Protos' Musings

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Archive for the ‘Sydney’ Category

Boxing Day at Sydney and the flight back home

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Boxing Day was the last full day at Sydney. We spent the Christmas Day in the room and did the packing bit, since the local people advised us that nothing would be open that day. So, of the two days available, only the Boxing Day was available for us for sight seeing.

Sridhar was yet to visit any beach in Sydney, and I too wanted to visit the famous Bondi Beach (Sydney’s most famous beach; there are lots of great beaches in and around Sydney). We also wanted to visit the Aquarium. Then there was the small matter of watching Sydney turn into an Asian city for a day – a rare opportunity to watch road side shops and roads thickly crowded with people who are out to get stuff at a very cheap price.

On Boxing Day most of the big shops provide huge discounts (sort of clearance sale, but only for a day) and there will be lots of roadside makeshift shops selling all kinds of stuff. We spent the morning wandering around the streets of Sydney and visiting the two famous shopping malls/shops – the Myers and David Jones. It was as good or as bad as (depending on your perspective) like our Saravana Stores in T.Nagar that day! The shops were teeming with people in a way I have never seen in Sydney before. Some of the shops even had long queues outside.

From there we went to the Sydney Aquarium that is just down the Market Street on the Darling Harbour, and about 3 minute walk from our office. Since Bondi was in the back of the mind, we didn’t spend as much time at the Aquarium as we would have liked to, but still managed to clock a decent three hours. It is a pretty good aquarium (and since I haven’t been to any other foreign aquariums, it is the best I have seen so far). What struck me wherever I go in Australia has been the importance they provide for accessibility to physically challenged people (which also helps the kids’ pram and so there were lots and lots of families out there with really small kids).

It was close to 1500 hrs by the time we managed to hit the Indian Food Court in The Galleries Victoria and we were both tired and extremely hungry. After having our lunch, we set off to the Circular Quay one last time, to catch the Bondi Bendy Pre-Pay. Bondi turned out to be a beautiful, albeit, crowded beach (thanks to the Boxing Day being a holiday and the season being the start of the summer). We stayed there for about three hours and took hundreds of pictures. I even managed to inspire myself to walk up the slope to take what I would rate as one of the better pix I have taken so far – the view of the entire beach. This is the only pix that I have uploaded at the actual size of 3456×2592 pixels or 9 mega pixels. You can download that pix to see it in full size (using Download button/menu in that pix’s page). Of course, there are far better pix of Bondi out there on the web.

Thus ended a rather memorable day – my last – at Sydney. The next day, we left by the noon flight to Singapore and from there to Chennai. We had a four hour break at Singapore and spent the first three and a half hours doing mostly window shopping and eating dosa. I watched Kungu Panda and Finding Nemo in the flight (and a bit of Subramaniapuram). Watching Finding Nemo again was interesting since I had completely forgotten that the story involves Sydney in a big way. I had seen the movie once about four years back, but then Sydney was just like any other city in some foreign land, and so it never registered in my brain. It was fun to watch the fish herd turn into the shape of Opera House on hearing the word “Sydney” or seeing the view of the Sydney Harbour in many of the shots.

We had a minor scare when we turned up at the Sats counter in Terminal 1. The guy who was sitting there gave us a piece of his mind for turning up so late for the flight (it was 2030 and the flight was at 2105). We were first told we won’t be able to get into the flight. I was genuinely surprised since at a place like Sydney I saw a lady who was at the security check at 1130 hrs to catch the 1130 flight out to some Asian country. So I was wondering what he was harping about.

The guy spoke on the phone with (apparently) the Indian Airlines authorities and then told us that we are lucky and we can catch the flight still, We were then asked whether we were ready to fly without the checked-in baggage. When asked what would happen to the baggage, he told us that it might reach Chennai in a day or two, but nothing can be guaranteed as to whether and when it would come. We had no option but to reply yes, we would love to fly out and reach home.

