spent the weekend out of town with some the clay folks on our first ever getaway. destination: noosa avalon cottages. princejay and i navigated our way there with the help of his GPS receiver and PDA, which i had a bit of fun playing with... it was my first real experience with GPS ware so i took a video clip from our journey just for the heck of it. we ended up off the map.
yup, it was farm land country. complete with the dark darkness of night you never get with the ambient suburban lighting of urban landscapes, cow patties dotting the fields like a heavily mined warzone, the crisp smell of cool rural air and some of the accompanying fauna. a bit out of the comfort zone for some, but we all survived with liberal doses of bottled juices (not everyone was keen to drink the tap water), catered food (thanks to our volunteer cooks), music and song (some pre-recorded, some from our own voiceboxes), bible study, review/discussion on the immediate future of the group, games of chess, cards and cranium, and general bonding/hanging out time. [photo album | slideshow]
(been mucking around with multiply.com, where above album is hosted... might start using it more now that there are no more limits :) site seems to be a bit on the slow side at times though... )
anyways we capped off the weekend with a visit to the sunshine coast chinese christian church, where we sang a song, prayed for them, and shared in a late lunch of curry and rice which chatting to some of the local folk. then it was off to the beach - i don't know whose idea it was to go in the first place but when we got there we just ended up sitting around a table huddling in the cold breeze, with not one person setting foot on the beach itself... (sand on the footpath doesn't count!) so after a while of getting cold we turned to head back home.
most of us met for dinner again, deciding on "shanghai cuisine" when the original choice (a nearby taiwanese joint called "7-8" which i've not yet tried) was full. it's been years since i last ate at shanghai cuisine, and i was glad for the reacquaintance. we ordered the 8-person set meal consisting mostly of a selection of dumpling type foods cooked in various way, plus a dish of veges which some of the girls had been craving (our weekend diet was not high in greens content :p) all for a rather satisfying $9 per head.
much better than the $10+ i paid for lunch the sunday prior when i waited over half an hour for my "com xa xiu" (simple dish of steam rice, char siew pork and some cabbage which would only take 2 minutes to cook/put together on a plate) at the viet hoa chinese and vietnamese joint in west end. verdict = two thumbs down - one for the wait/poor service (most of our table had to wait quite some time for their food too), and two for the lack of value/stinginess -- the dish tasted quite bland, as there was hardly anything with which to flavour the rice. so i had to steal some of the fish sauce from people who had ordered a broken rice dish (a vietnamese staple of mine which i should probably learn to stick to), but even then they were only given a measly looking bowl full (don't even want to call it a bowl cos it's that small) to share between them. same deal (about sharing a smaller portion than what you'd get individually at most other places) with the bean sprouts and veg for those who ordered the noodle soups.
i know which place i'll be going back to in future!