. DON'T JUDGE ME!

I thought it was some place where people back in the day (or perhaps it being Australia, the aboriginals) had made large statues or I thought, it being specifically twelve there were totem poles or something like Stonehenge where they offered prayers and stuff.

Like I said, DON'T JUDGE ME.

As dumb as that sounded, I swear that was what I thought. Although not exactly totem poles since that's an Indian thing but who knows, Indians and Aboriginals kinda look the same. They've this natural reddish glow on their face.

By the time we reached there, the sun was already very low making it's way to the other side of the world, preparing the arrival of our lovely moon.

A must, touristy picture, first things first. The sun can set in the blink of an eye. I purposely chose to take a picture where you can only see the silhouette of myself. 

The ocean, the waves, the sand look so inviting I just wanna jump in. Of coz with the weather being cold, no one can survive being in the water for 30 seconds.

Waves crashed against the, erm, rocks? What exactly is the thing I am standing on? Rocks? Compacted mud? They're the twelve apostles by the way. The, let's call them rocks, rocks erode after many years while some end up being smaller rocks in the middle of the sea. 

There are twelve, they said, but some are hidden so you don't see all twelve of them.

Two of the twelve apostles.

Beautiful, beautiful place.

My BIL. I'm so thankful he drove me all the way here!

My BIL said, the Australian resident of 8 years, Melbourne is all about the long drives. 10 hours from the suburbs, where my BIL lives to get to the twelve apostles. Even if I were the one to drive, I'd say every single second and all energy exerted would be worth it.

Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 and is filed under .

Australia: Great Ocean Road, Melbourne

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Headed to Great Ocean Road last night and my goodness, God's creation is so beautiful no words would be able to justify just how beautiful nature, the way god had intended it to be, is.

BIL drove a total of 10 hours because I wanted to see great ocean road. How nice is that?

Well, these are the few pictures I took that day. It was unfortunate that during winter, night falls by 6pm. If we had been there during summer, we could have made stops to go to the beach, where I'd be able to take more stunning pictures.

Nevertheless, I truly appreciate my BIL's effort to drive me all the way there. Honestly, if I had to drive all 10 hours by myself, every second of it would be worth it.

Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge, Niagara Falls, Santa Monica Beach or even Hollywood Sign didn't take my breath away like this place did.

Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 and is filed under .

Los Angeles: Welcome to the land of fame excess

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Today was Day 7. It was our last day in Los Angeles. I was going to leave the next day and head back to humid and hot Singapore. Ooohhh, how I dreaded that thought.

While we were on the plane in Singapore on our way to L.A., I overheard a Caucasian lady commented how much she loved Singapore and wishes to stay here. Then she added, "That's what I say whenever I go on a vacation!" It got me thinking that she might be right.

Look at what I did on my holiday! I shopped, I walked around, I dined at restaurants (if McDonalds can be considered as a restaurant as well), all we do is relax.

That Caucasian woman must be kidding though to give up the nice weather she gets in her country over a place that's hot yearly. Who would prefer HOT over COLD?

Anyway, today was Free & Easy day. Free & Easy on Z's well prepared itinerary meant WE HAD NO PLANS! Disappointed with my first TINY picture of the Hollywood sign, I read through the brochures Z had taken from the lobby at our lodge.

Most of them offered going to 'Hollywood Sign', 'Hollywood Celebrity Homes', 'Melrose Place', 'Rodeo Drive' and those popular attractions in L.A. Z did a lot of research online and saw many reviews about the Hollywood Celebrity Home tour being a 'con job'.

But I thought, what the heck? A part of the hollywood celebrity home tour was to drive us close to the hollywood sign which is the one thing I really want. The tiny picture I got from 1, 000, 000 feet away didn't satisfy me.

We were suppose to take the tour at 3 pm but after our lunch at McDonalds, we passed by the place that did the tour and the person in charge asked if I wanted to do it now.

Why not? We had no where to go already. So we agreed and took the earlier tour.

So we started our tour from Hollywood...

Theater showing Chicago. If only I had a husband who loves musicals coz I do. Would definitely prefer going to a musical than watching Deep Purple.

Capitol Records

Where Elvis Presley and many other musicians recorded their songs.

Finally, a better picture of the Hollywood sign. Last one I took was so tiny nothing could be seen.

Hollywood Sign

Previously, the Hollywood sign actually said Hollywood Land. In the 40s, some group or company took down the Land and named it Hollywood. Read here for more about Hollywood sign history.

