Doesn't it feel upside down in the Down Under?

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Oceania » Australia
September 20th 2007
Published: September 24th 2007
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Dusk in SydneyDusk in SydneyDusk in Sydney

An Sydney icon from the Botanic Garden.
Monday, September 17th, 2007 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sydney, Australia. The name of the city conjures up many world known landmarks located in the area - Sydney Opera House, the coat hanger Harbour Bridge, and Bondi Beach, to name a few. And some tanned Australians wandering around in their funny hat saying, ‘G’day’. Surprisingly, the more I read about Sydney, the more I realized that I had scratched only the surface of this bustling modern city.

Sydney’s rapid expansion has only started in the past fifty years, with claiming to be the biggest city in Australia with 4.2 million residents by passing the archrival Melbourne’s population of 3.8 million just about a decade ago.

Our flight from Queenstown, New Zealand via Auckland brought us to the Kingsford Smith’s Sydney International Airport last night. From what I’ve read, Australia has one of the most stringent Custom and Border Patrols in the world for items brought into the country, therefore I had to think twice and finally gave up my sweet New Zealander cheese and nuts I had intended to save up for later.

But soon I forgot about the whole ordeal with Kiwi stinky cheese.
Roll of HonourRoll of HonourRoll of Honour

Australia War Memorial - Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

We started our Australian experience at the Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD (City Business District - downtown), where lots of yuppies work and congregate. From the looks of it, the city seemed to be a relatively younger community; it was a Monday morning in Australia, and the place was bustling with professionals carry on with their busy schedules. Lunchtime at the Martin Place was a show by itself, while many had their brown bags and flocked on the car free road, sitting on steps and eats while meeting up with some friends and people watching. Others decided to change their suits and dress shirt into some running gear and had some quick exercise around the high-rise of Sydney.

In 1956, a world wide design competition was announced to propose a new venue building for opera in Sydney, and a Danish architect named Jørn Utzon won the challenge and was hired to design the iconic Sydney Opera House. If it was amazing to see the Opera House in pictures, the experience of seeing it in person was very rewarding. As our lady guide mentioned during our tour, it is ‘a miracle of engineering and architecture’ - the intricate design of
A sleeping koalaA sleeping koalaA sleeping koala

Cuddly koala, which is in marsupial family (and definitely not a bear!). Sydney Wildlife World, Darling Harbour.
arches are covered with 1,056,006 Swedish tiles (‘the six come free with the one million tiles purchase’, exclaimed our tour guide lady) and thick French glass. But my favorite part of the complex was the monumental staircase that connects the three parts of Opera House to the main island, which brought up the Opera House as the same quality of climbing the ancient Mayan temples in Central America.

The Sydney Opera House tour was enjoyable despite of the overpriced admission fee. We learned many facts around the Opera House, including the famous fundraising lottery, kidnapping event of the lottery winner, and we visited the two main concert halls where famous singers like Lucianno Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli and Duke Elington had performed before (including the 1981's body sculpture world champion Arnold Schwarzenegger was announced to the public).

The most recent APEC Business Summit left a bitter taste for Sydney. It was concluded one week prior to our visit to Australia at the Sydney Opera House (we could not be thankful enough for the fact, otherwise we would have not been able to go anywhere around town due to heavy security measurement). From what I’ve heard, Sydney became a dead zone during the event; visitors were advised not to plan a trip Sydney and all businesses were encouraged not to operate during the Summit.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your introduction. Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit.

--George W. Bush, addressing Australian Prime Minister John Howard at the APEC Summit, Sept. 7, 2007
(‘OPEC’ is Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries of which Australia is not part of. ‘APEC’ is Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation of which the summit in Sydney.)

As John Howard accurately noted when he went to thank the Austrian troops there last year...

--George W. Bush, referring to Australian troops as "Austrian troops," APEC Business Summit, Sept. 7, 2007

Now I wonder why Australians were so bitter about the APEC Conference in general and the United States of America in particular.

The two Sydney landmarks of Opera House and Harbour Bridge were best observed from the Sydney Botanic Garden in the Sydney Harbour, and sitting at the Mrs Macquaries Point at dusk overlooking the harbor was spectacular.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A 12k running in Centennial Park in the morning was a good start for our day. We stayed over my high school mate Vivi in Randwick, about 20 minutes bus ride to the City Center. Suburb of Randwick is famous for
Business lunch in SydneyBusiness lunch in SydneyBusiness lunch in Sydney

A typical bustling Martin Place, Sydney lunchtime, full with yuppies.
its 'Royal Randwick', a famous equestrian venue where some of the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics took place.

