Protected: Baby Abroad

28 04 2013

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:





Photos from Macau

27 04 2013
Casinos

Casinos

Senado Square

Senado Square

St Dominic's Church

St Dominic’s Church

Lunch

Lunch

P1090171

Vegetarian restaurant sign from street

Vegetarian restaurant sign from street

P1090173

Ruins of St Paul

Ruins of St Paul

Getting lost in the back streets

Getting lost in the back streets – real people’s houses with casinos in the background.

It's a fake.

It’s a fake.





Photos from Hong Kong

27 04 2013
Fountain at the botanic gardens with many prams, Filipino nannies and babies.

Fountain at the botanic gardens with many prams, Filipino nannies and babies.

Fried lotus seeds at Pure Veggie House

Fried lotus seeds at Pure Veggie House

Pan fried dumplings at Pure Veggie House.

Pan fried dumplings at Pure Veggie House.

Sweet and sour bean curd at Pure Veggie House.

Sweet and sour bean curd at Pure Veggie House.

Chi Lin Nunnery water spout into the 'moat'

Chi Lin Nunnery water spout into the ‘moat’

P1090110

Nan Lian gardens

Nan Lian gardens

The vegetarian restaurant was hidden behind the waterfall in the gardens.

The vegetarian restaurant was hidden behind the waterfall in the gardens.

Garden view with city in background

Garden view with city in background

Waterfall in garden

Waterfall in garden

Meal at garden

Meal at garden. We had sweet and sour bean curd, a ginger and sweet potato hot pot and noodles with lotus patties.

P1090147 P1090148 P1090149 P1090150

Takeaway dinner from Loving Hut

Takeaway dinner from Loving Hut

Pecan Pie, Mana

Pecan Pie, Mana Slow Fast Food.

Burger and fries, Mana

Burger and fries, Mana

Flat (wrap) from Mana

Flat (wrap) from Mana





Photos from Yakushima

27 04 2013




Photos from Japan (mainland)

27 04 2013




Lands of wilderness and people

27 04 2013

We’re back from our travels through Japan and Hong Kong. It was quite tiring travelling with baby and dealing with the long flights at terrible times of the night, tiring to all get some sleep while lights were on and attendants were serving meals.

We started off in Cairns, after a short flight from Adelaide. It was good weather for the afternoon that we were there and we went for a little walk along the esplanade, into the Lagoon and Muddy’s playground. Hugo enjoyed playing in the water and getting totally wet. We found vegan food for dinner at Lan’s Vietnamese Restaurant on Lake Street, which was just around the corner from our accommodation at the Holiday Inn. After dinner we walked back into town and got takeaway burgers and fries from Grill’d Burgers, who have vegan burgers, sauces and fries on their menu, so that we would have lunch for the next day.

Our business class flight to Osaka left in the early afternoon (unable to provide vegan meal, so not happy Jetstar…), but we didn’t clear immigration, customs etc at Osaka airport until 10pm or so, making it a late night for little Hugo. We stayed at the upmarket Hotel Monterey Grasmere near the Namba station and had a cot, spacious room and fancy lobby.

The next day we took a Shinkansen for Okayama (having a JR pass was amazing! So fast and easy to travel) where we met Benno’s friend Jun and toured the famous gardens, korakuen (one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan) and snacked at MOS burger where there no longer have a vegan kimpira burger.

Then we hopped back on another Shinkansen and headed for Kumamoto where we stayed the night on the 20th floor of Toyoko Inn, right by the station (great location) and with an incredible view of the city, including the castle.

Benno visited Kumamoto castle and Suzenji gardens for the third time (it was Hugo and my first time) and Hugo caused quite a stir with his cute samurai photo! We got around on the tram and ate lunch at a popular (for mums and their elementary aged children) but small Indian restaurant in the back streets near the gardens.

Another day of travel followed. We took the Shinkansen to it’s terminal at Kagoshima, taxi to the ferry terminal, ferry to Yakushima and an hour local bus ride to our accommodation near Anbo Port on Yakushima. We had a Japanese style room with tatami, futon, semi-outdoor bath and view of the mountains.

We booked a tour through Yakushima Experience for the next day and our guide Steve came with van, baby seat and baby hiking pack so Hugo was well catered for. They also provided vegan bento for lunch! We had a tour of the island, visiting little villages, waterfalls, rivers, giant cedars, yakusugiland and walking through the forest up in the mountains.

Another mammoth day of travel came next. We were up early at 5.30am, we driven in a van to Anbo Port, took the 7am ferry to Kagoshima, took a taxi to the station, took a Shinkansen to Hakata, ate lunch at TOS (touch of soup) which was about a 15 minute walk from the station, took another Shinkansen to Kyoto, transferred to the subway and went three stops then walked 5 minutes to our accommodation, Hotel Gimmond, arriving around 6pm after a full day of travel with Hugo. We ate dinner at Biotei, which was walking distance from the hotel, and had a lovely Japanese set dinner meal.

