Tuesday, September 30, 2008

14 Sep 2008: Nearby Darling Harbour

There's quite a lot to see at Darling Harbour. After my adventure exploring near Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay and the Pyrmont Bridge, I found myself at the Chinese Garden. This garden is known affectionately as the Chinese Garden of Friendship. The garden was "initiated by the local Chinese community to celebrate Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary" and "the Chinese Garden is the result of a close bond of friendship and co-operation between the sister cities of Sydney in NSW, Australia, and Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, China." (see source). I read that New South Wales and the Guangdong province in China share similar climate.

I did not visit the Chinese garden, but I took a couple of photos near its entrance. A kind elderly Chinese gentleman noticed that I was trying to take photos of myself single-handedly, and he came up to me to offer to help me to take a photo. Maybe in an unhurried pace of life, people get more chance to show the best side of themselves?

Chinese garden. Sydney.

Outside the Chinese Garden.

After some photo-taking near the Chinese Garden, I headed back to the hotel. Some simple structures caught my eyes along my way back to the hotel.

A sculpture that caught my eye.

The ad at this Sydney Explorer's bus-stop caught my eye.

Walking past Paddy's market.

When I reached the hotel, I could not help but take a photo of the glass ceiling near the lobby. This glass ceiling gave one an interesting view of the air-well. Yes folks, by now you may have noticed that I have a liking for air-wells. Somehow the glass ceiling reminded me of the glass passage of the National Museum of Singapore. I enjoyed the view.

Such relaxing strolls had done me good. I am feeling more light-hearted after returning to Singapore from Sydney. May you find moments that lighten your mood too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

14 Sep 2008: Darling Harbour and nearby

After a short stop at Paddy's Market (Haymarket), armed with an umbrella in my hands, I headed towards Darling Harbour. The morning skies looked pretty peaceful. There was slight drizzle by that time of the day, yet there was a sense of adventure being able to walk in the rain, with an umbrella to shelter myself of course. The city of Sydney somehow looked so peaceful when I stepped away from the heart of its busy activities.

Cockle Bay. The bridge in the background is Pyrmont Bridge.

I was travelling on my own, and enjoying the experience of travelling solo. Finally, I reached Cockle Bay which would eventually lead one to Darling Harbour. Pyrmont Bridge that was nearby provides access for the pedestrians from the city to Darling Harbour. Only after my return from Sydney did I realise that Pyrmont Bridge is a swing bridge. There is a control box in the middle of this bridge that controls the mechanism to let this bridge pivot horizontally to let large vessles enter the inner harbour. How interesting!

There was still a slight drizzle when I reached Cockle Bay, so I ended up in a shopping mall called Harbourside. There was high-speed internet access at $2 per 21 minutes and I used it to access the internet. That was probably my one and only time while I was Australia when I accessed the internet. After realising that I would end up spending time to clear junk mails from my work-related email account, I decided that I would refrain from using the internet. Afterall, I was on holiday.

By 11.40 a.m., the rain had stopped, and it was perfect time to explore Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay and the Pyrmont Bridge. The sights there were simply delightful so I shall simply allow the photos to do the talking here.

The elevated monorail that travels between Darling Harbour
and the Sydney central business district

The subject matter here was the soaring seagull.

Darling Harbour at the distance.

The National Maritime Museum.
My main subject matter here was the light-house.

A tram to ride on.

A resting bird?

My lunch that day. The lettuce definitely could taste better.

With such lovely sights to delight the senses, my mood was light-hearted. Whatever the weather could be, my moods were independent of it. Enjoying the carefree moments.

14 Sep 2008: The rainy morning

I woke up on 14 Sep 2008 morning to realise that it was raining. It was quite a heavy rain. I asked for good weather later the day. On my way to the hotel's cafe for breakfast, the view from the glass ceiling of the hotel's lobby intrigued me such that I took the photo found above. Admittedly, I have a liking for air-wells as mentioned in one of my earlier posts.

