Sunday, March 1, 2015

cannibal country


Andrew, in his post today, alerted me to an exhibition at RMIT that is showing an animated short film telling the story of the underground cannibals of Lake Disappointment. The animators created the short film from paintings by one of my favourite aboriginal artists, Billy Atkins, including a painting in my collection. The trees from the painting I own our actually visible in the photographic stills that Andrew took of the animation at RMIT.

Sunday flowers


This week I picked up some snapdragons from the Queen Vic markets. Snapdragons bring me back to my childhood. I first saw them at a school friend's backyard. His mum was an avid gardner and had all kinds of weird and wonderful flowers. I remember my friend showing me how you could make the flowers open and close just like the mouth of a dragon when you gently squeezed them from the sides. For me, as a kid, the sight of a snapping flower was out of this world.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Phillip Island


I spent a couple of days in a resort at San Remo this week attending a leadership induction. The actual event started on Monday and ran until Tuesday but the University offered to pay for an extra night's accommodation on Sunday because of the early Monday morning start.

So...Nathan and the dog decided to come along for an outing on the Sunday. We got to San Remo by noon, just in time for fish and chips by the water.

Afterwards, we went over to Phillip Island to try to take the dog for a walk on the beach. It turns out that at this time of the year a lot of the beaches did not allow dogs so we decided to drive over to Inverloch instead to visit Nathan's grandma, where we gorged on cheese scones (Nathan ate six!).

Nathan and the dog dropped me off back at the resort in the evening before heading back to Melbourne. I was still full from lunch and scones so decided to skip dinner.

Over the following two days, I attended the induction and got to meet lots of interesting folks from across the University. We each had to do a psychology test beforehand to work out our leadership styles and went through the results with the Facilitator during the induction. I found out that I had traits that were (1) rare in leadership roles and (2) rare in males. Great. I'm a freak and out of my depth. I also found out I'm not a workplace narcissist. Thank God for that.

The induction was actually very helpful and it turns out I'll get access to some one-on-one coaching sessions during the year as well to help me in my new role.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

why I'm feeling a bit stiff and sore this weekend...

Apart from my abseiling adventure, I also went hiking (we had to get a stretcher with a raw egg up a mountain) and white water rafting with undergrad students...



my fuukiran

I picked up my latest ebay purchase from the post office today - a fuukiran or wind orchid (Neofinetia falcata).

The wind orchid is native to East Asia and is believed to have been cultivated by the Japanese since the 1600s. The flowers are sweetly scented (a bit like jasmine). The plants were grown by the wealthy and the powerful, and samurai would help scour the mountain side in search of the plants.

There is an etiquette to admiring fuukiran. Traditionally, f you're a commoner, you can forget about it. The plants were strictly for the rich and noble (sorry Nathan). For everyone else, you'd need a piece of calligraphy paper to cover your mouth so you don't breathe on your plant when you're looking at it up close.



Friday, February 20, 2015

conquering fears

Today I had the opportunity to make amends for all the times I had let fear hold me back. Today I went abseiling.

When I was younger, the idea of stepping backwards over a cliff was absolutely terrifying to me. I skipped out on every chance I was given to abseil when I was at School, beginning from year 8 camp.  Now, as an adult, the idea of abseiling didn't seem anywhere near as bad. I'm not exactly sure why.

I was reflecting on this as I lowered myself over the precipice, how fearless I actually was feeling. Maybe it was me letting go. Catharsis. I didn't give a shit anymore. I'm no longer scared. I'm no longer afraid of being who I am.

Halfway down the cliff, I look up at the instructor. "You must be really enjoying it", he said, "You've got a big smile on your face."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

lunch

It was too hot for a soupy lunch at my favourite Vietnamese restaurant yesterday, so I ordered this instead (pork chop with broken rice)...

Perth bound


One of the aboriginal paintings I own is going back to Western Australia...to be part of an art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. I'm very excited. The curator came over to Melbourne to check out the piece (and several other pieces owned by other collectors) and decided they would like to borrow it. I told them they can have it for as long as they like because I have no wall space to hang it (it's currently sitting on the floor in my office). Unfortunately the exhibition opening will take place when I am overseas but the exhibition will go for 4 months so it might give me a good excuse to go to WA for a holiday to see the painting in the gallery.

out of office friday

I've been working a lot out of the office lately. It's grant-writing season, the time of year when researchers are busy putting together proposals for funding from Australia's major national competitive research scheme, The Australian Research Council. It can be a stressful time of year.

