Category Archives: Sydney

More Chinese New Year Superstitions

Bad luck Chinese New Year Superstitions:
Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck amongst some Chinese. The word “shoes” is a homophone for the word for “rough” in Cantonese, or “evil” in Mandarin.

I am not planning on buying a pair of shoes since I just got a new pair of “red” boots while in Australia. I ordered them while I was there and just received them. Red symbolizes flames, which will scare the evil away. Traditionally, people wore red shoes, but today it is underwear.

P1000179I am all set to scare away the evil spirits.

The Nian monster tells the story of the origin of the festival. The fearsome Nianshou is a mythical beast who has a taste for human flesh. Nian, also a homonym for “year”, used to roam wild at the start of spring, terrorizing villages and devouring townsfolk. (Reminds me of the story of Abiyoyo) One year, an old man fought off the creature with firecrackers, loud drums, bright lights and red banners. That old man set the CNY stage for a millennia to come.

I am ready to jump into the tradition, with my new red boots, will have to buy some red clothes, watch some fireworks, and embrace 15 days of the loudest, wildest cultural festival on Earth. I don’t know if it can get as loud as it was in Changzhi when the guards were setting off what seemed to be sticks of dynamite (huge huge firecrackers) at 7:00 in the morning. Will let you know.

No more slimy flowers!

While in Sydney Australia, Mark and I were able to do some shopping for items made in Australia.

I fell in love with this flower vase.

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It is made of Australian sandstone with a chromed metal stand.

WHAT IS SANDSTONE

Sandstone is a sendimentary rock composed of mineral and rock grains (quartz and feldspar). The sedimentation process takes many millions of years (over 500). The sand becomes sandstone when it is cemented by the precipitation of minerals between the sand grains. These cementing materials are silica and calcium carbonate.

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You just put a little water in the stainless holder and the stems are held in place with the circular holder. Voila! no slimy stems.

The only difficult part with bringing it home, was that sandstone is not light weight.  It was worth the sore shoulder.

Some of my favorite pics from the trip

I just received some pictures from one of Mark’s colleagues that were taken of the both of us on the trip.

J and M in-front of the Olympic Stadium in Sydney.

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J and M eating kangaroo meat.

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M and J at Ron’s house in Perth eating the most delicious Australian beef steak.

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My favorite of Mark and I inside the Sydney Opera House (where photos were not suppose to be taken).

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We visited a dog cemetery.

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J and M walking in Sydney.

P1030155Goodbye to Australia and New Zealand.

We bought a Didgeridoo!

Today we purchased a wonderful souvenir of Australia.

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10 DIDGERIDOO FACTS
1. Possibly the world’s oldest musical instrument
2. A wind instrument originally found in Arnhem Land, Northern Australia.
3. Is made from limbs and tree trunks hollowed out by termites (insects).
4. Is cut to an average length of 1.3 metres and cleaned out with a stick. or hot coals.
5. Was used as an accompaniment to chants and songs.
6. Produces a low-pitch, resonant sound with complex rhythmic patterns.
7. In sure tribal groups only played by men but in most groups by men, women and children.
8. Traditional various forms at the didjeridoo where found in Central Australia around Alice Springs.
9. The Didgeridoo is the sound of Australia.
10.If the earth had a voice it would be the sound of the Didgeridoo.

http://www.littlejoanie.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/digeredoo-video.flv Mark purchased a CD of their music, so now we know what he will be practicing in his spare time.

Before I left Sydney my tour guide Dan took me to a beautiful spot where the ocean  feeds into Sydney harbor , called Watson Bay.

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Next on the trip a 4 hour flight to Western Australia, so Mark can visit his old boss from China, and I can visit with a cousin who I haven’t seen in over 43 years!!

Yummy Australian Food

Mark and I have enjoyed some delicious food while in Australia.

the works burger, with eggs, bacon, and beets….

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meat pie with mashed potatoes and mashed peas on top

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the potato pie was delicious

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just had to try these, not as good as my cheese puffs

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quite tasty!

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Along with delicious seafood we quite enjoyed the food.

Australian animals

The animal park was small and well taken care of, and the weather was cool so pleasant walking around.

Wombats are Australian marsupials; they are short-legged, muscular quadrupeds, approximately 1 metre (39 in) in length with a very short tail. They are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia and Tasmania. The name wombat comes from the Eora Aboriginal community who were the original inhabitants of the Sydney area.

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The kangaroos (mostly young) were cute.

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This little guy just wanted to get out so I had to chase him around.

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albino kangaroos

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The picture of the dingos did not turn out so I will tell you they were off white dogs. The major difference from a dog is that they don’t bark.

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He was enjoying the warm sun.
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The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae now found in the wild only in the Australian island state of Tasmania. The size of a small dog, the Tasmanian devil is the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world after the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. It is characterized by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour when stressed, extremely loud and disturbing screech, and ferocity when feeding. It is known to both hunt prey and scavenge carrion and although it is usually solitary, it sometimes eats with other devils.

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This guy didn’t look to scary.

An albino peacock! A first for me.

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Look at that cute Koala

Today we visited the Featherdale Wildlife Park and were able to walk amongst the animals native to Australia.

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The Koala’s were the cutest!!

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They are just so cute to watch eating those eucalyptus leaves.

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Have lots more different animals pics, but will have to wait as I am exhausted tonight.

The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House EntranceThe Sydney Opera House has become, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney’s best-known landmark and international symbol.

The base for the building was started in 1959 – years before the designs were finished. It took four years to design by Danish architect Jorn Utzon and by 1962 the designs were finalized and construction began. In total it took 14 years to build and was officially opened on the 20th of October 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Utzon’s radical ‘sails’ design stretched engineering knowledge to the limit and imposed some unfortunate limitations on its functions, largely because the government insisted it house four halls, not two as he had planned originally. It cannot, for instance, house a grand opera because its opera stage is too small.

The Sydney Opera House is nonetheless a fascinating building and heart of the city’s cultural scene. It opened with a concert hall, an opera theatre, a drama theatre and a recital hall, as well as restaurants and bars. A fifth theatre was added within the structure in 1998.

We had a great time touring the Opera House this afternoon. The original budget was set at 7 million but in the end it cost over 120 million. It was a very interesting tour as Mark and I were with a group of 30 Chinese visitors, so the tour was in Chinese, with the occasional English translation. The first thing she mentioned was that no pictures were allowed inside!!!! after seeing many many flashes, I figured I could sneak in a few.

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inside of building

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looking  out over the bay

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The coolest show was in front of the theater. A man did a theatrical dance with an excavator. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

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Sorry the movie is so shaky as I was trying to film and hang onto my new hat.

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Mark and I had a great time shopping this morning at a local outdoor market where everything was made in Australia.

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I just couldn’t resist a crunch-able hat to pack around with me.

We went for a drive to the beautiful Bondi Beach

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Lots of brave people to dare the cold water to surf.

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Beautiful kites filled the air

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For dinner we went to a local pub to try their specialties,

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I had to try the kangaroo steak

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A little too gamey and strong for me. Winston and Qi Bo loved the meat pie.

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Made it to Sydney

Mark and I arrived in Sydney this morning after flying all night. Unfortunately the weather was very foggy so the plane was diverted to Melbourne where we sat for 90 minutes while we waited for the fog to lift and  the plane was refueled. Just gave me more time to sleep so when we arrived at 10:00 I was pretty well rested for a day of sightseeing.

Sunny in the afternoon, slight rain at dinner, and cool this evening.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

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Opera House

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View from our window

A seafood dinner at Darling Harbor

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In the morning we will join up with the rest of our group of 10 Chinese men.