Monday, 20 October 2014

Sydney Free Walking Tour

Day one started out well enough with me finding the cheap way to the city without taking the airport express followed by a check in and immediate walkabout joining the free walking tour. Of course the free walking tour is never free anyway unless your guilty conscious would allow you not to tip them after a splendid 3 hours walk around Sydney with plenty of information stuff and recommendation.

Sydney Town Hall

How I knew there was a free walking tour … well hostel map are always the best after all, even better than all the free maps dish out at the hotel or even at the airport or tourist information centre. I found lunch at a Pizza and Kebab shop. AUD 4.50 for a slice of pizza. Definitely sufficient to stuff an Asian stomach. The tour started at town hall smack in the centre of Sydney at 2.30pm and the little lady brought us for a 3 hours ride. 
Few of the highlights I remembered for I think after the lil lady found out I was from Malaysia she did her best to include Malaysian influence on Sydney into the tour talk.  The very very old building next to town hall called Queen Victoria Building (I think 100+ years) had a history where at one point in time they almost demolish it. It was supposed to be a market but ended up a wasted building/slump. Salvage by a Malaysian company (I have no idea why … and I think she might have made that bit up) it was revamp into the now modern high class shopping centre …
In the building there are two significant huge square cuckoo clock hanging down. As you can guess every hour a display of mechanism featuring the key symbolic times in regards with Australia. One of them is a beheading of a British King I think …. Couldn’t really tell ..
Standard highlight such as the Sydney tower was shown … apparently you need to pay to go up, not surprising but apparently if you say you want to go to the rotating restaurant you can go up for free as long as you have a purchase of at least AUD 20 a head. The guide said beer was AUD 8 for a glass up there …. I’ve been up enough towers now to forgo this particular one.
Guide Explaning the Pig at Rum Hospital
Rum Hospital where the hospital was built by the funding of rum trading. Australian History … The guide did give the impression that Auzzie was a laid back country with lots of sense of humour regarding their so called convict ancestry. Still I did sense a bit of backlash towards the U.K. Still I always belie if you can’t even about sensitive stuff …. You have a long way to go …. 
The guide also showed us some pubs and bars which are hidden in Sydney. Apparently it has the feeling that if you can find it then you have the right to enter and enjoy it. I mentally took note of one and headed back for a drink after the tour ended.
Palmer & Co
Palmer & Co was the name of the pub with its entrance an antique wooded door with a classic 1800 yellow street lamp over it. It was situated along a back alley too. Entering the door brings you to a narrow stairwell down to the basement where the lighting are yellowish dim, and entering another large door you will see bars left and rights in the style of a James Bond Gentlemen. All the waitress and bartenders are dress in that manner too and better yet … behave like they were from that time.
My my … how marvellous indeed …. If only I was not in T-Shirts and Jeans - My thoughts at that time
The guide was very proud of the Australian money printing building as emphasized that Australia is the first and one of very few places to make plastic money. Australia, Malaysia (She emphasised this one for my sake), Singapore currency and one more I could not recall is all made in Australia. She was proud of the plastic money stating that you could throw it into the washing machine and it would come out fine. I later told her that if you threw the Malaysia plastic money into the washing machine you may never see it again. 50/50 chance that is since I have known some people to actually see their plastic paper decolorized after washing it.

I tipped her a bit at the end plus a Plastic 1 Ringgit note for her to run her own test J

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Walking from Sydney Airport to Wolli Creek Station

As I pass the immigration checkpoint into the airport lounge I remembered how nervous and excited I was back in 2011 during my first departure to Greece Athens. This time the nervous part seamed to calm down but the excitement seem to follow as well.
To pick up the challenge I decided to google cheap way to the city from the airport. 2km walk to the nearest local subway instead of taking the airport express train. Weather was beautiful on a Thursday morning with sun up at about 15 degrees Celsius. I can do that walk, I thought … backpack was 8.4 kg while the side pack was 4.4kg.
It’s good to be back to a colder climate country … people like me from the tropics are always boiling … I don’t particularly like too cold but ‘teens’ weather was always the best. Walk walk walk … boy is that 2km really far … I was not lost since I ask many locals the way to the train station every 100 meters. Australian folk’s first impression was good. They actually help guide me to the train station … problem was … every time I ask I get another sets of instructions that doesn’t match the previous one.
Guide :
When you exit the international airport after collecting luggage go out the front door. The shuttle bus or busses should be on the right side and directly in front there is a huge ass multi-story car park which also serve as a pick up point at the ground level. Cross the road and head towards the car park and skirt towards the right side of the car park towards Marsh St. Problem is you won’t know its Marsh St. Look out for a small sign on the red building behind the car park indicating the direction to March St. All these are on pedestrian foot path only.
Here is the tough one … once you have cleared the big car park and one red building you would see a highway … walk straight under it then make a right turn and climb the stairs onto the bridge-highway. U-Turn and walk over the bridge –highway. There is a proper large footpath so it’s good to walk. In fact lots of people jog and cycle there.
At the end of the bridge you will need to turn right onto the park that is adjacent to the large ass pond. Go into the park and just walk along the pond till the end.
Another tricky part now … when at the end of the pond … turn LEFT … you should be walking along with the traffic flow not against. First traffic light and turn right and you are now on the road to the train station. You should also be able to see trains passing by but not the station which is just round the corner of the building.
Good Luck Hunting 
About 1 hour walk since I was doing it slowly due to the long-time of unused muscle carrying that backpack … I finally manage to get to the train station – Wolli Creek. Ticket to the city was AUD 4.60.

Monday, 13 October 2014

A Backpacker’s Packing List …

I know now that everything is replaceable and anything can be obtained on the road. The thing about packing list is that it’s a chance to set and prepare everything as best as you can before hitting the road. The more you prepare the less hiccup and minor hassle it would be or at least for the first leg of the journey.

To Over Pack or to Under Pack …. That is the question …

I cursed that I did not jolt down my first RTW packing list … how easy it would be to copy and paste and improve from experience instead of reinventing the wheel. One thing that I knew … there is no right nor wrong answer to what kinda gear one would put in a packing list ..
So simply put …. Below is the list of thing I packed for the 2nd RTW travel … for traveling along autumn and spring seasons

T-shirt (short)
Heat Tag Shirt (long)
T-shirt (long)
Jacket (optional)
Long pants jeans
Long Pants
Heat Tag Pants
Short pants
Bermuda shorts
Micro fibre towel
Spectacles x 2

Cloths Compression bag
Hydroflask Water bottle
A5 Travel Journal
Shoe bag
Number Lock
Nail clippers
Swiss army knife
Disposable Shaver
Tooth brush
Tooth paste
Toiletries pouch

Two items that I been considering very very hard if I should bring along but decided to leave it at home thou is the chopstick & airtight container .... I'll see if I regret the decision