My solution? Get out of the office. Yesterday (as I have been doing almost every week since the start of the year), I spent a day writing in a cafe. This has become one of my favourite spots...Rowena Parade Corner Store in Richmond. I love the courtyard at the back – and their milkshakes (brain food....not). The owner has threatened to charge me for electricity usage. I told him I'm leaving his staff a good tip.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday flowers

South African proteas from the South Melbourne markets. These flowers are huge...

cushion crush




Ok, I have to admit I am slightly totally obsessed with cushions. And these new sea anemone inspired designs from Marimekko are too beautiful to resist. On our way home from brunch today, Nathan and I made a quick stop over at South Yarra, and I ended up buying myself some of these beauties for the couch. So pretty.

pho in Carnegie



Nathan and I made our way to Carnegie to meet up with my European collaborator and his girlfriend for brunch (they are staying nearby for the next month or so). I had no idea that there were so many fantastic restaurants surrounding the station. We didn't have a specific cafe or cuisine in mind but couldn't resist stopping into a vietnamese restaurant for pho. It was pretty darn good too. The stock was full of flavour. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday lunch

...a Thai green curry chicken paired with the juice from a coconut I managed to open up all by myself (with the aid of my seriously kick arse meat cleaver)!

Sydney

I went up to Sydney on Wednesday to meet up with a colleague who is here from Europe for two months. We spent a couple of days hanging out (and doing some work in cafes) before taking the train back to Melbourne on Friday. I had never done the trip between Sydney and Melbourne by train so I thought it'd be nice to give it a go. For the most part, it was quite a pleasant (albeit long) 11 hour journey. I even enjoyed the meal I ordered (a spinach and ricotta cannelloni).

I remember a train trip when I was a kid between Sydney and Canberra. Back then, smoking was still allowed in designated carriages and I recall ending up in a smoking carriage (I think all the non smoking carriages were full) and, at some point during the trip, I had to use the curtain next to my window seat as a mask to try to filter out the smoke.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Australia Day



My grandma used to make my lunches when I was at primary school: soy braised chicken with rice. All the other kids wanted to have what I was eating. But I craved meat pies.

Lunch orders were a rare treat and involved writing your order on a brown paper bag and putting the money inside the bag and dropping it off at the tuckshop at recess. The order would then be delivered to the classroom just before lunch....a meat pie (or was it two?...I was a fat kid) with the sauce squirted inside, and a chocolate milk. Simple pleasures.

Being able to devour the pie without getting the hot filling and sauce all over your hands is a good test of what it means to be Australian.

Happy Australia Day!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

the case of the exploding pork

I just had a roast pork disaster. The pyrex roasting tray managed to explode after I took it out of the oven. Bits of pyrex and pork dripping went flying everywhere. And the biggest disaster of all? I burnt most of the crackling!

Sunday flowers


I am rather proud of my latest floral arrangement for the dining table (smoke bush, blackberries and some sort of Proteacea). I was going for a contemporary, asymmetrical look. The berries were from Nathan's dad's home.

Saturday in the country

We went to Gippsland yesterday to attend a birthday party. One of Nathan's nieces turned 18.

We stopped in at Yarragon first for lunch and to visit Nathan's dad (but it turned out that dad had already gone to Nathan's sister's place). After lunch, we too made our way to the sister's home in Trafalgar where the party was being held.

We were unfashionably early. Five hours early to be exact. As a result, we had to sit through some rather arduous conversations with one of Nathan's brothers, who was already a little drunk.  I think he was telling us funny stories...so I laughed along.

Birthday niece –the far more sensible one of Nathan's two nieces– was not amused that her older cousin had also arrived drunk. Drunk niece was a child when she had children of her own.  Now 21, she brought her two young kids along. Not sure what the future has in store for them but, in the meantime at least, they seem well cared for and are very cute.

After sitting around for about two hours, we decided to use Nathan's dad as an excuse to leave so we offered to take him home back to Yarragon. Fortunately, he accepted.

After dropping dad off home, Nathan and I went to Warragul to visit his mum and younger brother. Mum was asleep (she works as a nurse and had an evening shift) so we had dinner with the younger brother in the living room (he had already gone to a family birthday dinner the night before for the niece so didn't feel like coming to the party).