Serious shopping was on the agenda for our first day in Kyoto. We filled our bellies with vegan tofu cheesecake and tiramisu parfait from Cafe Mumokuteki before walking through the Nishiki markets, Teramachi dori arcades, Book Off and Daiso. We took the subway to Cafe Proverbs for late lunch before walking it off with a stroll to Ginkakuji along the Philosopher’s Path. Much sampling of yatsuhashi sweets was done, and Hugo walked up the hill most of the way on his own. We wandered back to our hotel in the drizzle and ate at another restaurant within walking distance to our hotel, Obanzai, which is a (almost all) vegan buffet.

On our next day in Kyoto we walked to the Imperial Palace gardens and Hugo played in the children’s playground. Then we ate lunch at Morpho Cafe. It was our last day of the JR pass but we were running out of energy so we just had an afternoon excursion to Kyoto station where we spent some more yens. We took the lift all the way up to the skywalk and admired the view of the city and Kyoto Tower. While we really wanted to eat at Sunny Place, they weren’t open at night on Sunday so we ate dinner at Cafe Mumokuteki.

Our last day in Kyoto was spent going to Nijojo in the morning and strolling around the gardens. Then we met up with Atsu at Cafe Matsuontoko and ate vegan fast food (burgers, fries, curry, pancakes, donuts). We also got takeaway burgers for our dinner that we ate in the airport while waiting for our Peach flight to Hong Kong. It was a terrible time to fly, and Hugo didn’t get to sleep until after 10pm after much tears. We took a taxi from Hong Kong airport and finally checked into our hotel, the T-hotel, around 2am. Our room was ultra-luxurious and yet very affordable with a lovely view of the ocean.

We realised that everyone needs an Octopus card in order to travel on any bus, train or subway in HK so that was our first purchase, then a sim card, then lunch at a very busy vegetarian lunch place that had a long queue of people and no English. We took the escalators from Central to Mid-levels along with the other 85,000 people that travel on the each year before catching a bus to the Peak, looking out at the view and taking the tram that was crowded and standing room only back down the hill. A brief walk through the botanic gardens revealed the sad fact that many children are brought up by Filipino nannies on HK while their parents work full time jobs. We ate dinner at a fancy, overpriced vegetarian restaurant. Hugo liked the deep fried lotus seeds, which was a welcome change to the standard fare of rice, rice, rice which he had been consuming.

Our next day we took the sMTR to Diamond Hill and looked around the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian gardens. We met Benno’s high school friend for lunch at the gardens where a vegetarian restaurant was hidden behind a waterfall. After lunch we took a bus to Stanley and wandered around the famous street markets for a little while before heading back on the bus and subway to Kowloon Bay MTR station and eating at Loving Hut (again, a very busy place with a long queue). Hugo and I took a taxi back to the hotel while Benno caught up with another high school friend for dinner.

We took a day trip to Macau via bus and one-hour ferry. We took a shuttle to the Wynn hotel but didn’t find any suitable or available vegan menus like we had hoped so we wandered to Senado square, to St Dominic’s church, then found (luckily) a vegetarian restaurant. Again, it was very busy and we shared a table with others. We walked to the ruins of St Pauls, up the Monte Fort, got lost wandering to the Guia Fort then got very lost finding our way back to the ferry. We wandered up the highway then back down again then along many streets trying to find a way across… many steps and sweat later we made it to the Fisherman’s wharf where we laughed at the Colosseum and other fakes before boarding our ferry back to Hong Kong. We ate at Mana Slow Fast Food (more burgers) and  took a taxi back to the hotel.

Our final day was spent mostly in airports. Taxi to HK airport, check in, lunch at Pizza Express before the rush, board, flight to KL, dinner at Satay house in the airport, board late plane, late meal on plane, limited sleep, finally arriving home at 7am, feeling incredibly sleep deprived!





Solar Oven

8 09 2010

Solar cooker in Tibet.





Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

19 06 2010

We spent a few days in Melbourne, catching up with old friends, eating at familiar vegan restaurants like the VegieBar and Lord of the Fries, shopping for veganwares shoes and walking through the Fitzroy gardens.

Then we slowly heading home to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road. We visited waterfalls along puddle-ridden slippery steps, ate lunch at picnic grounds surrounded by tiny native birds, went on a tree top walk at Ottway Fly and stayed at night at Apollo Bay where the pub came up with 4 special vegan dishes for us.

