Melburnian for a weekend

I like Melbourne. Yes I said it! I like Melbourne.


But please don’t tell anyone! I have kept up the pretense of disliking it for so long that it would be such a loss of face at this point in my life!


My Melbourne mate Ben actually sent me this article just after I left:


Hilarious! About the great divide between Sydney and Melbourne and the ongoing rivalry. I think the best thing about the article was in fact the comments below. The residents of these two cities JUMP on the defensive when this topic is mentioned…. It’s rather amusing when you wish to ruffle some feathers.


I went to Melbourne to visit a number of friends, predominantly 2 of my best friends Sam and Adair who I met in Mexico. We basically lived in each other’s pockets for 4 months and then didn’t get to see each other for 4 months. A reunion was in order.


As mentioned in my earlier blog ( I was apprehensive about travelling with my broken back.  However, the alarm was for no reason and after touching down safely I was only filled with joy and excitement.


My lovely friend Ben picked me up from the Airport which was great to be able to catch up with another friend before setting off to see my gorgeous Adair’s house. It was incredible when I met her family as we had heard so much about each other that we really felt as if we knew one another well. Very strange feeling, but very comforting.


A quick change and then off to FITZROY GARDENS for a night of frivolity with the Melbournites that are Adairs circle of friends. We drank and ate in the park until the early evening then strolled to Brunswick Street for more…. frivolity. A quick duck into the incredible LITTLE CREATURES Bar, which actually more resembles a barn, where we witnessed an amazing fire dancing show and sampled their signature beer. Then it was off to PERSAVERENCE which was a mere hop, skip and a jump down the road. We danced, I sat ( back needed a rest by this time) and then we overpaid for our drinks – $12.50 for a vodka red bull is a joke regardless of the venue! Cab home and flop into bed. It was a big day out!


Adair was working Sunday so it was just a lazy day of looking at photos from Mexico, playing with the new baby kittens, and watching odd movies with Adair’s brother. An afternoon stroll took us through St Kilda to Carlisle street which is bustling with little boutique stores and trendy cafes.


We ducked into one cafe and decided to have an afternoon snack. It was 3pm on Sunday, I guess time was getting on, but really you would think a cafe would have a good stock of ingredients for their menu items…. well no, not always the case. All three of us asked for something on the menu, and all three of us were politely asked to choose an alternative as they had run out of that for the day. So, although we didn’t get what we asked for, we got what we were given… service in Melbourne is world-class I tells ya!


We continued our stroll to the Melbourne highlight of Luna Park and the lovely beach down at St Kilda. I was excited to see it as the TV series from a few years ago The Secret life of Us was filmed here. One of my faves I must admit. It’s a trendy, calm, relaxed place with some great venues. The sun was shining and the blue skies were all around- the perfect afternoon to grab an ice cream and sit on the beach. All visitors to Melbourne must go to TRAMPOLINE ice cream! Spiced chocolate, Caramel Pear and Violet rumbly just to name a few!


Sunday evening was a nice meal at home with my gorgeous friend Sam who I had spent so much time with in Mexico. The three amigas reunited! We told stories and reminisced for hours. A curry, some wine, good company and a lovely Spring evening. What more can a Sydney girl want from the Melbourne hospitality!


Monday was to be a busy day of sightseeing- MELBOURNE STYLE! But as I slept in til 10.30am ( apparently I looked angelic and peaceful in my slumber and was left to rest) it was a slower start to the day. We managed to cram in a lot though.


– Lunch with Ben near Elizabeth street… I don’t remember the name or exact location….I’m new to this city!

– Collected my Mexican friend JCarlos from the hostel on Flinders Street and proceeded to Flinders Street Station ( stopping briefly at my Little cupcake for a delicious little treat) and then on to watch a short street performance.

– Met Adair’s friend Steph and shopped in the lovely little lanes

– Rooftop – A very hip bar on a 7th floor roof terrace for Sangria and to meet another friend Vas who I lived with in London. Alarming how many people were drinking at 4pm on a Monday. Doesn’t anybody work anymore?

– Off home, with a slight detour to a political rally about the boat people and Tamil, whilst managing to collect yet another friend to add to our party.

