Saturday, July 2, 2016

FB Nature Photography Challenge

My friend tagged me over in Facebook on this Nature Photography Challenge which I thought why not put up some photos here too, lol.. maximising on this since I have already grabbed some photos off the HDD. There's no brilliant scientific reason as to why the photos were selected or in the order that I posted.

Anyway, the idea is is to post one photo (past or present) a day for 7 days and tag a new friend each day to pass this along. The idea is to flood Facebook with beautiful photo of nature.

Day 1: 
Asahidake 旭岳, Hokkaido, Japan (2012)

Day 2: 
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA (2011)

Day 3:
Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia (2008)

Day 4:
Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan (2015)

Day 5: 
Kravice, Bosnia Herzegovina (2014)

Day 6: 
Mount Cook, New Zealand (2013)

Day 7: 
River Cave, Jenolan, NSW, Australia (2014)

Side note: Alright, got to stop procrastinating!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ballarat: Sovereign Hill Christmas in July 2016

I very rarely put up a post that is not expired (opps!) but I'm trying to redeem myself with this post. This is very much up to date as my visit to Sovereign Hills was just.. yesterday. 

Sovereign Hill Christmas in July this year runs between 25th June 2016 to 24th July 2016... so yup, still about a month more to go if you plan a visit now. I've been toying with an idea to getaway, to curb the itchy feet but day life lately has been needing more money faster than I am earning so I have been grounding myself. That being said, I do need a break so decided to do a day trip to Ballarat. Ideally, I would've prefer to do the commute on a long weekend but being a good Asian I am (kiasu and cheapskate) I want to make it coincide with this Christmas in July event so I made the travel yesterday. 

Entrance fee to Sovereign Hill is not cheap at a price of $54 for one adult and this fee include entrance to Gold Museum across the road from Sovereign Hill. There isn't much discount available except maybe via Entertainment Book, or if you are a RACV member or if you stumbled upon an online deals which I've been checking for a while but haven't seen any. 

I took a train to Ballarat and any discount is better than none, I decided to coincide my VLine commute with the VLine Goldrush special train. Travelling on Goldrush Special hour train gives a 10% discount and a free Cobb & Co Coach ride. 

Currently, Cobb & Co Coach ride costs $5.50 for one adult. So there is a little savings of $10.90. Something is better than nothing. 

Got this discount voucher from the bus driver. Upon paying for entrance fee, make sure you get another voucher for the coach ride because this voucher will be kept. 
As my other reason of going to Sovereign Hill is for the Christmas in July and the lights will only be up at about 5.45 PM, so leaving Sovereign Hills via the Goldrush special train hour is not an option. I decided to take a public bus to Ballarat Station after catching the Winter Wonderlights. Sovereign Hill website mentioned of bus number 9 but buses in Australia have different schedule between weekdays and weekends, so best to re-check before your travel. 

Here are links to check on public transport. 

I reached Sovereign Hill just before 11 AM and took the 6.49 PM bus to catch the 7:14 PM train back to Melbourne, which translates to I was in Sovereign Hills for more than seven hours. I was initially wondering if it has enough activities to keep my occupy but well, it did and I didn't even do all of the activities. Would I return again? Maybe but I don't think I would in the near future unless there are new activities to be explored. 

So.. here are what I did yesterday:

11:00 AM - Walked around the main street. Link to map

11:30 AM - Musket Firing (15 minutes duration)

11:45 PM - Snowfalls at Main Street

There were snow falls, and there was Santa Claus who gave out sweets.

12:00 PM - St Nicholas Old Horse stage performance
I didn't take any photo of the stage play though...
12:25 PM - Cobb & Co coach ride
I had a good timing. I was lucky that I didn't have to wait to get a ride. 

12:40 PM - Lunch
I bought a steak and mushroom pie from Hope Bakery.

It was so-so, I wished it had chunks of meat though
01:00 PM - Gold Pour (20 minutes duration)

He was rubbing some wood on the red-hot gold. It was so hot that there were fire sparks. 
This block of gold is 3 kg and cost about $187,000!
01:30 PM - Red Coat Soldiers (15 minutes duration)
I initially thought it was to see the Red Coat Soldiers marching and thought I have missed it because the leader said "go up the stairstairs" Lol.

The reason they gone upstairs was because they were getting ready to fire the guns, each at a time.

02:00 PM - Sweet making (15 minutes duration)
This by far has the most kids, it is sweet making after all. The area wasn't spacious either and I was there just before the session started, so I was catching the session just outside the door.

Adding citric acid to the raspberry drop
We were given free sample of these raspberry drops, this is their best selling candy
02:30 PM - Candlemaker (20 minutes duration)
This one a bit of a letdown actually because there were so much talk and so little demonstration. The actual candle making demonstration was pushing down the apparatus twice that was used to make candles. She did show how to dip to make a coloured candle though.

The demo was not by this lady though, she was showing a couple of children who participated to dip the candles

03:00 PM - continued walkabout the area and went up Gold Mine

Real gold flakes on sale as souvenir

03:30 PM - Red Hill Mine Tour (12 minutes duration)
This is the free self guided mine tour in a very loose description. What really happened was the person in charge will give a short briefing i.e. going down some steps till reach a landing, listened to audio recording and once that was done, the audio recording will tell you to continue walking. 

