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Down Town Sydney Town: Part Two

In my last post I reported about the first five days of our trip. The food, the friends and family and the wedding. But there was more…

Day 6: Movie day. When you have a huge tv that has a 3D funktion, comfy couches and a great sound system, you would too. We invited the cousins over, watched a couple of action films and in between had some Domino’s pizza. It really is the little things that one misses when you’ve moved out of home and so far away, too.

At night, we met up with my school friends at Mizuya (Japanese Restaurant/Karaoke Bar) and had dinner, minus the karaoke. Michael had his first sticker-photo-booth-experience and enjoyed it. Here’s us being super Asian:

Sticker booth photo fun!

Sticker booth photo fun!

Afterwards we headed off to the Opera House to take some night shots and were pleasantly surprised with fireworks (see last picture in my last post).

Day 7: During the day we relaxed and hung out with the family at home and in the evening we met up with my ex-colleagues at Criniti’s at Darling Harbour. Let’s just say we had a lot of pizza.

2 meters of yum

2 meters of yum

Day 8: Mum’s birthday. We went to the unveiling of the Mercedes CLA and it was a funny feeling coming from Stuttgart, the home of Mercedes, to watch an unveiling in Sydney. We also met the sausage guy who was from Hamburg and spoke German with him. It was a nice event but we had no time to lose because mum’s birthday dinner at Ribs n’ Rumps was on afterwards. Still, we couldn’t resist a hot dog, a few pieces of woodfired pizza and a gelato.

My first time at Rn’R but it was a goodie. I shared a Ribs and Rump plate with my dad and just managed to finish it. Here’s us not looking so amused by the bibs:

Ready for some Ribs n' Rumps

Ready for some Ribs n’ Rumps

In the evening we brought out the cake we made for mum’s birthday. Somehow I don’t have a picture of it here but it was delish. It was a Oreo chocolate fudge ice cream cake. Quite easy to make and very heavy. One regular-sized (whatever that is, really) slice is really enough for one person.

Day 9: Our second-last day and we had a little gathering at home and one of the best foods ever. Popiah. It’s like a giant spring roll only you cook the ingredients and just wrap them up in the spring roll pastry and eat it ‘raw’. It’s healthy and oh so good.

Michael wrapping his first ever

Michael wrapping his first ever

Some of the ingredients: chinese sausage, prawns, eggs, finely sliced beans and vegetables, lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber and sauce

Some of the ingredients: chinese sausage, prawns, eggs, finely sliced beans and vegetables, lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, peanuts and sauce

Day 10: Our last day in Sydney and we got ourselves ready, had some Shanghai dumplings with the family in Parramatta and then we were off to the airport for the long journey home.

It was a very, super short holiday but it was so worth it to be home for a bit and to enjoy mum’s fine cooking and to spend time with family and friends. Looking forward to our next time there already! And of course, I’m hungry after writing this post so until next time, keep safe everybody!

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Down Town Sydney Town

I realise that although I reviewed British Airways, I didn’t actually report back on our trip to Sydney.

It was a short, jam-packed 10-day trip plus a couple of days flying and even though many said it was almost not worth it, it totally was because it had been about 2.5 years since I’d been back.

We planned our trip based on what food we would eat and on the people we would meet up with.

Day 1: We arrived in the morning and after visiting Shaun at work we headed home and had lunch: Korean noodle soup with pork. Dinner was of course dumplings and man is it good to have home-made dumplings! I am drooling just thinking about them. We didn’t even really have jetlag which was amazing and then eventually it was off to bed after a stress-free day.

Day 2: After some successful shopping at DFO with my parents, we visited my friend who was to be married and had a nice afternoon at her place with her then fiancé and their British Shorthair (cat). In the evening, it was Mamak. Asian food just isn’t the same in Germany, and there is a distinct lack of Singaporean/Malaysian food in Stuttgart.

Breakfast of champions

Breakfast of champions

Day 3: The day of the wedding. Shaun and Justin prepared a gigantic breakfast of chorizo, bacon, eggs, caramelised onions, hash browns and bread. Let’s just say that by the time the wedding dinner rolled around, we still could not eat. Still, it was a good time and I got to meet up with the bride, her husband and a mutual friend of ours who no longer lives in Sydney. She’s Austrian and I spoke to her in German for the first time which totally spun her out!

