Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sketching and marvelling at Nature's gifts

I am grateful for the respite and holiday in Sydney last November. It seemed to have a positive effect on my creative output. I had filled up all the pages of an entire sketch book in simply eight days in Sydney when it has taken me years to complete a sketch book in Singapore.

I thank Nature for the wonderful gifts that it has bestowed on us. Its gifts were the inspirations that had beckoned me to sketch. I am thankful for the skills to sketch for with it, I could use it as the good reason to sit down and marvel at Nature's beauty. It was therapeutic to sketch.

Here's a compilation of some of my favourite sketches that I have done in Sydney, and I dedicated them to my friend, RL, and all of you!

This was taken at Watsons Bay.

This sketch reminded me of the peaceful feeling that I get when I visited Watsons Bay.
I thank my accompanying friend for her kind patience with me when I sketched.

This tree at Watsons Bay reminded me of the gift of Life, so steady, so grounded, ever so wise.

I would not be allowed to take photograph inside the Sydney Opera House's Concert Hall.
Yet, the great thing is that there is no guideline against sketching so long as I respect other users of the hall.

This sketch reminded me to pay attention to my intuition.
It also reminded me that it is alright to be lost. 
I have proven that I could find my way back. I have happily survived!

A very quick sketch of Sydney Harbour Bridge. 
I hope the lines speak for themselves?

One of my favourite sketches of the Sydney Opera House.
It reminded me that I love the ferry-rides.

While I think the proportions could have been better, 
I like this sketch nevertheless as it looked nostalgic with Anzac Bridge in the background.

Which of these sketches do you like?

Thanks to Nature for the inspirations!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dragon Kiln Wood Firing 2011

The Thow Kwang Dragon breathes its fire again!

Read more about the event here:

This firing will be extra special, as it involves firing the entire length of the kiln for the first time in many years.

Address: Thow Kwang Industry Pte Ltd, 85 Lorong Tawas (off Jalan Bahar).

The nearest MRT station is possibly Boon Lay MRT station.

Thanks to Victor for the information.

I was there last night and I hope to write about my attendance to this yesterday on this space soon enough.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The mystery of the name of the trees with purple flowers

My logs of my visit to Sydney in Nov 2010 has come to a close. It was a journey filled with numerous learning points and a lot of blessings to be grateful for. I am thankful for a safe trip to Sydney. It was admittedly one of my main concerns when I visited Sydney for my physical health has not been in its optimal level at that time of my travel to Sydney.

Here I thank my friends in Sydney who have so graciously been wonderful hosts. Many thanks to the strangers I have met during my journey. They have shown me what it meant to be kind without expecting anything in return, and yet the joy of making a difference in most humble ways.

Now, I felt I still have a few outstanding things left unpublished. Do you remember one of my earlier posts on the trees with purple flowers?

In yet another post, I wrote that I had asked one of the crew members onboard one of the Captain Cook Cruises for the name of this very species of tree and was pleasantly delighted to learn the name of the tree. However, Alas! No thanks to a slip in recollection, I could only remember that the name of the tree starts with "J" and has four syllables.

Did anyone of you manage to do the research to find the name of this species of tree?

I did my research when I was back in Singapore from the Sydney trip. I used Yahoo! Image Search and keyed in the key words "trees with purple flowers Sydney". Then I looked at the images from the results generated against the photographs that I had taken of the trees with purple flowers so as to determine the possible name of the tree.

According to wikipedia, this species of tree "is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America (especially Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay), Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It is found throughout the Americas and Caribbean, and has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, India, Fiji and parts of Africa".

That could explain why a number of locals in Sydney did not know the name of the tree. I am starting to wonder if the crew member who had given me the name of this species with such great confidence was from South America.

And the name of this tree is the Jacaranda.

Wonderful research skills and/or brilliant knowledge in trees for those of you who have gotten its name right!

Monday, February 21, 2011

21 Nov 2010: Darling Harbour and the rest of the day

21 Nov 2010, Sun:

I headed back to the hotel to check-out after a hearty visit to the Sydney Fish Market. The hotel was very nice to extend my check-out time to 12.30 p.m. Furthermore, the hotel offered free baggage service. I guess simple kind gestures like these matter a lot to a travelling tourist who would appreciate a home away from home.

