Posts tagged: Christmas

Australia: Brisbane

By , February 9, 2011 11:50 pm
Our Friends From Brisbane

Our Friends From Brisbane

We join our good friends Uyen and Leon in Brisbane for the holidays.  We had met them when we were all living in San Francisco.  With our arrival into Queensland comes constant downpour.  This is a great excuse to remain indoors and relax during our stay.

For a short while, we forget we are still on our travels.  Helping out with their home renovations, playing with their one-year old son, and enjoying at least two bottles of wine every night makes us feel back at home.  We apologize for the lack of pictures during this stop of our trip.

MuiMui Playing With Lil' Santa

MuiMui Playing With Lil' Santa

One night, we are in the mood for singing. Not having a karaoke machine on us, we decide to get creative.  With the help of YouTube on their large television screen and using remote controls as microphones, we sing all night.  We call it ghetto karaoke, but don’t diss it until you try it.

On Christmas day, we join their families for a festive dinner.  For starters, there are unlimited trays of oysters.  Being a big fan of oysters, I enjoy this new holiday tradition.  After seafood, I continue eating large quantities of Vietnamese food.  It is all super yummy.

Wishing You All A Happy Holiday

Wishing You All A Happy Holiday

Our friends are determined to get us out of the house against our will.  When the rain seems to subside, we take a drive out to the Gold Coast.  Still having no luck with the weather, it is more like the grey coast.  What gets Boris to finally pull out his camera is the Gold Coast Meter Maids.

A Gold Coast Meter Maid Up Close

A Gold Coast Meter Maid Up Close

We do a short hike in one of the National Parks.  It feels great to be on our feet again.  There are a few times our friend, Uyen, tries to lead us off the path but with our good orientation, she is unable to fool us.

Uyen The Karaoke Superstar

Uyen The Karaoke Superstar

We Made It

We Made It

It feels really nice to have quality time to catch up with our old pals.  Thank you Uyen, Leon, and Caellum for inviting us to your home, especially for the holidays.

Shortly after leaving Brisbane, we learn about the horrific Queensland flooding. Our hearts go out to all those families that are impacted.

Cutie Pie

Cutie Pie

Good Ol' Steak

Good Ol' Steak

Everything Tastes Great With Bacon

Everything Tastes Great With Bacon

What We Paid: AUD USD Euro
– Jetstar Flight from Melbourne To Brisbane 176/pp 176.50 128

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Australia: Mel-bun

By , February 8, 2011 12:45 am
Federation Square

Federation Square

We heard Melbourne is more like San Francisco out of all Australian cities so we cannot deny it a visit. As we walk around downtown, it feels much more mellow than the super active city of Sydney. I enjoy the extreme contrast between the old and new buildings. Even more, I admire the bold risks taken in the modern buildings like SBS Studios and RMIT.

Funky RMIT Building

Funky RMIT Building

St Paul's Anglican Cathedral & SBS Studios

St Paul's Anglican Cathedral & SBS Studios

Modern and Wooden ... We Like

Modern and Wooden ... We Like

As we leave downtown, the area around the Olympic Park seems newer and there is more open space. We have a pleasant stroll in the botanical garden, admiring the various trees and plants. As we make our way out of the park, there is mob of runners who just got out of work and are going for their daily run. Once we escape the mass, we then make way for the bicyclers who keep on coming.

Pond Inside Botanical Garden

Pond Inside Botanical Garden

Boris Munching A Massive Leaf

Boris Munching A Massive Leaf

Pretty Flowers

Pretty Flowers

With a high reputation for wonderful food, we expand our budget for fine eats. However with so many choices, we consult a food guide at the bookstore for some help. We want to try Yu-U for Japanese food but after spending some time finding the place (an unmarked black door), we are turned away as they were fully booked for two days. As we are still determined to have Japanese food, we run into a cute place called Hako. The dishes are very tiny, but very tasty. With a little lemon juice, avocado, and shiso leaf added to the crabmeat, it makes a big difference in taste.

Crab Appetizer @ Hako

Crab Appetizer @ Hako

Udon Soup @ Hako

Udon Soup @ Hako

On our second night, we head to MoVida for tapas. Around this area are many cool alleyways filled graffiti art that help brighten up the rather dull alleys. At first glance, I wouldn’t think to find so many fine eateries and bars here. We even find ACDC Lane. The location of MoVida is great and the atmosphere reminds us a little of SF, but as much as we want to like this place, none of the dishes we try agree with our palette.

Graffiti Art Across From MoVida

Graffiti Art Across From MoVida

Scallop With Meat @ MoVida

Scallop With Meat @ MoVida

Anchovies With Smoked Strawberry Ice Cream @ MoVida

Anchovies With Smoked Strawberry Ice Cream @ MoVida

We even find time to squeeze in a little holiday shopping. Just as impressive as the modern architecture in the city is the inside of the shopping malls. At one mall, we are served a glass of free bubbly white wine. Then we find an adorable indoor lawn to relax on.

Melbourne Central Shopping Centre

Melbourne Central Shopping Centre

Indoor Lawn

Indoor Lawn

Amazing Skylight

Amazing Skylight

Overall, we find Melbourne to be a young hip city that is best explored when not on a budget.

Inside St Paul's Anglican Cathedral

Inside St Paul's Anglican Cathedral

Royal Exhibition Building

Royal Exhibition Building

Small Parks In Downtown

Small Parks In Downtown

ACDC Lane

ACDC Lane

Anyone Up For A Game Of Chess?

Anyone Up For A Game Of Chess?

Nice Touch To Downtown Condos/Hotel

Nice Touch To Downtown Condos/Hotel

Welcome To Chinatown

Welcome To Chinatown

Victorian Terrace Houses

Victorian Terrace Houses

Flat White @ Gridlock Coffee

Flat White @ Gridlock Coffee

Me & Frenchie & Zoom

Me & Frenchie & Zoom

Pukeko

Pukeko

Lovely Wild Flowers

Lovely Wild Flowers

What We Paid: AUD USD Euro
– Flight On Jetstar From Sydney To Melbourne 92/pp one-way 92.50 67.75
– Skybus From Melbourne Airport To City 16/pp 16 11.80
– Room At Formule 1 Hotel [clean and great location; book online for discount] 69/room 69 51
– Dinner at Hako 42/pp 42 31
– Dinner at MoVida 35/pp 35 25.75
– Pho Lunch 12/pp 12 9
– Coffee at Gridlock 3.20/pp 3.20 2.40
– Firefly Express Bus From City To Avalon Airport 20/pp 20 14.75

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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