Another phone call ensued and lasted for about five minutes, after which we were told the baggage too is coming with us. We were given the boarding pass and were advised to not to turn up late for a transit flight. He saw us off asking us to rush to the designated gate to catch our flight. I only remember running madly for the next five minutes or so to reach the gate, and just avoiding running into a kid at a slope. She appeared out of nowhere and was running at top speed up the slope (and I was going down and had to veer out of her way).

The security check in happened at that gate, and we were welcomed by a team of Indians (Indian Airlines staff?) and they asked told us to relax and take it easy, and that the flight is still on the ground only and so we were not going to miss it. I finished the check puffing and panting and collected my hand luggage and stepped into the other side. Any idea what I saw there? About 75 Indians sitting there to travel in the same flight, and no one (including the staff) was worried that it was 2050 hrs and the flight was at 2105 :). I think if the Sats guy had seen the crowd sitting casually there, he would have had a heart-attack!

I reached home that night by midnight, and it felt good to realize that I won’t have to eat bread (or Kellogs) for breakfast from now on :). Thus ended a rather memorable 3 months period in my life.

Here are the links to the pix:

Boxing Day at Sydney

Sydney Aquarium

Bondi Beach

At the Singapore airport

Written by Proto

January 14, 2009 at 15:36 hrs

Raveendran Maashu – a redux

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Looks like this is the redux season on my blog. As I wrote twice almost three years back, no music director has managed to strike a chord with me as much as the late legend Raveendran Maashu (Maashu, for the uninitiated, is Malayalam for Sir). When I was at Sydney, with no access to any Malayalam channels, I used to listen to a couple of CDs from my Malayalam songs collection from the 80s through 00s, and most of the songs I took with me were the ones from the stupendously successful and enormously talented Raveendran – Yesudas team. I am thankful I took them with me, though I didn’t take even a single movie or any other songs collection. I was happy listening to those songs almost daily!

Today I was watching Vivekanand’s latest performance in the Idea Star Singer competition – the “otta kambi naadam” song from the movie Thenum Vayambum (1981), originally sung by the incomparable Yesudas [go listen to it even if you don’t understand Malalyalam or music :)], a song so beautiful that it made Sharreth, one of my other favorite music directors, who is a judge in the show, remark “it should have been ‘oru laksham kambi naadam’..that is how majestically Yesudas has rendered this song.”. For the uninitiated, the opening three words of the original song lyric means “the sound of a solitary string [of a music instrument]” and Sharreth said “it should have been ‘the sound of a million strings’..that is how well Yesudas has rendered this song”.

Though Vivekanand had a bad day today, I still believe he is (going to be) the Star Singer 2008. Just listen to these four great songs from the previous rounds, and I hope you too would agree that this is one enormously talented lad. At least Ramesh had to change his opinion after allowing himself to be swept away by the beauty of Vivek’s rendition of the song “oru kadalaay”. I think he did a slightly better job than the original, thanks to his rich voice. Here is the playlist with his entire performance so far, and I find myself playing songs from this list, at least once a week, for a few weeks now. You too might find it a nice way to spend an hour or so :).

As I was listening to Sharreth’s comments, I thought I will search for some more info about Raveendran maashu. It was then that I stumbled across this Wikipedia entry on Raveendran maashu and this blog from Nikhil Venugopal, who seems to know music and loves music far better/more than me, where he has three great posts on (including an interview with) Raveendran maashu. The only drawback (a drawback if you can’t read Malayalam) is that it is in Malayalam, though the first post about Raveendran is in English.

I am not well versed in Carnatic music (I don’t know the raagas in spite of learning Carnatic for two or three years in my childhood days, though I think I can discern great music from merely good or average music from downright bad music or noise), I found the posts both interesting and nostalgic.

It took me back to my childhood days when I used to tune into the cinema songs hour(s) in Vividh Bharathi and All India Radio (Trivandrum station), perhaps just like so many other people in my native (and perhaps around India) at that time — mid and late 80s and early 90s. Television was just making an appearance and even if it had, it was certainly not 24*7 and there was just one channel – Doordarshan (Indian National Channel run by the Government). So the radio was a far more important and influential medium than it is today.

