Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter 2010

Whenever you see a group of people with more than 3 cars hanging around Clayton and note:
1 Commotion/ Chattering beyond control
2 Several Melways/ run-down maps lying around
3 Girls in all sorts of fashion
4 10-15 minutes of pondering around doing nothing

Then chances are you have seen us at the start of one of our roadtrips.

For Easter this year, we went to Mornington Peninsula with a record breaking number of 19 of us! Phew. (For Easter last year, we went to Grampians and the previous year before that, to Adelaide - seems like the destination is getting nearer while the number of people is getting bigger).

Our first stop was at the Red Hill Community Market. The drive there from Clayton was smooth in the typical straight-can-see-till-the-end of the highway style. It took around an hour plus to reach Red Hill (where we previously came for cherry picking) but then the biggest surprise came- which made me miss home slightly.

A traffic jam about 500 m away from the market. As in a real traffic jam although not as high level as the grid lock kind back home.

The market was attracting so many people that there was actually a traffic jam leading to it. But being trained to excellence back home, we just parked at the roadside and walked to the market. Easy-peasy laaaa until we noticed some cars being fined for a whopping $117 for illegal parking and the army of drivers charged back to their cars to make sure it was alright. So we found out it is alright to park at the roadside and on the green slopes, as long as there is no parking permit needed sign. Money, precisely $117,to your pocket mou?

It was really nice weather on that day.

Complimentary picture with WenJi, long-time housemate and partner in crime. She is responsible for making me fat!! Really. I should have moved out ages ago, dang.

I couldn't resist taking snap shots of the quirky if not extremely colourful products on sale. That is the beauty of markets in Melbourne. You never know what to expect. Let their imaginations shock you as much as the price tag sometimes does!

Unlike pasar malams, which I equally love, there is something home-y about markets here. Highly recommended hidden gem to visitors.

1 Cupcakes shaped and scented soap (they looked so real from afar)

2 Selection of scented candles

3 Dollhouses(one of my childhood dreams)

4 Wall-E made from metal scrap (selling for $190 ah)

5 Loads and loads of pillows (the material used was epic)
6 Penguin band made from metal scrap

7 Little windchimes (very very pretty but not sure if they are really windchimes)

8 A performer tickling the nerves of the crowd
Being on a shopping ban and also a temporary sugar ban on that day, I just got some souvenirs for others and a pillow for Shiro. None for myself. *That was so hard to say*

After that we headed to a nearby cafe, the Blue Mini Cafe which we heard rave reviews about, in Rosebud for a light lunch. Nothing too heavy - we all agreed on for our next activity and also the highlight of the trip was going to be horseriding!

I somehow regret giving this pair of Marc Jacobs sunnies to Ray for Valentines Day. He seems a bit obsessed and...... it is getting on my nerves. If you don't think so, try looking at the picture below and tell me if you think so now.
On another note, glad that I got him something he likes and actually uses.

I was very conflicted inside at that point during the trip because as childish as it might sound, I was questioning the reason for buying an expensive and amazing camera if all that ever will happen will be me snapping pictures of others and none of myself. :( super :(

What caused this BIG realisation to come about?
1 90% of pictures in my laptop are of someone else (mostly Ray)
2 70% of my pictures are taken by myself (always shushed by someone else if doing that for too long)
3 20% of my pictures taken by others are blurry/dark/at a bad angle
4 10% of my pictures are group pictures where my face is the size of a bean suffering malnutrition
How is that fair :( :( :(
So I was unhappy inside and then:-

Not that this solved the problem.

But at least I get some camera action.

That was major branching off sorry. Anyway, the highlight of everyone's day - HORSERIDING!

Oh and as soon as this, he peed.

The quantity and scent was shocking.

We had this experience at Gunnamatta Horse Trail. They have services catered for totally inexperienced riders (everyone of us) and really amazing instructors. I must say that I was quite nervous at first. After all, I never realised that horses were that huge and sitting on one can feel that bouncy.

