Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Year of the Dog Festivities

On the 16th of February Chinese New Year was celebrated with festivities taking place a couple of weeks on either side of this date.
It's the Year of the Dog, one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, and people born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982 and 1994 and 2006 were born under this sign.

In Australia there is a high percentage of Chinese immigrants, so these special dates are celebrated in all the capitals. On Sunday 25th of February my local shopping centre - Westfield Carousel, presented the traditional Lion Dance performed by the Yaolin Kung Fu Association to celebrate the New Year.

They started at one end of the shopping and walked until the other end with some people following them. It started at 11am just when the shopping opened which meant there weren't that many people there yet.

They spread some mandarins on the floor which the "lions" would eventually "eat".

  One of the leaders also handed out small red envelopes to those that wanted to give some money and they the lions would come and "swallow" the envelope.
Half an hour later the dance was finished, they got an ovation and walked back to the entrance where they had arrived.

I have to say that I preferred last year's show which was more centred on the fabulous drum players and less lion dancing. Those drummers were fantastic!

Even the displays in the shopping aisles had a touch of the red to celebrate the Chinese  New  Year.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

This tree with the red lanterns was at the Watertown Outlet Centre in Wellington street, Perth, and I took these photos when we went to our Citizenship test on Tuesday 20th, at the Immigration building (which can be seen on the top left photo) which is next to the Outlet shopping.
I'm glad to report that both my husband and I achieved 100%!  
Now we'll have to wait for a letter from our Council to advise when the next Citizenship ceremony will be held and once we get our certificate we will be Australians. We have been told this could take from 2 to 6 months depending on the Councils.

Tree with Chinese lanterns at Watertown Outlet Centre

And this is a photo my husband sent me from Sydney of a huge "Dog" in Circular Quay, one of many statues  located there for Chinese New Year.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Monday Mural - Looking into the future

I found this mural on a very long wall on "24th of July Avenue", Lisbon,  when we were on our way to lunch at the popular indoor food market - Mercado da Ribeira in September 2017.  
The mural was painted in 2017 by Stylera.k.a. João Cavalheiro, a Portuguese artist born in France in the 90's.

 Some sort of construction was going on behind the mural wall with AM48 being the selling agents.

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you find murals everywhere.  Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds posted this week.  Thanks.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Dolphins for Mental Health

You might have seen some of the beautiful dolphin statues that Grace has been posting on her blog.
In January she told me that there were also a couple of dolphins in the southern suburbs, and before I went to Sydney I went to the South Perth foreshore to see them.

The 36 dolphins that have been on display since the 20th January are part of the art trail  The Big Splash WA, a initiative from Perth Children's Hospital Foundation (pchf) to raise awareness and funds for child and adolescent mental health. 

South Perth foreshore with the city across the Swan River
Patch by Eli Moody
Good vibes by Beth Taylor

Native by Anya Brock
A few blocks away at the entrance to the Perth Zoo at Labouchere Rd, was the last dolphin in the southern shores.

Bursting with Hope by Debbie Horton-French & Desiree Crossing

Before the end of the exhibition on the 4th of March, the dolphins will be auctioned to raise funds to support innovative treatment programs that engage children and adolescents cared for at Princess Margaret Hospital, who are at risk of self-harm or suicide to help drive their recovery.  Donations can also be made to
Aren't they so pretty?

Monday, 19 February 2018

Monday Mural - The parrot

A mural of a parrot I found in Petersham, Sydney during my visit at the end of January 2018. It was painted on the low outside wall of a residence in New Canterbury Road.

Painted by Krimsone, a young artist who grew up in the Blue Mountains, in New South Wales. He studied art at the National Art School in Sydney and fell in love with the art of painting murals.

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky 
steps below.  Once you start looking you find murals everywhere.  Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds posted this week.  Google+ users, please configure your post so we all can leave a comment.  Thanks.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Dark clouds over Perth

On Friday, my day off work, I was invited to lunch and a dip in the pool at Grace's house and we had a lovely couple of hours.
After leaving her house I went home to change and then onto the airport to pick up my husband arriving from Sydney. From there it was straight to another friend's house for what was a delicious dinner.

The usual blue skies had darkened although you could still see the sun, but on the way to our friend who lives in the suburb of South Perth I spotted a huge rainbow and as I was driving I had to ask my husband to take a photo for me.

