photo journal – Australia ’12

It was my first time going to Australia. I don’t remember what I expected to see, all I know is that I was excited to be travelling out of Asia again. Having been to only America (just the tourist hubs) and New Zealand (just the countryside) prior to this, I’ve gotta say that Australia was another different, unique experience. In hindsight, I guess it never occurred to me that the world could be so big that each place would be so different.

1. Australia was sort of a mix of both America and New Zealand mix of both for me, with tall-but-not-that-tall buildings and a transport system that I understood. The thing that stood out most to me was how colourful everything was – all the buildings in Hong Kong seem to be either glass office buildings or dull cement shops, and the roads were just brick red or grey tarmac. Another thing I remember vividly is how unique each building’s architecture was – it’s no wonder that I was so starstruck.

2. Yes, we have these kinds of streets in Hong Kong as well, where there’s a lane of cars in between two walls of buildings, but nothing that looks as… antique as this. The roads in Hong Kong are a lot more narrow, and our buildings are plain old flat, without the variation of rounded columns and tall arches. It’s weird seeing everything so soft around the edges, and not so sharply geometrical.

3. Something about city skylines get me every time. I love how the buildings separate the sky and the sea, I love how there’s so much water and sky and blue, I love how each city’s skyline is so different. Where I live in Hong Kong, we don’t have bridges that connect us, instead all we have are underwater tunnels, so it made seeing the iconic Sydney Bridge so much more spectacular. This was either before, or after the ferry ride across the harbour.

4. I don’t remember when my philately hobby started (Maybe when I was four? But that’s a story for another day.), and I don’t remember seeing post boxes in Australia (or New Zealand), so finding this photo was a mild surprise. Judging from the photo, I was probably intrigued by how solid and thick the metal seemed.

5. I barely remembered anything from this trip until I started looking through these photos. Looking back, because we stayed in holiday parks in New Zealand, I thought we’d have done something similar in Australia. Turns out we stayed in a flat in a building in Sydney, and rented a car to drive ourselves around. For some reason, I remember on the first night we moved there, my aunt brought my sister and I to the convenience store nearby to get ice cream, even though it was currently winter. With us, winter isn’t winter until you eat ice cream despite of the cold.

6. We did a lot of sight-seeing in Australia, which was different from the rural experience of New Zealand. We actually went around and inside buildings, instead of driving past landmarks. This was taken near one of the hotels we went to for a dinner buffet. I remember I got really mad at my sister some time after taking this picture, because I had trusted her with my camera but she almost dropped it (she was seven). We also accidentally crashed our car earlier that day into the rear of someone else’s car. … Australia was a lot more hectic than New Zealand.

7. There’s really not much significance to this photo; I don’t know what plant this is, where I took it, or why I took it. There are a lot of photos like this (zoomed in, flora/ fauna) in my Australia pile. I’m pretty sure it’s because we had a photography course during our art classes the previous schoolyear, where we learnt how to use the macro function on our cameras. This is the result – zoomed in pictures of plants.

8. We washed the rental car the day. We still had one or two days left before we were leaving, but this was our only and last chance to wash it. I followed by dad to borrow a hose from nearby, being the resident torch-holder for the resident hose-holder, before switching over to sponging up the car with my sister. It wasn’t that cold, it wasn’t child labour; I actually enjoyed the  experience. (And it wasn’t like there was anything else to do.)

9. At first glance, it doesn’t look like anything much, but look closer and you might be able to make out some white dots amongst the black. I barely see stars in Hong Kong, so it was really fun for me to go out of the cabin, look up, and be overwhelmed by so many of them. It’s come to the point where I just associate a sky full of stars with Western countries, because I barely see those kind of skies on trips around Asia.

10. This is a collection of photos from back when cameras couldn’t properly capture ill-lit scenery. We woke up before the crack of dawn, left our warm duvets and set off in the cold shuttle bus, and arrived at a field with hot air balloons. It was really nice seeing the stars fade out as the sun slowly crept into the sky, being lifted up over a large stretch of land, and watching the sky become painted with pinks and reds. By the end of the day, I had been up for 18 hours and counting, so I went to bed in a pseudo-drunk state from not enough rest.

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