– Home to Adair’s to make a 6 litre bucket of Sangria and homemade pizzas before retiring to the balcony to watch the sunset and enjoy each others company. 6 random people on a balcony on a Monday- I was in heaven.


A 5am start was required the next day and an after thought about the Sangria perhaps not being the best idea before an early morning jet setting adventure. We made it though! Got to the Airport in plenty of time but left feelingvery sad as I left new friends and my new love… Melbourne.


Melbourne. I hate it but I love it.


Thanks for showing me such a great time and I’ll see you again soon!

 Adair and I, together again. BUENAS AMIGAS

Annoying things about Travel

Loving this article I found today from the Traveller – The Age




Some cannot be helped, and really shouldn’t affect your travel that much….. but they do! I guess it’s just a bit of a whinge…. but you will find yourself nodding along!


Top 20 most annoying things about flying


October 29, 2009

Into the fray … from getting to the airport onwards, flying can be a horrible experience. Photo: Brendan Esposito

In 2007, a leading neuropsychologist likened passing through Heathrow to facing a riot. Two years on, we consider whether the air travel experience has improved and list 20 of air travellers’ biggest gripes.

On the ground

1. Surprise charges


An all-too-common practice that begins when you book the tickets and continues at the airport. The “headline fares” may look astonishingly good value – but they rarely represent the final bill.

European airline Ryanair’s website might advertise “free” flights but once you’ve added on the “optional” extras – online check-in (£5 [A$8.80] per person per flight – unless you have a Visa Electron), card payment handling fees (£5 per person per flight), baggage check-in fees (£30 for one bag per return flight, £100 for two), fees for carrying sporting or musical equipment (£80 for a return flight) – the true cost is often considerably higher. 

Australian airlines are no longer allowed to advertise ‘free’ seats, but must include taxes and charges in advertised fares.

There can be other surprises when booking though. Tiger Airways, for example, charges a $6 ‘convenience fee’ to pay for fares via its website and $5 to select a seat. Choice yesterday gave Qantas a ‘Shonky’ award for its $7.70 credit card surcharge per passenger for domestic flights.

Fall foul of an airline’s myriad regulations and you’ll pay even more at the airport. Ryanair recently removed all its airport check-in desks, meaning all passengers must print their own boarding cards. Misplace yours and the airline will print out another one for you – at a cost of £40 per person. If your bags are too heavy you’ll face yet more charges.

Tip: check in online, without hold luggage and don’t lose your boarding card

2. Getting to the airport


From the very start, your patience will be tested. For those with young children, there’s additional packing, extra passports to carry and restless minds to occupy. For everybody else, there is a slow crawl along overloaded roads, and – with regional airports losing routes as airlines seek to cut costs – we are being forced to travel greater distances.

Tip: pick your departure time carefully; avoid premium train services; try staying at an airport hotel.

3. Airport parking


Airport car parks can be expensive and are often miles from the terminal.

Tip: book a parking space well in advance or get a friend or relative to drop you off

4. The airport


Where do you start? With a few notable exceptions they are overcrowded and poorly-designed. The gates are often too far from security and the seats – with rigid immovable armrests – are impossible to sleep on.

They are built with little thought other than how to best accommodate more shops.

Tip: book a club-class lounge

5. The shops


For a start, there are far too many. Removing just one sprawling duty-free from your average airport terminal would create enough room for everyone in the airport to sit down.

And they’re expensive. Does $3.50 represent a fair charge for a bottle of water? Especially when you’re probably going to have it confiscated by security 20 minutes later. A sandwich is likely to set you back $10, and the only place to enjoy an alcoholic drink is usually a grotty pub.

Tip: pack your own sandwiches

6. Ridiculous exchange rates


Head for the high street: airport kiosks are farcically uneconomical. A Which? report published earlier this year revealed that holidaymakers will lose as much as 10 per cent of their holiday spending money if they utilise airport bureaux.

7. Surly or unprofessional staff


Everyone has their own story to tell. From stone-faced check-in staff to surly security…

Earlier this year Jet2’s chief executive Phillip Meeson unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade at his own staff due to the length of time it was taking them to deal with customers.