Anyway, I hope you like Nikhil’s posts. I really don’t know why we don’t have a 5 CD or 10 CD pack of his songs yet (or is it already out in Kerala already?). He deserves a HMV-SaReGaMa Legends collection or something equivalent.

Finally, to really understand who or what Sharreth is and why I like him, listen to these three samples, and yes, all are his own compositions. If you are going to listen to just one of them, let it be this duet with Unnikrishnan. Here is the search list of songs available in You Tube sung by Sharreth if you want to listen to more.

Oh, yes, lest I forget, Raveendran maashu had this to say about Sharreth in 1994:

Q: Does any of the new generation music directors give you hope?

A [Raveendran Maashu]: Sharreth. There is music in his songs. He understands music. We should encourage and congratulate him.

I hope Sharreth would give us scores (or hundreds) of beautiful songs in the future. Malayalam music industry hasn’t been too supportive of Sharreth in the past, and I hope that would change for the better. May Kerala not join the rest of the country in giving the cold shoulder to shudha-sangeetham (pure music) in mainstream cinema music. I hope Kerala continues to encourage more and more youngsters to learn the basics of music before dreaming big and high.

I have my hopes set high after listening to this today – the Classical music round from last year’s Idea Star Singer, sung by Thushar. I don’t think any of the reality music shows in either Tamil or Hindi has anything like this (perhaps I am wrong here, but I wouldn’t mind knowing about another show that is in the same class) or where the contestants are of this class or this versatile. Don’t forget to listen to the judge’s comments too. Kerala is blessed to have given birth to so many world class talented souls — Yesudas, Raveendran, Chithra, Sujatha, Unnikrishnan, Johnson, Ousepachan and Sharreth to name just a few (and not including any of the music directors from the previous generation).

Written by Proto

January 11, 2009 at 01:08 hrs

Visit to the Darling Harbour

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Dec 24th was the last working day at Sydney. It was also the day I decided to take the new Sony Cybershot H50 to work. And the best part was that it was also decided that we would walk across the Pyrmont Bridge to go to the other side of the Darling Harbour. In spite of it being just a ten minute walk from office, I had shied away from taking that walk during normal office days, as I was afraid (and on hindsight, rightly so) that I won’t return back in less than an hour and a half as it is a very beautiful walk and there are lots of eye-catching sights on the way.

It was a half day for us and so we had the whole of the afternoon to us to explore the area surrounding the office. The unfortunate part was that it was one of those real cloudy days, and that took a bit away from the enjoyment (and the beauty of the pix). But the grey sky has a beauty of its own, though a bit bleak and a bit sad, as if mother nature is crying or is upset.

On this side of the Darling Harbour is the Citi area – the downtown area spanning the Sussex, Kent, Clarence, York, George, Pitt, Castlereagh streets in one direction, and the King, Market, Druitt, Liverpool and Goulburn streets on the other (and they intersect each other to form a grid in the map). Darling Park (the office building) is situated on the Sussex Street, right on the intersection with the Market Street. This side of the Harbour also houses the Sydney Aquarium — another place that was off the radar for as long as 90 days — and that was just a five minute walk from office! On the other side (clearly visible from our office and the most photographed place by me while at Sydney) is the Sydney Convention Centre, the National Maritime Museum, the Pyrmont Bay and the Harbourside Shopping Centre housing multiple food courts, shops and more importantly (for me that day) – KingPin Bowling!

I spend the morning doing some work, and then around noon time got serious with taking snaps in and around the office. Post lunch, we decided to spend some time doing some light shopping. I used the time to order the 50 free prints that was offered by Teds (that came with the camera purchase). Why miss out on something that is both good and free?

