Friday, May 21, 2010


Honestly Melbourne was just a touch and go in Aussie Land. We just stayed there for 2 days and mostly what I did there was shop. Melbourne is definitely a shopper’s paradise. We did some sightseeing too by hopping on to their free trams which are somewhat like the hop on hop off buses that you get in Europe.

The most amazing restaurant that we saw in Melbourne was the tram restaurant. It is literally a tram on the roads of Melbourne which has been converted into a restaurant where people are being served. Unfortunately it needed a minimum of a week’s advance booking, so we had to pass off for this trip.

Another very interesting thing that we did in Melbourne was “The Edge”. It is in Eureka Skydeck 88 which is the 50th tallest building in the world with 92 stories. The lift takes you to the 88th floor within 9 sec which means you are travelling at a rate of 32.4km/h. The Edge is on the 88th floor and is a glass cube which is suspended 300 meters higher than the ground and 3 meters out of the building with us inside it. The glass cube is initially opaque but when you are suspended 3 meters out from the building the glass becomes clear with a flip of a switch. It definitely has an awesome view and the experience is breathtaking.
Anyway, before leaving Melbourne, we went to meet up with an old colleague of Aakaash and from there we took our flight back to Delhi, celebrated new years with family and within a couple of days we were back to Nigeria. Thus the much awaited Australia trip was finally over.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shweta’s Adelaide

So of course I went to Adelaide only to spend some quality time with Shweta. We were picked up from the airport by Manish and I relied on my memory to spot Manish since we were meeting for the 1st time.

When I reached her house, I pressed the bell and then all people could see and hear us scream and hug. I was so excited that finally after planning for 3 years, I was standing at her door step. She took me for her new home tour and I must say she has a gorgeous house.

Adelaide was going to be a relaxed holiday; for I wanted to spend as much time possible with Shweta. She is a sister to me and I was thrilled to be with her after so many years. We chilled out till evening after which we got ready and went to the city. The next morning they took us to the Adelaide Zoo; even though Manish and Shweta had a Christmas party that evening.

Honestly, it’s hard for me to admit.... since I am a Steve Irwin fan that the Zoo that Shweta took us to.... ok... we enjoyed there more than Australia Zoo. It had walk-in enclosures of Kangaroos and Wallabies where for the 1st time I saw albino Kangaroos. The peacock greeted us by opening his feathers several times; giving us different angles for our camera and it was here that we got an opportunity to hug a Koala. (In Australia Zoo they just let us pat. The whole zoo was a treat; we saw various species of birds, ducks, monkeys etc and fed them too. After that we rushed back to the house since Manish and Shweta had guests coming in for the party in a couple of hours. In between we still got a little time for shopping and I picked up the same suitcase set that Shweta had – a pink polka dotted set of 4.

The Christmas party was fun. Aan and Aananya has a great time. Aananya enjoyed pulling out the christmas tree decorations and Aan kept putting them back on the Christmas tree and with all the pampering and Christmas presents from Shweta Massi and Manish  Uncle , they sure did have a rocking time. Shweta and Manish ensured to make us feel so comfortable and at home. “After Party” was even more fun, we all kept awake with her few friends till 4 am in the morning. Once everyone left, Manish went to drop off a friend to the airport and Shweta and I finally got 1 hour to catch up on old times and spend some alone time without any mad rush to attend to.
Next morning or may I say noon, we got up late and exchanged our Christmas presents, got dressed for the beach and volla! saw the most beautiful sea beach surrounded by mountains. Although there was the bright sun but it was so windy that I didn’t dare to venture inside the sea. It was freezing! We quickly wrapped up and headed for some sightseeing, the view was just picturesque. We even saw some beautifully decorated Christmas houses in Lobethal. The small town was just out of a fairy tale. So many people were stopping to see those houses, it was amazing. Finally we retired back home, ate and got ready to pack to head to Melbourne, our last destination in the Aussie land. I was feeling sad since I didn’t know when we would meet again but we were truly touched by Shweta and Manish’s hospitality.
Till we meet again....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Australia Zoo – Brisbane & Gold Coast

Would you believe if I told you that the only reason that I have been planning to go to Australia was to see Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. I know, hard to believe but it’s true.
Brisbane turned out to be a beautiful and a different experience with lot of “firsts” involved. First of all, it was in Brisbane that we hired a car in another country; to begin with the firsts, Aan and Aananya sat alone at the back seat of a car by themselves for the 1st time, sat in a car seat and in a booster seat with seat belts for the 1st time, we all interacted with Kangaroos, Wallabies and Koalas for the 1st time and the best of all - I drove the car while on a vacation for the 1st time.

