My immediate and extended family makes up a very big part of my life. They manifest happiness for me in a most ordinary way and it is through their happiness that I define mine. Early last month, my daughter – an only child who has done us so proud all these years because she has such amazing integrity and purity in the way she is a wife and mother and also a daughter – with her wonderful husband, a Dragon no less and her two sons a Monkey and a Rat thus creating the trinity of allies in her family, came with me and my husband for a week-long ski trip to Falls Creek, a five hour drive outside Melbourne. Once again, we created a great many happy memories being together on this trip because there were so many opportunities to bond closely and surely, enjoying the smells of the new environment, an unfamiliar place to all of us.
Melbourne and the drive along the country roads to Falls Creek gave us an opportunity to smell the air of Southern Australia. In Melbourne, a city which my nephew Han Jin and his wife Audrey are intimate with, we discovered the restaurants along the Melbourne waterfront and we loved the shopping in the shops adjacent to the Crowne Tower Casino. And yes, it was such fun walking through the casino floor – so enormous, perhaps even more so than those we saw in Las Vegas.
Neither my husband, nor Jennifer nor I are gamblers, but yes, we do like the feel of the tension in the air whenever we walk through the casino, and although we feel no desire to try our luck on the tables, still it is a very nice experience breathing in the colourful beauty of a casino interior. We took a picture to let you know what I mean. See the colours of the circular motifs on the floor, the lights on the ceilings and the gaming tables in the background. Can be quite irresistible to so many people!
But as you can see from what Jennifer is carrying, we indulged ourselves a little bit, spoiling ourselves to a few choice items in the Designer boutiques adjacent to the Casino! And if you ask me, I will say YES it’s great to enjoy retail therapy anytime anyplace! Like a great many others, we adore shopping wherever we go, and although we love the countryside, we are at heart city people.
We also dined in some style and we especially want to share this seafood restaurant with readers. If ever you are in Melbourne, do try out the mussels here – cooked in a slightly spicy tom yam broth, it is totally exquisite!
Across from where we sit is the river and on the other side is the city campus of Victoria University. This is a place where many successful Malaysians and Singaporeans studied and so they have their alumni universities and colleges here. My nephew Han Jin and his wife Audrey are graduates of Monash University, which has a wonderful twinning program with our very own Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur. In my travels across many of the world’s countries, I realize just how fortunate we Malaysians are, for in travelling to so many different countries, Malaysians become so knowledgeable about other cultures, traditions and ways of life. Surely this must be the reason why so many Malaysians go to Australia, the UK, the USA, to Canada and to so many other counties and achieve so much success in those countries and also when they return home to Malaysia. I can say the same for Singaporeans too.
After Melbourne, we hopped onto a bus with our friends – three families in all each with their kids – for the five hour drive to Falls Creek, reportedly the largest alpine ski resort in South Australia. Alas, we must have forgotten to pray to the weather Gods here, because when we arrived, it was to some pretty challenging conditions – dark, stormy, foggy and pretty daunting …
And then the sun came out! And Falls Creek was laid out before us glorious and amazingly beautiful. Truly, I had no idea Aussie ski resorts could be so amazingly beautiful. We were lucky as we were booked into this place called ATTUNGA and wow, it was such a lovely chalet for us. Our rooms were large and spacious and everything worked, including the heater and the spa, so important on a skiing holiday.
There was live music every night in the adjoining bar and restaurant. The place is run by two brothers and wow were they hospitable. Such great mates and they truly made us feel so welcome; James even took us on his snowmobile to explore the villages that make up Falls Creek.
We – my husband and I – enjoyed the walks along the snow covered trails of the resort a lot more than the skiing, which I felt was too challenging during the early days of foggy conditions. But when the sun came out, the whole scenery was painted with a different brush it seems. That was when we decided to take the chair lift up to the mountains, although not so ski so much as to dine amongst the snow-covered ski fields. My arm was still a little too frozen to do much skiing, but it was wonderful watching the kids having so much fun. They loved the black slopes here and there were many of them and so much snow! And although the runs were shorter and the slopes less steep compared to the blacks over in Vail in the USA, they made for fun skiing nevertheless. For me and my husband, we loved the energy of the place; he had his Guinness Stout and that made him happy, while for me it was incredible meditating while walking.