Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Australia Trip Day08: Sydney

23 May 2009 (Sat)
Accommodation: Xiahe 小舅's home

It was a relax first day in Sydney.
Early in the morning, while some of us were brushing up, we saw some parrots outside at the balcony. I have seen many white parrots in E7, but these wild parrots were sitting there asking for food. =)
After brushing up, Xiahe’s uncle brought us to the city, and treated us breakfast at a Dim Sum Restaurant, 同乐轩. According to Pik Wei, it is a renowned dim sum restaurant. The food… er… to be very very frank, the food is okay, but I think it tasted just like any other dim sum restaurant I have been to… I’m not a 美食家, so I can’t really taste the difference… In fact, if I were to go for dim sum I will usually go for dim sum buffet.
Having said that, there are two dishes that’s worth mentioning: 酥皮蛋挞 & mango pudding. The 酥皮of the egg tart, is just superb. The layers of the tart, is just like a well made genuine croissant. As for the mango pudding, it is very rich. The small topping of ideal milk on top nicely bring out the taste of the mango. Nice combi.
A look at their 幸福expression, and you know how much they are enjoying the dim sum
After a fulfilling breakfast, we bid a temporary good-bye to Xiahe’s uncle, and begin our journey for the day. We walked towards Darling Harbour.
We passed by Chinatown and Paddy’s Haymarket, but didn’t visit them, thinking we will have time for shopping on our last day here.

C: Chinatown, H: Paddy’s Haymarket
An innovative street performer building clings out of glass bottles.
(video to be uploaded later when I'm back in S'pore)

Walking pass the hustle and bustle of the city, we slowly reached a more touristy area. The Darling Harbour is a recreational precinct boasts with ferris wheel, fountains, tourist train and of course Visitor Information Centre. Here we bought our 2-day Sydney Pass for tomorrow and the day after, and pick up some maps.
We then proceed to the Sydney Harbour. It was a nice place to have a stroll. To the right the Central Business District (CBD) of Sydney, and to the left, the Circular Quay, very much like the Esplanade area in Singapore. The Pyrmont Bridge is in front of us overseeing the whole Darling Harbour, and beyond that is the sea.
After a few group photos, we started walking back to the city to visit those Free-of-Charge attractions. We passed by the Queen Victoria Building, an old Victorian building with the statue of Queen Victoria erected outside, and walked into Hyde Park.

Left: Queen Victoria Building; Right: Hyde Park. Can you read the letters in the upper right corner?
We had fun imitating the figurines on the Archibald fountain, though many tourists were looking at us.. with 不屑的眼神or羡慕的眼神 that I don’t know. Right next to the fountain is the St Mary's Cathedral, the mother church of Australian Catholicism.
As a traveling Buddhist, it’s quite sad I haven’t truly been to any temple. I haven’t even visited those Wat in Thailand and Cambodia, what’s more to say四大名山in China, and go 朝圣in India. But be it temples or churches, I’d always enjoy visiting these spiritual places. They make you feel welcomed. The lightings, and the scent in the air, it gives me the sense of calmness & tranquility. Give me some time and I think I can just sit there and absorb the peace, seeking for an oasis in my heart.
From the Church, passing by the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Rum Hospital, we walked towards the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The garden boasts thousands of species of plants. For plant and garden lovers, there is much to see and enjoy, including orchids, roses and small little bananas. For the public, it provides a good place for people to relax. And it is nicely perched on a hill, overseeing the Sydney Harbour and the Woolloomooloo Bay (a rather interesting name I must say).
Equestrian statue of King Edward VII.
They say if both front legs of the horse are in the air, the rider died in battle. If the horse has one front leg up, the rider was wounded in battle or died of wounds sustained in battle, and if all four hooves are on the ground, the rider died of causes other than combat. But seems like this urban legend doesn't hold true here. =)
Climbing down the other side of the Botanical Garden, the familiar 'shells' of the Sydney Opera House came into view. We have seen it many times in movies, in the Internet, in Sydney Olympic 2000, but really 百闻不如一见. I will talk more about the Opera House in my next blog post when we had a tour inside.
Today we just roam around the exterior. The wind is blowing strong, so strong that it can make our jacket fly when we stretch or arms wide. Again some look at us with不屑的眼神, but many actually follow suit. Looks like we带动起扮superman的潮流.
Here, I also saw my very first perfect rainbow...
The wind continued to blow and the weather slowly turned bad with drizzle. We walked along the bay, stopping by the Tissue Tree and the Museum of Contemporary Art, all the way to The Rocks. The travel guide says every weekend the Rocks Market will spring to life, but seems like today the drizzle washed everything away. By the time we reached there, people were packing up their stalls, so we decided to come back here tomorrow.
From the Rocks, we climbed up the main street to the side of the Harbour Bridge. We slowly walked on this 1149-meter bridge to the other side, with the wind blowing so strongly from our side.
By the time we reached the other side, it is almost dusk, just nice to take some night shots of the bridge and the CBD as the city brightens up under the dark. Then we go to the last destination for today the Luna Park. It has a rather spooky looking face for an entrance… Entrance is free, but the rides are not, and it is actually quite expensive, for a “seemingly-low-cost-theme-park”.
Oh ya.. I have seen limousines, but here I saw a limousine humvee!!! Can’t stand the urge, so we took photo with it while the owner were taking photo on the other side. =)
Then at around 8pm, we find our way back to Xiahe uncle’s house. And waiting for these lucky kids are nicely prepared steamboat! OMG! Piping hot steamboat in this cold weather… then still got饭后水饺. 好幸福…
It's indeed a very relaxing day in Sydney. But tomorrow we will put our Sydney Pass into use. So all itinerary must be nicely planed to make full use of the Pass.

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