Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Ultimate Bridgeclimb!!!

Thursday the 24th March 2011 was the last day for us in Sydney. We have decided not to got to anymore lectures & enjoy ourselves in the beautiful Sydney.

We took a bus early in the morning, to reach the Bridgeclimb headquarters at the foot of the Darling Harbour, near the Rocks around 9.30am. After paying AUD$198 each for a three-hours climb, we all geared up for the time of our lives


Before the climb, we had to fill in few forms & had our breath analyzed for alcohol content. Everybody was required to say 1-5 to the breathanalyzer, and I proudly said my numbers in Malay. We got to know the rest of the group as well, which consisted of us 3 Malaysian doctors (who escaped from our conference), a few Brits, one Taiwanese girl & a couple from Sydney. All have different reasons why they are climbing that day, some being their birthday, others just want a change from climbing mountains to climbing bridges, as for me, I thought climbing the Harbour Bridge of Sydney is just one of the things I must do in life. Afterall, it was listed as the 10 most exciting things in the world to be climbed, alongside Kilimanjaro Mountain! Numerous famous people has climbed the bridge as well, including my idol, Oprah Winfrey!

After changing to our jumpsuits and had a short briefing , we started our climb with our cheerful tourguide, Christy, at approximately 10.25am... the view was just spectacular, with temperature around 29 degree celcius, wind at 20-25km/hr, the climb was as perfect as it could be. The first section was an area called the "catwalk" as we need to walk about 300m of narrow plank of wood, all of us securely attached to an iron wire with our safety harness. The most difficult part of the journey was to climb about 150 steps up narrow staircase, with low-rise brim, while a train pass us at full speed. The excitement & slight fear of height nearly consumed me, but I managed to get to the top with encouragement from my friends.

Once we reached the archway, the view was just purely heaven. The visibility was astounding and we could see the whole of Sydney! As my fear slowly vanished to thin air, Hajar & me started singing a few Malay song in honour of our country & as we reached to very top, we screamed our excitement and joy on top our lungs... and it was totally exhilarating! I shouted the names of the people I loved (hubby, kids, my lil sis Aini & my best friend, Belinda's name) and it was A.W.E.S.O.M.E!

As we turned to take a few group photos, the wind was just picking up, and as we climbed down, the wind accelerated to 40km/hr. Closing my eyes, hands and arms apart, I felt like flying!!! Oh gosh Thank You GOD!!

It took us less than an hour to climb down, and by the time we reach the ground, my knees felt like they were made of jelly. The experience was worth a thousand words & I would never exchange it with anything at all...

One less thing on my to-do-list.. next one? Maybe a skydiving ;)

Last day of conference, Manly Beach & The Congress Party

Hello again,

Wednesday was the last day of the APAO conference (for me at least), and I decided to stay in for the whole morning sessions. The day was sunny & beautiful, and I decided to wear my new orange dress that I bought 2 days before I left Malaysia for Sydney.

The appeal and temptation of taking a stroll under the shining sun was proven to be too much to me that I walked out of an orbital injury lecture at 12 noon sharp. I knew there were only half hour left for the lecture, but hey, life's too short to be stuck in a lecture hall :)

I walked down to the exhibition hall, took a look at my digital posters, then a quick lunch (which was far from appetizing), then walked to the Darling Harbour

I took a tour bus to the Manly Beach which cost me AUD$45 but totally worth every penny. I met a few nice Malaysian on the tour, gave them a few tips on shopping in Sydney & took a few photos with them

The bus stopped at Killibiri, where we had an oppoturnity to take photo of the 2 famous Sydney landmarks from across the channel.

Then off to a vintage point where we could see the whole of Sydney Harbour, the blue ocean with specks of white which were hundreds of sailboats, yachts & ferries.

