Sunday, 30 December 2012

lucky neon dresses

on boxing day we woke at 4am to shower so we could meet up at 4.45am and stumble to David Jones and Myer when they open at 5am. (that is the way to shop, because by 10am the shops will be so crowded with expressionless shoppers that it will be impossible to even have a good look at the items on sale. then you can go home and nap, smug in the knowledge that throngs of people are driving each other crazy in the city, trying to look at stuff you already went through this morning.)

i snapped up this neon washed coral dress and wore it as soon as a sunny day presented itself in sydney! S and i haven't had an adventure in ages. every time i pass by the ad asking 'when was the last time you did something for the first time?' i feel a bit dissatisfied.

but on the day we wore our new neon dresses, we 'discovered' Argyle Stairs! it's actually at The Rocks but we just never walked as far. and it's just a flight of stairs, but it leads to a lovely little lookout point high above the precinct.

and afterwards we wandered into one of those tiny boutiques and found The Tea Cosy-- one of the tea rooms we had been meaning to go to-- within! it's just pure delight, when you accidentally come across something that you have been wanting.

and to be able to share this experience with somebody :)) it just makes me feel a bit giddy, reminds me of the days when i first arrived in sydney, first met S, and we would go out to play because we were both jobless.

this is the first time i've spent a year away from home. so much has changed in 2012, yet nothing has changed..

to 2013!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

silly season

merry christmas!

i wonder how everybody celebrated the holiday?

i wouldn't know because i didn't call home.

on christmas eve, Nini organised gingerbread house decorating party at my home. (now that Dai Dai and Ivan have returned to Taiwan, my home is the next best place for get-togethers, although i'm a much more casual-- read: lazy and ungracious-- hostess compared to the power couple. my guests bring their own chopsticks haha.)

we started off with a mani/pedi session. the girls saw my new collection of OPI nail lacquers, asked for cotton pads and nail polish remover, and made themselves right at home. orz. i guess we have passed the polite phase-- they just sprawl all over and i don't even bother cleaning up before they come xDD

and then..

we learned just how incompetent we were. look what a bunch of postgraduate students did--

we couldn't seem to make the icing stick properly, and our decorative candies kept committing suicide.

nobody read the instructions and the house literally fell apart a couple of times.

we were too busy 'training' Ray. that's our newest hobby-- bringing boyfriends into our group and placing the spotlight on him haha.

after the very demotivating artistic endeavour, we had a scrumptious dinner cooked by our new power couple, the King and Queen of our tight little circle-- Martica and Ray.

they cooked Korean spicy soup and baked this hunk of salmon we got from the Fish Market last night, when it opened for 24hours prior to Christmas. (no seagulls attacking us/our food! yaay!)

merry christmas and happy 2013!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

sydney antique centre

another lovely sunday out and about.

thoughts of the day-- anything can be classified as vintage and tagged with a price. who knows, maybe one day mum's collection of old ice-cream cartons will be worth something!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

alice springs

here's the train tracks at Alice Springs.

S and i had booked an extra day at Haven Backpackers Resort after our Uluru tour to check out the city, which i advise against as by then, we had already seen too much sun and ended up hiding in our 4-bed room with the air conditioner whirring away.

we did venture out for groceries in the evening, when the heat had subsided enough. and then we have all the makings of a holiday holiday.

1. pizza

(i forgot my purse during our first grocery run, so we trekked back to the hostel and ordered Domino's.)

2. chick flick

paired with Hong Kong movie Ex and it was starting to feel more like a heartbreak trip haha!

the morale of the story is.. do not ever, ever leave your boyfriend at home with his ex.

and do not seduce your boyfriend when he's about to dump you. because he'll sleep with you and dump you the next day anyway.

quite syiok to sit there cursing all mankind and making philosophical comments about white bras in movies. (in real life, no girl can keep a white bra white. it always ends up grey.)

3. pancakes

on weekends, Haven provides pancake batter (when they remember, anyway. it's quite a crappy hostel.) compared to most other guests, my pancakes turned out quite well! 

4. snacks

the next morning, after breakfast, we returned to our room with snacks. kiwi fruits and cherry tomatoes are good for the skin, as is orange juice (though i'm not convinced by our store-bought OJ). 

worked our way through these while reading Cosmopolitan / Madison / watching Korean dramas / bloody artistic Taiwanese movie My So-called Love / terrible Hong Kong-Korean movie 

5. having prawns in the desert

surprisingly delicious-- a simple lunch of frozen vegetables and frozen prawns stir fried in butter and seasoned which whatever we could scrummage from the community kitchen. our staples during vacations are frozen vegetables and tinned soup.

plus there's something very indulgent about having seafood in the middle of the 42 degree celsius desert!

