The struggle to get home

Antalya, 7 January 2017

It was around 10.30 am when we just had breakfast, packed and moved our stuff to the lobby. Our flight to Istanbul was scheduled at around 4 pm and since we wanted to try going to airport by public bus, sufficient time gap was necessary especially when we were carrying two big suitcases, two 60L(+) carrier, one stroller and a 2-year old. We were about to bid farewell to the nice reception guy in Antalya Inn, when he told us that all flights to Istanbul was cancelled (!!)

Panic? Of course! We tried countless times calling to the customer service number of Turkish Airlines. No answer. 15 minutes.. 30 minutes.. 45 minutes.. still no answer. Finally we asked for an airport transfer to take us swiftly to the airport. Roughly 45 mins later we were in Antalya Airport.

Dang! Loads of people were already queuing in front of Turkish Airline’s sales office. I asked some people behind the line and all of these people were in the same situation. Okay, here we go, let’s queue.

2 hours later, and after 10 mins of asking a Chinese Mister (with no English) that were cutting us in line to move to the back of the queue, we were in front of the line. Oh, just to let you know, our flight was Antalya – Istanbul – Bangkok (Turkish Airlines) and Bangkok – Vientiane (AirAsia).

Sales Officer (SO): Yes how can I help you?

Me & Husband (MH): Our flight to Istanbul is cancelled. We need to reschedule new ticket & our connecting flight to Bangkok. We have connecting flight from Bangkok to Vientiane as well.

SO: There will be no flight to Istanbul today, airport is closed. I don’t know whether there will be flight tomorrow or the day after. Do you think you can reschedule your Bangkok – Vientiane ticket?

MH: So how come the board says that there are flights after 5pm? And how are we supposed to know when we are going to depart to Istanbul?

SO: Wait. (Call supervisor). No, I talked to my supervisor she confirmed there will be no flights at all today. The board is wrong and I don’t know where you get that information.

MH: Ok, can you book us a flight tomorrow, whatever the time, just book it. And we need to reschedule the flight to Bangkok to latest possible. The Bangkok – Vientiane flight will be lost for sure, it’s non-refundable.

SO: Yes but I can only change one reservation code. Your ticket is booked separately, Antalya – Istanbul with one reservation code and Istanbul – Bangkok with another one.

MH: What? How come? These are both Turkish Airlines. And if you cannot then how are we supposed to reschedule then?

SO: I can reschedule one, and the other one you need to call Customer Service

MH: We tried calling again and again, no answer. That’s why we come here

SO: Yeah I know, everyone is busy

MH: (DUH). So can you please book us ticket for tomorrow flight to Istanbul and then our connecting flight to Bangkok?

She rejected again. Long story short, after half an hour of pushing, finally we got both of our ticket rescheduled! (Why did you have to make it so difficult, duh)

Ok, one problem solved. Now we had to queue for the hotel. We didn’t know where is the hotel desk so we had to asked around (no sufficient sign & it was blocked by people queuing for ticket change). We got the hotel voucher; they put us in Sera Hotel. Then we had to queue for the shuttle bus.

Which was like hell! People were pushing around, not caring whether I was with a toddler. Every time shuttle came they would rush putting their luggage and get inside the bus. Priority for baby/toddler? Forget it. Everybody rushed to get in the bus first. And every 15 minutes there would be people coming again adding to the already full out-of-line people that were waiting for the shuttle. I told my husband to get in the bus first to queue for hotel check-in to save time. That way, I could ask the officer to help me and got in the bus with the next shuttle.

4 Hours after standing in airport queue, we got our room (Finally!).

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Oh shoot, no free Wi-Fi in the room (paid only). A 5-star hotel? Really? What a shame! Lobby Wi-Fi was super slow as well. Ah well, no time to complain, time to get in line for dinner…..

Antalya, 8 January 2017

Breakfast was nice and less people, which was unexpected since there were 700 people in the hotel (said the unfriendly reception). It was 10 am we decided to go to Old Town (Kaleici) because around the hotel, there was nothing. We checked the information board and saw list of people departing that morning for 5am flight. No information on shuttle to airport, though.

3.30 PM. We were back in the hotel, our door was locked because it was past our check-out time. When we asked for the key, the reception reluctantly asked somebody to open the door for us (After asked me “Checking out?” and telling me twice “Your room is free”. Mam, I didn’t even want to stay here). Then, they told us that everybody has gone to airport with 10 am & 3 pm shuttle, and we had to pay for our own transport, 40 Lira. Oh great.

4.30 PM. Airport again. The sales office was full of people. Apparently, flights were cancelled again, including ours. I was standing in line prepared for another 4 hours of excruciating moment, and my husband tried to get through the check-in desk to see if there was actually a flight for tonight and check us in. My husband did a great job. Since we had tickets booked the previous day, we were able to get through. Great!

7.15 PM was supposed to be our boarding time. No announcement for our flight, no sign of boarding.

8 PM … 9 PM … 10 PM, still nothing. Finally, close to midnight, boarding call! Yey!

Everybody was getting on board, all good. Flight attendant took my baby stroller from me and told me I would get it in Istanbul in front of the door (“What is your seat number mam? 25A? Ok, I will make sure they know” – but later they lost it!). Plane was on, captain speaking. I was relieved.

Suddenly, engine was off again. Captain speaking “We are sorry, Istanbul has parking issue so we have to reschedule our flight to possibly 3 am. Since it is 2 hours and 45 minutes from now, we would like to ask you to go back to the terminal. Thank you”

antalya-plane

Oh dear God, it had not over.

Istanbul, 9 January 2017

3 AM. We finally departed for Istanbul.

5 AM. Arrived Istanbul. Wait, problem continued. Our baggage could not be towed from the airplane due to heavy snow (why didn’t they put in the bus? I don’t know) so we had to wait for roughly 2 hours.

And 15 minutes

And 30 minutes

And finally!

But they lost my baby stroller!!! How was I supposed to go around carrying a 13-kg toddler? Sigh.

I asked ground staff to help. They said they will check again in airplane.

1 hour. Nothing. There was no tag and plastics because the check-in & boarding staffs said it was unnecessary (Never believe them on this! Lesson learned: Always ask for a tag. That way it is more traceable in case of lost). I gave up and went to International Terminal to check-in, and later I came back to give them my details so they could create lost report.

The screen in International departure hall was full of cancelled flights, handful of delayed flights (which can be 5 – 8 hours delayed) and only few on schedule. Nothing was mentioned beside our flight so we were very hopeful it would not be cancelled.cancelled-flights

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8.00 PM Boarding call, flight was expected to be on schedule.

1 hour… Captain speaking “We are undergoing procedure to take off which may take around 1 hour”

2 hours… Captain speaking “We are waiting for our plane to be towed”

3 hours… 4 hours…

It moved! The plane moved! I was still anxious at least until it took off. It did! I was so happy that this was almost over.

Bangkok, 10 January 2017

Not quite. Apparently Turkish Airlines had another surprise for us: our baggage was still in Istanbul! When would it arrive? God knew. (Later it arrived in Vientiane 13 January 2017).