Next off to The Arabanoo National Park, which was named after an auborgine man who was abducted by the European man, for them to learn about his culture. To me it was a cruel act even though the intention was fair, as the man was chained to his foot & was forcefully dressed in European outfit. Even though Arabanoo adapted well to the life he was forced into, he eventually died of smallpox as he was not vaccinated & he contracted the disease from one of the European man who abducted him

I got a few nice photo shots here as well, thanks to a new friend called Lulu from Romania & his gorgeous Indonesian girlfriend.

We stopped at the Freshwater Beach which was the final stop before we reached the Manly beach. Freshwater beach was the first place where surfing started, and it was known as the birthplace of surfing

The Manly beach was totally awesome, with a lot of people just lazying under the sun & surfing, with white sandy beaches & full packed of friendly Aussie, who was very helpful in taking few shots of myself.

Shopping isn't too bad here as well, and the fish & chips tasted superfine, what with the "panoramic view" of the beach, and the surfers of course ;)

I took a ferry back to the city from the Manly Wharf, and got one of the most amazing view of Sydney Harbour, with the sailboats at sunset. The only thing missing from the picture-perfect view was my other half... (yes I do think of him all the time even though I was having so much fun on my own)

Straight from the Circular Quay, I took a cab to the Fox Studio in Moore's Park, stopping by on the way to pick up my friends Faizal & Hajar, to go our Congress Party. To our surprise, we were welcomed by a few man in traditional Singkh outfit, complete with their "banggara". The view in the hall was just out of this world! There were snakes, koala, plenty of drinks & endless stalls of cuisine from all over the world! South-east Asian, Japanese, Chinese, Aussie, Indian.... the list just go on & on.. and the food was fantastic!

There were entertainment all through the night with dancers from India, Bali, China, Ireland & there were models walking around in pretty impressive dresses, including a table-for-a gown, serving calamaris!

The night ends on a high note with some Irish dance and by the time we reached Darling Harbour, we were so ecstatic that we couldn't stop laughing while taking photos of the beautiful Darling Harbour by the nightlights. Eventful day is just not the word to describe my day! It was fan-freakin'-tastic!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sydney Hospital & Dinner by Sunset at Darling Harbour

Hye all,

The second day of the conference in Sydney Convention Centre, my friend Ina & I has worked up a nice plan for the whole day, from 9 am til 4 pm as we were planning to attend the conference for 3 days only. The morning session was all about ocular tumours which were all very interesting. However I had quite severe tummy aches & has been vomiting since 3am the previous night,either a food poisoning or just my "gastric" flaring up. So throughout the lectures, I was holding up stomach cramps, equivalent to a pH2 acid doing a fountain job in my tummy. At 10.30am, I called up my prof asking if she can help me to get to a hospital. Since I had a bad history with "gastric" a few years ago (with blood-vomiting), I decided to get intervention soon as Gaviscon was not helping me anymore. My dear Prof Choo was so caring & concerned,she helped me till I get a cab to get to Sydney Hospital.

The Emergency Dept in Sydney Hospital was quite a shock to me, as it was deserted! And they actually apologize to me for making me wait for 10 minutes! Ha ha! In Malaysia 3 hours is the standard waiting time. I was treated by a Chinese Dr who is very nice, and after I got some IV pantoprazole ( a mega-strong gastritis medication), I feel better already.. and it "only" cost me AUD$105 for the medical bill, and AUD$34 for medication... Lucky my dear husband gave me an emergency credit card.. Love ya!

After sleeping for a few hours, I felt better already & went out for dinner at the Zaafran Restaurant at the Harbourside, at the Darling Harbour. The food was fantastic, but the view .. words just don't do justice to it... One of the moment that will stick in my memory, for a long time... Purely breathtaking...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sydney: Conference & Darling Harbour

Hye all,

We went to the Asia Pasific Academy of Ophthalmology conference in Sydney Convention Centre that has gathered 4000 delegates from all over the world from USA to Brazil, from Helsinki to Indonesia. The opening ceremony on Sunday 20th March was very amazing, we have performance from doctors in forms of soprano singing, drum playing & tap dancing, inspiring me to do more in life besides medical world.

