Posts tagged: exercising

Australia: Sydney

By , February 3, 2011 4:29 pm
View From The Royal Botanical Garden

View From The Royal Botanical Garden

We couldn’t get any luckier with our timing into Sydney. Our awesome buddy, Zhi, who we know from San Francisco, just moved into a pretty phat place. Every day, it was just a short walk to Darling Harbour. [Zhi, if you are reading this, did we tell you how awesome you are.] While it is known to be a touristy area, it feels wonderful to walk through there. The city did a really great job designing the area with lots of interesting fountains, wide walkways, restaurants, bars, shopping mall, tourist attractions, and the overall modern architecture of the buildings. I liked coming here to enjoy my daily cup of Joe.

Great Place To Enjoy A Cup Of Morning Coffee

Great Place To Enjoy A Cup Of Morning Coffee

Kids Playing In The Fountain

Kids Playing In The Fountain

Amex Building Reflection

Amex Building Reflection

While we didn’t plan this either, U2 was in town. We just couldn’t say no to that so with last minute tickets, we were jamming to Jay-Z and singing with U2 LIVE! It was a really great show and nice to be in an open stadium with fresh air.

As we roamed the city, everything about it was beautiful. The botanical garden puts all other gardens to shame. We saw so many interesting plants and flowers, but what topped our visit were the hundreds of huge fruit bats in the trees. They made so much noise and with so many above our heads, it was kind of scary.

Fruit Bats

Fruit Bats

Ibis

Ibis

Heart Shaped Flowers

Heart Shaped Flowers

I have seen many pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but being there was definitely better. The city is very well laid out and everything, including the bridge, Opera House, parks, were all where they are supposed to be; it all just made sense. As we were walking through the park, there was a wedding taking place, people exercising, and others enjoying the views. After work one day, our buddy took us out for drinks at the Opera Bar and it was packed with professionals all dressed to impress. It was a great place for happy hour and to watch the sunset.

View From Opera Bar

View From Opera Bar

Happy Hour

Happy Hour

Sunset

Sunset

In the east part of the city called Surry Hills, we went out for drinks and had delicious Thai food. The Winery is a neat wine bar with funky decor, but what I liked most was that we were able to hear each other talk. This doesn’t happen at many of the other bars. While there is so much to love about Sydney, the only thing I did not enjoy so much was the young party scene.

The Night Scene @ The Winery

The Night Scene @ The Winery

Overall, the restaurants in Sydney were yummy. Since I love my Asian food, we explored Chinatown a few times. I like it when I can have my classic Chinese dishes just the way they are supposed to be prepared. Just don’t have high expectations of the service at any of the restaurants in the city. As people in the food industry are well paid in Australia, tip is not expected and I felt service was somewhat degraded compared to what I’m used to. However, if you are under 30 and need a job or just a change, Australia gives one-year working visas and their minimum wage is $15 an hour. I’m not making this up.

Food For One @ Hurricane's Grill & Bar

Food For One @ Hurricane's Grill & Bar

Chinese Congee With Pork & Thousand Year Old Egg

Chinese Congee With Pork & Thousand Year Old Egg

Also a short walk from Zhi’s house is the Pyrmont Fish Market. To my surprise, I was expecting something bigger for Sydney. It was simple but filled with lots of great seafood. We went there for breakfast and had oysters and fish. This was also where I discovered these cute white flowers called Bouvardia. Brides, I think these would look great in a bouquet.

Sydney Fish Market

Sydney Fish Market

Bouvardia Flowers

Bouvardia Flowers

One of Boris’ old buddies from France, Alexis, has also been living in Sydney for a few years now. We joined him for a French gathering over a game of Pétanque, which is much like Bocce Ball. Afterwards, the boys played catch-up at a bar while stuffing their faces with some good old saucisson and Pastis.

Boris Playing Pétanque

Boris Playing Pétanque

Alexis Plays To Win

Alexis Plays To Win

Just as popular as the Sydney Opera House is Bondi Beach. It’s located 30 minutes by public transportation, right out of the city. What a great deal for city and beach lovers; you don’t have to choose. As we strolled along the strip of beaches, each beach had a different vibe but they were all beautiful. When you didn’t like one beach, just walk over to the other one. What I most adored was how there were public infinity pools at most of beaches. Did I mention they were free?

Walk Along Bondi Beach

Walk Along Bondi Beach

Cliff Views

Cliff Views

Lorikeet Parrots Along Our Walk

Lorikeet Parrots Along Our Walk

One thing I took notice of and definitely Boris was the amount of clothing, or should I say lack of, the females had on. We are talking about working professionals showing a whole lot of skin at the office. By the end of the week, there was very little of it left. So boys in the Silicon Valley, why live where the ratio is 1 female for every 15 males when in Sydney, it is the opposite! I mention this with no disrespect of course.

When there was no more to expect from such a wonderful place, the city was hosting their annual Christmas in the Park, also free. The place was full to capacity when we arrived. There were lots of children and families enjoying the live music, Christmas Carols, and dancing. Then Josh Groban came on stage and made me melt with that talented voice of his.

Carols In The Domain

Carols In The Domain

The Crew

The Crew

Josh Groban Doing His Thing

Josh Groban Doing His Thing

Thanks Zhi for a wonderful time in Sydney. We still are having withdrawals.

Thanks Alexis for meeting up with us. It was great to see you again.

Inside Victoria Gallery

Inside Victoria Gallery

Xmas Tree With Swarovski Crystals

Xmas Tree With Swarovski Crystals

Mini Sydney

Mini Sydney

Flower @ Botanical Garden

Flower @ Botanical Garden

Soft Velvet Flowers

Soft Velvet Flowers

What We Paid: AUD USD Euro
– Skybus from airport to city [45 mins] 16/pp 16 11.60
– Groceries 25/pp per meal 25 18
– Average Lunch 15/pp 15 11
– Average Dinner 20/pp 20 14.50
– Cheap Seats For U2 Concert 45/pp 45 33

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Beijing: Temple of Heaven

By , August 23, 2010 8:37 am

Temple Of Heaven

If the same emperor that built the Forbidden City were to build an imperial sacrificial altar, how would it look like? If you guessed three times more massive, you are correct. The Temple of Heaven is of great significance because the emperor would visit annually to ensure a good harvest from Heaven.

Gate to Temple of Heaven

Gate to Temple of Heaven

We soon discovered it was also a hip place where locals would gather and jingle to the beat of their boomboxes. As we made our way down the hallway, we could not escape the blaring Chinese music. It was very entertaining to watch and fun to participate in the exercise dance routines.

After the short distraction, we made our way through the inner gates to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. In the middle of the vast open space was an enormous three-tiered circular marble structure. On top stood a wooden altar made with no nails. There was no denial it was a masterpiece. The overall design and layout is symbolic of the relationship between our world and the Heavenly world. Being there, you can just imagine how grand the ceremonies were.

The Hall of Prayer For Good Harvests

The Hall of Prayer For Good Harvests

The other two temples we visited were the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar. We were again very impressed with Chinese architecture, but what made it all more interesting was understanding the significance of the most minor detail. Everything had a meaning.

Man Resting

Man Resting

Temple Grounds

Temple Grounds

MuiMui

MuiMui

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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