I visited Darling Harbour to enjoy its open spaces. It is a beautiful place worthy of our visit if we are in Sydney, even if I may be biased in my reviews since I love spaces that are open.

Nearby, near the Convention Centre, I saw people enjoying the shades that the trees offered. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The people of Sydney are in many ways blessed.

Nearby, children have had fun at the playground. Fountains provided a cooling relief to the bright spring sun. I was reminded of the innocence that life can offer, if we were to pause for a while to see it.

My friend, RL, who had so generously loaned me her camera took the special effort to travel to town to meet up with me before I catch a flight to Singapore. Together with her fiance, we had lunch at Sydney's Paddy Market. I ended up choosing chicken congee for I simply wanted a lunch that was as light as possible after a delicious treat to calamari rings that I could not finish. I guess my appetite for seafood was pretty small afterall.

After a beautiful lunch, my friend and her fiance were very kind to wait with me at the hotel lobby for the shuttle bus service that was to take me to the airport. It was to come at 2.10 p.m. However, it did not. I tried calling the bus company but no one picked up the phone. I was doing my best to stay collected and balanced as I did not want to risk missing the flight. Thank goodness for the presence of friends and the helpful service of the htoel staff, I eventually dedcied to take one of the cabs to the airport by 2.30 p.m.

On the way to the airport, the taxi-driver and I saw a Qantas plane waiting at the taxi way (runway track). The taxi-driver commented he has never seen something like this before. I reached the airport around 3 p.m. The cab fare took AUS$38.50. Botany Bay is beautiful in its own way.

When I stepped into the airport, I was in a moment of panic when I could not find my flight number on the display panel of departing flights. Having learnt from previous experiences, it was better for me to get myself calm and collected. So I did so and went to speak to one of the airport's volunteers to ask for help. She did not know what had happened so she advised that I head towards the Qantas' desk to ask for help. I learnt that my original flight that was to depart at 17:30 was cancelled. I was transferred to another flight that would depart at 16:55. I felt thankful that I did not insist on waiting for the shuttle bus service. I would have risked being later if I had insisted. I later learnt that the bus met with a traffic accident and while there was a replacement service that came much later, I had left on the cab.

At the airport, I found a shop that sells nougats and got some for my family. Soon enough, I found myself on the plane. I had the pleasure to sit at a window seat next to a couple who was on their way back to London. They would be stopping by my hometown, Singapore, to break their journey. They were very kind to accomodate me whenever I needed to excuse myself to the toilet.

For much of my journey, I read Discover Your Inner Wisdom. I felt blessed that I was able to read and that meant more access to knowledge.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I am thankful to RL for taking time out with her fiance to meet up with me on a precious Sunday afternoon. She has been a wonderful host during my stay in Sydney. She saved the day too with her most helpful loan of the camera. Many of the photos that you see from this trip are possible thanks to her timely loan.
2) I am thankful to RL and her fiance for waiting with me at the hotel lobby for the transport to the airport, even though they need not have to. Their presence have been most assuring and comforting.
3) I am thankful for the hotel's staff for their kindness and attentive help.
4) Many thanks to the taxi-driver for getting me to the airport safe, sound and on time.
5) Many thanks to the people whom I have met at the airport for attending to me when I realised that my original flight number was not published anywhere on the list of departing flights.

New things that I did:
1) I took a cab to the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. That was my first time taking a cab to the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.

My learning points:
1) I have learnt to put the skill of getting myself collected and calm to greater mastery. Yes, even during challenging and unforeseen circumstances whereby I was taken aback. Two such episodes in one single day: a missed shuttle bus and a sudden change in flight details.
2) I have learnt through the experience the value of asking for help. At times of challenge, be willing to receive help. Next, communicate, communicate and communicate. Communication involves listening. Learn to have the faith that things will work out somehow, for good reasons.

Friday, February 18, 2011

21 Nov 2010: Sydney Fish Market adventures

21 Nov 2010, Sun:

I did what I have found quite an adventure: to find my way to a new place, and in this case, it was the Sydney Fish Market. Being armed with a map and having great navigation skills still required me to have the courage to walk new paths while taking risks to be lost and then to be found.