At some point, we decided we should head back to the party in Trafalgar. Well, actually, Nathan wasn't too keen but I insisted – for sensible niece's sake. So..we made our way back to his sister's place and stayed for another hour. We were back in Melbourne by 10pm.

The party was suppose to be a dress up. Nathan bought along some props but we left them in the car. We took a photo of ourselves when we got back home and sent them to sensible niece afterwards. I quite like my oversized glasses.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

the late Christmas card

I received a card from the US yesterday. It was from my friend's wife. Sadly, she shared the news that she and my friend have filed for divorce. They had been living at opposite ends of the country (my friend in California and she in Massachusetts). She couldn't do the long distance thing anymore, gave him plenty of opportunity to do something about it – and he didn't. She is wonderful. He is too passive. It's my friend's loss really. I seems weird to say but even though I feel sad and sorry for him, I am happy for her.

Monday, January 5, 2015

new year, new role

It will be my first day back at work for the new year and I have butterflies in my stomach. I will be starting my Deputy Head role and my first task will be to fill in for the Head for the month of January while he is on leave. I guess that makes me the boss. Talk about jumping in at the deep end. Already, towards the end of last year, I've had to make some unpopular decisions and tell some colleagues that their teaching will be increasing this year. Hmmm...I hope I don't regret taking this job.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

eyes on the news

I spend a lot of time during the break reading and watching the news. On New Years Eve, I had the TV on ABC News 24, and noticed the very handsome reporter covering news about the gathering crowds around Sydney for the fireworks. A quick google search reveals lots of images of the photogenic, sartorially savvy journalist (who is also very active on social media). Here, he is talking about the Sea Shepherd. Well done ABC.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

sucky saturday

So, after a pleasant few days wallowing in excessive feast and general merriment, things got kinda sucky yesterday.

First,  I took a bit of a tumble in a car park and managed to hurt my knee and scrape myself up a bit so am at home with my leg elevated on the couch.

Second (and this is cause for greater concern), grandma wasn't feeling too well in the afternoon so my parents and youngest sis had to take her to hospital. It looks like grandma will have to stay there for the next few days.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas at home

It's nice to be in Melbourne for Christmas this year. My folks are visiting from Canberra and we are heading over to their serviced apartment for Christmas lunch (we are going to sneak the dog in as well). Judging by all the planning and shopping my parents have done since arriving in Melbourne, it will be quite a contrast from the boiled carrots and rice I had for Christmas last year in Nicaragua.

Merry Xmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2014

midnight intruders


The dog was restless last night, jumping in and out of bed and whinging. Nathan thought it was because Truffles was responding to drunks out on the street. I wasn't convinced.

Eventually, I noticed an animal noise that didn't sound like a seagull so I went out onto the balcony to explore.

In a nearby gum tree, fruitbats had gathered to feed on the blossoms and were making quite a commotion. I ended up switching on the radio to drown out the bat noises to calm the dog down – so that Nathan and I could sleep. I have no idea for how long the Eucalypts will be flowering but I hope the fruitbats move on after the flowers have faded and don't settle permanently in the trees.

Friday, December 5, 2014

the island

I'm currently on the Great Barrier Reef for an undergraduate marine biology field course. It's been another year of extensive jet setting for work. This, however, will be the last bit of travelling for the year and the last time I'll be on the field course (I will have to give this up when I become Deputy Head of Department next year). In the meantime, I'm just going to lap up the tropical surrounds.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

peony

When I was in Canberra a couple of weeks ago, I bought my grandma a bunch of peonies. During the course of the weekend, the petals started to unfurl into the biggest flowers I have ever seen. And they smelt wonderful too.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hobart

I was in Hobart for three days. Just got back last night. I took my research group for a 'retreat' (13 of us in total).  Everyone had a great time. MONA was a definite highlight.

Many of the artworks were rather confronting, like this wall of vaginas.
My favourite artwork was Zizi, the affectionate couch. It makes noises and vibrates when you sit on it. I want one.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

yum cha

...I also rediscovered this photo of Nathan from last Saturday's yum cha. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet with a two hour time limit. Boy did we eat. We were done after 30 minutes.

brunch




I was looking through my iphone yesterday and discovered some photos Nathan had taken last Sunday when we took Truffs off to Port Melbourne for brunch (well, actually, we had the brunch...she had fun playing with the other dogs in the off leash area after we finished).

cockies

We went to a quaint little cafe in Yarralumla yesterday for scones. There was a nursery next door and they had these cockatoos for sale. I miss the cockatoos foraging on the side of the roads here in Canberra. I see mostly silver gulls and pigeons in Melbourne (though I seem to be attracting the occasional native bird with the plants I have flowering on the balcony).