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We had to create lost report (yup, again). We went to Turkish Airlines office to ask about the luggage arrival. Some people there told us they had been standing there for 3 hours, some had been going there again & again for 3 days with no certainty of when they were going to fly. Oh, I feel you people! Stay strong!

We booked another ticket to Vientiane (to replace our no-show ticket on 10 January 2017) which cost us double.

Finally, Home!

Vientiane, 13 January 2017

luggageAfter countless emails (which were all replied by Bangkok Airport Ground Service, Turkish Airlines was not at all responsive) and phone calls (international!) we were told to go to airport because our baggage (3 out of 4) was going to arrive with 12.50 flight. Ta da! Another surprise, only 1 baggage was there!! The other 3 was sent with 8.40 PM flight, and so we had to back later that night.

Our baby stroller is lost but at least our luggage are complete. And now, finally, it was over!

Travel Note – Australia : Itinerary, Accommodation, Transportation, Groceries

I have been thinking about posting the itinerary after sharing all the experiences. However, since it is going to be a long way ahead, not to mention all the upcoming posts about the NZ travel that you will have to go through, I decided to separate the itinerary based on countries.

Itinerary

Date Day Journey Destination
1-May Fri Kuala Lumpur – Sydney, Flight 8pm
2-May Sat Arrive at 11 am, Exploring Sydney City Center
3-May Sun Blue Mountain, Bondi Beach, Lunch and Groceries
4-May Mon Enjoy the road To Melbourne – Stopover at Canberra, Ulladulla, Kiama. Arrive Melbourne 02.00 AM
5-May Tue Exploring Melbourne Day #1. Brighton Beach, Yarra Valley, Phillip Island, Yarra River
6-May Wed Exploring Melbourne Day #2, Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Kryal Castle, Queen Victoria Market, Enjoying Tram. Ferry to Devonport at night 19.30
7-May Thu Arrive morning. Batman Bridge, Cataract Gorge, Continue to Hobart. Arrive at 05.00 PM
8-May Fri Exploring Mount Wellington, Salamanca Place (Salamanca Market, Parliament). Arrive Sheffield 5.30 PM
9-May Sat Exploring Craddle Mt, Sheffield, then to Devonport, Ferry to Melb at 7.30 PM

Route

We went through all the routes by car, excluding the ferry crossing from Melbourne to Devonport. The long journey began with Sydney to Melbourne, through Wollongong, Kiama, Ulladulla, then Canberra, and all the way south to Melbourne. This was not the closest route, but the scenery was breathtaking. Allow 12-hr non-stop or 18-hr several-stop for this 1,100km journey.

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We did ferry crossing from Melbourne to Devonport vv. This was our route of getting around Tasmania :

route taz

The distance between cities was not that far, compared to the journey we did on the mainland. The longest journey was from Launceston to Hobart which takes up to 3.5 Hours. We did this route instead of the looping route through Queenstown on the return journey, since we did not have enough time before our ferry to Melbourne.

Accommodation

We stayed at family relatives’ while in Sydney, so it did save us some expense on the accommodation. The rest of the lodgings we chose were satisfying; be it in Melbourne, Hobart, and Sheffield.

Melbourne : Moonee Valley Ponds

We arrived very late at night in this hotel. The reception was kind enough to allow self-checkin, then settle everything the day after. It was a three-bedroom and two-storey apartment, complete with central heating, laundry and dryer, ironing desk, and all the kitchen utilities. The tram stop was only footsteps away. The reception guy was kind enough to let us know where to visit in this city, complete with the park-savvy tips (such as $10/day park in Harbourtown!).

So to say, it was spacious, it was clean, well-located, and it had everything we could ask for. It comes with the price though. The apartment cost AU$ 329/night.

Hobart : Grosvernor Courts

We booked a two-bedroom apartment at AU$ 279/night. The heating was not centralized; it does not reach the rooms really well. The kitchen was a bit small but still acceptable. It was not as spacious as the one we had in Melbourne, but it was considerable for 6 adults.

The location was very close to the city center. Restaurants and groceries were only two blocks away. We had a flat-tire the next morning and thankfully the repair shop was really close it only took 10 minutes to get there!

Sheffield : Silver Ridge Retreat

A wooden lodge located on the hills of Mount Rolland. The most beautiful thing was the scenery around the lodge, which offers us a direct look of Mount Rolland. The lodge also owns forest, mine, and farm. Hot pool was available for the guests to use.

The drawback was that it still used the conventional wood fire system, so the heat did not reach all the rooms. But if you are staying here for summer, I would not bother about this though. The price was fair enough, AU$ 270/night.

Transportation

  1. Crossings

After careful consideration, mainly based on cost, safety and reliability, we chose the Spirit of Tasmania to cross the Bass Strait. The ferry was huge, with luxurious lounge, theatre, bar, restaurant, and souvenir shop. We stayed overnight on the 4-berth cabin. The cabin consists of standard things such as bed (linen and towel provided), en-suite bathroom (not so spacious but just sufficient), desk and mirror. There was a baby box provided which I found useful for my son to play around safely. The cost of the crossing was $1,714 for 6 adults and one baby (free) – return trip.

Spirit of Taz Spirit of Taz02 Spirit of Taz01

  1. Car Rent

We did ask quotations from several car rental providers. The cheapest one was britz.com.au.

The car we rent was Hyundai I-max, which was more than enough for 6 adults, 1 baby, and loads of heavy luggage.

As common family car, the performance was not to be expected the same as SUV – in some uphills and corners you will have to push the pedal harder, acceleration was a bit slow. But it was very spacious, had large legroom and was comfortable for passengers.

The price for this car was $ 143 / day. This did not include the insurance, one-way fee, and any additional pack. I was disappointed though, because in the quotation, the provider agreed to waive the one-way fee, but when we returned the car, their third-party supplier, Europcar, charged us AU$ 297. We complained but so far it has not been settled.

  1. Fuel, Parking, and Tolls

The fuel cost in Australia is cheaper than New Zealand. It was around $1.2 – $1.27 at that time. Be very thoughtful about this though, since in some tourist spots further from the city, fuel charge may be higher. So it is always better to be fully loaded before departure.

As for parkings, the cost is higher in big city than smaller ones. The parking spot also determined the cost. For example, in Melbourne we unintentionally parked in office building – because we could not find any parking spot near to the Yarra River at that time – at it cost us AU$ 20.6!! For spots on the road shoulder, the cost per time is usually mentioned very clearly (mostly around $2/hour).

Toll gates are not common, at least on the route we passed through. Instead, they automatically charged the vehicle by scanning a toll-device attached to the vehicle. By the time we returned the vehicle, we were charged $120.

Groceries

We did several groceries shopping on our journey. I have to say that it was expensive, compared to the groceries in my home country – or in my current living country. We shopped once every three days, and the average cost was AU$ 192.3/6 adults and 1 baby per shop. Baby foods cost around AU$ 2 – AU$ 3 per pouch / can.