Heaven was kind. On my way to the Sydney Fish Market, I was a bit lost. Then, I met a kind lady and her granddaughter. They walked with me for part of my journey. Afterwhich, I embarked on my journey to the Sydney Fish Market on my own. I took a wrong turn and when I realised I was lost again, a kind gentleman gave me clear directions that put me back on the right track to the Sydney Fish Market. As I followed his directions religiously, I realised that I had been so near yet so far from the Sydney Fish Market. One wrong turn can make such a great difference. Nevertheless, thank goodness that along the journey, there are kind souls to guide us back on track. Eventually, we have to learn to walk our own paths on our own.

I felt a sense of relief and joy when I saw clear indications that I had arrived at the Sydney Fish Market. Honestly, I did not know how to appreciate fish. Yet, if there was a guided tour of the Sydney Fish Market that was designed to inspire folks like myself, who know nothing much about fish, to love fish, I would gladly go for it. As I was writing this post, I found out that there was indeed a tour about the Sydney Fish Market! This tour would get visitors a glimpse of the behind-the-scene activities at Sydney Fish Market. If I visit Sydney again, this could be one tour that I would like to embark on.

When I was at Sydney Fish Market, one of the most delightful welcoming gifts that I had received other than treats to lots of fresh food was a good view of the Anzac Bridge. Being offered a good view of Anzac Bridge was something that I had not expected. Almost instinctively, I knew I had to sketch it into my sketch book as a response. Anzac Bridge has a graceful beauty in it against the blue skies and the ships.

While I was working on the sketch, I thought it would be a good idea to buy myself a serving of chocolate milk shake from the nearby ice-cream stall. Then I found myself a seat nearby the ice-cream stall and started sketching. I did not quite capture the graceful nature of the design of Anzac Bridge, yet I hope I had captured some of its essence in my humble sketch.

After the sketch, it was time for an adventure about the Sydney Fish Market. There was plenty of fresh seafood at the Sydney Fish Market. In addition, one can find freshly cooked seafood ready to be eaten being put on sale at the Sydney Fish Market. The Fish Market had a pretty earthly and friendly ambience. I won't mind visiting it again for some deliciously fresh seafood.

It was a bit too early for lunch and I was not hungry. Yet, with so many fresh seafood offerings at the Sydney Fish Market for the tourist in yours truly, I could not resist byt get myself a serving of calamari rings at AUS$9. The calamari rings were tasty and very fresh. I had not eaten such fresh calamari rings at that price when I was in Singapore. Regretably, I had only the appetite to finish half of it. Perhaps I could have asked for just half of the portion.

I later learnt that the Sydney Fish Market is one place to find fresh and cheaper sashimi. Maybe this explained why there are so many people at the Sydney Fish Market feasting on seafood and more seafood. The seafood here is fresh and delicious indeed. This is one place to visit for seafood lovers!

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I am thankful to the kind lady and her granddaughter for walking with me for part of my journey to the Sydney Fish Market.
2) Thank goodness for the gentleman who offered me directions to the Sydney Fish Market so that I could get back on track to visit the Sydney Fish Market.
3) I am thankful to come across a good view of Anzac Bridge from the Sydney Fish Market by chance.
4) Many thanks to Sydney Fish Market for the wonderful concept in making seafood such a delicious treat!
5) Life is great to me. Even when I have no idea of the path ahead, Life lends its guides and assures that I will be safe.

New things that I did:
1) I visited the Sydney Fish Market for the very first time!
2) I tried calamari rings freshly prepared from the Sydney Fish Market for my first time.
3) I did my first sketch of the Anzac Bridge.

My learning points:

1) Sometimes, we are so near yet so far from our destinations, others can help guide us to get closer to our destinations, even though we may have to walk our journey on our own.

Sydney Fish Market

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

21 Nov 2010: The Monorail and the Light Rail

21 Nov 2010, Sun:

It was the day that I would depart for Singapore. While it was a blessing to be back home, I would have much to treasure in Sydney too. One of the moments I would greatly treasure in Sydney was the breakfast at Ceezens Restaurant. I took time to enjoy each mouthful of breakfast on the last morning of my trip to Sydney. There will be a lot I would treasure in Sydney: My friends, the visits to Watsons Bay, the visits to Milsons Point, the walks and tours, the visit to Port Stephens, the ferry rides, the walk across the Harbour Bridge, the joy of being a solo traveller and more.