8. Carry-on baggage allowance

If all airlines adopted the same policy, things would be far less stressful. But rules on dimensions and weight vary considerably. Jetstar and Qantas allow one main piece of cabin baggage (plus one smalller item) and the dimensions must not exceed 115cm (the total when width, length and depth are added together). But while Jestar allows a maximum weight of 10kg, Qantas allows only 7kg. However, Jetstar and Virgin charge $10 extra on the fare if you want to check-in a bag.

Even if your brand new trolley case meets these criteria, once you’ve stuffed it with a week’s worth of clothes (in a bid to avoid costly baggage charges) it may have expanded beyond the limit, leaving you with little option but to pay to check-in your bag anyway (at up to twice the normal cost).

Tip: check the rules and play it safe

9. Security screening


It was recently announced that the dreaded liquids ban is likely to remain in place for a further five years. Airports have even started to cash in on the policy: clear plastic bags are no longer dispensed free of charge at either Luton or Manchester airports in the UK, instead passengers must pay £1 (A$1.80) to purchase them from a vending machine.

Tip: pre-pack your liquids (under 100ml) in plastic bags

10. Delays


The latest figures show that Australia’s airlines have shown some improvement this year compared with the same time in 2008. Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics figures for September 2009 show airlines averaged 83.2 per cent for on time departures, and 82.1 per cent for on time arrivals, while 1.2 per cent of flights were cancelled. The equivalent figures for September 2008 were 79.6 per cent for departures, 77.6 per cent for arrivals and 1.6 per cent for cancellations.

But that still means almost one in every five flights leaves late.

Tip: for information on routes most frequently delayed, see

In the air

11. Leg room


No matter how often you fly, it’s still a shock to see how little leg room economy class passengers are permitted. And in-flight comfort is unlikely to get any better: earlier this year Ryanair even proposed upright seating.

Tip: visit to see which airlines offer the most leg room.

12. Turbulence


It’s hardly preventable, but even the most confident fliers are left with an anguished look on their faces when the aircraft suddenly lurches 50 feett towards oblivion. As for the nervous fliers among us…

13. Expensive food and drink


A survey last month by Nowfly revealed that Ryanair charges the most for in-flight snacks and drinks. A 187ml bottle of wine (a small glass) will set you back £5.35 (A$9.44), while a 330ml can of beer costs £4.05 (A$7.14). Other low-cost airlines fare little better: the cheapest cup of tea in the survey was offered by Bmi, at £1.80. In Australia, Jetstar charges $6.50 for wine and $6-$7 for beer. Tiger Airways charges $6 for beer and wine.

And don’t drink too much, Ryanair has also talked about a £1 charge for using the toilet.

Tip: pack a sandwich in your hand luggage; fly with a full-service airline

14. Terrible food


On board your average no-frills flight, options are unlikely to extend beyond the obligatory ham and cheese or chicken salad sandwich. And what you get for around $8 is almost inevitably two slices of soggy bread, a sorry looking morsel of poultry and a token slice of unripened tomato.

Even those who fly with a full-service airline aren’t always satisfied, as this hilarious letter to Sir Richard Branson demonstrated earlier this year.

15. Constant salesmanship

Once you’re in the air all most passengers want to do is switch off or sleep. But the constant stream of announcements offering unnecessary services and goods renders this virtually impossible – from perfume and cuddly toys to car hire, train tickets and scratch cards.

Tip: invest in ear plugs and an eye-mask

16. Mobile phones


Despite many complaints, in-flight mobile phones have arrived. A host of foreign airlines now offer the service, including Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airlines and Royal Jordanian. Ryanair now permits mobile phone use (including voice calls) on a number of its aircraft, while British Airways permits text messaging and emails on its London City-New York service. Qantas is planning to allow mobile phone use during flights in the future, but does not have a start date yet.

17. Polluted cabin air


An investigation by London’s Telegraph into the quality of cabin air last year revealed worrying evidence of toxic fumes contaminating aircraft, a problem that may cause major health problems. The issue has been an open secret among pilots and cabin crew for years, and is caused by cabin air being drawn directly from the aircraft’s engines.