We opted for the $50 Truemans Bush Ride as it was a walking ride with only short distances of trotting - perfect introductory course to us. When we reached there, we were briefed about horseriding and given helmets to wear. We were then brought to our horses and taught individually about the sort of command we can give to the horses.

Believe me, horses are huge.

Me: I want a smaller horse.
LeeXin: Me too. Oh all these look so big let's wait for the smaller ones to come out.
Me: Ergh, they are bringing new horses for us (only two remaining people not on horse)
Me: . . . .they seem to be the biggest among all.
LeeXin: Oh no. . . . .

But it was fun! Scary at first when my horse, Bella, started walking away from the crowd, but once the horses started walking in a line, it was quoting Ray - "in an auto-pilot mode".

WenJi: Ahhhhhh!!! My horse is turning back!
LeeXin: Oh noooo my horse is eating grass!

Loadsa distractions. Then came the exciting part - trotting. Like jogging to humans. But never have I felt so much like I would be bounced right off the horse onto the ground. The guys loved it and I loved it to - if it did not come too much as a surprise.

Instructor: Ready for a trot, guys?
Everyone: Yeah!!!
Instructor: Here we go!
(all horses started trotting one after another in a line, WenJi and Ray were behind me)
WenJi: Oi Loretta! Your horse is still walking!
Ray: Make her trot, kick her in the belly!
Me: I am doing that already but Bella just doesn't feel the peer pressure!

And throughout the journey, Bella kept peeing and pooing to the delight of WenJi who was riding right behind me. And when she complained about it, Bella kicked her horse's face! How cute was that?
I am still waiting for pictures for horseriding.

I highly recommend this activity to everyone - if someone as faint-hearted as me can do it, you can do it!

As usual hair was flat for everyone after the helmet.

Our next plan was supposed to be a relaxing visit to Peninsula Hot Springs but due to the amount of people, we were asked to return in 2 hours. 2 daunting hours how to pass?

Luckily we are never out of beaches to visit around there, so we went to St Andrew's Beach for some pre-hot spring relaxation.

We have still a long way to walk.

See another picture taken by me of myself :(

I hope someone flying by will see this!

Then after around 20 minutes, Peninsula Hot Springs called and told us they had place for us already. What the hell happened to the 2-hour wait? So we jetted back to the hot springs.

Ever since going to Daylesford and then Japan, Ray and I have been really vocal about our love of hot springs and spas (okay, more like me). We have heard about Peninsula Hot Springs for quite some time, but never really had a chance to be there so this was like a really good chance to do so.

We chose the Public Baths as the Private packages were all sold out. It cost $30 per person but Ray and I had a buy one free one voucher so nehehe. Unlike onsen in Japan, people wear swimsuits and towels are allowed - or what did you expect?

Hence the last hour before the lift of my temporary sugar ban - all to look less bloated even if only by 0.57% in my bikini on that day. The very first time I wear just a bikini in a place where there were actually people around. Phew. But you know what, it wasn't that scary:

1 I had my girlfriends wearing bikini with me
2 Women of all shapes and sizes were there
3 I own no assets to be scrutinize-worthy by guys
So it was easy-peasy.

There were three main types of pools there - 37~40C pools, cold pools, 35-37C pools. Everything is open air and you get an average of 20 people in each pool dipping with you. Other than that you also get a sauna room - which I avoided, never liked sauna.

So the verdict: Is it relaxing?


While the warm water really does loosen your muscle and make you feel comfortable - there is just too much noise, children splashing around, adults trying to swim (wth) and generally, people - to make it relaxing. It is good as a reward after a hard day of work but don't expect to feel any more relaxed that being at home with your kids.

Ray: Rating my hot spring/spa experience: 1) Hakone onsen, 2) Daylesford Hepburn Spa and 3) Peninsula Hot Springs.
Me: You have really ONLY been to three.

I still prefer Daylesford. And even more Hakone muaha.

I hope everyone had an amazing Easter!

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