The next day we drove along, stopping every few km for lookouts, followed by the rain and then a rainbow the stretched from the ocean in a perfect semi circle back to the ocean. Benno commented that he didn’t realise leprecauns were amphibious. While the weather was overcast and rainy we still enjoyed the 12 apostles, london bridge, a blowhole where 11 bodies were found after a shipwreck and the graveyard of the shipwreck. Unfortunately, despite social pressure, the two surivors of the shipwreck did not get married- she got on a boat straight back to Ireland and never saw Tom again.

We spent the night in Penola, getting up early for the drive home to Adelaide. We made it back in time to have lunch at Bliss and do some shopping at the markets before returning to our house for the first time in 15 months.

And that ends our adventure of living in Japan and travelling through Asia back home. 🙂





Melacca and the Riverview Guesthouse

13 06 2010

We spent a day on the bus. We were picked up at 7.30am from Old Penang Guesthouse. The van took us to the bus station where we got on a super luxury bus to KL. At KL we fought our way around the crazy ticket stalls, with each company hawking it’s routes in a most confusing way. Without a lunch break we got on a bus to Melacca and ended up reaching Melacca faster than if we had gone from Penang to Melacca directly (however that bus was already booked out). From the bus terminal we found the local buses and took it about 5 stops to the red square, walked across the river and to the Riverview Guesthouse. The staff were so amazing – a complementary iced lychee juice awaited us while we checked in, the free library entertained us while we relaxed on the deck watching the river flow past, and free cake and fruit were provided along with use of the kitchen.

Melacca was our favourite city – there was lots to look at and all within walking distance. We checked out the Jonker Street night markets, the historical buildings, the river cruise, the river at night, the Chinese and Indian food, the vegan food at the supermarket (v drumsticks and more steam buns anyone?), the sales at the department store, the old dutch buildings, churches, cemetery, cannons, museums on architecture and enduring beauty across cultures, the “harmony street” with Indian, Chinese and Muslim temples/mosques, listened to the call to prayer, read about the port and trading and the mingle of cultures that resulted, ate malaysia coconut desserts (kueh lapis etc) and could have done more if we didn’t have to fly home.

We spent another mammoth day of travel returning home. We took a bus from Melacca to KL (2 hours). From the bus station we took a train to KL Sentral, then another bus from KL Sentral to LCCT. From LCCT we took a 1am plane with non-reclining seats to Melbourne where mum and dad met us at the airport and drove us home along the Great Ocean Road.





Pulau Penang and Langkawi

8 06 2010

Our train arrived in Butterworth at 7am. We stumbled out and followed the signs to the ferry where for 1.60RM (about 30c) we hopped on the ferry to Penang island. From the ferry terminal we took a public bus a few stops to Chinatown where we checked into a hotel. Our first choice, Old Penang Guesthouse, was full so we booked one night at the less nice Love lane Inn and then transferred to the very atmospheric Old Penang Guesthouse the next day. While both had shared bathrooms due to building restrictions in the historic area, Old Penang had a lovely feel, air con, free breakfast, a kitchen, rennovated bathrooms, old wooden floors, a sunny eating area and friendly staff.

We had lunch at a Chinese buffet- another pay by the plate. We totally stuffed ourselves for about 11RM, or $2 each. We wandered around old buildings, the port, temples and mansions but the sun was a little warm.

We ate dinner at one of the many Indian restaurants where for 14RM we could eat our old-time favourites of aloo gobi, chana masala, nimbu pani and an interesting eggplant bahji.

The next day we took a bus to the beach, batu ferringi. 40 minutes later we, along with some other families including malaysian women in full muslim cover-up, got off to go to the beach. We were disappointed and ended up not swimming due to the rubbish on the beach. Bottles, coconut shells, lights, polystyrene – all off it was found on the beach or in the water. On top of that, every stretch of sand was privatised and owned by a hotel, making it impossible to find anywhere to sit.

We took a ferry the next day to Pulau Langkawi and hoped that the beach would be better there. Again, we shared the 3 hour ferry journey to beach resort paradise with devout muslims that didn’t look like they were able to go swimming due to their modest attire. Lacking public transport, the only way to travel from Kuah (the main port town with a giant Eagle to welcome you) to the beach resort areas is by taxi – 30 minutes later we were in Pantai Centang and at Sweet Inn, our hotel for our stay.

We were not disappointed- the beach was the best of the trip so far with NO RUBBISH! There were palm trees and not many people, although being sunburn-cautious since Nha Trang we didn’t go to the swimming in the hottest parts of the day and when we did, covered up with t-shirts and hats as we suspected that our sunscreen was past its expiry date.

We even managed to eat vegan pizza twice which was a nice western change to the asian food. We also ate Indian curries and Middle eastern felafels and malaysia sago pudding for dessert.

On the ferry back we watched a funny movie about an Aussie bogan who goes to Pattaya, Thailand and gets his passport and clothes stolen by a chic. He then ends up working a giant mortar and pestle making green mango salad, going crazy whenever he is fed chili.