Sunday, November 22, 2015

Brisbane and On the Road

I haven't posted since June. But I am alive... and I am lucky and grateful to be so.
I had an unfortunate incident happen to me in late june and the months after have just steered me away from here. 

To continue this series of photoblogs:
After Cairns, we flew to Brisbane to rent a car to commence our road trip. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

After Sydney, we were off to Cairns - a small town known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. 

Cairns was stinking hot. We felt the humidity and warm air on our skin the moment we walked out of the plane. The walk from the plane to the inside of the terminal was almost unbearable.

Our initial impression of the town was not godly; we waited at least an hour in the heat for the bus that was going to take us to the hostel. We wheeled and carried our suitcases up two flights of stairs; and when we got to the hostel, we were greeted by a half-naked person at the counter and other college aged people looked who looked incomprehensible/drunk/sketchy-looking.
We backed out immediately.

Fortunately for us we found a travel agent around the corner who helped us find accommodations and also to better plan our few days there. Our main attraction to the area was the reef and decided that we could spend a few days there unplanned to see what Cairns was all about. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sydney, Australia II - Cabramatta, Bondi, Taronga Zoo

More from Sydney. This set here are photos from Cabramatta, Bondi and Taronga Zoo!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sydney, Australia

Australia was AH-MAZ-ING. 
I almost didn't want to come home. The weather was warm, the beaches were beautiful and I crossed off many things off my list. Now that I'm home, I have a lot to reflect upon and a lot of photos to sort through. 

I also managed to write up a post everyday I was there. Not sure how that came to be, but I was scrolling through the posts earlier and found a few typos... the iPhone is definitely not the best form of medium to type fast on. OCD me wants to go back to fix the errors. 

Our itinerary:
Sydney -> Cairns -> Brisbane -> Brunswick Head -> Byron Bay -> Bellingen -> Boambee -> Newcastle -> Sydney

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bye Bondi and Straya


I almost forgot about sending the rest of my postcards so when I awoke I quickly wrote them and stuck a stamp on the top left. I still had five more postcards to write.

Back to Bondi


Mad dash this morning. We wanted to do laundry when we got back last night but didn't get to as the washer and dryer were inaccessible. 

Souvenir Day


Today was our souvenir day. This meant taking the ferry into the city, walking around town and buying gifts for our peoples. We decided since we had the whole afternoon we'd walk around Sydney CBD. It was sort of amazing how we knew our way the CBD and the rocks. We walked into a few stores; Nate's favorite store in oz is 'Rebel Sports' which we think is the equivalent of a big 5, with sports jerseys and goods. We also walked into a JB Hi 5, which was like a Best Buy going out of business with all of its 'SALE' signs.

Snorkel hiking kebabs


I cut my foot yesterday. So sad. This happened yesterday evening when we decided to go take a stroll go fairlight beach. I walked barefoot on a rock and slipped not once, but twice! I was initially embarrassed, but that wore way quickly as I saw the pool underneath my foot with red. My butt was wet from the fall and my right palm throbbing but I was still glad I didn't hit my head. Can't have that at the near end of vacation.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday Fun


Started the day off with face timing with Quinn. He's got a beard now and he just looks so much older and mature with it, like he was in his thirties. We also spoke to Nate's parents for a bit. By the time all of that was done it was nearly 2pm.

Back in Sydney


We left Newcastle and now we are back in square one- Sydney. It was a little sad for us to drop off the car at the airport; we had it for 12 days and it had taken us to every relative down the coast. It was also my first time driving on the wrong side of the road. Actually since I got sick I wasn't able to drive after my initial drive around the wheel but I think Nate enjoyed driving.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Run Redhead Pizza


Zinny, Nate and I headed to Isaac's school to watch him run his cross country run this morning. So funny, we sat on the grass and had a conversation so we missed the start of his race. We did, however, caught him in the middle and tail end of when he finished. But there were two finish lines, and he finished at the line that was farther away from us- so photos, sorry everyone.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sandboarding at Port Stephens


I never expected sandboarding to be so tough. The fun part was sliding down tons and tons of sand, only to have to trudge up and through gazillions of sand again to be able to slide down again. I must say I was exhausted after just a few times of ambling up the dunes- which really took a lot of energy out of you. Every time you took a step, the sand would come up mid calf; it was like taking two steps forward, only it was one because your foot would depress a whole foot down from the sand.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Travel Day


Nick is so funny. This kid can seriously talk until the cows come home. We left Boambee today. And before we did, Nick was home and he showed us photos of his recent trip to Cambodia. He also thanked us and said goodbye to us for about maybe half an hour before he had to finally leave for school. And the whole time, we both said over and over again, "no problem, no problem. Don't mention it."