Brisbane turned out to be a perfectly planned holiday with some amazing memories that will stay with us forever. The location, the hotel and the view from the room of Brisbane river with so many ships and boats was simply awesome. The moment we checked into Park Regis, we checked the weather forecast for the next 3 days and accordingly made our plans. We decided to stay put in Brisbane for the day since it was raining heavily and did a little bit of shopping there.
The next day we drove down to Gold Coast, did some shopping again and enjoyed the beach. I was apprehensive how kids would take to the booster and car seat since they had never been buckled before but to my surprise neither of them cried or insisted to take off the seat belt and Aan was very supportive and kept distracting Aananya when she wanted to get out of her car seat providing her with toys and milk bottle from time to time.

The last day we had kept for Australia Zoo. Man O Man! Was I excited or what? We got ready in the morning and drove to Australia Zoo which was an hour and a half away.

I was so excited to see the Khaki wearing staff and remembered Steve Irwin and so wished if he were alive. Anyway, enjoyed the zoo thoroughly, patted Koalas, interacted with Kangaroos and various other animals and was saved by a second from stepping on a snake that was crossing my path. Aan and Aananya thoroughly enjoyed playing as well as feeding the Kangaroos and running after the ducks. Over all a fun filled day for all of us. The high point – I drove the car on our way back.

The next day I was super thrilled to take the flight to Adelaide since I was meeting my bestest friend after a very long time.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dil Chahta Hai Sydney

The journey was very comfortable and we reached our first destination – Sydney. Our friend was there at the airport to pick us up. The thrill and excitement kept us up till we reached his place. The moment we reached his house, the soreness of 16 hours of flight suddenly crept on us. No matter how desperately our bodies were pulled to the comfortable bed, our heads helped us to get into the survival mode and get on with quick washing, sterilising of bottles, making Aananya’s and Aan’s milk and of course making the inevitable diaper bag ready.

Finally our friend drove us down to the Blue Mountains. It was almost a 2 hours drive and as much as we endeavoured to stay up or chit chat, we failed miserably - I could see Aakaash’s head tilting from one side to the other totally synchronised with the curves of the road, not to mention suddenly waking up with a startle and cleaning the drool from the corner of the mouth. I have never felt so embarrassed on sleeping like this while someone was driving us around but felt so helpless since sleep deprivation had got the better of us.

Anyway, Sudhanshu and his wife Neha had chalked out a very flexible plan for us so we really didn’t have to do anything there. They were sweet enough to take us everywhere. Blue Mountain was beautiful and literally looks blue, no wonder it is a world heritage area. We enjoyed seeing the 3 sisters (3 rocks together and has a story of its own), enjoyed the beautiful nature walk with a variety of trees and amazing facts about them.

We loved the Katoomba Scenic Railway which is the steepest railway in the world with a descent through a rocky tunnel at a maximum incline of 52 degrees. The Scenic Skyway was another attraction that we enjoyed a lot. Although we had already taken a ride on the Asia’s longest cable car in Genting, Malaysia but this experience proved to be another thriller in itself. The cable car started, we were admiring the beauty of ravines and waterfalls when suddenly with a flip of a switch, the floor became transparent. With a 360 degree view this beautiful glass bottom cable car has the world’s first electro scenic glass floor. It was awesome and freaky at the same time to see this 270 meters drop from the glass bottom floor.

After enjoying the panaromic view we left for Jenolen caves which is a series of limestone caves. However, we didn’t have the time to go inside but managed to see whatever we could from the outsides. I remembered the geography lessons of stalagmite and stalactite. It was beautiful and you could drive through a part of the cave. It is Australia’s largest cave dating back to 340 million years. By the time we reached Sydney, it was late. We gobbled the scrumptious food Neha has prepared and hit the bed right away.

The next day was a day just for drives. We drove to Helensberg, Kiama blow hole, Jamberoo that has breathtaking views and Wooloongong which is the 9th largest city in Australia with hills on one side and sea beach on the other. It was fascinating to see small swimming pools on the beach. Over all, an excellent day yet again. Reached back home, had dinner, made plans to watch horror movie – the guys ditched hence Neha and I enjoyed the movie till the end.

Today was the last day in Sydney; we had an early morning flight the next day. So we chilled out at home till 3pm and then all of us headed to Bondi beach, Sydney Harbour and the Opera house. Later we had fun at the Luna Park across the Opera, to which we got to through a ferry and just like that in 3 days; the stay in Sydney had come to an end. A Special Thanks to Neha and Sudhanshu for making our Sydney trip even more memorable.