Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Reflection : Goldcoast


I am back in New Zealand after a glorious 5 weeks holiday at the Goldcoast and Brisbane of Queensland of Australia.

This was the sight that greeted me in Australia when I woke up at 5am that first morning. NZ is 3 hours ahead, and my body clock was still in tuned with NZ time.

What a beautiful scene. Of course, not everyone can see this, as this is what I dub as the land of the rich and famous. It is taken from an exclusive island where I was privileged to stay during part of my holidays.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paradise Glass Blowers


I was walking along the beach when I saw the Surfers Paradise Beachside Markets, at the Esplanade, at Surfers Paradise.

What had attracted me to this stall was many many years ago, when I was a student at Auckland University, I sometimes went to this International market in an arcade at Queen Street, an artist was using his mouth and blew into a tiny knob of soft glass into a burner, and slowly his magic turned to be a beautiful vase. I was fascinated and used to stand for hours looking at him, and never buying as I was a poor student.

Forward to 2010, This artist was using a gas torch, but he still fascinated me. I decided to buy some as gifts. I bought a glass kangaroo for the water engineer, an echidna for G and D. When I saw another customer buy a piano, I changed my mind and bought a grand piano for D. http://annkschin.blogspot.com/2010/01/music-box-dancer-by-frank-mills.html
As I paid for my gift, we chatted. The woman told me she was from Christchurch New Zealand. Her name is Karin, the artist is Graham. They have been established since 1987.

The market operates every Wednesday and Friday night from 5.30 pm to 10 pm if you like to view and buy his craft.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Goldcoast skies


Looks can be deceiving, this photo of a beautiful sky was taken just hours before a terrible black sky that sent lashings of rain, thunderstorm that diverted my plane from Coolagatta airport on the Gold Coast to Brisbane and delayed my flight for one and half hours.

I should have taken a photo when we were driven to the airport. Thesky was one black sheet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010




I see cats in New Zealand wondering about, and every time I see dogs being taken out, I want to write a poem something like this.

Don't be so smug.
You think you are more loved,
Just because you get taken out,
in the car,
to the park,
to the beach,
dressed in all fancy clothes,
cut in outrageous hairstyle.

I don't need that,
Because I am a C.A.T.
I go out when I want to,
where I want to,
Because I am a C.A.T.
I can even survive on my own.

A tribute to all my friends in Singapore involved with Cat cafe and Gattina in Belgium.

Mellow yellow Monday, Ruby red Tuesday, Watery Wednesday




I am bunching these three memes together because I have just come back from a long 5 weeks Aussie walkabout. The return flight was delayed for one and half hours because of the severe thunderstorm and lashing of the heavy rain. The plane was diverted to Brisbane because the Coolagatta airport on the Gold coast was flooded.

I don't know was it the skies were pleading me not to go, or was it the skies were saying," Good heavens, at last the Kiwis are returning." The Aussies and the Kiwis have this love hate relationship.

In this ten foot tin boat which the Aussies call a tinnie, Sam had the best time of his holidays when his cousin Joshie drove him along the river and around the lake at his home. Some times, my brother Joseph towed in an inflatable triangle called a biscuit.

Sam is very tanned, but not as tan as his Uncle Joseph, the skipper of the other boat where we went out to see. I took this photo from the Mustang.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Letter B

This is round six of ABC WEDNESDAY. Welcome to ABC Wednesday Round 6. A fun project, now in it's third year! If you have something to share, be it a photograph, piece of art or poetry please post in on your blog and sign up here with MckLinky. Due to time differences just post when it is convenient on Tuesday onwards.


Technically, this is not a bus. To be precise, this is the route of a walking school bus. Schools encourage children to walk to school. Parents volunteer to walk with the kids. The parents wear reflective vest and some of them hold flags.

One Wednesday, the schools were encouraged to get the children to walk to school. My school participated and was given a commendation by the council.