Earlier this year, further evidence was uncovered by a German television network. It claimed that 28 out of 31 swab samples secretly collected from on board passenger aircrafts contained high levels of tricresyl phosphate, found commonly in jet oil. Some medical experts claim exposure to the toxin can lead to drowsiness, headaches, respiratory problems and neurological illnesses.

Tip: Nearly all types of aircraft have been affected by contaminated air, but CAA records show that the British Aerospace 146, the Boeing 757, the Airbus A319 and the Embraer 145 seem to be particularly susceptible.

18. Other passengers

Smelly, scratching, sniffing, sneezing, snoring and portly fellow passengers. And crying babies.

Tip: travel with a large group of well-groomed friends or family

19. Lost luggage

A perennial problem. Even when your airline has lost your luggage, don’t expect to be refunded in full: a report issued earlier this year by the Air Transport Users Council claimed that airlines frequently short change passengers when issuing compensation for misplaced bags.

Tip: don’t lose the luggage stub given out at check-in; take a change of clothes onto the aircraft (read more on how to avoid losing your bag)

20. You’ve arrived – but not where you expected

You’re actually 80 kilometres from your destination. Anyone who has arrived at Barcelona Girona will understand this grievance. As will any foreigner arriving at the recently rebranded London Oxford Airport.

Tip: double check your destination and plan your onward travel; check our guide to misleading airport names

What we didn’t have room for… forcing passengers to purchase headphones to listen to in-flight entertainment, trolley services keeping people up on night flights, the queue at the car rental outlet…

– The Telegraph, London with Craig Platt

One little song can make one so happy

I have just rediscovered my favourite song from when I was in India in 2006.

Check it out:

This song was played at least 6 times a day whilst I was in India and especially in my friend’s car. I love it. It just makes me smile, and want to dance and be happy!

It’s amazing how powerful music can be in regard to bringing back memories! This song brings back the most vivid and clear memories for me of my time in India. I was completely content, at peace and at ease when there and I met just the most amazing friends. I love that one song can do this for me.

Five minutes ago I was feeling completely uninspired. Now I want to shout from the rooftops.

Dhan ya vad India. You always know how to make me happy!Happy times in India

Mexico is Pretty in Pink Taxis

I have just come across this post


Puebla in Central Mexico now has Pink taxi’s with female taxi drivers for the comfort of women travelling in the city.


Women are reacting extremely positively to the latest trend in transport. “The people stop us on the street to congratulate us and the women ask us how they can request one of our units,` Lidia Hernandez, one of the cabbies with Pink Taxis, a company that says it’s the first of its kind in Mexico, told the Spanish news agency EFE.


Having lived in Mexico for 4 months, I can understand the need and desire for such a service. Women’s rights are not so openly discussed in Latin American countries as they are in Australia and other western countries. I feel as a woman here that I can speak freely and do what I choose to do as my government, colleagues, friends and family support me in that area. It is not always the case in Mexico. This service would allow women to feel more comfortable in their enivornment and in going about their daily activities.


There is also at times a protective attitude towards women and children, with families often feeling concerned when they are out on their own- especially at night. Some of the exchange students that I studied with experienced this when participating in a home stay as the host family would be concerned when they would travel alone.


I personally was not worried about travelling in Taxi’s or walking around the city alone when in Mexico but for some women it was a problem. I would not say that the streets were dangerous and every town was different, but to have the option would be great. If it makes people feel more comofortable and safe then it’s a great thing. A need has obviously been identified and this service is doing very well to satisfy the gap in the market.


I can also see the pitfalls of such a service and the negative effects it can have on the push for equality. Some might see it as dividing society and bringing to light some gender stereotypes. But the simple fact of the matter is that some places do have large differences between the genders and for the comfort of women and children within the society, a service such as this could be highly beneficial.


I would be happy to see pink Taxi’s bustling around Sydney. It would be fun! Girls night out, grab a  pink cab! But perhaps the debate and divisions it would cause would far outweigh the benefits and novelty.


