Australia

Entry Info

17th (Wed)
Mar 2010

[day46] Sydney to Dubai 1

Sydney to Dubai1Seven days I stayed in Sydney and restarted the life as a backpacker in a hostel as I had been staying friends' houses at each places for a month. However, I just did sightseeing only one of seven days because the hostel was bit too far from the city. I had to switch my round the world ticket to an e-ticket and went to JAL which is located in a very central area. Using this opportunity, I also visited the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, amongst other tourist spots and soot some photos. Apart from the day, I spent my time just relaxing like writing journals at cafes and cooking steaks by myself.

In fact, the highlighted event at Sydney was the flight to Dubai via London. Although it was possible to fly to Dubai directly, the flight between Sydney and London is one of the longest haul of the world. It is almost a 24 hour flight and what's more it is operated by A380 well known as the newest and biggest, most luxurious aircraft. This should be the best flight to savour what the first class is. Though this single flight would have cost more than 13,000AUD if I'd purchased with a full-fare rate, the round the world ticket allowed me to book the flight as just one segment of 16 allowances. It's a damn good deal indeed.

Sydney Qantas First Class Lounge

I'd have preferred staying at the lounge than the cheap hostel and checked out of the hostel early but I made too much haste. As the check-in luggage procedure was available 4 hours ahead of the boarding and I arrived 2 hours earlier than start, I had to wait on the couch in front of the counter. Anyways, the soft couch was much more comfortable than the hard bench at the hostel.

Sydney to Dubai1At length, the lounge's gate was in front of me. As Sydney is their home airport, Qantas puts the best effort on this lounge. The ceilings are very high and the spacious room makes an absolutely luxurious atmosphere. Yet the interior design keeps a very simple and modern Australian style. I actually used some Qantas and in general I like their sense of design styles. When I sat a couch, one of the staff walked by me and asked "What would you like to drink?" For the time being, I ordered fresh juice and started browsing the internet with my iPhone. There are many airplanes going and coming in front of me through huge bright windows.

Sydney to Dubai1As it was lunch time, I decided to eat meals as well. Though the lounge has some self service snack counters, basically we order from the menu. Thanks to its descent kitchen, they have quite nice range of menus from a daily full course to a la carte plates and the quality is indeed very high, probably higher than in-flight meals. And of course all meals and drinks are free of charge for the visitors. Though in terms of wine lists, in-flight menus of first class are better than the lounge, as presumably the lounge is accessible for not only first class flyers but also high ranked mileage members, it can be a good idea to eat good amount of meals on the ground. The boarding time came when I was eating ice cream after having a shower.

QF44 Sydney to London

Sydney to Dubai1With a quick glance of the aircraft I found strangely an old Boeing moored there. The interior was identically the same as the one I used before from Hong Kong. I asked CA where A380 was and the answer was "it's working in Melbourne today". Uh, when I booked the ticket, I definitely saw the letter of “A380” on the display. Well it was long time and half a year ago and the schedule must have been changed without any notice. We can't trust flight companies for such a long scheme. Of course the old Boeing which had full flat seats and a lot of private spaces looked amazing. Nevertheless, I couldn't stop myself feeling disappointed with it as I had used it already and anticipated a far better one. Maybe someday I should try A380 on my own.

However, the wine list more than consoled me. As I wrote here often, I have lived in Australia for a year and got some knowledge about Australian wines. And I found a superb item which wiped out my discontent. "Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay" This is the best Western Australian white wine which once won a blind tasting competition of the world, surpassing other renowned world class wines. I didn't find any unpleasant smells and it's very easy to drink. Last time, from Hong Kong to Sydney, I had only a few hours to enjoy in-flight meals but for this occasion literally a whole day was available. Paying attention to not drinking too much, I fully relished the beautiful meals and the wine.

To be continued to Dubai.

Entry Info

27th (Sat)
Feb 2010

[day29] Families in Melbourne

Families in MelbourneThe next destination from Perth is Melbourne. I used a discounted economy class flight again for this time and my seat was the center of the 3 row seat. What's more two massive guys were sitting both sides of me. I'd been thinking economy flights can be comfortable enough because of the previous flight, but I’ve changed my mind. Upper class is definitely preferable if it's possible to use.

