Category Archives: Australia/Oceania

New Year’s Eve in Melbourne

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photo (4)As luck would have it, I was rostered a long multisector trip to Singapore and Melbourne, Australia, over the New Year’s Eve holiday. And even luckier, I have family in Melbourne and was to be in the city for about 30 hours entering the new year smack dab in the middle of it, so I was looking forward to a big family get-together and lots of Filipino food (yum!).The crew were really great and I would have loved to celebrate with them, but I was really happy have been able to spend it with family. I’d been to Melbourne and Singapore many times before, so keep an eye out for those posts coming soon. On this blog, I’ll just be sharing pictures from the NYE party and celebrations.

Most of my cousins that were in attendance! It was Hawaiian themed!

Most of my cousins that were in attendance! It was Hawaiian themed!

I’ve mentioned my Aussie family before, but here’s a complete explanation: My dad’s mother’s sister emigrated to Australia with her 4 children, and those 4 children grew up to have more children, and even their children have even more children. So like a good Filipino, she’s set up a whole network of Pinoy down under. I actually didn’t even know they existed until I moved to Dubai and an uncle of mine from the US had traveled over, and told me about them. Two of my second cousins, were actually living here, and left three months after I arrived! But my cousin Cathy has since moved back to Dubai.

At midnight, hugs and kisses everywhere!

At midnight, hugs and kisses everywhere!

So I was very happy and excited to be able to be a part of their New Year’s Eve celebrations! There was a gift exchange, loads and loads of food, Skyping cousin Cathy (who was actually spending her NYE in Norway) and sparklers (I haven’t played with sparklers since I was a kid!)

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Looking forward to great things in 2014! Happy new year all!

 

Surviving Sydney

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My first step into the great Down Under was via a long multi-sector trip which started in Bangkok, landed in Syndey, operating a quick turnaround to Christchurch, New Zealand, and then back to Dubai, staying roughly 24 hours in each location. I was lucky enough to have gotten this trip over Christmas 2010- originally I was rostered a yucky turnaround Christmas evening, which would have prompted Christmas dinner to be a reheated flash-frozen airplane meal. Australia was one of those places I never imagined I would ever set foot in, and I think Sydney was a great place to start.

How do you didgeridoo?

The first day we landed in Sydney, the crew and I wandered down to the harbor, just a short walk from our hotel. The weather was amazingly beautiful – it was somewhere in the 80’s; my first experience spending winter in the southern hemisphere. Lots of people about the harbor – but since we’d just landed later in the day, we sat down to a lovely meal with a harbor view, and then moseyed on over to catch a glimpse of the Sydney Opera House.

Oprah was just here days before we arrived, and Hugh Jackman fell from the ceiling. Useless fact for ya!

And on the way back, we  explored a bit of the city scene:

After having completed our quick Christchurch turn and an amusing night out with the crew (we will withhold those pics for another time.. or possibly never), I ventured back out to explore more of Sydney’s beautiful charm on Christmas Eve. We purchased a ticket for a ferry ride across to Darling Harbor, which very much lived up to its namesake.

Luna Park. We wanted to visit, but unfortunately it was closed for the holiday.

Darling Harbor was filled with tourists and locals alike; basking in the delightful  pre-Christmas weather. We found a lovely Italian joint and sat down for lunch; I had a delicious pizza until a seagull made an unsuccessful attempt at stealing it while I was away at the toilet. There were also many festive harbor inhabitants decked out in flashy and (sometimes) barely there Christmas outfits, which we later discovered was fueled by a local bar’s costume (or lack thereof) contest.

Lego king of the sea at the Sydney Aquarium

Christmas day itself was actually spent laying in my hotel bed with room service watching “The Simpsons”. Maybe not the greatest Christmas day spent, but definitely much better than having to work a busy and exhausting turnaround. And on Christmas evening, we met Santa in the airport and headed back to Bangkok. Bangkok pictures soon to come!