The bride and groom

The bride and groom

Day 4: We had a party with a few friends, family and our neighbours at home. A feast including chicken curry, noodles, and some other staples in our family. It was a great night organised by our parents and it was nice to meet and hang out over mum’s amazing cooking.

Day 5: Some of this may now be mixed because we had pork belly once at a restaurant and once at home, but I think this is the day that Justin made some home-made pork belly that was delicious but extremely filling.

I think that’s enough to fill your bellies by overloading your eyes for today, so until next time, if you’re going to try these foods…at least give yourself a chance, do this ‘diet’ over a few weeks!

Here’s Sydney welcoming us home:

Oh hai, Sydney!

Oh hai, Sydney!

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British Airways: A Review

So we’re back from Sydney after many gruelling flights, the last of which saw us in the air for about 28 hours. We flew there and back STR-LHR-SIN-SYD-SIN-LHR-STR.

Needless to say, it was important that we were as comfortable as possible.

I’d flown long-haul with BA once before but that was alone, and it’s nice to travel in a pair. You don’t chat to other people as much but you also don’t have to go all ninja to protect your stuff whenever you need to go to the bathroom. You just say, ‘Hey, partner, can you watch my stuff?’ if at all.

Snack LHR-STR

Snack LHR-STR

STR-LHR and back, we were in a small aircraft, all leather seats, quite old, but comfortable. The flight is only about 1.5 hours or so, making it nothing compared to the other two flights. We got a snack both times, and on the way back it was a pastrami croissant with American style mustard mayonnaise and cheese.

For the flight LHR-SIN-SYD we had a brand new aircraft, the 777-300ER. It was a bit of a freaky situation when the pilot announced that they were having some technical difficulties due to the fact that it was the very first time flying this particular aircraft. But, they solved all of that. Cool.

The journey was comfortable and it felt pretty darn good to sit in a brand new aircraft, all squeaky clean and shiny. The entertainment system was new and although this is not a new idea, it was good to be able to charge my phone via USB. I hadn’t uploaded any movies/shows onto my phone but the shows available were great. On the way to Sydney we watched 2 Guns and The Heat and thankfully got some sleep in too.

Entertainment SYD-SIN-LHR

Entertainment SYD-SIN-LHR

The aircraft

The aircraft

On the way back we didn’t have the ‘new’ aircraft anymore, but it was still quite a comfortable journey. Both times we had two seats in the middle section where there were only ever three seats, meaning there was no jumping over other passengers or constantly having to stand up for them. The joys of travelling in pairs!

The Food / The Service

English breakfast

English breakfast

I managed to finally get some pics on the return journey. The food was not bad with BA and the service was also good. Still not my favourite airline due to the lack of hot towels, but not a bad one either. They were generous with their drinks and food and were always happy to help.

Penne with minced meat

Penne with minced meat

Flying back, we had penne with grilled vegetables and cheese (or chicken with noodles), penne with minced meat (they love their penne!), an english breakfast (or omelette with cheese) and a bread roll sandwich.

The ‘Bonuses’

There weren’t too many of these, and one steward even said that they don’t serve ‘snacks’ in our carriage. The little baggie on each seat contained headphones, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Socks and sleeping masks were available on request. Nothing special here.

Summary

British Airways was always good for short-haul trips, but after my experience with them long-haul, I’d say that they do a darn good job with that too. The staff on each of the 6 flights were lovely and helpful, the food was decent even if it wasn’t anything spectacular and the entertainment system was great despite the audio on two of my flights being faulty. I would love to try flying Business class with BA some day!

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Visitors… from another country

It’s been a while since I’ve seen my sister, she, as you may already know has been living in Germany for the past few years and has been making some fantastic progress over in the land of steins and wurst (the most wurst). She’s picked up the language and from what I hear she is fluent and without accent so she’s like a news anchor, the two have purchased a new place of their own and just generally getting on well. Recently she has been over here with her husband, my new brother-in-law Michael and we’ve been having a great time catching up, talking about random crap and generally mucking about being silly most of the time.