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Canberra

I'm up in Canberra this weekend visiting family. It's been a crazy few weeks at work (hence lack of blogging activity). We've had a staff retreat, several work functions, interviewing of candidates for a new position, and am now in the midst of exam marking. I had to take a break. Dad is currently in the process of making fresh fish and chive dumplings for lunch. Yummy.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

high tea at home

Today's afternoon tea (Nathan's grandmother's scones)..
.

pot obsessed

I have a new favourite shop. It's called Mr Kitly (I've told Nathan that he can go there to buy me presents – and not only when it's my birthday, Christmas etc). I discovered the shop only a few weeks ago and went there last weekend to buy a pot for my office bromeliad. I was like a kid in a candy store and had to go back again today to take another look. I ended up with these colourful little hand-made ceramic pieces. So cute. The pots are pictured with another new purchase, a Phalaenopsis javanica orchid.

lights out

I blacked out yesterday afternoon. I was having a lie down at home and got out of bed too quickly. It's never happened to me before. When I awoke, I found myself lying on the floor and the dog was staring at me from the bed. I had a bit of pain on the right side of my body (I think I must have hit the side of the bed on my way down) and I scraped my elbow. Nothing major...luckily I didn't hit my head. Hmmm....things certainly aren't the same as when I was younger.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

dinner drama

We caught up with some friends tonight for dinner at a restaurant in South bank. The restaurant is situated on the first floor with a lovely view of the Yarra. We took a table next to the balcony.

We were having a great time when, all of a sudden, there was a commotion coming from the next table. We turned around in time to see a young man tumble from the balcony, bounce off the shade cloth, and disappear onto the footpath below...with a very loud thud. It was surreal...like an action movie. People were screaming and gasping from inside our restaurant and the sidewalk below. The guy must have fallen at least 5 meters. Someone yelled out "call an ambulance" so I dialled 000. I was told that the paramedics were already on their way and that an off duty ambulance officer was already on the scene.  

The poor people at the next table saw it all unfurl and were interviewed by a police officer who had come up to our restaurant. I noticed an Asian lady on the sidewalk take a photo in the direction of where the man would have landed. After a while, the busker nearby returned to playing his music.

The diners sitting 'al fresco' at the restaurant would have got quite a fright seeing a body land next to them. Fortunately the guy was not in view from where I was sitting but I heard he was bleeding from the head. We heard he had gained consciousness so hopefully he is ok.

This is the second time I've seen someone fall off a building in Melbourne.

super saturday

We went to the South Melbourne markets on Saturday morning. It has become a bit of a routine. We take the dog so she can have an outing. We always go somewhere nice for brunch and then I do a bit of a shop.

I bought some unusual banksias for the dining table vase. I love the zig-zag shape of the leaves and their greyish underside.

I usually also end up buying some random ingredient for a weekend meal. This week, I couldn't resist these octopus tentacles. I'm thinking I'll attempt a Greek classic – oktapodi krasato – for Sunday lunch.

Later in the morning, we headed over to Fitzroy to check out the Vivian Maier exhibition at The Centre for Contemporary Photography.
I'm in the process of redecorating my office space. So...after we finished at Fitzroy, I took advantage of the flexicar to drop off a large piece of artwork and a nice plant at work. I bought a bromeliad that I'm hoping will do ok in my office (I have a large window but no direct sunlight). It has lovely 'speckled' leaves.
On our way back, we decided to go to Port Melbourne for dinner so we went home to retrieve the dog so she can have another outing – and a visit to the beach. This is Truffles moments before she launched herself towards a couple of other dogs on the beach. I love seeing her play with other dogs and run on the sand.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

a day off

I had Friday off. I needed a break (plus, I have way too much annual leave, which I need to take before the end of the year...one day here and there doesn't really make much of a dent but it's better than nothing). 

I took Truffles for a walk to the supermarket in the morning. I was surprised to see so many people walking their dogs (Don't these people have to be at work?). I bumped into one of my neighbours who was out with her pugs, one of whom (the older one) is slightly belligerent and always growls at Truffles. Near the supermarket, Truffs made friends with two schnauzers and I had a nice chat with the very good looking owner. 

