Australia Travel Blog: Melbourne Highlights & Impressions

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

At the MEL Airport

I expected to meet live immigration officers at the Melbourne Airport Tullamarine Airport (MEL). But all the necessary immigration formalities were done by a SmartGates automated machine. I obtained my Australian Electronic Travel Authority or ETA online months before my trip, which is just an electronic visa for Canadians.

At one point when I was walking, a police dog came to my luggage and started sniffing. I stopped and let him sniff, but he lost interest right away and moved onto sniffing someone else.

The whole airport process went so fast and smooth that I thought I missed something. So I asked the standing immigration officer near the exit gate if there was something else. He pointed me to the exit gate and I was relieved.

First Hour in Melbourne

Once I found my relatives at the airport, we headed for the parking lot. The first thing I noticed was that it was not as warm as I was expecting. I was coming from Singapore, so expected hot and humid weather. But it was rather cool and even a light jacket would be appropriate.

If you are a world traveler, you know the feeling the first few hours in a new country. I was trying to notice everything surrounding me to my heart’s content.

Vehicles operate on the left side of the road and drivers sit on the right side, which is opposite than North America. Road and highway signs and markings look noticeably different than Canada as well.

Destination Wyndham Vale

We were heading towards Wyndham Vale, which is a suburb of Melbourne with 25,000 population. It took about 35 to 40 minutes to reach. Wyndham Vale reminded me of suburbs of Toronto like Ajax or Markham.

The first thing I noticed was that average houses are smaller than Canada and tress or plants are different too due to the hot weather. I noticed lots of birds and crows and their chirping was loud.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Scoot Airlines Review: Instead of Buying Business Class, Do This.

Scoot Flight: Singapore to Melbourne Boeing 787-800

This leg of my four-country trip from Singapore to Melbourne, Australia, I decided to fly a low-cost flight instead of business class. Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary Scoot seemed to be a good option.

I was contemplating Scoot’s business class called Scoot Biz, but decided to go for Scoot in Silence. And I was glad I did.

My flight was 3 hours late. But the delay appeared on the screen at the last moment when people were already at the counter. There was no one from Scoot to be found anywhere to confirm the delay. I saw that some people started sleeping on floor at the waiting area near the gate counter because it was already midnight.

After a long wait, I boarded the plane and was happy that I chose Scoot in Silence. It costed me around $80 for the seat selection in the Scoot in Silence quiet zone. I had my seat right behind the business class section after the divider. There was no one in front of me and even the seats next to me were empty.

Scoot in Silence does not allow kids under 12 and the seats are better than economy with 34-inch peach rather than 31-inch regular economy. And being in the 1st front row bulkhead seat in Scoot in Silence, I had no one sitting in front of me and I literally had infinite leg stretch space.

The Scoot Biz cabin was right in front of me and I noticed the seats are not lie-flat business class; it’s more like premium economy. They just have a little more space in between and in front compared to my seat. Definitely it’s not worth paying extra for business class. You will get the best value for your money if you spend around $80 (Canadian) and pick a seat in the Scoot in Silence zone, especially where there are no seats are in front of you.

I ordered food online months ahead and its quality was not bad. The overall cleanliness of the aircraft exceeded my expectations, including the bathrooms, and I did not find anything to complain about.

 Except for the delay and the absence of anyone from Scoot to properly communicate with the customers, everything else was a pleasant experience, and I won’t mind flying again with Scoot.

High Credit Score: Above 800+

My Credit Score Update: Above 800+

From time to time, on or on, I make my credit score public. The reason for this is that I talk about traveling by utilizing credit cards and rewards points and miles, and it only makes sense to publish my score to emphasize that I know what I am talking about.

You will find so many websites and YouTube channels online about credit cards and travel, but 99% of them are affiliated sites that make money by providing affiliated links. So that means these sites are working for the credit card companies and making money off you by providing best credit card lists or top credit cards lists and reviews which are affiliated, biased, and dishonest.

This is where or on come in. All my posts are non-affiliated, unbiased, and honest. To maintain my integrity and truthfulness, I have those credit cards I am unboxing and reviewing, I am documenting and sharing my travel experiences utilizing these credit card rewards and miles, and I am publishing my high credit score.

You will not find what I am offering from any other so-called Credit Card Gurus. They probably have never used the credit cards on their best top credit card lists and are hiding various important facts from you to make you sign up for those cards.

For example, if you look at any best travel or top travel credit card lists provided by many Canadian sites like MoneySense, Rewards Canada, and Greedy Rates, they will not tell you that many of their best top credit cards do not provide trip cancellation insurance and also will not tell you how poor or good these insurance providers are.

So before trusting anyone, always do your research from an unbiased, non-affiliated source to come up with your own best credit cards.

To view my actual credit score, which just got updated recently, watch this video:

Credit Score Update | Staying Above 800

Media Interview and Canadian Thanksgiving

Canadian Business Magazine Interviews Ahmed Dawn

First Published: October 13, 2008

Canada is celebrating Thanksgiving today. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving to give thanks for a successful harvest. Canada is located in the North and the harvest season comes earlier in Canada compared to the U.S.

In the U.S. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In America Thanksgiving is a tradition of settling in the New World and remembering Pilgrims. Also, it’s a way to express thanks and gratitude for all the things harvest has brought at the end of the harvest season.

I wish everyone a happy and pleasant Thanksgiving.

Media Interview

I am glad to let you know that I just had my first media interview. The interview lasted slightly more than half an hour. Before this interview, I had always thought that they gave you the questions beforehand. But that’s not the case. They give only a "Topic" and within that topic they can ask questions from a variety of angles. My topic was "personal finance for young professionals". I will be featured in a Canadian business magazine in the January 2009 issue.

Meet Your Canadian Financial Author Ahmed Dawn At The Toronto Small Press Book Fair

Financial Author Ahmed Dawn

First Published Date : October 28, 2008

The Fall 2008 Toronto Small Press Mini Fair will take place at the Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick (south of Bloor), Toronto from 6pm-11pm on Sat, November 1st, 2008. I will be participating in this event. This is a great opportunity to meet Canadian authors under one roof. Just stop by to say Hi. Hope to see you there.

The Toronto Small Press Group meets twice a year. I also attended The Toronto Small Press June 2008 Book Fair. I will be posting video clips and pictures of The Fall 2008 Mini Fair on Sunday. To view all June 2008 Fair related posts, visit The Toronto Small Press June 2008 Book Fair. Also check out The Toronto Small Press Group website.