Felicidades Mexico!! Well done! I hope that this initiative helps the women of Mexico feel happier, more comfortable and safer within their communities.

Women -only taxi's

Airport Travel with a Broken Back- Verdict: Not Bad!

When booking a ticket to MelbourneThe back brace - helping me in more ways then I would ever have imagined
 2 months ago I considered the amount of work I would have at the time, assignments I had to do and various social commitments that may get in the way of my trip. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would also be dealing with the complication of a broken back.


Dreading the car trips, plane rides and airport security, I arrived at the airport on Saturday afternoon less than excited to say the least. To feel nervous before a flight was a foreign feeling to me and not one I want to experience again. I felt anxious, unsure and slightly bewildered as we approached Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport. A few deep breaths and a big hug from dad were necessary!


To my amazement, I had no need to worry. The staff at Jetstar, Australia’s fast growing domestic and international low-cost carrier, were fantastic. I was given the seat I asked for, allowed priority boarding and given advice on how to talk to Security. Things were looking up!


The next big hurdle was to be the customs checkpoint. Wearing a full body back brace is not conducive to x-ray and security machines and I was not looking forward to the thorough pat down. However, a simple mention to one of the guards about my situation and all was well. I was concerned I would have to take the brace off and there would be a big scene and pictured red alerts going off and private rooms. But no! I was told ever so kindly by one guard ” Don’t worry, you can keep your clothes on. You don’t have to strip here.” Why thank you sir, not a phrase I hear everyday thankfully, but  rather welcome at this point in time. I was able to walk through the machines as normal and to my great surprise, the metal on my frame did not set off the detector. The bionic woman is apparenly made of plastic and aluminium. Who knew!


I was helped with my bags, assisted with my check in and given priority seating. I was even upgraded to Star Class for the landing as it would be more comfortable for landing. A big thank you to the crew at both airports and the Jetstar team.  For a budget airline the service was great!


All in all, a good experience. Travelling with a back brace, not so bad! 


So this traveller is giving some advice: Next time you go on a trip and are feeling a little unloved, why not don a back brace and watch the service levels soar!

Circular Quay -Greatest Train Station in the World

Circular Quay Train StationYesterday, I had to do the Circle loop on Sydney trains due to silly trackwork on my East Illawarra line.


I didn’t mind the journey at all however as I was met by this stunning view.


How could one not look up when stopping at this station! It’s breathtaking.  The view is simply stunning. I was at the time reading Mao’s Last Dancer and was well and truly engaged but as soon as we pulled into the station I was pleasantly distracted.


I just sat there for the 3 minutes as the train waited for the busy Sunday stream of passengers and out the window with complete calm and serenity. Nothing to distract me. No thoughts to interrupt me except expressions of beauty and admiration.


I am so lucky to live in a city with one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. And to think, it’s only a train ride away.


Take the time to go an enjoy the simply beauty that is in your own home city or town.


Thank you Sydney. You have dazzled me once again.

Look at me~ Look at me!

One of my favourite blogs is by Mr Seth Godin, Marketing Guru. His daily insights into the world of marketing and the world in general are fantastic.


His one today came at a perfectly apt time for me as I have just oined Twitter and created this blog. It’ all about this LOOK AT ME! phenomenon that is happening all over the internet. It’s crazy! And it is so easy to be sucked in. I was…. am…


So, I would like to STOP worrying about how many comments I get, how many followers I have and how many people know my name. Instead I will focus on quality posts, blogs and thoughts. This blog is to tell people about my travels and to share my experiences. I want people to read them and take something away from it…. not simply click on it and raise my stats.


So quality over quantity is the motto of the day!


See Seth’s blog at


Today’s gem:


“Notice me”


If the new web has a mantra, that’s it.

So much time and effort is now put into finding followers, accumulating comments and generating controversy… all so that people will notice you. People say and do things that don’t benefit them, just because they’re hooked on attention.

Attention is fine, as long as you have a goal that is reached in exchange for all this effort.

Far better than being noticed:

  • Trusted
  • Engaged with
  • Purchased from
  • Discussed
  • Echoed
  • Teaching us
  • Leading