During breakfast, I spent some time looking through the photos I had taken in Sydney, including those taken during the lovely Korean dinner the evening before. In comparison, the Aussie-style breakfast that I had at the hotel was simply too plain. Anyway, I was thankful that I had food to eat for breakfast. Afterall, I'm probably one of the lucky folks who could have privilege to have three meals a day.

The adventurous streak in me decided to set off from the hotel to explore Sydney's Chinatown and Darling Harbour. I made sure that I carried an umbrella with me, and armed with a wind-breaker, I was ready to set off.

It was quite early in the morning, barely just around 9 a.m. When I was somewhere near Goulburn Street, I could hear from a distance, someone playing an erhu. I was basically walking about without any aim in mind. I ended up at one of the entrances of Sydney's Chinatown area. Chinatown was very quiet at that time of the day. Furthermore, it was raining.

Once I was in Chinatown, the sound of the erhu became closer. I realised there was an erhu player basking somewhere near Dixon Street. The erhu player tried to play ''double stops'' on the erhu, and he played pretty well. I felt a sense of nostalgia and being at home when I heard the sounds of erhu playing Chinese music in a foreign land. As most baskers would probably appreciate, I gave him some tokens of appreciation for his good playing.

Notice the erhu player on the left of the photo.

Nearby Chinatown was the Paddy's Market at Haymarket. It is somewhat like the Bugis Village of Singapore, in my humble opinion. Other than products such as fruit vegetables, clothing, CDs, flowers, homewares, sunglasses, jewellery, one could find souvenirs for the tourists here at Paddy's Market. The items that are sold there are pretty value-for-money. The Paddy's Market at Haymarket opens from Thursdays to Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. While trying to read more about Paddy's Market, I was lucky to chance upon a site that would give us a glimpse of the history behind Paddy's Market. Here's the URL: http://www.paddysmarkets.com.au/history.html

The rainy became lighter gradually, and I headed for Darling Harbour. The pleasant surprise of the morning was that I saw a lot of seagulls, near the Haymarket Paddy's Market. It was quite a challenge to take photos of them while they were flying, so I have taken a photo of them at rest.

For now, please stay tuned for my walk to Darling Harbour on a rainy day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week 37, 38, 39 of year 2008 on the double bass

Week 37 to Week 39 of year 2008 is declared to be three weeks whereby I would take a break from my usual regime of practising at least four days per week.

Anyway, I foresee I would still practise on the double bass once in a while during these three weeks so here is to keep a short record.

7 Sep 2008, Sun: There was orchestra rehearsal in the afternoon in preparation for an upcoming concert. The orchestra went through all the concert's programme.

10 Sep 2008, Wed: It was concert day! Before the start of the rehearsal, I practised the first movement of Dragonetti's Concerto in A major and the second movement of Dittersdorf's Second Concerto. The photo in this post is taken by acroamatic on the day of the concert. Thanks acroamatic.

I have had fun playing for this concert. The Rossini's pieces were awfully challenging technically for the double bass, and I am just glad that I could manage at least 70% of it. Anyway, the programme was generally light-hearted and enjoyable, and that makes it fun playing for this concert. I must have playing on the double bass on 10 Sep 2008 for at least three hours.

24 Sep 2008, Wed: My fingers remember! After a fornight away from the double bass, when I was back playing on a double bass during the orchestra rehearsal, the fingers do remember where to place themselves. Sightreading Schumann's First Symphony was a bit of a challenge because the fingers have not learnt where to place themselves.

However when I was simply playing through Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto and Dragonetti's Concerto in A major, the fingers somehow seem to know where to place themselves even though I was not consciously trying to do so. Such an experience was delightful.

Having some short breaks from the regular regime seem to do me some good.

I'm now looking forward to practise on the double bass.

13 Sep 2008: A lovely dinner with RL

Dinner. The yummy appetizers. Free-flow, I heard.
I was later informed that the glutinous rice with green bean paste (Songpyun) were actually the Korean version of mooncakes.

After a refreshing visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens, both RL and I headed for dinner. RL recommended me to a Korean restaurant. It seems that there are quite a number of Korean immigrants in Sydney.

