Thursday, December 26, 2013

3 More Days in Melbourne

 A year ago we visited Melbourne and the Yarra River Valley; we had so much fun we knew we had to get back. ( If you haven't already, check out "Yarra Valley Travelogue" to see some amazing country and "G'Day from Melb'n" for city experiences.) We didn't get as much time this year, but we packed a lot into a few days.  John and Peter worked during the week, so Pam and I played for a few days.  We stayed at the luxurious Langham Hotel. Above is the view from our room and below there are the 4 of us with the signature pink hotel car:

Melbourne is located on the Yarra River; we stayed on the South Bank and got to cross this delightful bridge each day.  It is decked out for the holidays with a gigantic bunch of mistletoe and hearts

and is the local spot for showing your love with a padlock on the bridge

And wonderful buskers all over town

It is the Southern Hemisphere, so December should be quite warm...but it was a bit nippy.  In the photos you will see folks dressed like eskimoes and like beach bums.

And speaking of dressing up... we found Federation Square was filled with Santas one day:

And a Peppermint Candy Cane:

And my camera didn't work quite quick enough to get a good shot, but I hope you can see the Storm Troopers who were crossing the street nonchalantly...

And I don't know what she was meant to be:

The Botanic Gardens are gorgeous - I am just going to put up some of the photos of amazing trees:

And flowers

And an Australian take on Santa and his sleigh at the gift shop:

One of the highlights of the trip was going to see the new musical "King Kong."  They took special effects to a new high.  This show HAS to get to Broadway:

One of the alleyways near the center of downtown is designated for graffiti.  Here is a taste:

In the Fitzroy neighborhood, a "transitional" area with lots to see:

We learned that Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside of Greece...and restaurants to prove it!  We had a wonderful meal at Jim's Tavern in menus, BYOB, and no empty seats all night long!

On Saturday we did some walking in the Dandenong region;  gigantic trees, tree-sized ferns, waterfalls, and birds, birds, birds.

Back in the city for one more day, John and I went to Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral, then walked around a while and returned that night for Christmas Lessons and Carols.

We stopped for lunch at the Festive Foodie Market at Federation Square, where we watched ourselves on the jumbotron screen and sunned ourselves in the complimentary beach chairs:

Some parting scenes:

This one is for our Singaporean friends:


And on the flight back...Singapore Airlines dressed up for the season:

Next up - Christmas in Hawaii!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fun Fotos 4

Orchard Road was "lit up" this weekend and we got a few shots.  (I wish my camera was better...maybe I'll ask Santa)

This is the huge tree at Ion - it is green during the day, then changes from red to purple to blue at night.

The Marriott just super-lights-up its name:

Takashimaya did this cute little display with teddy bears - love the rainbow:

And there is a special Christmas show in the Takashimaya Mall that features Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...quite the Asian mash-up!! They are larger than human TMNT figures dancing with kids to Christmas songs under bright lights.  I think they looked scarier than the Santa in A Christmas Story:

That mall has the most wonderful food court - it rivals Harrods in London.  But I had never seen this stall before...and there was a long queue of people waiting to gobble these things up:

And at a great price.  And, no, I didn't try one..but my local friends say they are delicious!

Marks & Spencer has this display in the Men's Department:  heavy flannel shirts and light cotton bermuda shorts.  Just what you want for a tropical season!  Oh, and they are selling faux fur coats in the ladies department, along with wool sweaters.  I guess they think we are all travelling to northern climes for the holidays... :)

Now this is more like it.  In most Asian countries this is a common sight - a merchant carrying his wares on his bicycle.  But now in Singapore it is a rare to come across this sight.  This man, who looks to be at least 80, and SO thin, was carrying his newspapers on a super busy street to his next stop.  May not be  glamorous, but it is a job!

What I saw on the MRT last week:

Another stop at the Pottery Jungle introduced me to a whole new type of ceramic collectibles:  The Mao and Cultural Revolution Collection!  The people are about 10 inches high and quite beautifully made. (I wonder who made these and who will buy them...I don't think the workers in the uniforms can afford them)

And finally, in honor of "selfie" being named Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionary:

Happy December!!