Useful tips

  1. Take time to browse through internet or ask locals before you begin the adventure. Some advice might come handy and cost-saving, just like the $10 all-day parking area in Melbourne.
  2. When you compare the price of car rental, be mindful that the daily rent does not include the one-way fee (if any), insurance fee, and other add-ons (baby seat, GPS, etc.). You have to double check with the providers (send them enquiries detailing all the necessities) to see the final rental price and make sure there are no additional cost at the end of the service.
  3. Be familiar about car-parking system in Australia. Some sign says it 1P (1-hour parking), 1/2P (half-an-hour parking), or 1/4P (15-min parking). Each parking lot has a number which you have to enter in the paying machine. Check to ensure that you don’t enter someone else’s parking lot number (because that means you are paying for them – not for you!).
  4. Before going with ferry or to sightseeing place, check the internet. Ask hotel reception for the recommended site to book online. Sometimes there are discounted prices offered on the last minute bookings.
  5. When travelling with kids (just like we did), take things slow. Be prepared for extra-times it takes along the way, as you might have to make several stops so they won’t get bored sitting in the car all day.
  6. Make stops in Sheffield, or Mt. Roland. Stay in a country-side accommodation. Because seriously, it is breathtaking!

So that was it! 🙂 All the stories from our journey to Australia. I do hope you find all of these useful for your future reference. Happy holiday!!

Cheers,

AR

Escape to The Beauty of Tasmania

The sun has not even shone when the passenger announcement went off. It was 40 minutes before the ship went ashore. Passengers were asked to pack their belongings and board their vehicle immediately afterwards. Then, roughly 7 am, our vehicle disembarked the ship and off to Tasmanian land.

We headed straight to Launceston, a city 100km south east of Devonport. From the words of social media, the first thing to see here was Cataract Gorge. It was a reserve which offered walking trails, beautiful view of Tamar River along the way, café (in which we could see peacocks! Loads of them), and natural wildlife. We parked our car in the Royal Park then walked up to the Gorge. I have to say, it was a pretty challenging walks, considering I was bringing a baby with me! But we made it there, thanks to the highest motivation of beating the track.

I would give a 8.5/10  to the beautiful view of Royal Park (the place where we parked our car). It was the perfect place for afternoon hang-outs, having a lunch break, or a picnic. If only we brought our lunch, we would have stationed ourselves by the side of the lake, enjoying the view of hills and beautiful white boats and yachts.

Royal Park

This was where the walk began!

Royal Park02

Beautiful Royal Park. Perfect for afternoon hang-outs.

The view along the gorge was amazing. We stopped several times to breath into the fresh air while adoring the view. If you fancy, you could take cruise instead of walking. Although the cruise does not reach the main area of the Basin itself, but you still can catch the view from the Tamar River to the Gorge. We made a brief stop at the Peacock café before returning, while my husband decided to walk further down to the First Basin headed towards the swimming pool.

Gorge01The view along the Gorge. Gorge for gorgeous ;P

Gorge02

Further down towards the basin

Gorge03

A Peacock in -yup, you guessed it- the Cafe Peacock

Our journey continued to Hobart. We made a short stopover at Batman Bridge. There was nothing special here, apart from the Bridge (and its name!) – and, oh well, the loo. No, it’s not named after the famous Marvel Character, but after John Batman who sailed from Tamar River in 1835 to initiate the first settlement of Melbourne.

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Batman02

The Batman Gurlsss

We stayed at the Grosvernor Court Apartment in Hobart. It was a very lovely three-bedroom apartment, with close proximity to groceries, shops, and tourist attractions. Since it was a very tiring day, especially because of the long walks I just performed in the day, I decided to rest and pile up energy for tomorrow.

Next day’s attraction was Mount Wellington. The cold welcomed us complete with the strong wind. At first, we were asked to park at the area around 4km from the summit since there were road works. But then in the middle of the journey, the officer told us that we were able to access the summit by car. We thought the cold and wind was already strong enough at the parking area, apparently, in the summit it was an awful lot stronger! If I was not careful, it might blow me away, literally. I even left my baby in the car because I was afraid I could not hold him. My husband’s phone got carried away by the wind, the display cracked and the motherboard broke 😦

Wellington01

This photo involves a difficult battle with the wind! 😛

Wellington02

Difficult to get a good-and-non-blurry picture

Enough playing with the wind and snow, it was then the time to chill at the city center. In the Salamanca Area, there were several nice places to see and take pictures of. Salamanca market, the harbor, the parliament and even the parks in front of parliament building were pretty. I super love it! There is a free shuttle bus on Saturdays, from 9am to 2pm, with a 10 minutes interval.

hobart01

Meet Abel Tasman

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Daddy’s chillin at the park in front of Parliament Building

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One of the shop in the Salamanca Area

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Further down the road from the array of shops, just inside the blocks.

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The free Saturday shuttle service.

Around 7 pm we arrived at the lodge just off Sheffield. There were many wallabies jumping and playing. They stopped while we went off our car and took their pictures! Lucky they did not abruptly run off.

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The friendly owner greeted us and explained a whole lot of information about Craddle Mountain and around. After giving us a flashlight to guide the way to the cabin, we had a good night rest.

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A three-bedroom wood cabin for us to rest

The next morning we woke up and stunned by the gorgeous looking of Mount Roland! We barely saw a thing when we arrived the day before, and now here they were all, the majestic view just before our eyes. The accommodation rested just on the valley of the Mountain. Can you imagine, having the view of Mt Roland while washing dishes? It’s like, I can wash dishes all day!

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The magnificent view of Mt Roland just behind our cabin

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The super-recommended lodge

In the accommodation area, there were all the things we could ask for. A warm swimming pool, a rain forest (yes, it belongs to the owner), a stable, and a silver mine. If only we had more times to explore. Well, someday I shall return and stay here again!

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This photo is for real! It is not a studio background 🙂

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The pond just beside the cabin

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Farm, forest, mine, stables further left

Off we went to the famous Craddle Mountain. The ticket fee was $60 for groups up to 8 people, including entrance to all National parks in Tasmania. The car is allowed to enter the area and park in every spots, but there are limited spaces and it is very likely that the parking lots are full. Besides, we did not want to hassle on having to wait for the bus to go through (the road was very narrow), and thinking where to park. As such, we parked our car in the visitor area, bought our ticket, and then caught the shuttle.

We got off at the Dove Lake. This lake was their main attraction. It was a lovely lake with mountain views. There were several trails surrounding the lake, ranging from the 30-minutes to hours; from the family-trails to experienced-trails. Since it was rainy that day, the trails got a little muddy. And, considering I was bringing the baby, I did not go on the trails for safety reason. Don’t forget to make a stop at Ronny Creek, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch and puddle your feet into the refreshing water, and then to the Ranger Museum to have a glimpse of Craddle Mountain history.

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The famous dove lake! Numb fingers could not stop me!