Coffs Tri and Boambee


Woke up at about 630 today to go see Nick compete in his triathlon - his first ever. We also met Sheena there. The whole thing reminded me of Nate's triathlons. Sort of weird to see him being in my position though, as a spectator and not a competitor.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015



Trish made us her famous green juice that she makes for herself every morning. The color was gross looking because of the spinach but it tasted absolutely wonderful. We went to the store to get bananas to add to the juice. When we returned, it was my turn to do my laundry as I was lacking clean clothes.

Sunday, March 8, 2015



I'm at the point of vacation where I'm losing track of what day it is. This only means 2 things; I'm having lots of fun and our vacation days are numbered.



I'm sick, and what a horrible feeling to have. Especially since I'm on vacation. Woke up to an extremely itchy throat and body aches. By the time we left our inn, I realized I had a cough and a slight fever.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary


Lone Pine was another amazing place we went to today. Among other wonderful places. We petted dingos, fed kangaroos and best of all, held Koalas!! So much excitement. It was like being at the zoo, except I could actually touch half of the animals (okay, half of the animals). The koala I had was Hugo. He was 5 years old and pretty heavy. Their claws are very sharp! I could feel Hugo's claws digging into my arms as I posed for a few photos with him.



What day is it, I keep asking?
My mind is not in sync with the calendar. Good and bad. We checked in late at the Kingsford Riverside Inn near Brisbane city. Better than I thought. And I was thinking sleazy hotel. It's apparent that I've been attacked by mosquitoes, with bites at least the size of a dime. I have a bite the size larger than a quarter!! Need bug spray asap. 

Did many things today, per usual. Was invited to Gladys's induction as a prefect at school. All the uniforms and the civil behavior reminded me of Parry. If this was Anerica, you'd hear cheers and whistles in addition to the claps. There was cake and drinks for parents and guests. Had a slice of sponge cake and almost went for another.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Travel day to Brisbane

Last minute shopping in Cairns

Travel day to Brisbane, so not much to report. We had our last fill of the breakfast buffet at the Coral Tree Inn, left our luggages there, and went exploring around Cairns one last time. We walked into more souvenir shops obviously. Also nearly lost our Australian phone, which would have been disastrous.

The Great Barrier Reef


The Great Barrier Reef was AMAZING. Dream come true for me. I can't believe I've never been snorkeling before this. Oh I know why: the water is cold cold cold and the waters are dangerous. Le sigh.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Day Trip to Palm Cove

SO HOT TODAY. Even though I typed that in caps, I'm only half-complaining. I'm vitamin D deficient and don't get enough sun back home!

Friday, February 27, 2015



Left the airbnb in sort of a mad dash this morning. Woke up to find the towels in the dryer still damp... Oh well.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Taronga Zoo

Feeding time at the tiger enclosure. Apparently it was rare for them to get close to the glass like this, unless it was feeding time.

Bird show.

Taronga Zoo is amazing, but I'm all zoo-ed out. We just spent nearly 5 hours with Billy, Nate's younger cousin, who volunteers at the zoo here in Sydney, and who was our guide for the day. While we've heard good things about the zoo, we didn't have original plans to go. 

Water dragon 


But the zoo was quite amazing, like it always is. Even in different places. We went to the bird show and a seal show. Both I gave thumbs-up ratings, but the seal show hit closer to home because all of the seals in it were California seals, and they were all soo cute and talented!

Beautiful tiger.

Billy is this fifteen year old something, and his love and knowledge of wildlife and animals reminds me so much of Nate. It's like his mini me! He was such a good tour guide, and knew all about the animals and their names! Kind of crazy. I have trouble remembering people's names sometimes myself. I can see his future career with animals for sure, like maybe being employed by the zoo or one of those animal protection organizations. 

Even though I had salted caramel ice cream last night, I was in the mood for gelato. I got pistachio again at Gelatissimo, but this time with Espresso. I think my last combo with chocolate chip was much better. We sat near the wharf where the supposed Penguins were. Apparently you can eat some of the fish by the pier there. Also witnessed a seagull eating a fish out of the ocean, some 6 meters away. 

Manly beach.

