Saturday, July 30, 2011

Highlights from the land down under Part 2 : Urban landscapes

So, back to Sydney (I know I have been pretty inconsistent with blogging but hey, with accumulated sleep of 30hours over the past 1 week, I have been really busy).

Walking around in Sydney was very effortless and enjoyable. There are interesting sights and good food everywhere.

The sun was out in full force despite being the height of winter. Just a simple cardigan sufficed. There are lots of sporty Australians running around in shorts and light tops.

And of course I took plenty of pictures around the Sydney Opera House area. Pretty ain't it? There is a cool cafe/bistro within the compound while shows/musicals/performances are held weekly.

Time for some cardio sessions in Sydney? It took me a few tries to perfect this star-jump!

The Opera House from across the bay. This is from the bridge side. This is NOT taken with the proper lens (as I only travelled with one all-purpose lens).

This is the Rocks area - the most historical area in Sydney whereby the first few hardy English people first landed and established a 'convict' colony. Plenty of shops, cafes, museums and visitor centres to keep you occupied while the weekend markets are well-known for offering extremely good bargains.

Dusk at observatory hill. Notice the sunlight piercing through the clouds. Perfect 'romantic' moment for the couple there? However, on closer was actually 2 guys/buddies having a chat about life!

Another view of the Harbour Bridge from Observatory Hill. Nightfall arrived around 430-5pm during winter, thus limiting the hours that we could walk about. Anyway, time for dinner!

to be continued....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Highlights from the land down under Part 1


Despite my delusion that I'm actually a celebrated travel-photojournalist, I've only been to 2 continents my entire life. Asia and Europe. When the opportunity to hop down under for a meeting in Australia, I was ecstatic excited lost for word. I've long wondered about life in the Southern Hemisphere - winter in July, gazing at the Southern cross, seeing a kangaroo/koala/platypus/Australian in their natural habitat and catching a glimpse of the famous Outback. The list goes on.

So, the moment I stepped onto the Qantas flight, I was very happy just because there is a skycam. It's so interesting seeing the plane I'm on departing and landing. It helps having a running commentary about 'flying' from the person next to you. Cool...

Winter is surprisingly mild in Sydney...according to my irritatingly-immune-to-cold-weather friend R, who walked around wearing a T-shirt while I was shivering my light jacket. I think it was the cold, biting wind which I couldn't adjust in the eternal sauna-like Malaysia/Singapore almost my entire life. However, I began to love the cold after a while, especially after a warm meal.

Talking about meals - food in Sydney is superb. Aside from the fast food @ Oporto on the first night (yeah, we were THAT tired to notice), each meal in this exciting city seem to be really good. Dinner @ Mazzaro, courtesy of our sponsors gave us an early inkling of what to expect in the following few days. It was yummy!

My main course was this pan-fried salmon with crackling skin ( I don't know how they made this impossibly-crunchy dish) that reminded me of the best roast suckling pig back home. Dessert was a trio of ice-cream and I poached some of poached pear from my neighbour. Finally, I'm living my Masterchef Australia dream. Hooray!

What best to accompany such gluttonous dinner/wine session but a quintessential jaunt down Elizabeth Street to the nearby Sydney Harbour area. Weather was superb as we gape at the pretty bridge and the Opera House. Nice...

to be continued