The paid mine tour was popular but I didn't want to take that one (even though it wasn't that expensive ) but because 
- I was being a cheapskate
- I've gone down a mine in Bendigo
- the entrance fee to Sovereign Hill is expensive enough as it is

04:00 PM - 'Rue' by Three High Acrobats

04:30 PM - continued walkabout

Inside Apothecaries' Hall

Minced pie candles.. lol
04:45 PM - get a pass-out stamp from Post Office and checked out Gold Museum

Last entrance at 5:15 PM before closing at 5:30 PM
05:40 PM - Christmas Choir and Winter Wonderlights

I'm trying to put photos of similar buildings so that the projection lights looks more obvious.

06:35 PM - making my way out to the bus stop

So.. that was a day in Sovereign Hill during Christmas in July :)

P/S: If Sovereign Hill is not your cup of tea, maybe a flower festival might interest you. Ballarat holds the Ballarat Begonia Festival annually, usually during the Labour Day long weekend. So if not July, maybe next March? ;)

Side note: Haih - why is 2016 so hard...?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

El Salvodarian food at Los Latinos

Mine was the tamarind soda
Maybe my brain has turned into mushroom or cotton wool because I couldn't find the photos of the El Salvadorian food I tried when I wanted to blog the other day. Today, however as I was scrolling through the photos, they are there!

This dish was fried yucca and it was yum. I have never tried it before this, technically all the food are new to me.

This was apparently El Salvador's most notable dish - pupusa with cheese and jalapeno fillings. Separately, not together. As in one has chilli filling, the other jalapeno.

Each had two pupusa.. so these were mine :D
We had another dish, ceviche which I totally forgot to take a photo of, and the meal was completed with desserts from bakery next door. I bought an empanada.

So here you go, a blog post on some Latin America food before my brain turn into cotton wool again..

Side note: Is it the weekend yet? *sigh*

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Source: Here
I initially planned to blog before today on this El Salvadorian food that my friend brought me to try in Los Latinos, Maidstone, a suburb in Melbourne. For some strange reason, I can't find the photos I took. They were nowhere to be found, not on the laptop, phone nor my backup HDD. post :/

Today, however, is a good day and deserve to a post. Passed the paper I did in April. 2 down, 2 more to go. Time for food celebration... hahaha

Side note: Now... is it Friday yet? Grin. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ph(f)oto Friday: Kit Kat

Ignore the opened box ya...
A friend went to Japan and I am a happy beneficiary to some Kit Kat. So I opened the box for some chocolate goodness in no time, photo above were taken much later. :P

Friend has definitely learned well, he returned home from travel with food goodness. Haha.

Side note: Happy Friday again!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sydney: Food and other things

The picture above has nothing to do with food or the hotel I was put at whatsoever, it is just merely because it is... Sydney and I was there hunting lanterns. I've travelled for work to Sydney on 4 occasions and all four times were at a different hotel. This time was at Sydney World Square on Pitt Street, between Liverpool and Goulburn Street. Venue is pretty good, there are good food options as it is already very close distance to Chinatown but also no swimming pool. :(

This was my sole trip this year so far and it was a work trip. My colleague and I was up in Sydney for 3D3N, flying out of Melbourne after office work on a Tuesday and back on in Melbourne again on Friday evening. To be totally honest, I didn't look forward to having dinner with my colleague (the one I fly to Sydney with) and would choose to dine by myself any day. I am horrible, I know. :|

The last Sydney trip I was also travelling with her and we had dinner separately except on work required functions. She probably did drop some hints and I didn't say anything. So I thought I should at least put in some effort this round and asked if she wanted to have dinner.

So Tuesday night dinner was with my colleague. The food was good though, I decided to just go to Sushi of Masuya (I had dinner there with my ex-classmates from Japanese class on my last trip). I was on almost best behaviour - send her review of where we would be going and make reservation for dinner. Almost because I took photo of my food, with a dslr nonetheless. Not discreet at all.

Off work Wednesday was fun. I make a point to meet up with my ex-classmates from my Japanese class when I was in Sydney - E, S and R but E was away in Hong Kong. S suggested we watched Lady Maiko which coincidentally scheduled to be aired at Japan Foundation, at no fee too. Movie was funny and entertaining, also great company. :) The night ended with ramen, at Ippudo of course. Hehe.

S was so sweet, she brought R and I each some home made Lunar New Year goodies too. They were delish! I inhaled them in no time.

Kek Batik
Pineapple tarts, black sesame cookies and peanut cookies
Dinner on day 3 was Thai at Chat Thai with an ex-colleague but I didn't take any photo. Haha. Failed food blogger - always eating at the same few food places.

As I went lantern hunting, there was a lot of walking around the CBD. So here are some photos in between the lanterns. Many are Lunar New Year theme decorations but well, it was after all during the festive season. Definitely more than Melbourne.

These were from Queen Victoria Building...

Still going with the Lunar New Year theme, this was in between the Ox and the Horses lantern on Martin Place, at the corner of Pitt Street I think.

I also went a bit off the "grid" and did a detour to Darling Harbour, guided by the lights... umm, that sounded a bit wrong as people do say, "Don't walk towards the lights." Grin, sorry, lame joke.

This was the most popular one. Many people stood at the front, took many photos/selfies and proceeded to check their photos at the same spot. Well, after all it does look like some place where people would take some cheesy wedding photo of some sort.

Here are some non Lunar New Year photos, just to balance things a bit. Haha.

As we start with a photo of the Harbour Bridge, here's another one from the same area.

Side note: Kek batik...yuumm....