Saturday, September 30, 2006

Kuching on my mind

I didn't realize how beautiful Kuching looks from above:

And the spot on the map I belong to:

But this is how far away from home I am:

Which according to calculations by, is approx. 5,635.20 km apart!

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The best of shows

While Melbourne's September is hailing the late arrival of increased temperature, a heat wave is served up on Epsom Road, Ascot Vale (Melway 28 F11)—the venue of the 2006 Royal Melbourne Show, also dubbed "the best of shows".

Which indeed it was. Well at least it lived up to the hype. Running from September 21st to October 1st, the gigantic show is theme-specific for all eleven days so you get to choose the kind of experience you want to get out of this feisty extravaganza—from frontier adventures of the outback to the glimmers of showbiz to the much hallowed Australian sports.

And what's a better day for food enthusiasts like Amazing Grace, Aaronwe, and myself to crash than Tasting, Sipping, Dancing Day. While most of the tasting and sipping won't happen until you hit the Grand Pavilion in the middle of Melbourne Showgrounds, you won't see a square foot of boredom whichever way you turn. One of the first stops we made was at the Livestock Pavilion near the Epsom Road entrance, where cattle of all breeds and sizes are featured. And when I say all sizes, I do mean ALL sizes.

The Livestock Pavilion has actually something to offer urban dwellers if you're not someone who's too stuck up about your designer shoes to tread the feces-stained floors in order to catch a glimpse of the bovines. Although you could easily mistake most of them for giant hogs simply by the amount of fat they carry. With nose rings leashed to the back of the pen so they have no choice but to keep their backsides to passers-by, the cattle were either quietly feeding on hay tended to by Aussie Jackaroos and Jillaroos or obliviously urinating on their pen-mates. And prior to the show, it's easy for a city bloke to believe that he's seen from TV all the cattle there is.

Getting out of the stenchy confines, we proceeded to the Grand Pavilion hoping to get our tastebuds spoiled after ruining our sense of smell. Our first station inside the food expo was the Safeway cooking show, where the only aim of attendance is the food samples.

The expo was filled up with stalls promoting products ranging from gourmet cheese to Brazilian chilli sauce. While Aaronwe and I were being our normal selves shying away from food trays offering delectable bites, Amazing Grace skilfully worked her way through the throng of humanity plunging her fingers into every plate in sight. But it wasn't long before we warmed up to the endless sight of mouthwatering food items and joined Amazing Grace in her adventure. My favourite taste of all: Sanitarium's So Good Passionfruit soy-based ice cream.

The highlight of the whole show was unanimously for all three of us the Woodchop Competition at the Woodchop Pavilion. With this year’s total prize money pool in excess of $70,000, the Aussies are up against the Kiwis in this axe-wielding event. Probably the environmentalist's worst nightmare come true, it was admittedly exciting to watch the competitors axing away at the shaved logs with admirable strength and speed. And even though the team we rooted for did not win, they earned a feverish ovation from the audience the moment they first overtook the other teams with better headstart.

The sun was setting as we left the Woodchop Pavilion and the true beauty of the showgrounds began to slowly unveil under the twilight. Aaronwe took advantage of the neon backdrop and experimented with several shots of the carnival ground. More Royal Melbourne Show shots below courtesy of Aaronwe. For more information of the show visit the official website.