It was our last night in the area so we headed to Manly beach after. I didn't go in but Nate did. I was just watching people in the water and it was amazing how late people go to the beach. When we left it was a little past 7pm, and there were still surfers and swimmers in the water. 

Where we had our dinner. Shop was just about to close so most of the little trays of sushi were half off! Score. Sadly can't remember the name of the place though. 

Also amazing how I've kept up with writing entries everyday since we've been in Australia. Or should I say, "typing" or even "dictating". If you have an apple/android product, you'd know what I mean. I'm curious to see how I'll continue entries depending on schedule changes and availability of wifi. 

Not sad to leave our airbnb rental, but not happy either. This place has been perfect. It was 10 minutes away from the Corso, which had stores of everything one needed. The closest beach was 5 minutes away, while Manly beach was an additional 8 minutes away. Everything was within walking distance and very convenient. Walking up a hill to the apartment also worked out my glutes, a plus! 

I only hope now our shuttle picks us up tomorrow and that we have more fun. 

Bondi dinner


I rode on the back of a scooter last night. Quite exhilarating. If riding a motorcycle is dangerous, this is probably the next best thing. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Bacon, cheese and egg roll that we had for breakfast from one of the bakeries in the corso. Delicious! 

Monday, February 23, 2015


Went parasailing today, which was incredibly fun! Another thing to check off the life list for sure. Nate and I both hate heights so when the tine come for us to walk to the docks, I was just thinking, "what am I getting myself into?" But the experience was so worth it. It was surprisingly relaxing. We were about 80 meters up and fully dunked in the water... Twice. SO FUN. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Reef Beach Ice Cream

Yesterday was just a lazy beach day. Saw a water dragon, crab and water snails at Reef Beach. There was also an equivalent of an ice cream man on a boat within 20 minutes of us being on the beach so of course I had to send Nate to fetch me some. I really love the concept of an ice cream boat and I think he also sold beverages, as another woman at the same beach bought water from him. It was Sunday, so the beaches were disappointingly crowded. The exact beach we were even had some kind of a photo shoot going on. Initially I thought it was strange that woman was selling her clothes and jewelry on the beach, but then I realized she was dressing up and accessorizing models- who then walked across the beach to their photo shoot. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tourists in Straya

Did all the tourists sights today: the Sydney opera house, harbor bridge, botanical gardens and the rocks. We had a great (and exhausting) time but two things lingered in my mind: better shoes and the Internet. I used to walk all over SF so I should know this, and Internet connection could have been better. We spent maybe about 25% of the time trying to find directions and it pushed me to frustration. Even with data on the phone, searching for things online was extremely slowww. Not good, Australia. But you have lovely beaches and wildlife, so I'll forgive you. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Accidental Roadtrip

Friday, February 20th

Finally got our Australian phone to work, so that's good. We can be more accessible now and less disconnected. 

Slept in and had a bit of a late start today, as we needed it. It was probably close to 9 when we sat down at breakfast. I definitely had better sleep than the previous night. Not sure what it was but we both looked at each other at breakfast and knew that it was just going to be an unplanned, relaxed/lazy day. 

Nate and I started out day off with a run. My goal was a measly mile, considering the heat and humidity here but also the fact that my last proper run was in December. I finished off with a little over 2 miles. I sat at a park bench to catch my breath after and pondered upon the strange and new birds I saw that were eating the worms from the ground. 

His aunt Fiona ended up taking us for a few hours, to see all the best local beaches- an accidental road trip, if you will. They were all beautiful and I wished I had brought something more than my gopro and iPhone to capture it all. I haven't been all over the world (yet) but from what I've seen, this country really does have the best beaches in the world! Lucky Australians... 

We end up at Telstra in Warringah mall in the later afternoon to solve the phone issue and to target. As a girl in Target, can I just say their clothing department beats the U.S.? Prices aren't bad as well. Definitely going to try to return here, even if he doesn't want to. Hah.

After that we moved into our airbnb apartment rental, which is literally the next street over from his Nana's house. The place is so cute and uncluttered! Pictures are on my dslr, which I'll upload at a later time. All the place lacks is AC, but there is a huge fan to compensate it. 

We are STARVING. Just headed to an international food festival at the wharf (7 minute walk away!) that his Nana and Fiona told us about. Excited. But more so hungry. 

The lamington's I finally tried!!! Yum. Sponge cake. 

We've got 7 more days exactly here so I think our next days will be more orderly. Can't wait.