On Monday, we walked in pride in our traditional baju kurung & kebaya, to bring a bit of culture to the congress, regardless of the pouring rain.

We had fun while learning too, thanks to my dear friend Hajar who is the most bubbly person I ever known in my life. Even figuring out the schedule of the day was a bit confusing as there were more than 5 lectures running simultaneously & all of them was interesting

We had fantastic sessions on neuroophthalmology & hear the terms like "palinopsia" for the first time in our lives, which meant the patient had a persistent first iamge as s/he look at a second image, causing overlap of the two images.. like follows...

As the rain stopped in the afternoon & the sun shone, I took a walk at the famous Darling Harbour with my beloved Elaine.

We went to the Sydney Aquarium & had some ice-cream afterwards, before she left home to Hardybay, leaving me so lonely than I had ever been since I reached Sydney. I missed her the second she left, cos she is so easy-going, funny & pleasant to be with, much to my friends' agreement, eventhough they had only known her for few days, and I have known her the past 12 years. We promised each other that we'll meet again regardless how many years it'll take & we'll make sure our kids will know each other.

After she left, as I was deep in thoughts, I accidently dropped my newly bought earring into the sink in our hotel room & I must give applause to their maintenance dept as they manage to retrieve my earring in less than half hour :)

I went back to the conference after Elaine left & finished my day with shopping at the Hard Rock Cafe Sydney at Darling Harbour, buying a few over-priced t-shirts for me & hubby. Even thought it hurt my wallet a bit, but I know I'm paying for more than a piece of clothes.. I am paying for a piece of sweet memory...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sydney Trip : Paddy's Market, Opera House & Harbour Bridge

Hello everyone,

I have safely arrived in Sydney last Saturday for an Asia Pasific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) conference where I am representing UITM & UM when 2 of my educational posters was accepted for the congress. I was here in Sydney about 2 years ago, approximately the same time of the year but the company was totally different. The first time I was here, I came with my other half and a few hundreds of fellow Malaysians, fully sponsored by Hai-O. The ironic thing is I can still remember it was raining as well when we arrived the last time, and this time around we were welcomed by rain as well! I was not expecting that since we had plenty of those in our country. I was planning to go for a dip on the ocean at Manly beach or Bondi beach..but with the "mini-hurricane" on the way, I guess that itinerary would have to wait.

We are staying at the Great Southern Hotel near Paddy's market where it is famous for souvenir shopping at a very reasonable price. But I guess the best part of this trip is that I am meeting a long-time friend from Ireland, named Elaine who was my collegemate back in Ireland. She had migrated to the land down under 5 years ago & married an Afghani who's a Australian citizen. She is just the best company and I cant stop laughing at her jokes, that people around us thought I was heavily drunk (or on ecstasy) at 5pm whenever I walked around the city

We arrived at the hotel around noon, went for lunch at the nearest halal Kebab place & went to the Paddy's Market to warm up our shopping mood. I bought almost everything for everyone & yet I only spent AUD$180 only! yeay!

Sunday morning was wet yet again but luckily the sun decided to give us a treat & shone at around noon. We went to the Marketcity Shopping centre where I got my children some nice Fila running shoes that only costed AUD$30 each, then we went out to the famous Opera House & The Harbour Bridge. The look on my dear friends faces were priceless, and I suppose that was how my face looked like 2 years ago when I saw the Opera House for the first time of my life.

There were seagulls around us & the weather was just perfect.

We ended the beautiful day with more shopping at the DFS Galleria near the Rock , just at the foot of Harbour Bridge where we got some branded goods at tax & duty free prices, so I got my first ever Ferragammo!! Wee hoo!!

On the way home, we stopped over at the Queen Victoria Building on George's Street where my cousin Ina got her long dreamed Longchamp.

we'll continue our journey tomorrow at the conference