Karthick, a colleague at the Sydney office, offered to take us to a game of bowling at the KingPin bowling that evening, and we lapped up the offer. The free prints at Ted took some time coming, and so by around 5pm I started the walk from Pitt street towards Kingping bowling, and in the process crossing the Pyrmont Bridge for the first and the last time. It is a huge and beautiful bridge, more than 100 years old, and an Australian Engineering Landmark. As the citation embedded on the bridge says “…the approach span represented the highest level of development of the Timber Truss..”. It is a sight on its own to behold, and the view from the bridge to either side is also awesome.

After spending quite some time soaking in the beauty of the sights on offer and merrily snapping away, I reached the other side of the bridge, and slowly walked towards the edge of the Cockle Bay Wharf. I reached the front of the Sydney Convention Centre and saw one of the biggest Christmas trees I would get to see in my life, and also saw the monument erected to commemorate the Olympics held at Sydney in 2000. I also saw this beautiful mini pool of water that had a circular walkway immersed in water, that was quite an attraction for adults and children alike. People had thronged the the Harbourside Shopping Centre and all the restaurants were having a great business that evening.

Finally I reached the Kingpin Bowling. Karthick and his friends and Sridhar were already into the first game. I waited a bit to get introduced to his friends and to get an offer to try my hand, and snatched turns from others to enjoy a few turns at bowling. Bowling turned out to be nowhere near as dumb as I thought it was (a view reinforced by watching on TV on Christmas Day highlights of some event involving Europe and the Americas where some really serious skills was on display). I left after an hour or so (was feeling hungry and had to purchase rice for that night and the next day – the Christmas Day — when no shop or local restaurants would be open).

Thus ended the last working day Sydney. As always, here is the link to the pix. The Sydney series will end with a post about a rather busy Boxing Day when I got to visit the Aquarium and the Bondi beach (and hopefully some great pix).

Written by Proto

January 3, 2009 at 16:31 hrs

Visit to Manly Beach

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I had big plans for the weekend, but things didn’t go as per script. Saturday turned out to be a real dampener with Mr. Rain putting up a strong show. We went out to go eat at the Indian Restaurant and then proceed somewhere (like Manly beach or the Aquarium) from there, but strong showers and gusty wind forced us to return back from the bus stop.

On Sunday we had plans to go to the Bondi beach on the Bondi Explorer, but that too had to be cancelled since Sridhar developed a bout of diarrhoea. So, I decided to hang around and ensure that he is fine first, and then after watching him having his breakfast followed by watching TV for a couple of hours, I decided to go to Manly beach in the afternoon, as I was not sure whether I would get another chance to visit this beautiful beach on a cracker of a summer day. Today also marked the first time I managed to prepare the food end-to-end, from rice to cutting vegetables (ok, carrot and onion) and preparing the actual curry (adding masala, turmeric and chilly powders). I would normally ask Sridhar to start the cooking (adding the required oil, salt that I feel I might goof up). Today, I managed to do without his help, though I did reconfirmed the steps with him.

As always, to go somewhere in Sydney, if you are taking the bus or the ferry, going to Circular Quay is the best bet. That is the central hub from where the bus and ferry service originate. If you want to take a train to somewhere, going to the Central station would be the best bet. Manly turned out to be yet another beautiful experience on a beautiful summer day. I am just plain lucky to be in Australia when the climate is at its best — spring followed by summer. I escaped the bout of really cool climate that some of my colleagues had to endure six months back. In Sydney, temperature rarely go sub zero, and mostly might hover well over zero. But the worst part is the strong chilly wind that blows incessantly from the ocean during winter. That requires the protection of heavy clothing that you can get away without, if the same temperature persisted in say a Bangalore (can happen) or Chennai (dream).

So, to cut a long story short, I took the ferry to the Manly Wharf, enjoyed the 40 odd min trip to the hilt, walked the short distance to reach the beautiful beach, spend an hour and a half at the beach, managed to walk from one end of the beach to the other (starting from the centre of the beach going to one end, coming back and then going to the other end and walking back..so that is twice the distance), spend some time at the family/kids’ beach next to the Manly wharf, and managed to catch the ferry (whose pix I took from near the Oceanworld as it was docking at the Manly Wharf) back to Circular Quay, and thanks to day light savings, though it was closer to 2000 hrs, the setting sun formed a beautiful backdrop to the Sydney skyline on the way back. Thankfully, got a bus to go home from the Quay within two minutes, and so managed to reach home in time for dinner.