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My man going on a trail

Before returning to Melbourne by Ferry, we took a short stop at Sheffield. This town is famous for its murals, and you can find it almost in every inch of the town! There are accommodations available, but I would recommend the one that I stayed since there are many more things to see and do there, and it is not too far from Sheffield.

sheffield01

Sheffield, Town of Murals

We were so stunned by the amazing Tasmanian view that we wish to visit again someday. So many things to see here, so little times! There is almost everything: mountains, parks, wildlife, and even the journey in between is formidable. Shame we missed Port Arthur and the Lavender Gardens. But I think it is a sign from the universe saying we will return 🙂

So to say, i have met my new-found love.

Cheers

AR

Melbourne, Ballarat, and around : from the modern capital to the nostalgic city

Rise and shine! What a beautiful day it was. Sun shone so bright and the wind breezed as if they told us to leave the bed and go out (which was a struggle!). We had two days to explore the city, so everything had to be squeezed into a 48-hour visit.

In the first day, we decided that we wanted to visit some places in the outskirt, so that the day after we had more time to explore the city. But first thing first, the legen-(wait-for-it)-dary Brighton!

The beach is famous for the bathing boxes. There were 82 boxes stretched along the coastline. One box, in 2008, would cost around AUD 200,000! Plus, another AUD 500 as the annual council rates. That excludes amenities such as electricity and running water.

Wow! Shut up and take my money! (Except that I haven’t got that much 🙂 )

If you Google it, there will be tons of beautiful photos from people around the world in front of these boxes. Yes, they are that famous! That is why, as social media people, we wanted to take pictures too!

Brighton

Brighton02

Next, we were heading to Yarra Valley. It is the area where Yarra River, the river that flows through Melbourne, originates. The view here was amazing. There were a lot of things to see and do here, which includes skydiving and riding a hot-air balloon. Skydiving here cost around $300, while the hot-air balloon starts from $365/person. If you are fancy of tasting local products, the area offers many recreational farmgate, such as Blueberry farm, Cherry Farm, and Trout Farm.

We made a brief stop at the Badger Creek Blueberry farm. Here, we were able to taste the natural-grown Blueberry, Raspberry and Boysenberry. Jams and frozen berries are available too, which are great for toppings. For the wine-lovers, try their wine, which is rather unique because the main ingredients are blueberries! Be noted though, that they are close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

 Yarra Valley01

View of the hills just opposite the Farm

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Badger Creek Blueberry Farm

Next on our list was to see cute Penguins. It took us around 2 hours to go south towards Phillip Island. No, the island is not named after Prince Phillip of United Kingdom, but after the New South Wales Governor, Arthur Phillip.

The Penguin Parade, so they called, is located in The Phillip Island Nature Park. In order to catch those lovely animals, we were trying to beat the time to reach there by dusk. How pity, we arrived there just 30-minutes after the sun set. The penguins came ashore at dusk, so it was recommended to be there at least 2-hour before sunset. Lucky for us, since the Parade was over, people were starting to go home so we did not have to queue and be in a crowd. There was no security back then, so we were able to just go to the glass area where we could take a peek at these Penguins.

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Little cute Penguin was having a bad day

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Mommy was kissing her little penguin

We returned to Melbourne at around 9.00 PM. There, we enjoyed the beautiful Yarra River and its illuminated surroundings. There was a bridge crossing the river, where we could learn about aboriginal symbols. Pictures taken from the Bridge were outstanding, too!

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Yarra River, Southbank area, taken from the Bridge.

 Yarra River03

Yarra River. Picture taken just opposite the Sea World.

The day after, with a more refreshed mind, body and soul, we visited Ballarat.

Ballarat is a city located around 100 km from Melbourne. The city used to experience a gold rush back in 1850. It was then when Ballarat began to be a destination for gold miners, and as such, the city began to grow. I personally loved the city, with a 1850’s vibes all around and the friendliness of the people. Credit goes to the Ballarat city council who did outstanding preservation and maintenance of the buildings.

It was the first time for us to go here, and we did not really familiar with the parking system. Apparently, we needed to input the parking bay number to the machine, before printing the ticket that will be displayed on vehicle’s dashboard. Alas, we input the wrong bay number! A lady came to us and said that we put the wrong bay number, so we actually paid for other person’s vehicle. It was so nice of her to help us, and then she inserted her coins and paid for our parking fee! And yeah, she did it like it was an ordinary thing for her. But for us, that moment worth more than a thousand thanks.

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Pose in front of the Town Hall

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The city of Ballarat. Really love the 1850’ ambience.

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Gold discovery landmark

A unique thing I found here was they have Parent Place! It is a place exclusively for parents that need a special place to nurse their children. Remember the times when you wish you can sit while breastfeeding your baby? Or when you just wish you bring some toys from home to soothe your crying children? Well this place IS the answer! You can freely rest while breastfeeding, or let your children play with the many kinds of toys that they have. Best part is: it is all free! Amazing, right?

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The fantastic parent place

We did a short visit to Sovereign Hill, where the Ballarat city in its golden era (figuratively and literally 🙂 ) was recreated. It is an open air museum where visitors get a chance to try mining the gold from the river. The entrance fee is around $50. The museum did a hell of a job of recreating the city; there was even a school complete with the pupils. On certain hour, there is a sound-and-light show called Blood of the Southern Cross. The time of the show varies during the year, depends on what season, so it is better to double check before visiting.

Sovereign Hill

Welcome to Sovereign Hill

On the way back to Melbourne, we passed in front of Kryal Castle. It is a replica medieval castle just outside Ballarat. Admission is $31/adult, and $19/children. Free for children under 4 years old. However, it is only open during weekends and public holiday.

Kryal Castle

The strong wind did not hinder us from taking pictures!

Back to Melbourne, we wanted to enjoyed a little of the city since we only had few hours before our ferry departed to Tasmania. Based on the information from the hotel guy, there was a $10 all-day parking spot in harbourtown, which was a good idea! Parking was hard in the city center, so we better parked there and take the free tram. Should we have known this the day before, we would not have to park at the Southbank (which cost us $20 for only 2 hours! 😦 )

MelbournePark

I’ll give you the glimpse of it so you won’t park at the WRONG (yet expensive!) place

Melbourne city council offered a free tram for tourists. It was a guided tram, so you would be informed of the name of the places and their brief history on each stop. This way, we would not be alighting at the wrong spot. The tram stops at almost all of the tourist attractions, so it will save you some money to take this to explore the city. Bear in mind though, that it runs really slow and make a lot of stops between short distances, so allow plenty of time to travel around.

MelbourneTram

Inside the tram

We took this tram to reach the iconic flinders station. Then, since the map showed that Victoria Market was only blocks away, we decided to walk. It was such a bad decision, because apparently the real distances almost gave us swollen toes!

Flinders Station

The iconic flinders station

Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market. The market close on Mondays and Wednesdays

We took the tram to return to the harbourtown to spend the rest of the afternoon having a shopping-spree! Yes, the shopping area was full of discounted shops that make most women spend hours here (at least my mom and aunts did). If it was not because of the limited time, we would have probably spent the whole evening there!

Cheers

AR

.05 May 2015.

