Tag Archives: experience

Scenic World

Thanks to some friends who got me a voucher before I left, I was able to experience the Blue Mountains in a unique way (which the next few posts will be dedicated to).
In case you can’t tell from the pictures, I was quite excited to be given the chance to be a true blue tourist for those few days. 

First stop – Scenic World.

VERY STEEP train ride down into the valley, Cable Car up, and forest walk (which I avoided because of the creatures buzzing around my ears, triggering my fight or flight instincts which was no fun at all).   

Within the area of mountain in Scenic World, there were also monuments to remember the area’s history in the mining industry. Some of them were pretty creepy and depressing. 

I wonder if more effort could have been made to remember the aboriginal tribes who lived here way before the miners came. The only time they were mentioned was when the cable car operator gave us a brief historical background, and they were only mentioned in a sentence. 


It was an exceptionally hot day, so hot that bush fires started in the lower Blue Mountains. The trains had to be stopped, and we had to take a bus the rest of the way down. It was a chaotic, harrowing experience, but I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the people whose house and lives were threatened, and the firemen who fought the fires with their lives on the line. 

The Girl at McCafe

This cafe experience was memorable because I was served with someone with a physical disability.

Despite having one arm shorter than the other, and almost non-existent fingers on that arm, she executed her movements with such grace and precision that everyone around couldn’t help but be captivated. While waiting for my order, I could see other customers taking glances at her as well. We were simply drawn to the way she overcame her physical limitations. Pouring milk, working the coffee machine, cutting bread, packing sandwiches, slicing cakes, serving customers with the brightest smile. She seemed so present in her body, not at all awkward and restrained. I’m sure this similar thought must have crossed our minds: What would I be like in her position?

We usually think that it is beauty which captivates, but this observation and experience has taught me that the quality of resilience in the face of adversity is a true winner.

The Day I Braved The Storm

This happened a few days ago, but I’ve waited till now to write about it because I felt the need to reflect on the experience (and get over the trauma, the horrible trauma…)

It was the day after Mum went back. Feeling a little lonely and not wanting to stay in my room for the rest of the day, I decided to go to the nearby mall and read at a cafe. To be alone with my thoughts, yet surrounded by the warmth of strangers I have no obligation to talk to. You know, the usual comforting activity.

The weather was fine. The sky blue. The clouds, white and fluffy. Without checking the weather forecast, I went out.

What a mistake that was going to be.


The sky started darkening when I stepped out of the mall, 2 hours later.
“Better get home quick,” I thought.
To my dismay, the next bus was scheduled to come in 20 minutes.
Still, I held on to the hope that I would be able to get back before the storm broke.
I was on the bus when the winds became really strong and the rain started pelting down. Through the glass panels, I saw trees bending at angles I did not think possible. My heart gave a little shiver. I saw passengers who alighted at stops before me, have their hair whipped into a tangled mess. I gulped as my stop neared.

Gripping my umbrella tightly, trying to ignore the little voice inside me telling me that it’s going to be useless – I stepped out of the bus and into the rain.

And immediately, I felt as small and helpless as a butterfly in a tsunami.

The wind not only drenched, but chilled me to the bones. Each step seemed to stretch into forever. In those few seconds, I literally thought I might die, either from the fierce winds, or from being blown away!

I took gasping breaths as I ran, as quickly as possible, to the nearest shelter – the library building. There, still 15 minutes away from home – I waited for my breath to catch up with me. And hoped that the winds would die down.

Thankfully, it did slow, though the rain did not abate. The last stretch home was less treacherous, but included navigating through numerous puddles of rainwater (poor shoes took an entire day and night afterwards to dry out).

The best part?

When I finally reached my house, panting, drenched and exhausted from the war – I lifted my room’s blinds and saw – BLUE SKIES. WHITE CLOUDS.

It was a passing storm, and I just HAD to pass by with it.



I suppose this is a testimony to the saying that whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

And, no storm lasts forever.

Also, as I look back on those few moments when I seriously thought I wasn’t going to make it, when my heart was gripped with paralyzing fear – I realize it was also at those moments when I was praying most fervently. And prayer did give me strength to brave through the cruel winds and take every step I did, despite my fear.

For about 2 days after that experience, I was actually paranoid about the weather and did not want to go out for fear of meeting another freak storm again! But when I think about the experience from such a perspective, I can fall back on knowing that everything happens for a reason, and we can still try to find meaning in our seemingly negative experiences. In this case, even though the storm was a negative experience, it gave me a chance to find strength through prayer, which I might not do under normal circumstances. I think that’s one way of looking at the experience under more positive lens. And with that, I hope to dispel my paranoia and move on.


And oh yes, the most important lesson of all: Check the weather forecast.

The Day I Chickened Out (Around Springwood)

After my relatively successful (not to mention easy) bushwalk around the Three Sisters, I got slightly ambitious and decided to try a slightly more difficult walk near Springwood.

But when I found the start of the walk, I got a little shock. Compared to the well-marked trails in Katoomba, with more than just a trickle of people walking through, this looked a little… Abandoned… And… Ominous.

The path actually got dimmer and more secluded, and my heart started to beat faster. Wasn’t this supposed to be a popular walk for people? Why is there NO ONE?

The last straw came when I reached a suspicious flight of steps going deeper into the undergrowth. I freaked out and turned back, not even staying long enough to take another picture. Yes, it was THAT CREEPY! As much as I was trying to tell myself to just follow the trail and go on, I simply chickened out.

And it was a good thing I did. Later on, when I told a friend who had lived here for awhile about my discoveries today, she reacted quite a bit and told me never to go to such secluded places on my own again. It really drove home the message of personal safety and the unnecessary danger I need not put myself in!

So, back to Springwood.

Once I had retreated from the ominous world, and was back in the world of sun and sky, I walked around for awhile more, soaking in the village vibes, before heading back.

On hindsight, I wouldn’t say the day was wasted. I got to walk around Springwood and enjoy the cool and quiet mountain village air. I’m just glad I had the sense (and lack of guts) to turn back when I did!