Here is the link to the pix from the trip to Manly, taken using my brand new Sony Cybershot H50. I had almost made up my mind to buy Sony Cybershot T700 or T77, but Apple made me realize that if I need a good camera, it needs to have at least 10x optical zoom, and so the T series as of today, doesn’t quite cut it. Today was the first day out for the new camera, and I hope the pix have come out well, though the Sydney Harbour is much more beautiful in the mornings (when sunlight falls on the Harbour).

And here I am jotting down the events of the day, after a rather heavy dinner. Today also marked the last weekend we will be here in Sydney. Thanks for reading thus far. Have a great week ahead.

Written by Proto

December 21, 2008 at 19:45 hrs

Second Trip to Westmead and Sydney Murugan Temple

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The past week has been a rather interesting one. I am working on something really interesting at work (that somehow always manage to cheer me up). Plus, we had the Secret Santa party this Friday, where in each member of the team was to bring a AUD 10 gift for someone whose name we know (so you are the Santa for that person).

However, the receipient is not supposed to know who gave him (or her) the gift. I gave one of my colleagues an Arnott’s TimTam biscuit and porcelain mug set that was available for a reduced price of AUD 10 (owing to xmas season). Of course, since I had no idea what was Secret Santa, I wrote “Dear Clive, merry xmas and happy new year — Suresh Santa”. We had pizza and soft drinks for lunch (my second ever pizza in life but it was pretty soft veggie pizza :), followed by chocolates and a bar of Wall’s Magnum icecream.

Over the course of the week, Mini was kind enough to extend an invitation to drop in at her place on Friday evening so that I can go to the Sydney Murugan temple again and also eat some good food either at her place or at the temple (one of the prasadam item is something called dosa and looks like you can eat as much as you want :). As always, it was a pretty mouth watering prospect, and I jumped at the offer, though I confirmed that I am going only by Friday noon.

I decided to go with Mini and we met at the Town Hall station (which is below her office) and about a 4 min work (on the way to my favorite food court). We caught the first available train and reached Westmead around 6pm. Raj, Mini’s husband, came to pick us up from the station. So the tragedy continues for poor Raj, 9000 miles away from the place where the process of waiting and picking up Mini from work started — Bangalore. Once we reached the apartment entrance, Raj took me on a small detour to show the sprawling apartment complex. I also got to see Mini driving away the car to the basement carpark during this time.

Mini immediately got busy preparing dinner for us (since she thought the temple canteen might be crowded or that the temple might close early). Raj helped her out by cutting the fruits for the fruit salad. It was 8 pm by the time we left for the temple. It was another crowded day at the temple, and inside the temple there was a group of kids doing bhajan. I had a very good darshan once again. I decided to circumambulate the outside (there is no praharam, it is just the compound) and saw the rather big canteen teeming with devotees savouring this or that prasadam.

We reached back by 2100 hrs and it was time for dinner. Mini had prepared white rice (for me, they normally eat the Kerala Chamba rice), savala rich sambar, cabbage thoran with scrapped coconut and tasty maanga pachadi. Needless to say, I ate as much as I can and almost finished my favorite cabbage (that I was eating after a gap of 80+ days; that showed I guess :). This was followed by a bowlful of fruit salad (less fruits and more ice-cream for me). Since it was well past 2130 hrs, I decided to bid adiue to them. I offered my heartfelt thanks for another round of tasty homely food and the warmth extended to me, and started my journey back home.

I invited Mini to visit us at Chennai, but I guess that is a no-starter. Mini has at least one thing in common with me — both of us love Bangalore, though both are not in Bangalore for the last four years. Bangalore, I am sure, has changed quite a bit since the days of 2004, but still the memories that remain are among the best of my life.