Later in the morning, I caught up with a gallerist friend of mine who recently retired. I hadn't seen her for most of the year. First, I was away, then we were both away. We are such busy international travellers nowadays. It has only been a month or so when we have both physically been in the same city. 

We met at Richmond Station and went to a couple of nearby art galleries in Richmond (I bought an owl sculpture) before making our way to Victoria Street for vietnamese. My friend is soon going to Vietnam and Cambodia for a holiday and has started getting ready for the trip by immersing herself in vietnamese cuisine. She told me she had pho twice this week already. 

We went to my favourite restaurant on Victoria Street. It is called Co Do. They specialise in the other vietnamese noodle soup, bun bo hue. I love the taste of the bun bo hue soup but less keen on the congealed pig's blood they normally throw in it. So... I usually end up mixing my phos and my buns (and order a special beef pho with bun bo hue stock). It is a total corruption of two dishes that are perfectly delicious in their own right – but the waiters always oblige. My friend had a stir fried fish and vegetable (she was pho–ed out).


After a very long lunch, my friend and I parted ways. I took the 109 back towards the city and went on a quest to find an oil burner in Collingwood. For the last two weeks, I have been going around Melbourne in search of an oil burner that, let's face it, I could probably have made myself by stealing stuff from my own laboratory (it would certainly be so much cheaper). This burner must have been featured recently on some design blog or tv show or something. It seems to be sold out everywhere. I was only 'partly' successful at Collingwood because I managed to buy only half the contraption and will have to wait a week for the most important component to arrive, the round bottom flask (i.e. the bit that you actually put the fragrant oils into...hmm, I might just pilfer a temporary flask from work in the meantime).


Turns out the shop where I bought my oil burner was right near The Peel, which I haven't been to since the time some twink thought it was acceptable to put his hand between a female friend's leg on the dance floor.

I decided to go up to Gertrude Street to catch the tram back to the Docklands. I got off the tram at the upper end of Southern Cross and was shocked to see that they have created a giant 'anti-terror' advert using the stair case. It reminded me of the 'be alert, but not afraid' adverts following the September 11 attacks. Such a sorry state, the world we now live in.


As I was walking home, I bumped into pug neighbour again. She was with her dogs. "I hope you haven't been walking your dogs all this time," I said. She laughed.

I made roast duck for dinner and was delighted to learn later that Malala was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

I had a great day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

unconsitutional


When I was an impressionable young law student, one academic at the ANU Law School stood out heads and shoulders above the rest. It was my Constitutional law lecturer, George Williams. If ever I were inclined to worship the ground upon which a lawyer walks (and I am being purely hypothetical here), George would be the one.

George, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of The Constitution and his quirky facts and anecdotes about the various Justices of the High Court, actually made the study of Constitutional law fun and interesting (Imagine that…The Constitution is actually fun and interesting!).

Yesterday, I saw George being quoted in a Fairfax news article. And it made me smile. Now a Professor at UNSW, George brought me back to the law lecture theatre in 1998 and reminded me (and other readers) that there is a provision in the Constitution that expressly prevents the Commonwealth from making laws that prohibit “the free exercise of religion”. It is section 116 – and both Jacqui Lambie and Cory Bernardi ought to read it.  



a trip to spa and gold country



I took the day off yesterday. My youngest sister is visiting from Canberra so Nathan and I took her to Daylesford for the day. We had a nice lunch at the Lake House, which turned into an unexpected celebration after I received news that I got promoted to Associate Professor (So, I'll officially be an Ass Pro next year). After lunch, we walked around town and visited several of the shops, which seem to fall into three categories based on the stuff they sell: art, soap and handwash, and bric-a-brac.


After we got tired of all the art, soap and second hand junk that Daylesford had to offer, we decided to drive to Ballarat. I love Ballarat. It is such a beautiful town. We got there quite late and concerned about being stuck in peak hour on the way home, decided it was probably best to have dinner there so we headed to the Craig's Hotel, which is kinda fancy (except for the poker machines).  I had a scallop ceviche for starter and a delicious slow roasted pork belly that was almost too big a portion to finish (almost).

Monday, September 22, 2014

infestation

The dog has fleas. Truffles has been scratching herself so I decided to take a closer look this morning. I flipped her onto her back and inspected her tummy near where she had been licking herself and caught sight of a flea scuttling away. Faaark.