Meeting with Cousins

I have an aunty in Melbourne and I stayed in their house for 5 days for this time. And what I was most excited at for this visit was meeting with the cousin’s brothers who both converted to Islam and got married. It's very interesting isn't it? The younger cousins were stabilizing their life while I'm literally vagabonding. This state gave me a little doubt about my life but I should stop questioning as they live in a different culture. Anyway, I'll settle down when the time comes.

We got together at the auntie's house and ate Korean BBQ for dinner. Korean BBQ with Muslim people, it was such a rare occasion wasn't it? As I had a prejudice that they are quite ascetic, it was a sort of big surprise that they can eat the BBQ. As a matter of fact, they can't eat only pork which is forbidden by the religious discipline. After eating the dinner we played Monopoly. Though they are all married, we five are in the same age group and naturally we were so excited about the game. Despite the religious difference, I believe we share the fundamental pleasure anyway. Nevertheless, there was an interesting moment when everyone suddenly left me to another room for the prayers although the game had been heating up. Mind you, I don't have any negative feelings about this. Just, it stimulated my thought towards the cultural differences.

Touring around the City

Families in MelbourneIt was only 5 days I stayed in Melbourne and time went by very quickly when I met friends and wrote blog entries. But in spite of the shortage of time, I managed to tour around the city just for one day and realised again how beautiful Melbourne is. I especially like the paved passages with many stylish cafes and the China town with a huge Chinese shrine symbol. I like the mixture of the cultures in Australia. Besides this, I challenged my luck by going to the casino but lost nearly $100. Yeah, I'm not a person who gets rich quick. I'd rather accumulate it slowly.

The Real IMAX

One more notable thing I did in Melbourne was watching the sensational movie AVATAR at the real IMAX theatre. In Japan, we disappointingly don't have the real IMAX though we have some 3D theatres. Therefore, I'd been waiting for a chance to go a real one somewhere around the world and a friend of mine invited me in Melbourne. What's more, the IMAX theatre has got one of the biggest screens in the world and the movie was absolutely thrilling. Although I was tempted to watch it even in Bangkok and Hong Kong, all in all it was worth waiting for.

Entry Info

14th (Sun)
Feb 2010

[day23] Seeking for Memories

Seeking for MemoriesPerth is a memorable place where I studied English at Edith Cowan University from Feb 2005 to Jun 2006. As it's been already 3 and a half years, many things had changed and on this day I decided to search for my memories by going to Claremont where my old campus was located and Fremantle where we can see the sunset over the ocean from a lighthouse.

Claremont

Seeking for MemoriesThe streets in Claremont evoked a vision of those days as if they had been only a couple of days ago. A park I used for a short cut to the school, a café where I studied ardently after school, a bus stop where I waited for a girl, though there were some new buildings, all the most precious places hadn’t changed at all. I couldn't stop reminiscing about the past although I'd been focusing only on the future ever since I left this town 3 years ago.

Seeking for MemoriesFollowing the same road I used to use on those days, I arrived at the (ex) ECU Claremont Campus. Although the ownership had been transferred to another university due to ECU’s financial issues, the buildings has been preserved intact as it’s a very important national asset of Australia. It used to be very lively as around 200 students including me studied there. Maybe because of the holiday, the campus was filled with silence and during my exploration there I could easily visualise the faces of the friends who were eating lunch on the grass, playing soccer after school and on and on.

Fremantle

Seeking for MemoriesFremantle is my favourite place around Perth. I would never get bored with the sunset over the Indian Ocean observed from the lighthouse on the outskirts of the town. As far as my eyes could see, there are only the ocean and the sky. The big red sun setting over them was absolutely magnificent and somehow a little sentimental. Gazing at the clear gradient between navy blue and deep orange with no clouds, I in fact felt like crying.

Come to think of the past, I'd never suffered the emotion of nostalgia like this time. It was too vivid to avoid confronting although I'd been trying not to immerse myself in unobtainable bygone days. In retrospect, the days in Perth could be my late youthful days. Studying hard, playing with friends, dealing with a love triangle, they were indeed very new for me who had been engaged with the web industry since his high school days and not known an ordinary student life. Although not everything was pleasant, I can embrace all of them as precious memories for now.

Nevertheless, I have no desire to return to those days as this journey has just begun and I have many plans after my return to Japan. Keeping these beautiful memories in my heart, I'll travel to the future again.

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