I had considered visiting Rose Bay. Then again, it meant quite a bit of travelling so I decided I would be more pleased if I could spend time visiting the Sydney Fish Market. It is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. I later learnt that the Sydney Fish Market has a FISHline that provides services for the consumers to learn about the health benefits of eating seafood and information on various species of seafood.

My choice method to get to Sydney Fish Market was by taking the Monorail and the Light Rail. While I had realised much later that doing so took me on a longer route to Sydney Fish Market since the Monorail was a one-way monorail, I supposed it was an experience nevertheless. I purchased the 1-day pass and I guessed it would have been better if I had gotten a return ticket. Anyway, I would not have known my mistake unless I had tried.

Anyway, off I went on the Monorail that took me to the Convention Centre. It was only at the point of writing this article that I start to wonder why is it that I had not made good use of my 1-day pass to take the Light Rail from the Convention Centre to the Fish Market. Honestly, I cannot remember why!

Just hop onboard with me onto the Monorail please.

Video by MRail TV.

While I was not particuarly thrilled by the monorail rides, it was nevertheless a new experience. Go try it if you are in Sydney, at least once.

Here's a video that I came across of the Sydney Light Rail by MRail TV. I supposed it help make up for my missed journy on the Sydney Light Rail.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I am thankful for many wonderful days of delicious breakfast in Sydney. Thanks to the people at Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour hotel's Ceezens Restaurant.

New things that I did:
1) I took the Sydney Monorail for the very first time in my life!

Sydney Monorail and Light Rail

Sunday, February 13, 2011

20 Nov 2010: Milsons Point and the ferry rides at night

20 Nov 2010, Sat:

It was the last night of my stay at Sydney. I would be taking a flight back to Singapore the next afternoon. If you were to ask me what I would like to do with the night, I knew it was to take a ferry ride to Darling Harbour. Before that, I thought I could visit Milsons Point to enjoy some moment of solitude and to gaze at the Sydney Harbour Bridge at night.

On the ferry ride to Milsons Point, there were fireworks display in the skies. I casually engaged in a conversation with one of the passengers on the ferry. She is a resident living near Milsons Point. She shared in 90% of the fireworks in Sydney are of private origin. So long as one can afford, one could arrange for fireworks to celebrate weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. I supposed given how privileged her place of residence sits, she could enjoy one of the most beautiful views in Sydney and plenty of fireworks. She shared that her secret to wealth was to save and to invest wisely.

At Milsons Point, the view was one that offered solitude and lots of refreshing winds. A few teenagers caught me taking photographs of the Sydney Opera House at Milsons Point. One shouted "There's nothing to take photograph of." I simply heard what he had said and stopped to enjoy the beauty of the solitude that Milsons Point has to offer.

I felt inspired by the solitude and the simplicity of the night skies that I sat down to do a sketch of the wharf. Yes, under limited lighting conditions. The sketch itself is awfully simple, yet I hope it has in some ways captured my responses to the inner beauty of Milsons Point under the night skies.

Then I took what I remembered was the last ferry from Milsons Point to Pyrmount Bay. It stopped by at McMahons Point. From the ferry which stopped at McMahons Point, I was offered a pretty nice view of Luna Park. Imagine seeing an amusement park of rides and games brilliantly lit up against the dark skies.

The weather was turning pretty cold with the winds. I did not bring along my thicker jacket that night so I was basically doing my best to keep myself warm. Of course, I could have sat in the sheltered parts of the ferry but I chose to be seated at the unsheltered parts of the ferry so as to enjoy the breeze from the Sydney Harbour. Dear yours truly realised that it might be a while before I could enjoy the breeze from the Sydney Harbour again, so I chose to pay the price of feeling cold from the winds.

The ferry travelled to Balmain East and Darling Harbour. I could not help but to start to feel that I would miss Sydney. The beauty of the night could best be felt in person. My photographs would not do its beauty much justice.