Driving along Mill Point Road close to my friend's house I spotted the city on the other side of the Swan River and the dark sky was casting this shiny glow on the buildings  so I had to first drive a couple of streets down to the foreshore to take a couple of pictures.
The photos don't really do it justice, but believe me the city looked amazing!

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Sydney - The Rocks, bridge climb and a cruise ship farewelled

On the morning of Sunday 28th January we took the train into Circular Quay station, with my little carry bag as I would be departing to Perth in the early evening.
We wanted to explore the Rocks area, and as we left the station we were excited to see the huge Carnival Spirit cruise ship docked at Circular Quay where there is a passenger terminal.

The Rocks is a historic neighbourhood under the Sydney Harbour bridge, that was established shortly after the formation of the colony in 1788 and is very popular with locals and tourists. It has some of Sydney's oldest pubs, old cottages, open-air markets on the weekend with around 100 stalls, and lots of upscale restaurants with harbour views.

We strolled around the area admiring the old cottages, that were used by the workers when the bridge was being built.  During the 1920's  several hundred buildings were demolished when the Harbour bridge was under construction.
Luckily some of these cottages are still standing due to public protest  in the 1970's that brought about the area's preservation, as more than once the area was threatened with demolition to give way to high rise development. Some of the cottages now house art galleries, gift shops or small eateries.

Old cottages, Courtyard of one of the buildings with an open air bar, chairs and huge tv, Open air markets

Old cottages turned into small restaurants, under the Sydney bridge, open air markets

Called "First Impressions", this sandstone monument was designed and sculpted by Bud Dumas in 1979 and honours the soldiers, the settlers and the convicts that that arrived from England aboard the First Fleet in 1788 and that started the colony in New South Wales. 
"First Impressions" monument - Soldiers, settlers and convicts

The Rocks Discovery Museum in Kendall Lane is worth a visit. Entry is free and  the museum is opened daily from 10am to 5pm,  bringing us the history of the Rocks from the pre-European days of the Gadigal tribe until the present.
As I made my way out of the Museum, there was an Asian couple having their wedding photos taken in front of a restaurant in the laneway.
Rocks Museum at the end of the lane, couple taking wedding photos, and artifacts from the Museum
At the end of Argyle street is a tunnel - Argyle Cut - that cut through the sandstone cliffs enclosing the Rocks district and opening access to Millers Point and Darling Harbour. An impressive engineering feat started in 1843 with convicts chipping away at the sandstone with picks. Due to the enormity of the work it was later suspended and resumed in 1859 with the use of explosives and council labour.
Before the tunnel, The Rocks was separated by a steep rocky ridge and people had to go a long way to cross from east to west side of the community.
Rubble from the tunnel was used in the construction of many of The Rocks stone buildings and the walls of Circular Quay.

The Argyle Cut Tunnel
Lunch was eaten at the Caminetto Italian Restaurant, where we sat in the cool courtyard that is next to a rock wall.

I wanted to climb the bridge,  just to go to street level where I would have a great view, not really do the crazy bridge climb!  My husband decided to stay at the quay with a cup of coffee just enjoying the comings and goings  on the water.
Following the map I came across the entry to the bridge stairs and followed a whole lot of people going up.

Entry to bridge stair, various views of the bridge at street level and climbers on top of the bridge (bottom right)
I'm glad I climbed the bridge to the street level walkway (on the eastern side, there is a cycleway on the western side), as the views over the harbour are amazing!
There is a lookout in one of the pylons supporting the bridge's 504mt arch, but admission costs $15.
The walk across takes about half an hour or less depending on how many times you stop for photos, lol.
Once you reach the other side there is another set of steps that will lead you to nearby Milson's point railway station where you can either catch a train or a ferry to Circular Quay again.

My husband sitting (blue t-shirt) near the black wall, amazing views from the bridge walkway
Sydney views from the bridge walkway
I didn't go down the other side, but rather turned around and met up with my husband by the stairs by the Museum of Contemporary Art. I didn't get to visit it as it was closing (5pm) by the time I arrived.

The cruise ship was also about to depart , sounding it's horn, and people were gathering near the quay to see it sail away. The Carnival Spirit has some impressive statistics - it carries 2124 passengers, has a crew of 961, a length of 292 mt and cost US$375 million to build.

