The Big 3-0

Sorry for being away for so long. I have been too tired and busy during Ramadan to do any blogging. But I’m back!

I celebrated my 30th birthday halfway through September. One of my colleagues drew a birthday cake on the whiteboard and they sang me a birthday song. They wanted to get me a cake but I was fasting. It had to be a pretend cake. It was a very nice surprise nonetheless!

In the evening, Richard and I went to a nice Italian restaurant at Ettalong Beach and watched Mummy 3 afterwards. The food was delicious and the movie was super corny. The special effects were cool as usual and overall, it was easy to watch and entertaining. Not as good as the first one of course but you’ll get a few laughs.

I'm 30!
And in the last minute, we booked a 5-star hotel room on Friday night and spent Saturday in Sydney. We stayed at the Sir Stamford Hotel in Circular Quay. It was a nice, very large room with an equally large marbled bathroom. Despite being surrounded by grandeur, I didn’t really enjoy the room. The way the room was arranged just didn’t feel right. Maybe it was too old fashioned for my taste.

Botanic Gardens
But I must say that I had the absolute best time in Sydney on Saturday. It was warm and the sky was clear and so very blue. I haven’t done the tourist thing around Circular Quay so I enjoyed the experience thoroughly. I absolutely LOVE the Royal Botanic Gardens. You just can’t beat walking in a beautiful garden with that kind of waterview. It was almost pornographic!

An unusual sight in the garden was the bats. There were hundreds of them in the bare trees! They were loud and still quite active in the hot, blazing sun.
Bats in Botanic Gardens

We did so much walking that day. By the time we walked all the way around to the Harbour Bridge, we were both so exhausted. We laid on the grass watching people and boats pass by. Richard, eventually fell asleep so I occupied myself with a little photography. These are some of my favourite photos from the mini shoot.
Richard's Hands
Harbour Bridge
Wedding Photography

The whole day I was trying to get a good photo of the Harbour Bridge. It was too bright and glary and there was always something in the way. I gave up and we took our luggage from the hotel and headed home. We were sitting on the platform of the train station and you wouldn’t believe it. I turned around and I saw this -
Sunsetting over the Harbour Bridge
Pretty freaking awesome! :D

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Chinese New Year in Sydney

Sydney celebrated the Year of the Rat with a fantastic parade and concert last Sunday. Besides the local Chinese community, performers from the Shaanxi Province (China) entertained the thousands of spectators with their colourful costumes, dance and music.
Multi-racial Performers

I was blown away by the attendance of Sydney-siders who came to watch this special event. It was truly a multi-racial and very diverse day. Men, women, young and old, Asians, Caucasians and even cross-dressers were part of the parade!
Lab Rats Cross-Dressing Stilt Walkers

We couldn’t get a good position for the parade so we decided to get a good spot at Tumbalong Park where they were holding the concert. I’m so glad we went there early! We had just set down the picnic rug when the performers started strolling into the park. Dancers, stilt walkers, drummers and everyone else involved in the parade were there walking right past us!
Great Warrior Dancers

The concert started but not without dramas. The ground was still slightly muddy from the recent rain and several ill-prepared elderly individuals were running up and diving for sheets of newspapers that were left behind by other spectators who decided to leave early.

And with the sun out, many had their umbrellas open. A family in front of us used a large golf umbrella to protect their children from the heat, which angered many people behind them who could not see past their umbrella. One particular woman decided to take matters into her own umbrella-wielding hands. She walked up to the family and fiercely pulled their umbrella down. Several angry words were exchanged with the mother not relenting. The angry woman then smacked the top of the golf umbrella with her own foldable umbrella and stormed off, cursing under her breath.

Despite the actions of a few ugly people, the concert was impressive! The dancers were really professional and their costumes were just emaculate. All in all, we had a really good time.
Tagerine Dancers Happy Blue Men
Click here for more Chinese New Year photos

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Happy 24th, James!

James, my brother-in-law, turned 24 today and Mum invited us over for lunch. And as usual, the two brothers goofed off. I just love their sense of humour!
Bandana Brothers
Rockclimbing Book Miss Richard?

And you can’t have a birthday without good food, especially homemade luminous green ones!
James & Mum James With His Almost Vertical Cake

I chipped in and made almond agar dessert with fruit salad. I used a packet of agar mix and it was ready to eat in one hour! I didn’t used to like the strong flavour of almond agar but I really got into this!
Almond Agar with Fruit Salad
Click here for more birthday photos

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Australia Day 2008 @ Woy Woy

We walked to the waterfront last night to check out the Australia Day celebrations and boy, were we glad we did! I had a really good time watching the live band perform and they really set the mood for the entire night.
Main Stage

This is a short video of the ’5 Lands Band’ who performed. They gave me goosebumps! They were THAT good! Such an electrifying performance!

Lantern-making classes were held all week and the handmade lanterns were proudly marched down Brickwharf Road. Such a beautiful display of creativity!
Lantern Procession Lantern Procession

And of course, the fireworks!
Fireworks Fireworks
Click here for more Australia Day 2008 photos

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Aussie Upside Down Cake

I woke up this morning feeling like wanting to bake something for Australia Day and after much pondering, I decided to bake Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I haven’t made this since I was about thirteen years old! I’ll be thirty this year. It’s definitely been a looonnggg time. Well, the cake turned out picture perfect and oh, so sweet!

I’ve even used green cherries to go with the golden pineapples. Very Aussie! Haha…
Pineapple Upside Down Cake Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Recipe from ‘Aussie Cooking’ website
Tip: Don’t use SpringForm cake tins as the topping will seep out when baking.

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