Finally, when I arrived at Pyrmount Bay, I chose to take an unfamiliar path. I walked along Murray Street and got myself lost. Thank goodness that I met a group of pedestrains and one of the ladies gave me tips to take an overhead bridge that would get me to Darling Harbour. I was lost and I was found. I was alone yet I was not actually so. In this world, I may seem independent, yet I was interdependent. I felt a good sense of relief when I found myself back to familiar grounds. Yet, I was beaming with a sense of joy from having survived an adventure when I was lost and was found.

I could do better in future by enjoying the sights even when I get myself lost. When I was lost along Murray Street, I was looking for clues to find my way back to the hotel that I could have missed the beauty of what I had seen. So after receiving the tips from the kind lady and when I finally saw glimpses of the Convention Centre, I took some moments to enjoy the beauty of the night and whatever the locality has to offer.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) Getting back to the hotel safe and sound at the end of the day was something to be grateful for. It was a day of getting lost and getting found.
2) Many thanks to the lady who gave me helpful directions when I was lost near Murray Street.
3) It was chilling cold that night. Thank goodness that the weather was kind on me.

New things that I did:
1) I took a ferry from Milsons Point to Pyrmount Bay.
2) I ventured about Murray Street for the very first time.

My learning points:
1) Even when one is lost, admire the beauty of the surroundings. Learn to trust that even though one may not know how, somehow there is greater likelihood for one to find one's way soon even enough.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Read: Singapore Stamps: Anniversaries & Milestones

Title: Singapore Stamps: Anniversaries & Milestones
Authors: Tan Wee Kiat, Ivan Chew and Ong Yew Ghee
Year of publication: 2010
Design & Production: Print & Print Pte Ltd
Book Sponsor: OSIM International Ltd
Book Advisors: Ruth Wong, Amy Sobrielo, Victor Koo
ISBN: 978-981-08-6278-7

Many thanks to Dr Tan Wee Kiat for his generosity of a gift of one of his latest publications, "Singapore Stamps: Anniversaries & Milestones". I knew him through I have a lot of respect for this wise and humble gentleman who has published several books with various authors so as to share knowledge with others, especially children.

I had just finished reading this book a day ago even though I had first started reading pages from it about a month ago. I had taken a month's break from reading this book as I had other books to read.

This book was written for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary school students who are from 10 to 14 years old. It was an accessible book to read. I might have taken about an hour to read it if I could read it in one single sitting.

This book contains some interesting facts and findings about the stories of selected Singapore stamps that were based on the theme of Anniversaries & Milestones. From this book, I have learnt more about the milestones of Teacher Education in Singapore. I have also learnt about the Teachers' Training College that was set up in 1950 to meet the demands for teachers at the end of the Second World War. The Teachers' Training College subsequently became the Institute of Education in 1973 and eventually evolved to become the National Institute of Education of 1991.

Reading about the milestones of my own country and the various local establishments was quite stimulating for me.

Here are some of the new things that I have learnt from this very book:
- The Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) was started by the British colonial government in 1877. It was part of the postal sevices.
- The Universal Postal Union (UPU) was formed in 1874.
- The Singapore Metrication Board was formed in Dec 1970. Prior to 1970, a few other systems of measurement were used in Singapore. Today, the metric system is the widely used system.

In addition, the book was a good revision for me for I was reminded that Singapore achieved self-rule on 3 Jun 1959.

This is quite an accessible book to read for youths age 10 to 14, especially those who like collecting stamps.

Online posts on this book:
Thank you for the Stamp Book - Singapore Stamps: Anniversaries & Milestones by Second Shot.
My first published work by yg.
Book about Singapore Stamps by Thimbuktu.

Also see ReTRIeVIA

Thursday, February 10, 2011

20 Nov 2010: The evening at Observatory Park

20 Nov 2010, Sat:

Finally, after an unintentional visit to Balmain - Thames Street, I reached Circular Quay on a ferry. I thanked the two kind ladies for their help before deciding what next to do. That day, there was no longer any ferry service to Rose Bay. The next way to visit Rose Bay was by public transport. Somehow I decided to go with the flow and not visit Rose Bay. I got myself a seafood pack from one of the eateries at Circular Quay.