Cool looking car

Ketchup owned by Ashton Kutcher

Then our Hollywood celebrity home tour began.

Mansion above: Previously owned by Britney Spears. Bought over by Brittany Murphy.

Courtney Cox & husband used to own that place above.

The Matrix House. Previously owned by Keanu Reeves.

Greystone Mansion

Greystone Mansion, aka the Doheny Mansion, is a Tudor-style mansion on a landscaped estate with distinctive formal English gardens, located in Beverly Hills, California, United States.

The 55-room, Tudor-style former residence, 46,000 sq ft (4,300 m2), sits on 16 acres (65,000 m2) of land. At the time it was built, it cost over $3 million and was the most expensive home built in California up to that point.

That's not the mansion. The mansion is 10 times bigger than the picture above. That already huge house, well, that's where the housekeeper stays. They live in a place bigger than our homes here.

The house at the back, the white one with the brown roof, that's where Tom Cruise lives with his wife.

B lister actor lives there. Even B list actors can afford houses on Beverly Hills.

George Clooney used to live in that house before he made his big break. That house belonged to his aunt. Now? They never showed us where he lives now.

The balcony of Michael Jackson's rented mansion.

People all stopped and tried to take a peek inside. Of coz it's off limits to people. If only Neverland ranch is located at Beverly Hills as well. I would love to see the place that used to be his home, one that he build before all the molestation incident happened.

You'd be surprised to see where that house he rented is located. Just next to the mansion is the road is the main road and right next to his mansion was a bus stop. A bus stop? At Beverly Hills?

Anyway, there were a lot more houses that we were brought to. Even homes that Simon Cowell bought was there. I can't remember them all so I am not putting it up. I'll post all the raw pictures on Facebook.

Ladybug landed on Z's jeans

Colourful Mexican restaurant

The back of L.A Ink shop

The shop where L.A ink is shot. I honestly thought it was along a stretch of shops. Turns out, there's only three shops. The tattoo shop's located in the middle with Edible Arrangement shop on its right.

Kepercayaan Tom Cruise

We got back to Hollywood because I wanted to try snap some photos of the character along Hollywood discreetly. See, if you wanna take a picture with them, you gotta pay them. Since I am a cheapskate like that, I took a picture discreetly.

There's Spongebob

Michael Jackson before he was white. There was a white one as well. Didn't get to take a picture of him though.

Character from Avatar. They didn't look anything like them at all. The real Na'vi got large bulbous nose and huge eyes.

After snapping some photos, we took a bus and took a walk along Sunset Strip. Honestly, I've no idea what's the significance of that stretch of road, but Z said it's a popular place.

While we were walking, I saw a house with beautiful flowers along the steps that lead to their home.

Sunset Strip

To show how exhausted I was from the long walk

Our plan was to go to Santa Monica or Robertson Boulevard by bus coz we saw a yoghourt store and crepe store along that street while on the tour bus. So, we made our way there. Z insisted that we walk and I tell you IT WAS SUCH A LONG WALK I was so tired.

We stopped by a crepe store and sat outside the store coz it felt more romantic outside. By 6pm, it started to be real chilly outside. How I regretted sitting outside. It was freezing cold.

I wore my Juicy Couture bracelet that I bought from Rodeo Drive. That's the rainbow charm I bought. Z gave me the green light to buy one charm every month. Yayyyyy!

Our crepe with a scoop of ice-cream

His, Chocolate with Banana crepes. Mine, Chocolate with Strawberry crepes.

After we were done with our crepes, we took a walk down the stretch of road. Initially, I wondered why they had rainbow flags up. I thought they simply had it up since California is one of the states that allows gay marriage. Turns out, that was Gay Town!

While we were walking, they had gay clubs out in the open with guys in only underwear dancing to a pub full of guys who were seen hugging each other.

Two popular places in Los Angeles. Robertson Blvd is the one place to go if you want to spot a hollywood celebrity. Apparently, that's where they all go.

We continued on our walk late at night, not knowing what bus to take. Then we got back to the place Z brought me to several days back. Cedars Sinai. I was surprised Z knew of this place. When he brought me there the 1st time, he said, "It's a hospital for the celebrities."

So, that was it. We took the bus back to our lodge and began packing up to leave for Singapore the next morning. It saddens me having to write this because I really wish I could have stayed there longer.

I like United States. I don't think I'll ever get sick of visiting them all the time.

Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2010 and is filed under .