Along the way to the restaurant, we passed by the church that RL attends in Sydney. We walked along Pitt Street. Pitt Street is the street that is parallel to George Street.

If my memory did not fail me, the Korean restaurant that we went to was located along Goulburn Street (?). RL kindly obliged to my request for her to decide on what to have for dinner. Yours truly was in the recharging mode by the evening after a day of travelling and was having difficulties making quick decision about what to eat for dinner! Dear RL was thoughtful to avoid choosing dishes that contains red meat. Many thanks to RL.

Now just sit back and savour how the two ladies managed to finish up our servings of Korean food.

Bimbibah, before it was mixed.

Korean Ginseng & Bimbibab. This photo was taken by RL.

Do you see how much we have enjoyed the dinner?

Dinner was delicious and the company was good. I didn't expect that I would have one of my most memorable Korean dinners in Sydney, Australia. Yummy.

Last but not the least, many thanks to RL for her thoughtfulness in getting me my first souvenir from Sydney.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

13 Sep 2008: late afternoon with RL

Taken during a stroll at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

After being treated to beautiful sights on the ferry from Manly Wharf to Circular Quay, RL and myself headed for an outing about Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Aside from enjoying the sights that we saw, we got ourselves busy with taking self-portraits of ourselves. I have to thank RL for helping me refine my skills in taking self-portraits. We managed to get a couple of satisfying photos of ourselves, with either the Sydney Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.

One thing I like about Circular Quay is that when I sat down, I could usually see many seagulls flying in the skies. The seagulls of Sydney are much quieter than the seagulls of Aberdeen, Scotland. Maybe I enjoy looking at how carefree the seagulls appear to be when they are flying in the skies?

The Royal Botanic Gardens is located nearby the Sydney Opera House. This is a peaceful place to stroll about in the late afternoon.

We spotted a couple of trees that had fruit bats hanging upside down from the branches. If it does not seem eerie to you, you could try to spot the bats from the photo found below.

Can you spot where the bats are?

For the patient folks, you would be rewarded with glimpses of the Korean dinner that RL and I have had, in the next post.

13 Sep 2008: on the way back to Circular Quay

My short visit to Manly was a pleasant one. The trip back to Circular Quay from Manly Wharf was even more delightful in itself as both RL and myself came across some lovely sights while we were on the ferry.

I shall let the photos do the talking.

Stretching my imagination. Imagining that the sails were 'toy sharks'.

Sydney Harbour Bridge!

We saw a rainbow while on the ferry! May it bring good luck.

Sydney Opera House, as seen from the ferry.

Lovely Circular Quay.

May the rainbow bring you good luck.

Friday, September 26, 2008

13 Sep 2008: Sunny day out at Manly

The city of Sydney is situated on a harbour, and what better way to travel about this harbour than by vessels that float above the waters.

After a lovely stroll along George Street, RL generously got ourselves a pair of ferry tickets to Manly. She was very thoughtful to try to help me get a good spot on the ferry where I could get a good view of the waters, and the sceneries. My photos probably could only capture a tiny fraction of the beauty of the Sydney harbour.

Manly is about half an hour by ferry from the city of Sydney. On the way to Manly, we could catch glimpses of the Tarongo Zoo and the Northern part of Sydney from the ferry. It was a pleasant journey to Manly via the ferry.

On the side, throughout my stay in Sydney, yours truly had more fancy taking photos of the landscapes than of people. RL helped make up for my lack of interest in taking photos of people by taking photos of the two of us using her camera. As such, for anyone who are on my Facebook account, there are likely to be more photos of me on RL's Facebook account than mine.

Anyway, after enjoying cooling sea breezes on the ferry, we eventually reached the Manly Wharf. We walked about Manly towards the beach. RL saw that there was an outlet in Manly selling her favourite brand of ice-cream, Mövenpick Ice Cream. What a lovely discovery.

RL and I had the good luck to come across very kind and helpful people. While we were in Manly, there was a stranger who came up to us and offered to help us take photos of the two of us. A friendly Sydney culture, I suppose?

After a short stroll from the Manly Wharf, we caught sight of the beach. Enjoy!