6. best friend


what she says is becoming increasingly epic.

as we were crawling through the Valley of the Winds, she'd wheezed, 'MIN! What should i do if you tripped and fell?'

'WHAT?!' i'd panted.

'if you slipped and fell.. should i save you or let you die?'


'if i tried to save you, i might slip, too, and die myself; but if i don't, i might end up in a mental institution from the guilt.'


Sunday, 9 December 2012

kata tjuta

awaiting sunrise

the first thing S said to me as we began our annual summer trip was that her heart has been broken too and this can be our mend-a-broken-heart (mend 2 broken hearts?) holiday.

all i can say is, if you have watched crying out love in the centre of the world and reckon seeing a big rock would make you feel better, you're wrong. especially in summer.

this is the worst season to visit the desert, as one can imagine. we only did it because S was slated to go home in March.

the movie didn't capture the heat. the sun which burned so intensely S had to apply sunscreen on her legs despite wearing leggings. the flies. the flies (!) it was also extremely dry and my tongue swelled as my body tried to adapt to desert weather. 

we felt even sorrier for ourselves after the first day, and this was with us booking a Glamping tour which costs nearly double what backpackers pay, just to have a bed and a fan inside a safari tent, as well as a chef.

however, on hindsight, it was probably due to the heat and too much sun. (we carried umbrellas throughout the trip, and on the last day even the angmos were telling us they wished they had thought of bringing one.)

day 2 onwards, we woke at 4 am so we could hike in relative coolness (low 30s) before the sun came out fully and the trails closed at 11am. it was heaps better.

here we are waiting for the sunrise near Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). 

we missed it as there were too many clouds.

here's a panaroma shot of the landscape, gotta love iphone 4s! ((fan-girl mode ON

the rising sun.. behind clouds.

after the so-called sunrise (well, the sun did rise, we just couldn't see it properly) we were driven to a 6km hike at the Valley of the Winds, about 20 minutes away.

i dreaded this terribly, and wallowed in self-pity as i thought about the impending hike, heat, sun and dryness; the ex; the law paper i wasn't sure i could pass (i passed, by the way); the fat jiggling all around my body (it's still here).. but because of the coolness provided by the winds, i quite enjoyed this hike.

hiking, when not done with parents (who are so fit they run through the hills, and i feel like a slob when i can't keep up with people in their 50s) is actually quite calming. there's not much to think about apart from focusing on moving forward without tripping. and it's nice to escape the city and stretch my legs, sweat a bit. i hiked with one hand holding an umbrella and another fanning myself-- both to keep myself cool and to drive away flies. i highly recommend this hiking mode. or you could buy a fly net to attach to your hat.

 on the way we stopped to listen to Jessie talk about native plants.

learned a bit about aboriginal culture during this trip, though there's so much they decline to share because we do not have their blood. i might be doing another RARE project with/for indigenous people next semester, so it was good to listen to some stories.

the indigenous still punish the traditional way-- by driving a spear right through the thigh. except now they have doctors supervising the punishment and treating the wound straight away. orz

another pointer-- a good-morning towel is also necessary. i dampen it and drape it around my neck to keep cool. it's also perfect for wiping yourself down in public toilets. yes it looks quite vulgar rubbing yourself in public but it feels so good i don't care.

here's the end of the hike. where some people enjoy the view with a cigarette. why?! it's a bit hard to appreciate the zen-ness of the valley with the very city reek of cigarette smoke wafting around.

on the way down we spotted this monster-like tree and couldn't resist!

after the hike it was time to go back to the campsite for lunch before a 5-hour drive to Kings Canyon, with a break at the supermarket.

i must talk about the supermarket trip because we bought a chunk of watermelon each and at the first bite i thought i had died and gone to heaven. i swear, it felt better than being skinny does. the cold, sweet taste oh my gosh!

here's the campsite in 42-degree celsius heat. hell, you can see the heat waves radiating. gosh this photo makes me dizzy.

before we left, i quickly snapped a photo of our dining hall. it's uncomfortably hot here at noon-- i don't even want to start thinking about where my $350 counterparts eat lunch.

on the way to Kings Canyon we stopped at something like a rest area, with a pool and public showers.

this is our second campsite. quite striking, against a dramatic backdrop of red rocks.

after unpacking, everybody had some downtime-- reading, playing guitar.. as Adam busied himself in the kitchen cooking dinner for us.

this is our luxury accommodation. not being sarcastic here. people expect me to love camping because i was a girl scout, but no i beh tahan the discomfort and the inconvenience! a real bed and a fan in the middle of nowhere, i can't ask for more!

yes that is my ipad charging on my bed.

and yes i was the only person lazing on my bed watching k-dramas while waiting for dinner. too many flies outside.

finish up this post with a photo of our bedside table, stocked with ridiculously expensive stuff we bought from the supermarket.

good night!