I joke with my kids that sometimes I take bus No. II, this joke goes back a long time ago. The II looks like a pair of legs, so when you take bus NO. II, it means you walked.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Scenic Sunday: Royal visit : Tangiwai Disaster


Prince William just visited New Zealand and Australia. There is a lot of talk in New Zealand and Australia about becoming a Republic. Some writers in Queensland talk about the Royal family snubbing the State love them most.

I am a romantic person. I love stories of princes and princesses. Prince William charmed the hearts of many when he went to the bush fire areas of Melbourne.

I think of another royal visit to New Zealand, when the Queen was in New Zealand when the Tangiwai Disatser happened.

Years later, in 1999, we went to the Tangiwai Disaster at Whangaehu River with the children and paid our respects to the many who died during a time before we were born.

The Tangiwai disaster on December 24, 1953 was the worst rail accident in New Zealand. The overnight North Island Main Trunk express train from Wellington to Auckland, hauled by steam locomotive KA 949, fell into the Whangaehu River. The bridge over the river had been badly damaged just minutes earlier by a lahar from Mount Ruapehu.

Cyril Ellis is credited as being a hero of the accident because his actions saved many lives. He saw that the railway bridge was damaged and ran down the track, waving his torch at the oncoming train. It is believed that his warning enabled the train driver to brake before the bridge, slowing the train sufficiently so that only the first six carriages tumbled into the river. Almost everyone in the sixth carriage survived. All following carriages stopped safely.

Of the 285 people on the train, 134 survived and 151 died. Of those that died 20 bodies were never recovered; it is believed they were washed 120 kilometres from the bridge and then down the river and out to sea.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were visiting New Zealand on their first royal tour when the disaster occurred. The Queen made her Christmas broadcast from Auckland, finishing with a message of sympathy to the people of New Zealand. Prince Philip attended a state funeral for many of the victims.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Hot air balloons on the Gold Coast.


I woke up at five am and looked out of my bedroom at my brother Charles' house. The sun rise was beautiful and there were three hot air balloons. My sis-in-law Karen said she's been up there before at 6 am to capture the good view and probably the cool breeze.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Watery Wednesday: Cooling down in a river.


Sarawak is a country of heavy tropical rain and rivers. Sibu, my home town is situated along Rejang River some ninety miles from the South China Sea. Rejang River is 350 miles long and is the longest in Malaysia. I learned to swim in that river. I loved the water when I was young.

Deborah was two when she visited Sarawak. It was very hot and humid in Tropical Borneo. For us coming from New Zealand, what is a better way to cool down but to splash in the river. Her Aunt Elizabeth took her swimming in one of the tributaries of Rejang River. We all had fun.

This is like history repeating, twenty three years later, I am with Sam visiting my brothers, this time in Australia. The temperature is in the 30s and I am once again, swimming in a man made lake or in the swimming pool.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Letter A for Auckland Zoo

This is round six of ABC WEDNESDAY. Welcome to ABC Wednesday Round 6. A fun project, now in it's third year! If you have something to share, be it a photograph, piece of art or poetry please post in on your blog and sign up here with MckLinky. Due to time differences just post when it is convenient on Tuesday onwards.

We went to the Orang utan enclosure, the orang utans aka as men of the forest went hiding. Sam says he could spend the whole day swinging the ropes on the structure.

I teased that he could dress in a monkey suit and masquerade as one and attract more visitors to the zoo.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ruby Red: Patterns


Sam and I went to the Brisbane Science Centre. Sam loved it and he made this pattern.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Photohunt: jiggly

Jan 16: Jiggly

At this Green Trail at Currumbin Sanctuary, Sam had to leap over one board to another. It was very jiggly but he managed to complete 4 courses when people did three. I was a very proud mum.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Reflections: Water fountains in Brisbane


One of these photos is a reflection, the other is the real McCoy. Can you guess?

I first saw these fountains in Christchurch New Zealand, and thought they look like fire works. These photos are taken at the Arts and Cultural Centre in Brisbane, Australia.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scenic Sunday. Australian Aboriginal Community


Here's an Aboriginal leanto and musical instrument Didgeridoo.

They danced and sang for us, and taught us a song cum dance which I intend to take back to New Zealand and teach my students.