Yours truly took delight in capturing a number of peculiar subject matters on her digital camera. One of these was: shadow.

Many thanks to RL for being accomodating to my dietary preferences. Strangely, yours truly simply wanted to eat vegetables. Nearing lunch time, both of us embarked on a search for a suitable place for lunch. After walking about for quite a while, we finally decided on the place for lunch.

Lunch was a pleasant affair. RL treated me to a lovely eggplant pesto ciabatta. Yummy. We spent lunch catching up and even talked about one of my favourite topics, i.e. the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Many thanks to RL for allowing me to have a chance to share my knowledge of MBTI. I am an accredited administrator of MBTI® and yet I did not have much chance to practise the use of my knowledge as often as I would like to during the past few years. As such, it was simply a satisfying experience to be able to tap on my knowledge of MBTI. Thanks RL for giving me the opportunity to do so. Many thanks to her for the lunch treat.

After a pleasant lunch, we eventually decided to head back to Circular Quay, Sydney. I could not help but take photos with a slanted angle while waiting for the ferry near the wharf.

If looking at the world with a different perspective could help one learn to be more accepting towards the differences between people, then may my photo below be a way to encourage people to see the world from a different perspective. Do you see that there's beauty even when something is framed differently from how you normally would?

I'm glad that RL brought me to Manly. If left on my own, I might not have visited it since I don't have a keen interest for the beach. Yet, I am glad that I went there. The ferry ride was beautiful, so was the sunny Manly beaches and RL's company.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

13 Sep 2008: A stroll along George St

During my memorable stay in Sydney, I was staying in The Great Southern Hotel located along George Street. One thing I particularly like about the hotel was what I call as the air-wells. I realised that I have a liking for buildings with air-well. They somehow perform a useful function of bringing in light and air into the inner parts of the building. Such a function somehow makes air-well a fascinating feature to me. As such, I think I have had developed a rather peculiar interest to take photos of the air-well of the hotel on different days of my stay there.

The Great Southern Hotel. Taken on 13 Sep 2008.

In the late morning, I have the great pleasure to meet up with RL. Interestingly, I realised that RL and myself attended the same secondary school, the same junior college and were both previously students of the Arts & Social Science Faculty of the same university. I probably got to know her better during the university years though I had known of her existence before that.

RL is a very kind friend. I still remember that many years ago, I was struggling to adjust to the university life when I was in Year One, and she was one of the kind souls on the university campus who would lend a word of concern and gestures of kindness whenever I met her by chance. Those seemingly simple gestures brightened things up for me and had made the transition so much more bearable. Perhaps it is hard to realise how such seemingly simple gestures could make a difference to one's day, yet they did. I suppose one cannot underestimate the power of a smile, a word of concern and a simple 'hello'. Thanks RL.

Back to my meeting with RL. She very graciously agreed to meet me at the hotel lobby. That helped a lot for yours truly for I had yet to find my bearings about Sydney on 13 Sep 2008.

We had a lovely adventure together that day. That was to stroll from one end of George Street to the other until we reach Circular Quay. It was a lovely stroll. I learnt that the location of the hotel is a very centralised one. I could get conveniently to most parts of Sydney simply because one of the major railway stations (i.e. Central Station) in Sydney was just less than five minutes walk away from the hotel.

While strolling along George Street, RL and I caught up with each other on various aspects of our life. We had learnt earlier via Facebook that both of us have the MBTI profile of people with preferences for 'Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Feeling' (INFJ), and the awareness of it somehow seemed to enable us to connect with each other at a deeper level.

Along the way, RL very thoughtful pointed out to me some of the major structures and buildings in the city of Sydney. Below is a picture with the Sydney Tower in it. Sydney Tower is Sydney's tallest free-standing structure.

Once we were near the other end of George Street, we could see the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's a magnificent structure.

I was very lucky. When I reached one of the wharves at Circular Quay which was near one of the ends of George Street, RL graciously bought for me a ferry ticket to Manly. Manly is a popular seaside destination in Sydney. The weather for the day was ideal fora trip to Manly. It was a sunny day. More interesting adventure awaited us.