Thursday, 6 April 2017

Day 1 in Melbourne CBD (1 December 2016)

We took a 30-minute bus-ride from the airport to Southern Cross Station to take a city bus to our hotel. I had read from online that the buses were just outside Terminal 3. We were touching down at Terminal 2 so with our Changi Airport as reference, I had imagined that their Terminals were like ours - very far apart from one another. However, no amount of research on how to get from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 could answer my question because everybody just said,"Go to Terminal 3 and take the bus outside."

To my relief, it turned out that their Terminals were just next to each other! We walked out of Terminal 2 and the buses were just outside.

When we reached Southern Cross Station bus terminal, I enquired at this little booth and a composed but friendly man asked me for the hotel we were going to and the number of passengers taking the bus before assuring me that someone would call for us if we would just wait beside the booth.
 True enough. After waiting for about 10 minutes together with other tourists going to different hotels, our hotel was called. We went forward and followed a guy who led us to the hotel-transfer Sky Bus.

We placed our luggage on the rack and took our seats.
The journey to our hotel took about 50 minutes.
It's more of a service apartment than a hotel, but it served our needs.

Coco and my mother took this bedroom 
while William, Baby and I had this 
A huge bathroom
Photographs do not justify it. For some reason, it does not look very clean due to the colour tone but it was bright and clean in reality. It came equipped with a washer and dryer just directly opposite the toilet bowl. Very handy for us who needed to wash our jeans for the cold weather! 
Spacious living area 
Nice kitchenette
My call for our first meal: the famous Chin Chin restaurant 
Silly me didn't know that it was a fusion-Thai restaurant 
Pork 'Roll Ups' (AUD 23.50)

Pad Thai Noodles (AUD 26.50)

Fried Rice 

I decided to ride on an Inner Circle Tram to get a feel of the city and at the same time, catch Kanghastan while William returned to the hotel to nap and my mother, sister and Coco went for a coffee.
The ride to-and-fro the same stop took 45 minutes

"Our Burger King is their Hungry Jack's!"

After the tram ride, we met up with my sister and company to take a horse-carriage ride!
Quite an expensive ride. AUD 100 for 6 pax
As we trotted back to our hotel, we chanced upon some awesome graffiti in an alley which we stopped to take pictures with.

We rested for a couple of hours in the hotel before heading out for dinner, but by then it was 'late'. 
We had some problems finding a place to eat as we did not want to eat an ang moh meal but most eateries were closing at 8pm or 9pm, even in Chinatown!

Our dinner was at City Orchid Garden in Chinatown.
Fried rice was tasty. 
Honeyed chicken
Fried pork knuckle

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Off to The Land of Kanghastan (1 Dec 2016)

For the PoGo-uninitiated, Kanghastan is one of the virtual region exclusives that can only be found in Australia and New Zealand.

So this trip was made in December last year. Obviously, it was not an exactly thrilling trip despite the magnificent landscapes and scenery, which explains why I did not even start blogging on it excitedly the moment I returned to Singapore.

However, I did try to document it as it would probably the only Australia trip I would ever make. I don't foresee myself going back there anytime soon for sure!
The first day in Melbourne didn't look like a promising start.

I had enquired from a fellow PoGo trainer who had just returned from Melbourne about his wifi access and he had kindly recommended Changi wifi which one could rent from Changi Airport for $12 per day (without a DBS debit or credit card). I had bugged William about it but he was not keen on it until we were about to board the plane. 

After checking in the luggage, we enquired at Changi Recommend booth, a small booth right next to Scoot's check-in counter, about Changi wifi. Unfortunately, the device has become extremely popular with Singaporeans going overseas for holidays and one would need to place an order for a unit at least 3 days in advance!

We were left with no choice but to get a local SIM card when we reached Melbourne.

The drama did not end there. 

At the Melbourne Airport, there was a sizeable crowd waiting at the Optus counter to get a local SIM card! The waiting time didn't look optimistic. My elder sister felt that Telstra, another Australia TelCo, would provide better connection and so we left to make our purchase of the Skybus tickets which would take us to Southern Cross Station.

At Southern Cross Station, my elder sister spent an hour searching for a SIM card and trying to get it to work unsuccessfully as the convenience store staff appeared to be unfamiliar with installing a card into a mobile phone.

When we finally reached the hotel, we conducted a massive search for a TelCo shop! Apparently, TelCo shops were not as rampantly distributed in the large Melbourne city as they are in tiny Singapore. We asked around to no avail. An unsure personnel at the Visitor Centre pointed us to the right direction though.

When we finally found a TelCo shop and asked if the staff could help activate the cards, William didn't bring our passports along, which rendered the operation impossible!

We had reached Melbourne Airport at 10.15am, about 45 minutes earlier than scheduled, but by 4pm, a simple SIM card was still elusive to us! I finally exploded,"How much more would we have saved if you had listened to me and got the Changi wifi earlier?!! Look at the amount of time and money we have lost!" 

We only had access to the Internet after we returned to the TelCo shop and got the staff to activate the cards with our passport details. 

Each card cost $2 and a top-up of $20 was required for 2GB of data usage over 10 days. Four days later when Coco's and William's needed additional top-up, each card needed another $7 for additional data.

Learn from us. Don't be a cheapskate. Get the Internet or wifi issues settled right here in first-world Singapore before flying!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Cat Cafe for a Cat-Fearer

A very belated post dated back to 15 October 2016! I must have forgotten to publish it!

After Baby's mini party in school, I tagged along with Coco to meet her friend whom I also knew.

They were heading to The Cat Cafe in Bugjs Village.

After a little search on, I found the location. 

It was a shop on the third floor of a shophouse just opposite Bugis Junction.

I am not a big fan of cats but decided to peek into the shop just to know how it was like.

The shopfront was a cosy food and beverage counter.

The cafe charges by per entry.

$15 per entry, inclusive of a soft drink. If you want other drinks such as orange juice, a top-up of about $3 is required.

Before entering the cafe-room that was separated from the F&B counter by a sliding room, we were briefed on the dos and don'ts: 
1. Pat the cats on their head, not their body (as cats are defensive animals). 
2. Do not enter the cats' resting area. They are there to nap and rest.
3. They are sleepy after their first meal of the day so do not force-carry them. If they want to come to you, they will.

It was a bright and cosy place. Wooden structures were set up at different parts of the cafe for cats to climb or move around.

Cat lovers may sit at tables with floor cushions to be in close proximity to cats.

We were given a table seat by the window in a corner when the server sensed that I was fearful of cats.

Soothing music was played to create a calm and comfortable atmosphere for the cats and patrons alike.

The cats were very docile. They didn't flinch even when patrons waved silly toys in their faces.

I saw that the cats didn't stir even when they were patted on their heads.

I thought it a shame not to have pictures taken at a place like this.
I may not return if I miss the photography opportunities!


Better cam-whore with the cats before I regret it!

The cafe hung their resident cats' portraits on the walls and did a write-up on the temperament and behaviour of each cat.

Even the tables had reminders about the dos and don'ts.

A thoughtful cafe with thoughtful cat-loving patrons who were almost equally quiet as the cats so as not to frighten the cats.