Sydney to Melbourne : A beautiful journey along the way

It was the third day of our vacation. The weather was sunny, very nice for us to go out and about. Today, our plan was heading to Melbourne, while enjoying the road along the way. We made several stops whenever we liked it, while keeping in mind the estimated arrival time so that we had enough sleep at night.

The journey had heaps of beautiful scenery. We stopped at beautiful Kiama and snapped a shot at the beach. We enjoyed having lunch by the harbor in Ulladulla. And as the final stop, we took pictures in the Canberra’s landmark : Parliament House. Shame we did not have enough time to explore more of the three cities, but we would like to return again someday 🙂

First stop : Kiama.

The name is originated from Aboriginal word “Kiarama” which means a place where sea makes noise. It is a small town with roughly 12,000 populations. With close proximity to Sydney (120 km / 75 miles), Kiama is one of popular destination for day trippers. Its main attractions are the beautiful beaches and blowholes. There are surfing competitions held here at many time of the year, making Kiama one of the famous surfing destination. Personally, I would recommend a two-night stay to enjoy the town. However if you are much of a surfer, longer stay might allow maximum convenience of enjoying the beaches.

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Picture of Kiama taken from afar

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Mommy and lovely son making funny faces

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Stop over at the Beach. It’s breathtaking! Such a perfect place for morning or afternoon walk

Lunch break: Ulladulla
Ulladulla is a small town with the population of almost the same as that of Kiama. We stopped by the harbor to have our lunch on a beautiful sitting area with lots of birds accompanying us 🙂 . No, the bird poo did not smell that bad. At least it did not bother our appetite 😉

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Lunch became tastier!

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Cheese, Mom!

Last stop : Canberra
It was only a brief stop since we only wanted to see and take picture of the parliament house. We got lost when we wanted to reach there, as the roads were, in my opinion, one-ways and a bit confusing. Moreover, our GPS did a good work in misdirecting us. Finally, after several roundabouts, we arrived at the parliament. We thought since we only wanted to take pictures, the car could just wait in front of the building instead of park a little further down the road. Unbeknownst to us, it was strictly a no-waiting zone! So five minutes later, a police patrol car came and warned us with a heavy, firm yet polite “You cannot stop here, Sir!” 😉 😉

So yeah, next time, it will be better to search for a parking spot first before taking picture here 🙂

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Parliament House at night

Finally, at around 2 AM, we reached Melbourne! Apart from many stops we have taken, it was still a tiring 17-hour journey. We stayed at a three-bedroom apartment called Moonee Valley Ponds. We did not take the picture when it was still clean and untouched, since we were exhausted, but we did have some photos in the morning, and, well, in messy version.

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Beautiful spacious apartment. Plenty of room for my son to crawl  . The central heater worked perfectly well to warm up all the rooms. Laundry and drying machines available. The dining utensils were beyond complete. Tram stop nearby.

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Exhausted son was hiding under the blanket

Well, the conclusion from the above journey is, that Sydney to Melbourne is faaaaaaaaar! It should be 12 hours. But in reality, the pain of sitting 12-hour straight in the car was unbearable. Some stops would refresh you along the way so allow at least 18-hour time of travel. The scenery was beaaautiful. Although it was not something I would repeat doing, as a first-timer, it was all worthwhile.

See you on the next post!

Cheers,
AR

SYDNEY DAY 2 – 03 MAY 2015 : AROUND THE CITY

So the plan that day was: Blue Mountain, Lunch at the Park, and wrap it all up with Bondi Beach. The weather was, again, not on our side. Regardless, the show went on 🙂

 
 

1. Blue Mountain

It was hard to open my eyes early in the morning, as I just had a long and tiring day. But since I was travelling with mostly loud and noisy mothers and wives, I did not seem to have other choice. So there we were, around 11.00 PM, on our way to Blue Mountain.

With a little bit of getting lost, we arrived on a cloudy, foggy, and rainy three sisters’ lookout. We parked just beside the world heritage plaza, which served us short distance to the lookout.

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Going to the lookout although it was foggy.

Three sisters lookout they called, mainly because there was an interesting legend laid behind the rocks. Long story short, there was three sisters named Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’ who lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. They fell in love with three men from a neighboring tribe (the Nepean tribe), but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. Battle ensued as the brothers captured the sisters. An elder then turned the sisters into stones to protect them. However, pity for the elder, he was killed in the fighting so nobody could turn them back.

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View of the lookout on clear weather. Excuse my nursing apron 🙂

Because of the weather, we were unable to see the rocks clearly. However, we did a little bit of trekking despite the muddy terrain. If you are a fan of trekking, this place offers many options of trails, ranging from short to long and difficult ones.

Since there were not many to look at, beside the rocks and walk the trails, we decided to drown ourselves to the temptation of souvenir shops. There were two shops, one located in the world heritage plaza, and the other one on the opposite. The one in the world heritage plaza was bigger and offered more variety of souvenirs. There was a background picture of the mountains that we could take a picture at.

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Three Sisters World Heritage Plaza at Katoomba, just before the Echo Point Lookout

Here, you could also find restaurant, café, and a gemstones shop. Yes, gemstones shop. Apparently, Australia is famous for its gems. Opal, in particular. Apart from that, there were many types of gems sold in this shop, onyx, opal, garnet. You name it, they sell it. The seller has been there for almost 10 years. He has extensive knowledge of gems. We tested him to guess what gems we wore and he guessed it correctly! It was so nice of him to show us the most expensive gems sold there, and told us how to pick a good stone. The picture below showed the raw gems sold at $10 for 4, amongst other gems from button to huge rock shape, from cheapest ones to thousands of dollar ones.

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Cheap quality gems at a low price!

2. Lunch at The Park

Since our home country was hot and humid, it was almost impossible for us to enjoy quality time in the park there. So, when we had the chance here, we would absolutely jumped in to the option!

The park was located near Minchinburry. I did not know the name of the park, but if you wanted to know just drop in the comments and I will ask my aunt about the details. It offered large green grass area, playground for small children, and moreover, the paramount BBQ Spot! Not just a SPOT but The Spot, where it had large gas stove and sitting area. The best part of it, that it was free for society! (My uncle said it was because “we are taxpayers, so one way or another we actually pay for these”). What a nice way to spend the tax money!

I think because it was Sunday and the weather was a bit rainy and windy, most people preferred to stay at home. But for us, since it was not an everyday thing for us to lunch at the park, this was a lot more fun! We grilled everything. Burn, baby, burn! All of it from beef steak to sausages (beef, lamb). Then, fruits as dessert. Just so we felt less guilty after piling up those fats!

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The spirit of grilling!

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Me and my aunt. Even the little one wanted to enjoy the meal.

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No time for camera. These foods are too good!

3. Bondi Beach

It was already dark when we reached Bondi. But the fun did not go anywhere. Lots of people taking a jog, a walk, or just playing with their dogs. Us? We just wanted to Wefie! 🙂

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4. Little part of the day : We did grocery shopping, cooked Chicken with green chili (ayam cabai hijau) for our takeaway tomorrow! And, wow, the groceries here was expensive! We spent roughly $300 for these (which was I think not that much of a groceries. And yeah, NZ is even more expensive. –> Coming from somebody with Rupiah income and dollar expense! 😦 )

Cheers,

AR

SYDNEY DAY 1 – 02 MAY 2015. FIRST TIMER IN A BEAUTIFUL CITY :)

It was our first time visiting Australia. We do have some expectations as some people we have met highly recommend this continent. From what we have heard, the scenery is beautiful and that people are nice and friendly.