Everybody was talking about current events of a Thai plane crash in Phuket, and a little 3 year old girl nicknamed Pumpkin who was stranded in a Melbourne train station. The news was talking about the two matters, along with the World Cup 2007 Rugby Championship in France, which is quite interesting.

Australia's first European landing was established in the Rocks in Sydney, and nowadays this area becomes a hot spot for tourists who look for a tour book 'authentic Sydney', which consists of many souvenir shops, a tourist information center, and many pubs and restaurants. We found several didgeridoo (an Aboriginal musical instrument) here, along with dotted paintings and some koala beanies made in China.

What would be Australia without any koala sightings? We saw these cuddly creatures at the Wildlife World Sydney, the newly established place in Darling Harbour to experience ‘native Australian animals in their natural habitat’. Wildlife World Sydney is absolutely interesting, it was obviously a rewarding experience to observe platypus, reptiles, wombats, wallabies and even some ‘creepy crawlies’, thankfully were behind glass wall.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007 - Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Canberra is derived from an Aboriginal word 'Kamberra' meaning 'a meeting place', a suitable word for Australia's Nation Capital. In 1911, when the Australian government decided to relocate their governmental center away from Sydney, an American architect Walter Burley Griffin planned the city according to the nation's needs, thus the city was born. Situated between archrivals Melbourne and Sydney, Canberra is thought to be a boring city by many Australians; notably Prime Minister's mansion is located in Sydney, and he has to fly in and out every single day to the office.

Three and a half hour coach ride later, we arrived in the capital city of Australia.

Local's nickname, according to LonelyPlanet, is 'Pubes' as for 'public servants' of the country. Interestingly enough, we were not impressed with the city at all, probably due to our bad experience of miscalculating the long distance between places and our mistakes of not hiring a taxi instead of walking from one place to another. So the only two places we visited was the Australian War Memorial and the new Parliament House.

Canberra feels like a 'Washington, D.C. wanna-be',
Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Ryan and I are standing in front of iconic Sydney landmark.
which tries to imitate the U.S. capital city's grand design with long roads and monumental memorials, but unfortunately it is way behind the original design. Not so many people, including the Australians were spotted in the whole city, unlike the U.S. counterpart.

After our three and a half hour coach ride back to Sydney, my good high school friend Jenni was meeting us up at the Central Station, and we headed to have a dinner at the Newtown. It was definitely interesting to reconnect with good friends, as the last time we've seen each other was in 2000. Lots to catch up!

Thursday, September 20th, 2007 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

What started to be a raining day turned out to be a whole day event. Well I suppose there are good days, there are bad days.

North Sydney Olympic Pool is located in Milsons Point, right on the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Down UnderDown Under
Down Under

I feel the effect of being in the Down Under. Yipee ...
Aboriginal artAboriginal art
Aboriginal art

Kangaroo in an Aboriginal painting. Sydney Wildlife World, Darling Harbour.
Captain Cook Memorial Water JetCaptain Cook Memorial Water Jet
Captain Cook Memorial Water Jet

At Lake Burley Griffin - Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
New Parliament HouseNew Parliament House
New Parliament House

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
A kangarooA kangaroo
A kangaroo

A typical Aboriginal art for tourists.
Kangaroo and emuKangaroo and emu
Kangaroo and emu

Australia's national emblem: kangaroos and emus are the two native Australian species which can not move backwards, therefore are the perfect choice for a nation's
Fish, anyone?Fish, anyone?
Fish, anyone?

Some native fishes to sell at the Sydney Fish Market, Darling Harbour.
North Sydney Olympic PoolNorth Sydney Olympic Pool
North Sydney Olympic Pool

A good refreshing while working out under the iconic Sydney landmark.
Kangaroo meatKangaroo meat
Kangaroo meat

Ryan is eating our meal, which consists of Pepper Kangaroo and BBQ Emu. the Australian - a heritage hotel, The Rocks, Sydney.
Sydney Harbour BridgeSydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

A coat hanger shaped bridge: has been connecting north and south Sydney for more than 70 years.
Piece of artPiece of art
Piece of art

Detail of Sydney Opera House at night.
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Art on display

Sydney Opera House at night.

24th September 2007

Nice pictures, glad you are having a good time.

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