Carnival Spirit at Circular Quay, Sydney

Quite exciting to see this huge ship manoeuvre it's way out the quay while other vessels crossed the bay, until it disappeared behind the Opera House.

Carnival Spirit departing Circular Quay in Sydney

After it disappeared from sight we walked to Circular Quay train station where I would get the train to the Domestic Airport.  
Just outside the station a couple of buskers performed their music or like the one in the photo did some magic.

My husband got me the Opal card for use on Sydney public transport which makes it easier to just tag on and off. Train fares are slightly cheaper if you use the card as well, but because the airport station is not Government owned but was built by private enterprise there is a very high airport access fee of $14,30.
The magician outside Circular Quay station, Circular Quay harbour

On arrival at the airport I had almost two hours to wait, so strolled around the shops for a while and then sat down reading a magazine I bought. 
The Qantas flight home was comfortable and I watched two movies - "Victoria and Abdul" and "Wilson", both released in 2017. 
I loved the historical film Victoria and Abdul, but didn't care much for Wilson, not much of a fan of the main actor, Woody Harrelson, but there wasn't anything else that I felt like watching...
The flight was shortened by about 25 minutes which meant I arrived home by taxi close to midnight,  the time when I should have been landing, which was great.

Sydney Airport, flying take-off over Sydney and over the clouds

And back to earth.....Perth!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Sydney - Parks and Beach walks

On Saturday 27th January we went back to Petersham to meet with friends for lunch.
We settled on the restaurant "Palacio" where we had bought Portuguese bread and pastries a few days before. I thought the place was just a cafe but it was also a roomy and well decorated restaurant. 
Even though the owner is Portuguese we thought the food wasn't 100% traditional.  Obviously the number of Portuguese customers must be low so they have to cater for all tastes and tone down some of the flavours. I can't remember what the other had but I chose the Bacalhau a lagareiro (Codfish, potatoes, garlic and onions roasted in plenty of olive oil).

After lunch our friends drove us to Centennial Park for a walk around the park.
The huge lake was full of ducks and black swans, and a lot of other birds mingled outside the water - pigeons, doves, swans, ibis, ducks, cockatoos... and they didn't seem daunted by the people around the lake.

A lot of young people were on their way to a music concert in the park, and we were shocked at some of the fashion, and mostly the "state of undress" of some of the girls. 
I'm glad my daughter is not a teenager...

                     The state of undress of some female concert goers

 There was a huge Rose Garden, and I found some purple flowers I didn't know.

After a walk around the lake it was time to drive to the famous Bondi Beach.
My friend B convinced us to do the Bondi to Coogee Walk.  She said it would take us about 45 minutes but I think we walked for around 3 hours, or if not, it surely felt like it!!
I've actually just checked the route and it's 6kms (3,73 miles) and it should take from 2 to 3 hours!!
Map of the walking trail
Bondi Beach

Due to some weather damage to part of the coastal walk in June 2016, which is being repaired, people have to re-route through the Waverley Cemetery to carry on the walk.
The cemetery which opened in 1877 is located on top of the cliffs in the suburb of Bronte, and is known for it's Victorian and Edwardian monuments. Around 50 thousand people are buried here including many well known Australians.

When we finally reached Coogee beach the sun had already gone down.
This beautiful statue was part of the "Sculpture by the sea" exhibition in 2012, the artist  was Keizo Ushio from Japan, and it's called "Twice Twist Bands".

The tall bench was fun, and I managed to climb it and take a photo with my husband.
We're hardly ever in photos together as I tend to be the photographer, but here we had our friends with us who could take a photo of us.

In Coogee we stopped for a pizza and drink at one of the waterfront restaurants.
Night had fallen by the time we finished and after looking up the bus timetable to take us back to the car parked near Bondi Beach, we realized it would be faster and cheaper to get a taxi for the 4 of us.

Coogee Beach

Image courtesy of Our Oyster
Bondi to Coogee walk - Image from the net
The taxi delivered us to the parked car, and after the men had a coffee, we were driven home, as being a Saturday and late at night we would probably not get public transport easily.
Uff, quite a long walk, it was hot and humid, and my feet were killing me, and I had to remove my sandals for the last half an hour of the walk! 
A nice walk, but probably not for my level of unfitness, I could have managed well with just half the route.

And so ended another day in Sydney.