My plan was to cross the Harbour Bridge on my own by foot. Somehow, I decided to walk to the Observatory Park to enjoy my dinner. What ingenius idea! The evening skies and the Sydney Harbour looked very beautiful at the Observatory Park. The tranquility of the Observatory Park had a calming effect. There was a wedding reception going on at the building of the Sydney Observatory. As I sat down to enjoy my dinner, I listened in to the sounds of the Sydney Harbour, the rustling of the leaves from the trees, and the music from the wedding reception. Simple moments in life can be beautiful.

I headed for the Sydney Observatory after I had my dinner. There was a night tour. However, the tours were full! I took the cue and instead walked about the Observatory Park. My heart moved when I saw Anzac Bridge. This bridge is the longest span cable-stayed bridge in Australia. Seeing the Anzac Bridge against the evening skies reminded me fondly of the ride that one of my friends gave me across it more than two years ago. I took a moment to pray for this friend of mine's well-being and safety.

There seemed to be a recurring theme on 20 Nov 2010. It seemed to be that of finding my way about foreign places. That was how I felt when I make my way to The Rocks. The Rocks gave out a charming feel as I walked about it under the dark skies. I took some moments to take a good look at the sandstone stairways at the Rocks so as to be reminded of the natural history of the place. When one slows down to admire the simple pleasures of life, life can be so wonderfully full of riches for the heart.

In the end, I decided I was too tired to walk across the Harbour Bridge so the next closest alternative was to take a ferry to Milsons Point.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I am grateful for the good weather.
2) I am thankful for a safe journey about the Observatory Park and the Rocks.
3) I am thankful for a fairly good sense of direction and my love for navigating about foreign places. It was an adventure.
4) I felt thankful to catch a glimpse of Anzac Bridge against a beautiful evening sky. It reminded me of how blessed I am to have met good friends in my life.

New things that I did:
1) I travelled alone to Observatory Park and found my way there!
2) It was my first time noticing the beauty of Anzac Bridge against the evening skies, from the Observatory Park.

My learning points:
1) Learn to view each event in our lives with gratitude. Each turn and twist in our adventure were meant to help us to grow.
2) I was reminded of the value of letting go. Sometimes, closure need not have to occur for healing to take place. I realised I could happily live each day of my life even though I had missed visiting Rose Bay for the trip.
3) I have came to realise more and more often how places that I have been to could bring me to recollect memories from the past. When I was at the Observatory Park, I fondly recalled glimpses of my visit to the Observatory in Sep 2008 with one of my friends, RL. I also recalled how we were lost and were eventually given the guidance to find our way to the Observatory. I suppose Life has a special way to look out for us and to guide us back on track.

Sydney Observatory
Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks.

Monday, February 07, 2011

20 Nov 2010: The afternoon of choices made and a missed ferry

20 Nov 2010, Sat:

After a day of meeting up with a very kind friend, attending the Sydney Architecture Walk and visiting the Museum of Sydney, I was in the mood to visit Rose Bay. Yet again, there were some shopping to be done. Honestly, I did not like to shop. Yet, I figured I had to get the shopping done to get something for my colleagues back in Singapore and some local Australian products for my family.

The endeavour took a little longer than I had thought. First of all, I spent more than half-an-hour searching in a few supermarkets before I realised that the supermarkets in Sydney did not sell nougats (Thankfully nougats can be found at the airport). Next, I had to travel to the Darrell Lee store at QVB to get some Darrell Lea chocolates. The chocolates are pretty good for their fairly affordable price.

The most challenging issue that had held me up was that there was track repairs for the train services from Wynyard to Central station on a weekend. As such, bus services would replace the train services for the affected train lines. Trying to figure out where to board the replacement bus services could prove to be a slight challenge for a tourist. I was pretty glad that I had managed it somehow. Since I had quite a bit of items from the shopping, I decided to return to my hotel room to unload the items before I embark on my visit to Rose Bay. In some ways, this was a practical choice for I could not imagine myself carrying too many shopping items to Rose Bay and risking the chocolates melting away from the beautiful spring sunshine.

