Friday, May 23, 2008

The land down under......

Its time for our annual holiday again. This time, impulsively, we decided to go to Melbourne. Why? We've been everywhere, anywhere above the Equator. But never Australia, nor New Zealand. Especially South Africa and South America.

So this time, we went. We boarded, as usual, a Malaysia Airlines flight to Melbourne last night. The attraction was of course the natural wonders this island-continent has to offer, which cannot be found anywhere else.

*Left: Daybreak on the skies of Southern Victoria, 60 miles northwest of Melbourne at the speed of 450 miles per hour

I was, as always, in awe flying on my most favourite jet liner, the B777-200. It was a bumpy flight as when we flew across Indonesia, especially Java, there were turbulences. Even when the meal was served, hot beverages were not, for safety reasons.

We made friends onboard. There was a nice elderly Aussie couple on the way home after a long holiday in Sabah and Sarawak.

*Right: Our traditional monkey-face photoshot, when we do our annual holiday

We landed just before daybreak, in Tullamarine International, 15 mins ahead of schedule.

Everything was pleasant, except the Australian bureaucracy. The landing embarkation form was rather tricky and the authorities, be it the immigration or the customs, were unpleasantly sticky. Of course, they protecting Australia's major agriculture industry. Not only food and agriculture products are not allowed in, handicraft and souvenir made from wood also must be declared.

*The first signage at Tullamarine International, Melbourne

Like all our previous holidays, we prefer to self drive to the places we want to go, especially on our own pace and space.

So, the moment we left the customs, we proceeded towards the Hertz car rental. We got ourselves a rather large Australian car, Ford Falcon. The clerk at the counter offered me Toyota Aurion but I refused. I insisted on an Australian car. That's why we did not go to our traditional Thirfty car rental, which in Tullamarine only offered Japanese and Korean make.

It is not exactly the Enterprise, but the Falcon was rather impressive. Its spacious and has a very repsonsive, but smooth engine. Befits its gas-guzzling 3800cc engine.

* Behind the wheels of the Falcon

And Melbourne, being a city-on-a-grid, was rather easy to manouvre. As usual, I'd be behind the wheels while the missus do the navigating.

We went straight to the inn, where we reserved an one bedroom apartment with full kitchen facilities. Then we went grocery shopping. The apples here are simply amazing!

When the sun sets in, after a hefty self cooked lunch and everyone caught their much needed rest, I took the posse shopping. We went into the Melbourne Central Business District to a factory outlet called DFO, on Spencer Street. Of course, my posse was very happy!

*The expression of typical Malaysian shoppers

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