I reached the Central station by 2220 hrs, but had to run around and wait for an hour to get a taxi to reach back the hotel room. Friday nights and Saturday nights are time when the whole (or it looks like that) of Sydney decides to go on a boozing spree (partying) and so every cab is occupied, either carrying the passenger to the next party/pub/club or taking them back home.

I guess this might be happening in India as well, though the percentage of people who can afford this lifestyle is not very high to leave all the autos/taxis occupied through the night. Sydney has a very vibrant night life, especially on weekends. I contrasted that with the night life in my hometown Trivandrum, that used to go to sleep at about 2000 hrs :).

As is the wont these days, here is the link to the pix from Week12 in Sydney.

Written by Proto

December 21, 2008 at 19:27 hrs

Visit to Hyde Park, Harbour Bridge, Broadway and Taronga Zoo

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It has been a fantastic eleven weeks in Sydney so far, as you could probably make out from the snaps uploaded so far. Sydney is such a beautiful place and I am just plain lucky that I was destined to come to Australia, albeit for a short trip. For an Indian IT pro, Australia is not necessarily the likeliest of destinations (unless you work for HCL, I suppose :). That makes it doubly sweet.

 

Ok, now that the bragging is out of the way, let me get down to the point. After shaking off the customary lethargy that I feel over the weekends, as I already wrote about, we decided to make the most of the remaining days of the weekend. So on Saturday last, we decided to visit the Hyde Park. Hyde Park, for uninitiated, is a beautiful and vast park situated right in the middle of the City of Sydney. It spans from the Museum Railway Station at one end (the tube runs underground) and ends well past the St James Station at the other end. Just behind the Hyde Park is the beautiful St Mary’s Cathedral. We had a great time taking the four hours to walk the lawns of the Hyde Park, soaking in the natural beauty and watch the police arrive to round up a gang of teenagers who were high on spirits (both literally and alocholically :) and were out in strength to show off their skate-board skills at the park, causing a  bit of problem to the other visitors.

 

Sunday last, saw us biting the bullet and deciding to take another walk, this time right across the Harbour Bridge to reach the Luna Park on the other side. This walk is named the Cahill Walk, and to get on to this Walk, you need to either walk a few kilometers to reach the begining of the Bridge span (from the Circular Quay) or you need to take a series of flights hidden in some of the streets in and around the area (we are thankful to an Australian Uncle who took a few minutes to explain to us what all streets and cross roads to take to catch the steps). So, we managed to find the stairs and climbed up to reach the base of the Bridge Walk area. From there started a long walk and we had to stop every few meters to ensure that we soaked in the beauty of the splendid view of the Harbour on offer. On the way I kept clicking away with a vengeance (as I normally do :).

 

It took us nearly an hour to cross the bridge and reach the railway station at the other end (that was the nearest loo for quite some distance :). From there started the walk to reach the Luna Park. It is a mini amusement park for the kids right in the heart of the city. We had no intention of taking any rides or spend money there, and so when the security at the Car Park warned us that the Park is closing and they can’t issue any tickets now, we were not perturbed. From the Luna Park we took the ferry back to the Circular Quay. This was the first ferry ride for us and the view of the harbour was breathtaking. In fact I recalled what the cab driver told me on the night I arrived in Sydney told me (while he was ushering us to the hotel from the airport) — the best way to enjoy the harbour is to take the ferry and watch it from the inside out. This is absolutely true, believe me.

 

This Saturday we decided to check out the shopping area of Broadway. Broadway is the name of the George Street once it goes beyond the Railway Square. It is a pretty wide road (not sure whether that was why it was named the Broadway), but incidentally it also houses some of the most popular shopping malls in Sydney. We wanted to check out the K-mart and Target. But more importantly, we had to eat our lunch too, at the North Indian Restaurant, at the sprawling Food Court at the Broadway Shopping Mall. Sridhar had been there before (with Abish, Nishanth and Satheesh) and so he knew about this Restaurant. To my great surprise, I found out that for just AUD 11, you would get the biggest Naan you had seen so far (it was bigger than the Indian Naans I have seen at Chennai or Bangalore by at least 30%), two curries of your choice, enough rice to waste, and a can of your favorite soft drink. We reached home in the evening, after having spend a few hours at this shopping mall. It was teeming with people and so we had a nice time overall.

