I had to wait a few hours at Singapore airport, and I couldn’t believe it was so big and modern. I reckon this is one of the best airports in the world and no wonder about how expensive things are. I had a few beers and bought some silly stuff at the airport and did a bit of window shopping. I also tried some food there. The food wasn’t bad and reasonably priced but beers were expensive.
Finally, arrived in Melbourne at 6.00 Am local time, about 3 am my Vietnam time. A warm welcome from Chris, a funny Aussie guy who is my friend’s brother in law, was waiting for me. I spent another 30 minutes in Chris’ car to my friend’s family house. Everybody was there waiting for me, to give me big kisses to welcome me to their house which is so sweet. Liz is my friend’s mother, she is great. She’s so humorous and easy going. Sarah is Chris’ wife; she’s just a lovely lady. She has two kids and they are both gorgeous. I am going to meet Anne in the 2nd week when she comes back to Melbourne from New Zealand for a long weekend. I’d met her before during her first visit to Viet Nam with her mother and she is a nice easy going girl who is an adventurous person. Megan is another of my friends’ sisters who I am going to meet next week. She works as a hairdresser in Anglesea and she’s going to dye my hair.
My idea about houses here was different, I thought that they would be few stories high but they are not at all. I only see these kinds of houses in western film; they are so nice, flat and huge with front yards and back gardens which are lovely and beautiful. Streets are clean with all amazingly coloured leaves that I never ever seen in my life. My friends were laughing at me when I took a picture of the rubbish truck which is new for a Vietnamese guy like me and I think it will on the streets in Vietnam very soon.
Aussies are so friendly, where ever I go and whoever I met that they are nice to me. Am I a nice guy or maybe I am in my best behaviour? We went to the city to have dinner. There are heaps of restaurants but we made a bad choice, the worst Chinese restaurant ever. Food was bad and Chinese staff wasn’t friendly at all, what a shame! Then we went to a really nice luxury, beautiful and huge bar, called the Long Bar in Collins St, with all of the dressed up and character people. We drank beers and chose some finger food – tapas they called it, which was delicious and unbelievably reasonable price. Finally we had a good time at that bar and took some photos there as well - thank god!
I went to my friend’s grandmother’s who is 87 yrs old, really friendly and healthy. She’s still uses a mobile phone to send text messages to her relatives which are sometimes to the wrong person and she has been travelling a lot lately too. I love this old lady. She has been in Viet Nam in 2001 for a short holiday and of course she’d remembered everything where she’s been thru and she talk about that with an excited emotion. She has a boyfriend who is a few years older than her and he seems the world to her. What a classic!
I cooked Vietnamese food at my friend’s house for everyone: spring rolls, tofu and noodles for lunch and then cooked eggplant, beef and rice for dinner. Luckily that everybody was pleased with their meal and it made me so happy.
We went to Milawa the next day to see my friend’s Aunty and his other grandmother who is 96 yrs old. This is the place where they make wine and olive oil, just a lovely place to live for the rest of your life. During our stay, we went to the famous Brown Brothers winery for some tasting and buying, and the amazing Milawa Cheese Factory, which my friend loved but, being Vietnamese, the cheese was too smelly for me! I stayed at a beautiful house, which belongs to my friend’s Aunty - Lois Lowerson and her husband Barrie Fitzpatrick. She uses it as a B&B too and it’s named Balofi and has a swimming pool, 2 double and 1 twin room. She’s just lovely and friendly person, she cooked Indian food for our dinner which was just delicious. I met her husband and her children, they are also really lovely.
We went to Myrtleford and Bright the next morning to visit Nana. The 96 yrs old lady was great. She was talking about everything, and of course remembered what’s happened and who are who and she’s hilarious. We talked for about an hour then I went to the town centre for shopping and sight seeing. Bright is such a beautiful place with beautiful trees, houses and mountains…..
I tried MacDonalds on the way and it wasn’t good at all.
Back in Melbourne, I went to the Wheelers Hill hotel to have a bet on the horse racing, it was great and fun, I went with Mark, his mother Liz and Megan his sister who I met yesterday. She was great and full of humour. She’s an active woman I think and of course she is very friendly with two lovely kids - a boy named Angus and his sister called Myee. They are just nice pleasant people. I won 30 Aussie dollars for the last bet but I also lost a bit before. It was fun and I have tried a new thing and I am so excited about that, not about the money I won, it is the feeling of winning. I am such a gambling guy.
I cooked my Vietnamese food for dinner; sweet and sour ribs and chicken with chilli and lemon grass. I think everybody enjoyed the meal and I am happy for that.
We went to the AFL footy at noon the next day to watch Collingwood, which is my friend’s favourite team, against Richmond at the MCG, which is a really huge and famous stadium in Australia. I got pissed during the match. I actually think that Aussie footy isn’t very exciting for me because I don’t understand the rules but I enjoyed my time there anyway, especially singing the Richmond song when they won the game. YELLOW and BLACK!!!!
We went to Anglesea for a few days, which reminds me of my city Nha Trang in Viet Nam which has white, sandy beaches. We went for a short walk along the beach at Point Addis when we just arrived for half an hour. Then we drove to Lorne along the Great Ocean Road, stopping at the Aireys Inlet Light house on the way. We had breakfast at a café on the street of bacon and eggs. We walked along the beach to the pier to watch the locals fishing, and then we had a quick beer at the pub before going to Erskine Falls. Then we went back to Anglesea to meet Megan, who cut and dyed my hair. After that we went to the supermarket to buy some food before going to Megan’s house. She’s a really good chef. The next day we went to Bells beach which is the most famous surfing beach in the word but unfortunately that was not the right time to see people surfing out there. We went for a walk with Megan’s two dogs down to Point Road Knight for a few hours. We had very good fish and chips, something everybody said I should try. We saw some Kangaroos lying around on the Anglesea golf course. I had such a lovely time with Megan’s children and John. Anglesea would be a beautiful place to live.
We went to the Sunday market and bought some black and white photographs of Melbourne and surprise that I got a beautiful photo from Liz and a Kangaroo from Megan as gifts, I couldn’t believe about that and I love them a lot. We went to the Casino in the evening to have some fun and lose some money. We played Roulette and Poker machines, I was so surprised to see so many Asians and lots of Greek people crazy in betting there and of course not many of them was winning, including me.
I realized that I am so lucky to have made this trip. I met lots of nice people and visit lots of nice places which don’t happen a lot in Viet Nam where I come from.
Do you think I need more than that in a holiday? To have the chance to see all of those great new things is not one that many Vietnamese get.