Canberra Through The Eyes Of The Rockstars – Roadtrip To Bondi Beach

Roadtrip!

Roadtrip!

It’s about a 5 hour drive non-stop from Castle to our 4th and final place of residence during our stay in Aussieland; given the kids (particularly She Who Hates Cars) however, it’s more like a full day on the road. We set out around 11am Aussie time after a short delay trying to fit everything into the car.

Yes, roadtrip!

Yes, road trip! (Discovered she sleeps better with shades on – that is of course if you can keep them on… Btw those shades are made of a soft plastic you can almost bend in two..)

All the while disposables are my friend – for when we don’t want to reach the place with lots and lots of washing to do, there’s recyclable baby food tupperware and paper bibs. Even then, my already thin, dry nails have to be kept extremely short and fuss-free, the skin around them perpetually dry despite my best efforts at the kids’ Mustella Cold Cream…

At one point we find ourselves at this quiet 150-year old hotel

At one point we find ourselves at this quiet 150-year old hotel

We considered having late lunch here, but it was really, really quiet…. Kings went in for a look and decided we should drive on… We did, after I finished a diaper change (getting pretty good at doing it in the car!)

Also, I haven't seen anything quite like this before, anyone else come across this?

Also, I haven’t seen anything quite like this before, anyone else come across this? It’s really quiet and you can make out faces in this structure… (haha we are such city folk, used to lots of ppl around)

And so instead we stop at the crowded place below where lotsa school kids pass by; in a corner what sounds like a discussion about farming expenses between 4 old-timers with very serious expressions on their faces…

At this crowded, cheery cafe where people smile indulgently when Rockstar brings back the electronic buzzer to claim our coffees

Here, people smile indulgently when Rockstar brings back the electronic buzzer to claim our coffees

Rockstar wanted seconds of their daily soup, which comes with what looks to me like an entire loaf of bread and which comes in super useful for a couple snacks – I bag it with some butter (up til this trip Rockstar will always eat bread and butter)

And of course, there was a giant sheep.

Baa.

Baa.

Rockstar thought this was hilarious.

Rockstar thought this was hilarious.

It was called the “merino souvenir center” or something, and I regret I didn’t buy our coffee mugs for the house here, we’ve used the same plain white Ikea mugs for more than 5 years and now I have a regular cup of morning coffee (no more nursing! No more pregnancy!) I would like a nice mug. Something other than either plain “disposable” white, or the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf tumblers I always used in various dealing rooms (no CB&TL in HK back then, maybe even now, and it became a little thing with me to always use one, because CB&TL are all over Malaysia and Singapore, as a nod to my “Southeast Asian-ness” – my parents like to have a big coffee there after walking their spoiled mutts at Gurney Drive because otherwise they consider non-kopitiam coffee an indulgence. This is like when my mum derives pleasure from umpteen cosmetic samples I save (or buy and pretend they’re free) because she thinks they are free. If not free, apparently not so much fun..)

But by then we were starting to run late, especially after Rockstar has insisted on climbing all the way up inside the sheep to peer out the eyes at the street below….

And so after "giving the guide dog a treat" just like I used to do with the SPCA ones back in Malaysia when I was a kid...

And so after “giving the guide dog a treat” just like I used to do with the SPCA ones back in Malaysia when I was a kid…

Roadtripsters

And our double date roadtripsters have been up and down the street quite a few times while Rockstar has his second soup…

We’re on the road again. By the time we arrive it’s about 6.30pm and totally dark.

Our final destination and my favorite stay of the whole trip

Our final destination and my favorite stay of the whole trip (took the pic next morning)

This final place, a little townhouse-looking thin made up of 4 units (we take one of the lower ones) has a family with a chocolate lab named Milo next door, and the most character of any of the places we’ve stayed in – not only do I recognize extremely contemporary furnishings we can find at Aluminium back home in HK, there are old pieces lovingly mixed in – oh, and the art. Take a look at the art they have on the walls:

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This snail one was right outside the room the baby and I were in. By the end of the stay I found it strangely comforting. No, I don’t know why. And I have not lived with that many women in various states of undress before either.

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This one is Anne Hathaway as Catwoman right? Anyway it’s saying something that I liked this place the most – there are places that are just beautiful, perfect - and somehow you don’t sleep well in them. I’m not sure about actual “ghost” ghosts, but I remember someone remarking to me that that “feeling” you get in a place has to do with the “psychic energy” of powerful emotions that the walls can absorb, if the emotions are strong enough. It’s why particularly when someone dies a horrible death in a place, people might say the place is “eerie,” or they can “feel” something. I assume the flip side is true for places with a “nice feeling”…

And here the rest of the place:

The Rockstars exploring on our first night (we often put sheets/ towels on fabric furniture if they supply enough)

The Rockstars exploring on our first night (we often put sheets/ towels on fabric furniture if they supply enough)

There were a lot of old books/ games in the place...

There were a lot of old books/ games in the place… (I also slip a onesie over Little Miss’ clothes when she potters about – this place was rented out back to back to back; the day we left there was also someone checking in in another few hours)

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Well of the 4 places we lived in, this one “felt” the nicest (would’ve been even better if they had two bathrooms though). We found it randomly on stayz.com. I don’t often sleep well when we travel and I don’t like a lot of images of people in the place. This place is also old and relatively “noisy” – you can hear occasional footsteps upstairs, the floorboards creak, and yet strangely I find it comforting. (As opposed to one place not in Australia where the kids were running up and down slamming hotel doors. I do not like brats or rude people talking at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night).

Then again there have been places even on previous trips where I find the silence deafening – as a result, both Kings’ and my laptops have a white noise file on them which I play to get to sleep. At home we sleep to the whoosh of air cleaners anyways.

The day we leave the front door open – and come home in the night to find my laptop (and everything else) is still there – cements the “good” feeling. I make a point to talk to the owner, when she comes to check on the place. Though Kings says she answered his email really fast and is very efficient (being “spoiled” by HK life which is speedy, we really appreciate the difference), she’s almost shy when I try to talk more to her. Her place is often rented out fast, and returns over 10% for vacation rentals, as opposed to say, the 1 or 2 year-type leases (which she says would return maybe 3+%).

“We live in a smaller place in (what she explains is known as a “party” district here)… At one point my husband had cancer…… He’s better now…. He’s an artist, our friends are artists or photographers… Some of the art is his, or gifts from our (artist) friends…. We’ve had this place 14 years…… ”

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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  • mun
    • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

      Thank you so much for finding this!! Kinda glad to read it’s an unfinished work of art that is fairly recent (i.e. not nearly as old as the hotel or maybe even older)… Because when we drove up to it in the quiet, we found it quite eerie in person, even with the car parked nearby. I would say therefore that Mr Phantastes did a fine job with “Dreamer’s Gate” because it really is very surreal and can be quite disturbing

  • mun

    I googled for the name of the structure and found that it is an unfinished work of art named “The Dreamer’s Gate” built by Tony Phantastes.

  • mun

    What a huge sheep! Sounds like a very cosy and arty place to live in. The Bushranger hotel looks really ancient.
    Both Rockstars look to be enjoying themselves a lot. The Miss seems to like exploring new places and does not miss her HK room that much. Very good! A born explorer.

    • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

      She’s now very happy to explore new places yes. She remains however a very light sleeper and there are certain schedules we must follow (for e.g. she sleeps easier if the she takes breast milk instead of cow’s milk before bed – still hoping to make the shift because obviously we will eventually run out), bath before bed… Also, we end up playing white noise through the night because otherwise she wakes up very easily…