I am not sure if I got the word Sasa correctly. May be Titania can tell me as I can't find it on the internet.

Sasa to the right,
Sasa to the left,
Sasa to the side,
Sasa to the front,
Sasa to the top.
Sasa! Sasa!

Your hands do the action and go faster and faster. You can sit or stand. If standing, you sasa your hips as well.


Skywatch Friday: Orange Sky in Australia


The sky in Australia is very colorful. When I took this photo, it was like fire coming out of a furnace. I thought to myself, no wonder Australia is so hot. The sky is a fire place.

I have become very tan with all the beaches and kayaking. A very healthy color but not according to my mum's generation. A girl must have porcelain pale complexion.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Watery Wednesday: Drinking water


These handsome hunks were giving out free Suncorp water in small plastic bottles to passer bys. They had their advertising boards in a trailer pulled by scooters. I was initially attracted by the ads, and when he offered the bottle to Sam, I wanted to snap the photo. He was so friendly that he came close to Sam so I can take a good photo. Ka Pai to him, and I wish I got his name.

Click on the photos to enlarge to see the bottle.

I am googling and find there are three Suncorps in Queensland. I can't find the bottle, and I would like to believe that this is the right Suncorp. The one that promotes healthy living and sports and helping Australians to be Sun wise and stay sun safe.

He has his sunnies, long sleeved shirt and wide brim hat.

All the essential bits of our summer slogan: slip-slop-slap-wrap-and-slide:

SLIP: wear loose and long sleeved clothes, collar tops to prevent sun burn

SLOP: on all our skin, slop generously UV sun screen

SLAP: a wide brim hat

WRAP: sunnies or sunglasses

that we teach our kids.


See you at the Suncorp SunWise Shade Bar

Join us as the Suncorp SunWise Shade Bar makes its way from Coolangatta-to-Cairns on our summer tour throughout Queensland. The Shade Bar will offer a spot of shade, sunscreen and SunWise tips to Queenslanders enjoying our summer playgrounds as the UV levels soar.

Ruby Red: Red dotted cap


I like this photo so much because it showed the creation of two budding photographers. I posted this on my other site: annkschin.blogspot.com and it was a very popular photo.

During my sixteen years in Singapore, one of my favourite places with the children was the Singapore Science Centre. In the humid Singapore, the airconditioned building was a welcomed place to spend the whole day. It was a wonderful hands-on place. The entrance fee was cheap too. When I felt too stuffy inside the building, I would go outside to view the many spice and herb plants.

This photograph was taken by D and G, budding photographers at 15 and 11. Sam was three. Many had tried to duplicate this photograph after seeing this. But none had succeeded. This involves two mirrors attached to a hinge, and by moving the mirrors at different angles, you get different number of reflections.

I took this photo to school, and encouraged my students to experiment with two mirrors. They were very curious.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Letter Z. Zone games

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt

Sam loved the Mega Zone games. He went with his cousins and shot laser beams at each other. His cousins came from Australia and Malaysia and Sam couldn't wait to take them to his indoor maze in Auckland.

The girls reminded me of Amazons. I once blogged about my girls with big feet, a legacy from their Hakka Grand ma, whose female ancestors didn't have bound foot and went to war as the man's counterparts. S and A were brave warriors.

I am not posting photos of S and A as I didn't get permission from their parents.

This week, end I was going to take Sam and his cousins including Olivier to an outdoor laser skirmish. Unfortunately the harsh Australia weather had defeated the temperate weather Sam. We opt for the indoor Time Zone, where it is more comfortable.

In Sam's own words, Australia is fun but very hot. It is in a different Zone from New Zealand.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Scenic Sunday: Currumbin Sanctuary

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Do click on the link of my introduction of the Currumbin Sanctuary at my other site.

Here is my monkey Sam who enjoyed every minute of his four hours up the tree at the Green Trail. He completed 3 courses and went back for more doing the most difficult course twice.

I was fascinated at the friendliness of the kangaroos especially this particular one. He was kissing people who were brave enough. I suddenly became meek as a mouse.