Finding my way to Circular Quay to catch a ferry to Rose Bay would take longer than usual since I had to use the replacement bus services instead of taking the train. Nevertheless, I was glad that I could manage it somehow. I missed the 5.10 p.m. ferry so I settled for the 5.40 p.m. However, past 5.40 p.m., I learnt that for some reasons which I cannot understand, the 5.40 p.m. ferry that would depart Circular Quay for Rose Bay was not in service. That meant I have to take the 6.10 p.m. ferry. While waiting, I made a trip to the Ladies. When I returned from the Ladies, I saw a ferry at one of the wharfs at close to 6.10 p.m., thinking it was the 6.10 p.m. ferry to Rose Bay, I rushed to board it. This proved to be a mistake! Before I board the ferry, my body gave me a very uneasy sensation that shocked me a bit. I could not decipher what the sensations meant so I did not think much about it.

On the pretty crowded ferry, I found myself a seat.The most shocking realisation came when the ferry passed the Harbour Bridge. From my one and only ferry ride to Watsons Bay, I was aware that the ferry to Rose Bay and Watsons Bay will NOT pass under the Harbour Bridge. The ferry was supposed to head in the opposite direction. That realisation spelt that something was wrong. I asked a kind passenger and she told me that the ferry was heading for the Cockatoo Island. Hoping to try my luck to see if I could head back to Circular Quay to catch the last ferry at 6.40 p.m. to Rose Bay, I immediately got myself ready to alight at the very next stop that the ferry would stop. The stop was the Balmain - Thames Street wharf.

At the wharf, I studied the ferry timetable. Learning to read and understand the ferry timetable was a useful skill that I had put to good use when I was in Sydney. My heart sank quite a bit when I realised that it would be past 6.40 p.m. before the next ferry to Circular Quay would visit Balmain - Thames Street. That meant that I would not be able to visit Rose Bay since I won't be in time to catch the last ferry to Rose Bay.

It was pretty cold that day and I was shivering from the chills of the weather as well as the realisation that I would be missing Rose Bay. My attempt to cope and make the best out of the situation was to sketch.

I realised that other the sketch, I did not take a single photograph of Balmain - Thames Street. I wondered if it was because I was still trying to make sense of how I could have caught a wrong ferry and ended up missing Rose Bay?

The world is kind nevertheless. At the Balmain - Thames Street wharf, I had the pleasure to meet two lovely Muslim ladies. They have been living in Sydney for years. They offered their companionship as we waited for the ferry to Circular Quay. I learnt from them that Cockatoo Island offers a good scenery from all sides of the island. The ladies encouraged me to visit Cockatoo Island. However, due to the schedules of the ferry for that day, I realised that it was not a feasible idea for me to check out the Cockatoo Island. I wondered if a missed visit to Rose Bay and an unrealised visit to Cockatoo Island meant that I have more than enough reasons to visit Sydney sometime again in the future?

When it was time for us to board a ferry to Circular Quay, I was looking forward to be back to the familiar Circular Quay. My thanks to the kind ladies for offering their timely companionship which had helped distracted me from the feelings of loss from a missed trip to Rose Bay.

On my way back to Circular Quay, the beauty of the sculptural Sydney Opera Houses against the twilight skies brought delight to my tested soul. I hope my readers enjoy the beauty of Sydney Opera House as well.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) My thanks to the two ladies for offering their timely company when I was at Balmain - Thames Street.
2) I am grateful that despite being lost at Balmain and missing Rose Bay, I am safe and sound throughout my journey.
3) I thank my friend, RL, for her good recommendations. The confectionery from Darrell Lea are good.
4) I am thankful for a good sense of intuition and hope to learn to trust it more.

New things that I did:
1) I visited Balmain - Thames Street for the first time, even though it was not my intention to.

My learning points:
1) I have learnt to be more aware and to trust my gut feel when I feel that something is not right for reasons unexplained. The following day, my friend, RL, reminded me of the book "Blink". That reminded me to make good use of our gut feel and to learn to trust our intuition.
2) I learnt to accept that things may go wrong at times and learn to make the best out of it.
3) I have learnt to be more aware and updated of transport schedules in Sydney.


Sydney Ferries