First and foremost : Sydney City Center.

We went to the Sydney Opera House straight from the airport. By taxi, the cost was around $75, since we rent a taxi that allows 7 passengers (exclude the driver). Other regular taxi would cost around $30-$40 per journey. If you have a baby carrier with you, you do not need a baby seat. The taxi driver said it was legal to put the baby in the carrier with the safety belt safely strapped between me and the baby.

Our impression of the Opera House : it was huuuuge! (Of course it was, silly!)

Many tourists were there, but the place was maintained quite well. Quite clean instead of the many (yet still tolerable) bird-poo J. Weather was nice to us that day, mild wind. But after an hour or so, it was raining.

There were many UGG boots for sale along the shops just beside the Opera House. If this is of interest to you, definitely check these shops out! Some shops even offered 70% discount!. There was also a herbal shop there that sells honey, manuka, and other Australian-made famous product.

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My son really liked it here! He was calm and drowsy 🙂
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Happy mommy holding a camera-genic son

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Just opposite the Sydney Opera House, there is a good view of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Definitely worth a click!

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Looks of two people who just had a long flight 😛

Please do not ask how to get here using the public transport, as we used taxi most of the time. Since there were 7 of us (and the baby made it 8!) so the cost would not be that much different.

Next Up : Lunch.

It was already 2.30 pm and most of us (and me definitely!) were famished. My aunt said there was a good Indonesian restaurant in the city center. We took a taxi again, and roughly $15 and 25 minutes later we arrived. We went pass through main shopping area, where it was bustling and heavily congested. The taxi driver did not know the exact area of the restaurant so he dropped us one block ahead of the supposed location, which apparently was a good idea! We went through some shops and there was a winter clothing shop that offers 50% discount. Certainly worth our time!

The restaurant called “Shalom”. The address is 3/299-305 Sussex St, Sydney NSW, Australia. We failed to take pictures from our own camera as we were blinded by the food! But this is what it looks like :

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Photo courtesy : www.aroundyou.com.au

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Photo courtesy : www.tripadvisor.co.uk

I had an oxtail soup, others had tempe & tahu penyet, mutton curry, and chicken with chilli. They were all taste unbelievably good. They even had the Indonesian native “Teh botol Sosro”. The prices were reasonable too. Good experience so far, highly recommended.

After lunch : Paddy’s market

Looking for souvenir with affordable price? This is the place!

I SUPER love this place. You know the feeling when a place is illuminated, shining bright like its calling you from afar? That’s definitely what it was like for me!

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Come in come in, wherever you are!

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Paddy’s market from outside

The market offered wide variety of souvenirs, bags (most of them were replica), scarfs, hats, and many more! Come to think of it, I regret of not having enough time because we arrived at 4.45 pm. If you have a massive family (like I do) and everybody has to get something, then you will find most of it here. Keychains, for example, was sold at $3.00 for 10. Magnets were sold at around $2.00 – $3.00 for 6. There was a shop offering $15 for 3 T-Shirts. If you would like to have an embroidered T-Shirt, they sold it at $25 per piece. I got a Sydney Opera House miniature at $25 – $30 (I do not remember the exact price).

Bear in mind, however, that this market close on Mondays and Tuesdays. As seen in the photo above, they only open from Wednesday to Sunday, 10 AM – 6 PM.

By the end of my trip to Aussie – NZ, I found that this place was the cheapest souvenir shops of all!

Photo courtesy of www.experiencesydneyaustralia.com

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Photo courtesy of mariasolagratia.wordpress.com

Last Stop : Darling Harbor

The clouds were hanging out signing that they would soon pour out some serious rain. After ransacking Paddy’s market, we wanted to make most of our time by strolling around Darling Harbor. Since the distance was not that far, we decided to go there on foot.

Darling Harbor was filled with nice restaurants. There was a nice park, and you can fill up water in a playground area, where you should draw/pile up from the pipe’s handle in order for the water to come out. Walking further towards the harbor, I ended up looking at the breathtaking scenery of the harbor at night. The birds were enjoying their night, resting on the pile by the footpath.

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Looking further away, we could see the harbourside building.

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Me and my son, he was enjoying the easy-breezy Sydney wind

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even the bird was enjoying the evening

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Full team!

It was almost 9 PM when the rain was pouring down heavily. There was no proper shelter to avoid from getting wet except for the restaurants. So we ran off to one of the closest bar and stayed there until the rain was considerably “pass-able”. Luckily the restaurant reception lady was kind enough to let us (and few other passers-by) to stay there for a while. After 30 minutes and the rain was at its “spitting” stage, we went off to catch a train home.

My aunt lives in Minchinburry, in the outskirts of Sydney. To get there, we had to catch a train from the station in Victoria Building (which was fortunately closed when we were there, otherwise my mom would make some time to shop there for hours!) to Mount Druitt. We arrived safe and sound at 10.30 PM, took a rest while imagining all the journeys ahead of us!

Cheers,

AR

A Journey to Australia

Yes. Before I begin telling you about the country itself, I would like to share several details about my journey there.

It was in February, 2015 when we decided that we wanted to travel there, mainly because my mom have booked a ticket and we wanted to come along 🙂 We have a relative there, so one way or another, it was a good way of savings!

Our flight was SQ. Yes, the best airlines in the whole world. Why on earth did we book this flight? Well, not because convenience was on top of our list, but simply because it was the cheapest available. Can you believe it?! It was even cheaper than Malaysian Airlines. So our flight cost 4,999MYR to be exact. That was for 2 adults and 1 infant, KL – Sydney return. Wasn’t too bad, was it?

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Me and My son ready for holiday

It was not the first time I went there with SQ, but it was for my husband. The service was excellent. Flight attendants were amongst the top notch. We had them coming over several times to offer drink, snacks, and food for the baby. They also made sure that the baby was comfy enough in his bassinet. The drawbacks, though, was that they served pork, which we couldn’t eat. Though they had other options, but reading pork in the menu certainly decreased my appetite. And the food was not their strongest area. At least that what I felt, because I am really used to food with strong taste and lots of spices.

We had a connecting flight. KL to Singapore was about 1hrs, then Singapore to Sydney for roughly 8hrs. Not too bad.

Some hints I would like to share with you:

  1. Opt for night flights, so you can relax better on the plane without having a day light striking through the window. We did a day flight on the return journey, and it felt like ages because we couldn’t rest.
  2. Always ask the airlines if they have baby food. Sometimes they don’t give if you don’t ask. Infants also pay for the flight, even only at a small cost. But they deserve to be well-fed as well!
  3. We had some trouble when checking in (not here but for flight between Australia to New Zealand) because our son has 4 name-words and the flight was booked on 3 name-words. Apparently, flights and visa names must match. Though after a little clarification, we were good to go.