The infestation is, of course, entirely Nathan's fault since he was the one responsible for administering the dog's flea preventative treatments (and ensuring that they were up to date, which I suspected they weren't).

Naturally, I did the worst thing possible...I started looking up information on the internet. The information I read sent me into a mild panic because I was now concerned the entire house may be festooned with the little parasites (and the idea of flea bombing the apartment was not especially appealing). Anyhow, Nathan and I both needed to dash off to catch the train so we decided we'd discuss what to do later.

Once we boarded the train and took our seats, I began telling Nathan about the hassle we would need to go through to get rid of the infestation from the apartment. I could tell – as all attentive partner's can – that he thought I was being a drama queen.

But then, something miraculous happened. Right on cue, a tiny flea larva crawled across a paper bag I was bringing to work. I gently picked up the larva with my index finger to show Nathan. And just as I was holding the tiny little thing and positioning my finger so that Nathan could get a better look, it launched itself from the tip of my finger onto Nathan's jumper. The demonstration worked perfectly...Nathan spent the afternoon washing the dog and cleaning the house.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

the accusation

Nathan and I noticed a small, light coloured patch on Truffles' lip last week. Naturally, being hypochondriac dog owners, we took her to the vet.

Vet: It's definitely not a tumour...It looks more like a cigarette burn.
(Seriously, did the vet just accuse me of torturing our dog?)

Me (defensively): That's impossible. We don't smoke. And she lives inside the apartment.

surprise

I can't even begin to imagine  how the heavy weights at this toy company were persuaded it would be a great idea to manufacture dolls that 'magically poop charms' which kids then collect and wear as bracelets.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

routine

I am back in Canberra for a few days visiting with family and friends.

The security guy who was checking my bag at Melbourne airport was making polite conversation and asked me where I was going. When I said Canberra, the guy asked "Why would you want to go there?" Poor Canberra.

I went to the Canberra Centre two days in a row. I noticed the same elderly lady sitting near the information desk eating chocolate ice cream on both days. My parents say she is always there, eating her ice cream. It must be her routine.

My routine in Canberra is to eat, eat, eat. It is unrelenting. My parents feed me from morning til night. I always gain weight.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

midwinta ball

Nathan and I attended the inaugural midwinta ball last night at the Grand Hyatt. Nathan had organised tickets a while ago but forgot to tell me about it until Wednesday.

The event was black tie. We had planned to hire tuxedos but because it was too 'last minute', Nathan ended up buying a tux (which wasn't that much more expensive than the cost of hire) and I decided to just wear my black suit with a bow tie to make it look a bit more formal. I was feeling a little nervous about being under-dressed but I needn't have worried...it turns out that anything goes at a gay gala ball. One guy even wore black leather and chains (I guess technically it was still 'black tie').

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Melbourne

Nathan and I are back in Melbourne.

The work part of my American trip (a conference in New York) went very well. One of my students even picked up a prize for his presentation. While I was attending the conference, Nathan continued his 'holiday' and squeezed in a visit to Washington DC.

We left the US on Wednesday local time. We flew with Delta from NY to LA because our original booking on Qantas was only from Melbourne to LA return – and it would have cost more than doubled the price to make changes to the ticket in order to fly out of New York with Qantas. This turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise for several reasons.

First, Delta was awesome. The flight attendants were the most friendly I have ever encountered on a US carrier (they were actually courteous). Both the food and inflight entertainment were also excellent and, to our surprise, included in the price of our ticket.

Second, not flying with Qantas from NY to LA on Wednesday meant we avoided this debacle. In fact, our flight from LA to Melbourne was half empty because we left without the New York passengers who were stranded in LA because of the delay out of New York.

Third, we had the most awesome flight attendants from LA to Melbourne. In fact, one of the flight attendants, Tarsh, was on our flight from Melbourne to LA a few weeks earlier. And because we struck up a great rapport with her the first time around, she actually remembered us and pampered us with pjs and toiletries from business class.

Now, I just need to get over the jet lag.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New York

After a couple of days relaxing in Boston and catching up with some old friends, Nathan and I took the bus to New York. We have since been doing touristy things. Highlights so far include...

1. Museum of Modern Art


2. Empire State Building


3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art


4. The Lion King on Broadway


5. The American Museum of Natural History