2 May 2004

Sydney, Australia

In Sydney for a short course on Standardised Testing. Was there with Hamidah and Shikin and while we were there met up with Pam and Aziz from Petronas days. It was lovely meeting Pam again. She's still as pretty as ever and her children are gorgeous. They invited us for dinner twice and Pam also took all of us for a shopping spree at the nearest mall. Enjoyed shopping here because they have lots of nice things. Pam also took us souvenir hunting at some place called Market street. Then during the weekend when we didnt have any class Midah, Shikin and I took a day tour of the Blue Mountains. That was a great time though slightly scary because the vehicle was an off road vehicle and we even forded a creek. The driver took us right to the edge of the escarpment where we could see the city of Sydney far away in the horizon. At one point of the trail we even had to walk along the path because it was too steep for the off roader to climb. It waited for us somewhere further down and we had to climb up and then down towards the path where it was waiting for us. On the walk down we saw the tea tree plant which is used to manufacture the tea tree oil. The plant grows wild in these parts and when I plucked a leaf and smelled it, it did smell of the tea tree oil, sweet and pungent at the same time.
We also went to a kangaroo sanctuary where the kangaroos roamed freely. In fact it was mating season and the guide told us not to wander off the path or stand too near the kangaroos for they can get nasty. They were hopping all over the place - very fast too and we had to quickly avoid them if we see a group jumping towards us. I saw a little joey , hardly more than a foot high, and it was so cute. But our guide told us not to touch it - the mother might not like it at all she said.
On the whole I feel it was well worth the money we paid for it - lunch and tea was provided and we saw a lot of rural Sydney which we otherwise wouldn't have seen. I hope one day I can take my children here for this trip. I'm sure they would love it.

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