 

Today I ventured out alone to the famous Taronga Zoo, as my roomie excused himself since we were probably ill informed that there is nothing much to see at the Taronga zoo. But thanks to Murtuza, a colleague at the Sydney office, was inspired enough to visit the place. In particular he impressed upon me that usually in Australia when you spend a dollar at any public place (like the zoo or somewhere else) they normally ensure that you don’t feel cheated. On the other hand, you would feel at the end of it all, that it was worth every cent spend. He also talked about the Bird Show and the Seal Show. So, in all, I was inspired. Another hidden reason was that there was another ferry trip involved, as the best way to reach the zoo from where I live/work is to go (again) to the Circular Quay and take a combined ferry/zoo ticket for AUD 44. This allows one to take the ferry (to and fro), a 15% reduction to the entrance ticket at the zoo, take the bus/sky-car at the zoo.

 

Tarango Zoo turned out to be a truly great experience. The zoo is a sprawling complex inside the city, and the best part is that it is on a hill. So once you reach the docking yard, you can take either the bus or the sky-car to go up to the main entrance. I decided to take the sky-car, just for the heck of it. It turned out to be similar (but much more safer, better engineered and steeper) than the one at Malampuzha, Palakkad, Kerala (the only other rope way that I can remember). After reaching the main entrance, I spend some time trying to understand what the heck I am about to do. To help address this vexing problem, they give out free maps of the zoo at the information centre.

 

After orienting myself and getting a hang of the important events of the day, I decided to bite the bullet and start walking. I was thrilled to find that there were quite a few things lined up for me. I just needed to walk to ensure that I manage to reach the vantage points. It started with the fabulous Bird Show at the noon, followed by the talk by the Elephant Keeper, and then the fabulous Seal Show, followed by the Penguin Keeper talk, followed by a trip to the missed out parts of the zoo, and I managed to round it off in style with an encounter with the kangaroos!

 

All in all it was a great experience. It is a must-visit place if you are at Sydney, and it is better to ensure you are there at the zoo by 9am and leaving by 5pm (if you really really want to soak it all in and really enjoy it). I reached by 11am and so I had to sacrifice a bit of it by either skipping a few things (like the Koala keeper talk at 330 pm) or hastily rushing through some of the sections (Orang-utang and birds).

 

This was one day when I cursed my decision of not having purchased my dream T series Sony Cybershot digital camera before coming here (I purchased a Sony Vaio laptop instead..so what does that leave me? stupid?). Some of the shots from the zoo trip are nowhere near as good as I want them to be (another way of saying “bad”) and so bear with me here. But some of the pix are really good. I took more than 400 snaps (yes, using that stupid camera phone on a single charge) and I have discarded more than half of them for the upload.

 

As usual, the link to the pix follows:

 

The Hyde Park and St Mary’s Cathedral

The Harbour Bridge Cahill Walk

Trip to Broadway 

The Taronga Zoo

 

Oh, and we had to shift to another Meriton Apartment at the nearby Danks street (since we were late in trying to extend the room booking at the Potter Street Meriton) and here are some random shots from Week 10 at Sydney. Plus, we managed to find a solution to another vexing problem we had — we were eating curd rice and carrot curry out of sheer laziness everyday at work. We, during the course of the last two weeks, discovered the Maharaja Indian Food Court at The Galleries Victoria, near our place of work. It is a 10 min walk, but this is one walk we don’t want to miss out on, every day these days :). We also had the xmas party at work, at the beautiful L’Aqua Restaurant on the Cockle Bay Wharf, on the Darling Harbour.

 

Random snaps from Week 10

Xmas-party at work

Written by Proto

December 14, 2008 at 18:21 hrs