18 April 2005

Land of Oz - Sydney

Two days were woefully inadequate to see even half the tourist spots in Sydney. But still we managed to get a feel of this huge and bustling city.

In any case, I think even a week wouldn't be enough to do justice to this one. Seeing this, I could envisage a bit of New York and the big cities of the world. Lovely to visit, but to live in? I'd have to think about that.

Anyways, as we took the train from Melb, we spent the day in the train and landed only at night in Syd. The landscape from the train was very similar to India, although the atmosphere was a bit marred by some snide remarks that a couple of Yanks sitting behind me were making. Naturally, to them, only the US of A is the ultimate.

Anyways, the next morn, we set off to Taronga zoo, taking the ferry. WE got totally and thoroughly excited on seeing the Harbour bridge and the Opera House enroute. They are not too far from each other. And look really great from a distance.

The zoo was really impressive, although we had to stay put in the souvenir shop for a while, due to a thunderstorm. Huge with many species of animals, some of which I had never seen in person before, like the platypus.

We made good progress and en route a lioness took a swipe at Nandita. Luckily, there was a thick sheet of glass separating the two of them from each other.

That evening, from the zoo, we wandered upto the Opera House. In close-up, it had tiles all over it and didn't actually look too impressive. There's a very 'elitish' restaurant inside and all the usual blah blah. But the walk to the Opera House from the bus stand was very interesting, as it housed all sorts of shops.

Day two, we started late and went leisurely to first Haymarket to try our hand at some shopping. We picked out stuff at an expensive outlet and then came outside, only to discover that the same stuff was available at the famous Paddy markets and probably half the price. Ha ha.

Then, walked to Darling Harbour where there are sooo many things to do. Went for a sounds of the Outback show, where an artist played a traditional aborigine instrument, the didgeridoo. Gosh, it was brilliant. Then, we walked all round, looking at the Chinese garden, Imax theatre, etc.

Then took the monorail from there to the Sydney Tower. The monorail really impressed. It is an overhead rail system, right in the centre of Sydney's CBD, but tucked so neatly into one side of the road, it just blends with the surroundings.

Sydney tower was a bit of a yawn, apart from the views, it was just like the Auckland Sky Tower or the KL Minara tower (the only towers I have been up on, so far). The only difference was the security in Sydney was the maximum.

Took the train back to Melb that night. Most uncomfy, sleeping in seats. Gimme our good old Indian railway berths anytime.

Hunting and illness

They've really been the biggest reasons for such a big gap in my blogging.

We are hunting for houses and I am also job-hunting, which takes up quite a while.

Kids are sick, the older one not so bad, but Nandita giving us sleepless nights. She finally seems to be on the mend now.

Older one has school term hols now, so that's yet another thing to organise _ where will she stay when we go to work? Younger one will go to daycare as usual.

Househunting, interesting and frustrating.

Job-hunting: painful and time-consuming. I am getting tired of doing up my CV again and again, and am really and sorely tempted to remain working where I am......

However, all things, good and bad, shall pass. So we live in hope.

4 April 2005

Land of Oz - Melbourne

It was big, bustling and exciting.

The weather was warmer, it was more crowded, but hey, it was still nice anyways. I am back after 10 days in Oz, and I really loved it. Oz isn't the big bad neighbour I thought it might be.

True, it isn't half as green or beautiful as NZ. But it's got more markets, more things to do and see and more of everything else.

Melbourne roads are soo wide, with a tram line cutting across most main roads. Beaut! I wonder why on earth they got rid of the trams in good 'ol Wgn.

Did many of the usual things. Visited the aquarium, waterfront, looked at the huge Crown Casino and did some quickie shopping. Gawd, the market is huge enough to be a lot like being back home in India.

Also went along to the Penguin Parade and it was well worth the looooooooong ride (not that I was driving anyways). Got to see the penguins in close quarters as they swam back after a day's hard work, to rest for the night. These were tiny ones, smaller than ducks. But oh-so-cute, nevertheless and Nandita and Nandana were raving over how cute they were.

Went to the Dandenong ranges and on a steam engine, called Puffing Billy, which apparently is a bit of a legend there. But it was not a patch on our Ooty/Mettupalayam line, considering how expensive the tickets were. Still, the ride and the locale were nice enough.

I only missed going to the Great Ocean Road, where the brilliant natural rock formation called the twelve apostles (seen recently in umpteen Indian films) is. Saw pics of it and it looks fab. Maybe next time.

Of course, did go around looking at a few houses for sale, along with our friends, as they were looking for a house to buy.

Every bloody house there seems to have gas cooking and most things seem much cheaper there. Ooh, what wouldn't I give for a gas stove at home here instead of the ugly electric one that we have.....

Melb has a nice laid-back air about it, and is a bit like Wgn stretched lengthways and breadthways (a lot of stretching, if you can imagine). It's a huge city, but there's no sign of the palpable rush that you can feel in Sydney. More about that later.

People, do leave your comments. And here's one answer _ I haven't been able to put any pics on, but we did take many, so will try to upload them over a period of time. As to why it's taken me so long to put up a post, read my next.