So roughly 12 hours later, including the transit time which was only about 2-3 hours, we arrived in Sydney. We passed through immigration without any hassle, and collected our baggage afterwards.

Another hint of entering Australia is:

ALWAYS DECLARE WHATEVER YOU HAVE WITH YOU.

I have been to Europe and Canada several times, and I am telling you, the rules here are stricter than those in other Countries. You must declare, amongst other things, medicine, food, any items made of woods, and of course large amount of money. This includes food or drinks from the airplane. If you declare, they will decide whether you can bring it to the country or not, without giving you penalties. But if you don’t, well, they absolutely will penalize you if the odds are not in your favor. So better be safe.

So we entered the declare-line, and greeted by a friendly officer whose wife is Indonesian. What a coincidence! There was a dog that will sniff baggage, and then you were asked to open the declared items.

Thus, it is better if you PUT ALL DECLARED-ITEMS IN ONE BAGGAGE.

This way, it will be easier for both you and the officer. I did bring food for the baby which I made home cooked. Apparently, HOME COOKED MEAT, FISH, AND POULTRY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER THE COUNTRY.

However, commercial food is permitted. So don’t worry if you bring any canned-food like Heinz or Rafferty’s Garden that contains meat, fish and poultry. I asked why, the officer said, because commercial food has passed through quality assurance to ensure minimum bacteria or other non-hygienic things.

When we got out from the customs and declared baggage area, not far from there, there were several mobile providers with good promotion package. It was important for us to be connected to the internet. Optus and Vodafone were two particular providers that we found attractive. And after comparing their packages, we decided to go with Optus, because:

  1. They claimed to be having the second-best network after Telstra
  2. They had a $2/day package, which offers unlimited calls and texts to any Australian No. (Landlines and cellphones) plus 500MB Internet/day (which is huge!). All of this came with free SIM card.

We went out from the Airport Building into the pick-up area. Sydney, here we come!

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Picture first before everything else!

The weather was warm! At least, warmer than expected. A spring coat would already do you good.

The relatives (we called them aunt and uncle) was picking us up. My uncle drove a car for all the luggage, then straight home. My aunt and us went directly to city center! Yeayyy… to the Sydney Opera House!

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Me and My kind-hearted aunty 🙂

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Faces of excited travellers 🙂

Alright, that was my journey to Australia. As I had reached there, I’d share with you the experience within the country in another post!

Catch you up later 🙂

Cheers,

AR

Kuantan Beach – Teluk Chempedak

19 April 2015

It was an early morning when my husband went downstairs, all dressed up, and cheered that we should all take a bath and put a smile on our face because we are going far away to the beaaaaachhhh!

Then, roughly 260km later, here we were, in Kuantan. We entered the city by Ashar Time, so we googled up and found a famous Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah worth visiting to pray. However, by our lack of knowledge, we landed on a wrong Masjid! What we meant was the Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah 1. But instead, we went to Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah (without 1! I know, confusing, right?). Nevertheless, tired by the 4-hour journey and aching back, we parked just outside the Mosque where there was food stalls and had a snack time there. By the time we had all fueled up, we went looking for the Mosque that we meant to visit 🙂

Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah. Photo courtesy  by My Husband.

After finding Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah 1, we had our prayer there. Not to forget, taking a picture in front of the Mosque 🙂 For your information, the Mosque is more beautiful at night. Too bad we were not able to take picture as we were just passing by on our way home. Next time, maybe?

Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah 1. Photo courtesy  by My Husband.

It was almost twilight when we arrived at the beach. Located on the east side of Malaysian shore, it was a beautiful place to visit. On our way from the parking lot to the beach, there were many noticeable monkeys! Packs and packs of them! Well, at first I thought that it was like in Sangeh, Bali, that the monkeys might take loose items off you then run off with them. Turned out, the monkeys there were not as bad. Many tourists took their picture, and they acted as if we did not exist! They just carried on with whatever it is they were doing. Then, when we reached the beach, we were stunned by just how beautiful it was. A bit like Belitong, where you can see many big rocks casted by the shore. But there were also quite a long line of sandy beach. To satisfy the children, there were a giant balloon castle and go-cart arena. As you turned your head to the left, there were a bridge, built to connect the two sandy beaches altogether. If you took the path on the bridge, you might want to take pictures because it offered a more thorough landscape which suits beautifully in a photo. By the end of the bridge, you will come to the other sandy beach as stunning as this one.

Telok Cempedhak Beach – Kuantan.

Another picture of the beach taken by my husband.

Bridge that connects two sandy beaches. Photo courtesy by My Husband.

To fulfill your appetite, food court located just by the side of the beach. Many restaurants offered their special tom yam dishes. If you are not into trying local foods, you might find yourselves queuing in McD, KFC, or Starbucks. For us, since the day was hot and we were trying to chill out a bit, we chose to sit in McD and, for me, enjoyed my Double Fillet-O-Fish. Hmm, delish!

By 8 PM we decided that it was time for us to go home. We arrived safe and sound at around 11 PM. Tired but happy!

See ya on another trip! 🙂

Cheers,

AR

Solid foods for Baby (6 and 7-month old)

So that my son has started solid foods, I decided to share some recipes and tools (yes tools!) to prepare the food.

I think the order must be the other way around 🙂

Alright, the tools first:

  1. Knife. Of course, how would you cut all the fruits and veggies without knives? You will need the small one, like the ones you use to cut onions, and the medium ones to cut hard veggies like pumpkin or butternut squash.
  2. Cutting Pad. Yes, to go with the knife so you wouldn’t leave scratches all around the kitchen table.
  3. Phillips avent steamer and blender. This is my life savior! Thank god to whoever invented this appliance, because with this, I would just put the fruits or veggies, steam it, and flip it over to blend it. If you are on a budget, you can buy substitute and separate steamer and/or use your existing blender.
  4. Slow Cooker. I use this when my son turns 7.5 month. It’s because I couldn’t be depending on blending food forever (blended food tends to be very very smooth, suitable for baby who just started on solids) and it is time to move on to cooking food and mashed it in a sieve. Slow cooker makes the food tastier because it cooks in a very low heat, thus allowing the scent to be coming out thoroughly without losing its nutrition. However, cooking in slow cooker takes a long time, minimum 3 hours.
  5. Cubes or small container. Baby’s stomach is much smaller compared to adult’s stomach, so do not expect they will eat the adult meal size. Stocking food in small containers avoid the need to thaw big size of food that you will discard most of it anyway. It also keeps the food fresher because you only thaw as you need and do not refreeze it.
  6. Sieve. When your baby has mastered the art of eating smooth puree, it is time to challenge him with soft lumpy food. Sieve offers lumpier texture than blender, but not so lumpy that the baby can’t swallow. Soft lumpy food is very good to stimulate the teeth growth.
  7. Orange squeezer. Yes, this is to squeeze orange. You can mix the orange water with other food such as apple, melon (yes, melon and orange is yummy!), or mango.
  8. High chair. This is not exactly necessary. If you want to train your baby to sit while eating, high chair is a very good option. However you can substitute this with bouncer or even car seat!

