It all started late last year. It was my birthday and feeling a bit on the generous side, i decided to give myself a big present and book a holiday for the following year :) Strange? We poor sods cannot book holidays on the dot and go the next day. We got to plan way ahead and hopefully keep enough money for the trip months down the road.
Air Asia was having a bit of a sale back then and i got a bit excited when i manage to log in to some cheap fares on Air Asia X. A flurry of phone calls later and i got my youngest sister to tag along and we decided to take my dad too. My dad loves to travel. He loves to go places. He don't quite like to sit at home and watch the days go by.
He always wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand is still a bit too expensive for me to take him yet. I do hate those tours with our local tour companies. They do cost a bomb and after 7 or 10 days tour, you don't even know what you have seen or visited. These planned tours just rushed you through the countries and make pitstops to let you take pictures. You don't enjoy the city and its essence if you go on a wild tour. I am more of a lonely planet traveller. I like to explore a city my own way.
Before the month of May came, i went through many travel reviews on Melbourne and tried to look for a affordable and safe place to stay. After many hours of reading Trip Advisor reviews, i found an small apartment to rent for our 6 days in the city.
As Melbourne is a english speaking country, we should have no worries. As long as we open our mouth to ask, we should be fine.
When the day came for us to begin our Australian adventure, we just grinned and jumped into a taxi to take us to the LCCT Terminal. Each with a camera, we looked quite like the touristy trio. Travelling light but with enough thick jackets as it is autumn in Melbourne.
Checking in was a breeze at LCCT Terminal. We had some lunch and went straight in after that to sit near the gates just in case the plane decides to leave without us. *LOL* Kiasu kiasi.
Among the three of us, i was the only one who has travelled on Air Asia before. So i assured sis and dad that it will be fine. You just have to walk on the tarmac, so keep the hand luggage light. You sure don't want to struggle/topple over with a heavy hand luggage when you are climbing up the steps to get on the plane... hehehehe
It was a 8 hour flight to Melbourne. The stewardess & stewards on Air Asia were most helpful and friendly. We were on the same flight with the CEO of Air Asia X and he was gracious enough to upgrade the seat of some fellow who happen to have his birthday on that day. He even had a small contest on board the plane to upgrade two more folks to the more comfortable sleeper seats. Quite a nice chap. During the flight, he walked up and down and chatted with some folks.
The seats were a bit tight but all in all, if you can sleep or read on the plane, Air Asia is a good option to fly to see places. Affordable and everyone can fly now because of Air Asia.
Alright now. Air Asia is not paying me anything to sing praises about them here :)
We reached Melbourne at about 12.45am and went through the usual checks. Australia is very strict with food and stuffs. We decided to declare our maggi mee in cups as there was a sign that says... "Declare all dry food stuffs".
They asked us to take out the stuff we wanted to declare. We took out our maggi mee and a fellow came by to check all the ingredients on the maggi mee and finally released our precious noodles. *LOL* There was a chap who had all the stuffs in his bag lined up on the table. Every single thing in his bag was taken out and lined out. He was asked a whole lot of questions. Poor guy. My dad got a bit spooked. hehehhehehee
Next was trying to find a cab on a cold cold morning. The airport seem to be sleeping. Not many folks around. We manage to hail a cab and off we went. Cab driver looks a bit hurried. When we told him where we wanted to go, he never keyed in the street name on the GPS thingy he had on his car. He keep asking.. which road which road... and drove on. That was the start of our adventure.