A Travellerspoint blog

January 2012

Christmas and New Year

Reporting from Jinqiao

26 °C
View Christmas Vacation on aboo10's travel map.

So, I'm now back in China, and updating my travel journal retrospectively, and it seems a long time since Christmas especially... but I think it is worth documenting.

Arriving back from Sydney, Mum and Dad had collected the Christmas tree, which was now waiting to be decorated. Mum had laid out the decorations and was waiting for us to first install the lights and tinsel before letting the children loose on the decorations for the branches. It was a perfect tree, well proportioned and with lots of little branches for ornaments. The smell of the pine needles permeated throughout the house in the heat of summer.

One of my true joys in any visit to Melbourne, is stocking up on fruit, meat, fish and other delicacies from the fine food emporium otherwise known as Prahran Market. My family has been going to the one fruiterer there for about, oh, 30 years, Pino Narduzzo & Sons, to give him a plug, and his fruit is the best I've ever experienced, in fact to such a degree that I don't really like eating fruit when I'm not in Melbourne! Once, only a few years ago, I saw him in Surfers Paradise and invited him and his wife up to our apartment to have a drink with my parents (who are his true customers), and ever since then he keeps reminding me of how I spotted him there! The deli section of this is to be drooled over too, with counters upon counters of glorious olives, cheeses, dips, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, roasted peppers, breads, crackers, cured meats, nuts, mueslis, oils, vinegars, cakes, turkish delight and so much more. It is to me a true part of Christmas the stocking up of the pantry and fridge with nibbles and snacks to indulge in. Not to mention the oysters, smoked trout, sausages and beautiful steaks and chicken breasts in the Butchers arcade.

Didi got the idea of presents this year, and each time he saw a present he would say "A present for MEEEE??", and on Christmas morning when he woke early to find his stocking by his bed, he was excited to open the present... he opened his first one and was excited about the contents, and then wanted to go and give his other present in his stocking to his sister, and found it hard to understand that both, TWO, presents were for him!! When Jie Jie woke up a bit later, she was delighted to find that Santa had answered her wish and brought her one more toy dog!! And a load of dog accessories.

Our friends Gaby and Deano have a Christmas tradition of a champagne brunch on Christmas morning, and we were pleased to make it over there and enjoy in some champagne and a few delicious treats, while trying hard not to eat too much knowing that we had a full lunch being prepared back home!! And it was good - turkey roasted in the BBQ, ham, roast veggies, crunchy greens, gravy and cranberry sauce, followed by Christmas Pudding. We were lucky to share lots of presents with fun ones being mixed in with practical!!

The week between Christmas and New Year was quiet but busy. The kids spent a lot of time playing with their new toys, and we organised some outings as a small family, knowing that straight after New Year, Mike would be heading back to China. We went to the Melbourne Aquarium, St Kilda beach for lunch with some friends who were getting married in the new year and met their baby, swimming at the Harold Holt Memorial Pool and to the Arts Centre to see "Charlie and Lola" live in concert. All simple sounding activities, but all fabulous to do as a family.

New Years Eve was pretty quiet, and we were lucky on New Years Day to have some friends who live in New Zealand drop in for a quick visit. Fantastic to see them and see how their son has grown in a year, and lucky because they were returning to NZ and Mike back to China early on the 2nd January! Next leg of our trip over!!

Posted by aboo10 18:50 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Is that really six weeks??

Reporting from Malvern East

sunny 24 °C
View Christmas Vacation on aboo10's travel map.

I don't know what it is when I hit Australian soil, but my ability to blog my visits becomes impossible... is it being home, relaxing in the house I grew up in that keeps me away from the computer? Is it that on any given day, what we do doesn't seem very tourist exciting? It's odd, because I can write reams about a weekend away in China, but struggle with finding the right words here. Anyway this is my report of our first week... I'll try and sneak in a couple more over the next few days... or finish up when I get home!!

Anyway, we have had a fabulous trip - we arrived in mid-December, all four of us, and settled in again, then repacked a small bag for a trip to Wagga Wagga supposedly on the XPT (the eXPress Train to Sydney), but alas, due to track work we were on a bus instead. We visited some old friends of ours and finally got to meet their delightful children, their first had just been born when we moved to China and we haven't connected on other visits home, so it was very special to finally meet them both!

From Wagga Wagga we were supposed to be completing the XPT trip to Sydney, but again, we were on a bus... not happy Jan!! But we got there safely and uneventfully. Arrived in Sydney at Central Station and walked over to a teeny tiny restaurant (yes with our double pram, backpack and rolling suitcase) that used to be one of our favourites, and it did not disappoint - it's a fish place, and it's really good (Mohr Fish, Devonshire Street, Surry Hills).

After that we walked down to our hotel in central Sydney - Swissotel - we got a bargain family room on Wotif a couple of months in advance. With the things we were planning to do in Sydney, it was great to stay centrally. We went out to check out our home, and see how the tenants are looking after it... caught up with the neighbours, and enjoyed revisiting our old stomping ground.

That afternoon we met up with some friends of Mike's from university in the UK for a play in the most amazing park in Darling Harbour, shame about the rain, and out for dinner.

On Tuesday we went to visit the minister who had married us at his church - the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross. Since we've been away they've rebuilt and the new buildings are amazing. When I get my photos sorted out I might do a post all about it!! We had the breakfast special in the cafe there $2 bacon and egg roll - awesome value!!

Then Tuesday afternoon we got the ferry over to Manly. Jie Jie and I went for a wander around the boat, and would you believe it, but a kid said hi to Jie Jie, using her name. Anyway, turned out they are in the same year at school and were just holidaying in Sydney too! Our trip to Manly had a purpose, including another church - my Nan died earlier in 2011, and we went to see her nook in the churchyard there. We met up with my aunt there, and then went for lunch. It turned out to be a glorious day, and after lunch played for a while on the beautiful Manly Beach. Luckily Didi was wearing boardies, and Jie Jie was prepared to play in her undies and a t-shirt! I wished I had had my cozzie with me!! The kids were so brave running in and out of the waves! That night, I'd arranged for my friends to meet us at the Australian Hotel in the Rocks, where my cousin works... fantastic night, and so great to catch up with old friends.

Wednesday was our day, and we just hung out in Hyde Park, had some hot chocolate and then headed to the airport and back to Melbourne. We loved Sydney, it was so good to visit and see it all again!!

Posted by aboo10 04:04 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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