We have had some of the best food since each day was planned way in advance based not on what we were going to do or see but what we were going to eat. Alot of the itinerary/menu was mum’s cooking as well as some new super hot skills acquired by another writer on this blog, Justin! He’s made us amazing pork belly and ensured everyone was having a good time. I have to say that overall it’s been a roaring success. Many late nights watching movies and playing games and having people over and celebrating Mum’s birthday has turned the Kok household into a whirlwind of activity and that is alright.

Steph and Michael will be making their way back to Germany on Saturday and I can’t help but feel that it’s time to plan the next European holiday and soonish because all I seem to be doing at the moment is play GTA, joke about with siblings and work.

Christmas is coming soon which means it’s going to be very hot around here. I have no leave or not much so I’m going to have to be in the office a lot, which isn’t half bad as long as the A/C is on.

Have some pictures to show that there is some sort of life behind the words:

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Stephanie getting into a pork rib at Ribs and Rumps. They have the best ribs.

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That’s me mah! Happy Birthday Mum! Terrible pic because of the lighting. Mum doesn’t eat beef and was dressed far too well for ribs so it’s seafood.

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Full rack of Pork for Justin and a Rib-Eye steak for me, I was sitting there with this lovely cut of the steak and thinking about how ignorance really is bliss

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Gow Gee – We don’t muck about when we eat Gow Gee and this has to be the best comfort food/happy place/mum’s cooking/dad’s cooking ever. Also if you must know Justin is fussy about Gow Gee and nowhere and I repeat nowhere has made Gow Gee that is acceptable to his taste. I am less fussy but I do agree that other gow gees have too much fat or tastes funky or are badly made etc.

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Some shots from my daily holiday to Los Santos

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New car… in game. A highly modified Jeep Wrangler look-alike, love it.

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Great shot near the top of Mount Chilliad

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The new car matches the shades, it look slike a Ferrari 250 GTO. costs a pretty penny as does the girl with her wardrobe.

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Had to have one, this DB5 look alike goes for $350K

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Colours of the wind

Along with the change in temperature and the crazy winds that are terrorising northern Germany, Denmark and southern UK, comes autumn. And what an autumn indeed!

Autumn is just the best time in terms of scenery. Looking out from…practically anywhere, there are so many colours in the beautiful foliage that are mixed together, creating something that looks like a painting.

Driving in Germany in autumn

Driving in Germany in autumn

Speaking of autumn and beautiful foliage, here is a view from our new apartment, from the bedroom balcony. I was mainly trying to capture the trees with my phone so this view is a bit obstructed…

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

I can’t wait to move in! Our current view is amazing but it’ll be so good to have our own place!

View from our current home

View from our current home

And on the topic of colours, we’ve also picked the flooring for the bedrooms. It was a challenge to decide on a colour but we’re going for darker floors against white and gray.

Here are some ideas of what we’re going for:

Have a great week everyone! We’re so excited to be off to Sydney in less than a week!!

Autumn Wedding: The Ranch

We’re coming to the end of the wedding season, with just one wedding to go and it’s amazing how quickly time flies. 2013 has a grand total of 6 weddings and for next year there’s already another wedding lined up in January!

The very last wedding of the year for us is in Australia which is really exciting. We get to go back and we get to skip out on a bit of winter in exchange for sunny, summery Sydney without the crazy heat.

The happy couple at The Ranch - can't see the rain, can you?!

The happy couple at The Ranch – can’t see the rain, can you?! (Photo credit: Michael Friz)

But before we get to that, I have to report on a wedding that we had about 2 weeks ago. American guy living in Germany since he was little marries a German lady, so of course, we celebrated at a ranch not too far from Stuttgart.

It was definitely a very different wedding to the ones that we have attended and photographed this year. Not only the location, but the food as well. As you can tell, ‘The Ranch’ was very much country style with stables and plenty of horses. The food was delicious with pulled pork, ribs and burgers on offer.

There were a few mishaps like the music not working for awhile, but I suppose, what’s a wedding without them? Still, I’m hoping that ours won’t have any!!

It rained a little but we still managed to get some nice shots of the lovely couple and had a great time.

We also attended a family wedding the next weekend (just over a week ago) and although we didn’t do the photography there, I will report on it next time because it was beautiful and had just about ZERO mishaps!

Til then, I will be working on planning for the new apartment 🙂