Now, the recipes. Because my son is just turning 8-month this April, so I will share some of the recipes I made when he is 6 and 7-month old.

  1. 6-month stage

Texture : starting at very very runny texture, much like breast milk/formula milk.

There are some methods which recommend starting fruits, then cereals and veggies. But there are also some methods which recommend starting veggies first, because fruit is tasty and there is a really high chance that your baby would prefer fruits over veggies. For me, whatever food to begin with, the most important matter is introducing the taste and texture. Baby is very smart, so they will eventually understand which are fruits and which are cereals or veggies.

The meal time is once daily on the first two weeks then twice daily on the next.

Here is what I made when he was 6-month old :

Apple / Pear puree

  1. Peel the fruit, remove the seeds. Cut the fruit in small size
  2. Steam with 50 ml of water (by water I mean drinkable water) for around 5 mins (this is the standard when using my Phillips avent. The standard may differ when using different appliance)
  3. Blend it until smooth
  4. When serving, add milk (preferable than water, so that your baby is still familiar with the taste).

Note : baby only knows the taste and texture of milk until he is 6-month old. To begin with, try to mix the fruit with milk until it is very runny. Then, gradually, you may reduce the amount of milk until no milk necessary.

Papaya / Avocado / Banana purees

These 3 fruits do not need to be cooked EVER. So it is pretty simple that you only peel it, take the meat and mash it. Add milk accordingly when serving

Zucchini / Butternut squash / Pumpkin puree

  1. Peel the veggies, remove the seeds (Yes, the seeds in zucchini must be removed).
  2. Cut the meat in small size
  3. Steam the veggies. For zucchini, 10 mins with 100ml of water. For butternut squash / pumpkin, 20 mins with 200ml of water.
  4. Blend it until smooth
  5. When serving, add milk accordingly.

Sweet Potato Puree

  1. Peel the potato for 20 mins with 200ml of water.
  2. Blend it until smooth
  3. When serving, add milk accordingly.

Rice / Oatmeal puree

I use Gasol (Indonesian brand of rice powder) organic rice powder when making rice porridge. They have fragrant red rice which my son like so much, and brown rice. To cook, simply add water and stir in small fire. Note that you should add water and blend it in first before turning the gas fire on, to avoid lumpy and unblended texture. The comparison may vary depending on baby’s ability to chew. For the first time, 1 table spoon compared to 100ml of water is good enough. Then, try 2 table spoon compared to 100ml of water.

  1. 7-month stage

Texture : runny to soft lumpy food. I increased the texture gradually to avoid digestive problems. At this month, I started to utilize my slow cooker. You can introduce beef/chicken at this stage, but remember to delay introducing seafood and egg (the yolk) until he is 9-month old. Egg white is to be introduced at 12-month old.

The meal time increase to twice daily – morning and afternoon – with fruits at noon (12pm or 1pm)

Rice with tofu and chicken

  1. 2 Table spoon of rice
  2. ¼ Onion
  3. ¼ Garlic (or similar to 1 teaspoon)
  4. 1 strand of red onion leaf
  5. 5 pcs of celery leaves (this makes the food smells really good)
  6. ¼ of organic tofu (be careful not to put too much tofu as it has a strong taste that some babies might not like)
  7. 200gr of minced chicken (Here in Indonesia/Malaysia, there is “Ayam Kampong” which has better nutrition and less fat than regular chicken)
  8. 200ml of water (adjustable accordingly. I use 0.7 litre of Takahi Slow Cooker and I fill the water until ¾ of the pan).
  9. Put everything in the ceramic pan, add the water then cook for 4-5 hours. Blend / mash in sieve afterwards until the desired texture.

Potato with carrot and beef

¼ Potato, peeled

  1. ¼ Onion
  2. ¼ Garlic (or similar to 1 teaspoon)
  3. 1 strand of red onion leaf
  4. 5 pcs of celery leaves (this makes the food smells really good)
  5. ¼ of carrot (be careful not to put too much carrot as it has a strong taste that some babies might not like)
  6. 100gr of minced beef (beef is more savory than chicken. At 7-month, baby’s tongue is still very sensitive to taste thus they might reject strong-taste food. Put less amount of minced beef than the amount of minced chicken)
  7. 200ml of water (adjustable accordingly. I use 0.7 litre of Takahi Slow Cooker and I fill the water until ½ of the pan – unlike cooking rice, water do not really blend in when cooking potato. As a result, at the end of the cooking we still have quite many amount of water that can be used to create runny texture when blending).
  8. Put everything in the ceramic pan, add the water then cook for 4-5 hours. Blend / mash in sieve afterwards until the desired texture.

Beef / Chicken gravy

This is the recipe I get from http://www.mpasirumahan.com 🙂

  1. 100gr of minced beef
  2. ¼ Onion
  3. ¼ Garlic (or similar to 1 teaspoon)
  4. 1 strand of red onion leaf
  5. ¼ of carrot (be careful not to put too much carrot as it has a strong taste that some babies might not like)
  6. 200ml of water (adjustable accordingly)
  7. Olive oil to cook (this is based on the necessity of how much you cook)
  8. 1 table spoon of Cornstarch flour
  9. Heat the olive oil until the right warmth is reached. Stir-fry the garlic, onion, red onion leaf, and carrot until the scent comes out. Put the minced beef and stir-fry until the color changes. Then, add the water and finally cornstarch flour to thicken. Cook with small fire until it thickens or as you desired.
  10. Blend / mash afterwards.

Rice with tempe and chicken liver

Hint : when cooking with chicken liver, cut it first in small cube size. Wash in running water then put in boiling water for 30 seconds (small drops of lime or lemon might be used). This is to avoid the fishy smell comes out when cooking.

  1. 2 Table spoon of rice
  2. ¼ Onion
  3. ¼ Garlic (or similar to 1 teaspoon)
  4. 1 strand of red onion leaf
  5. 5 pcs of celery leaves (this makes the food smells really good)
  6. ¼ of tempe (be careful not to put too much tempe as it has a strong taste that some babies might not like)
  7. ½ chicken liver (Here in Indonesia/Malaysia, there is “Ayam Kampong” which has better nutrition and less fat than regular chicken)
  8. 200ml of water (adjustable accordingly. I use 0.7 litre of Takahi Slow Cooker and I fill the water until ¾ of the pan).
  9. Put everything in the ceramic pan, add the water then cook for 4-5 hours. Blend / mash in sieve afterwards until the desired texture.

New fruits introduced: Mango, Melon, and Orange

Note : for all recipes you might add green veggies, such as spinach, broccoli, and mustard. Nonetheless for green veggies, it is better to be consumed straight away as the nutrition does not last long. As for me, I usually cook them separately and add them straight on the meal time.

Anyways, if you are not much of a cook before, don’t worry. Cooking for baby is very simple. So long as you maintain to cook healthy and nutritious food for your baby, everything is going to be just fine 🙂

Happy trying!

Cheers,

AR