June 01, 2008

Sydney Wonders

I was planning to make the 45 minutes trip to work blog post. It would complement my Singapore and Auckland work trips nicely (Sydney is just SO different from those 2 places!), but I never got around to taking pictures all the way through the trip, so here's just a beginning, this is our Wollstonecraft train station. The platform is of an interesting curved shape (our house is actually surrounded by the train line!), so you can't see the other end of the train on that platform! Never thought that I'd appreciate public transport so much as I do here in Sydney. Trains are pretty old, tired and slow and they don't go too often after the rush hour, but I just love them for being there at all! Lots of Sydneysiders whinge how bad the service is, but I guess, everything is a matter of perspective... And ANYTHING is better that Auckland trains... :) These are electric, for one...

We still go surfing almost every weekend and the weather has been mostly pretty great (just read in the paper that we had "the driest May in 150 years"! The "est" again, but I'm not complaining this time, its been lovely!) All hopes for a year round beach season! It is quite unbelievable that you get conditions like this in the built up and very populated city beaches of the Eastern suburbs here. Last Friday humpback whales traveling up North decided to pop by and visit the Sydney Harbour. People could see them from Manly wharf on their way to work! Seriously, is there another city in the world where you could find this kind of amazing nature, beautiful beaches, whales and dolphins circling around while still having exciting city life, exhibitions, film festivals, etc?!?!

Palm Beach has become our favorite beach now, it has a very nice mellow wave and now that the summer is over (and the circus of tourist pilgrimage to Home and Away site has almost stopped), it has a very nice quaint feel to it.

We have discovered Bikram Yoga as our possible winter time hobby. It is yoga that you do in a room heated up to +40C degrees. During the first 10 minutes you find sweat pouring down your body and soaking the yoga mat, who would have ever thought that so much water could be lost in 1 1/2 hours without serious (fatal?) consequences?! Right now it is about the only place around here that is truly warm (except the bed with electric blanket cranked up to max!)

Posted by gkligyte at 05:25 PM | Comments (223)

May 10, 2008

Glorious Autumn

Ok, it looks like Sydney autumn is not too terrible. We still enjoy sun and temperatures above 20C during the day, although nights and mornings are pretty crisp. Some trees changed colour and dropped the leaves, while others look as green as ever... We're counting days till winter solstice (about a month and a half to go!). Darkness comes too early and evenings are too long and too dark... :(

My work is going great, I just finished one major project last Friday and it all went quite well. I got a few pats on the back and it looks like I'm finally settling in at work, as well as at our substandard home. I can't bring myself to cook in our house though! Sydney is so full of restaurants, heaps of places even deliver food to your doorstep... Too easy to make eating out a habit!

We still go surfing every weekend. Last weekend I managed to mess up my wrist when pulling back the surfboard leash. My arm is of an interesting deformed shape now , but it didn't prevent me from getting back into water today though!!! (that is a bit of a bummer otherwise, I was hoping to start my aikido training next week...). We saw a school of big(gish) fish swimming around in the waves followed by dolphins (!!) while we were sitting on our boards. It was incredible to see those huge creatures jumping out of the water just a hundred of meters (or so) away from us! It generated a bit uncomfortable chain of thought in my head: fish -> food -> dolphins found it -> what else might be interested in it? Yeah, you're right, whenever there's fish around, sharks may be interested in dropping by closer to the beach too. Most of shark attacks occur in this way: they come after fish and get tempted by something juicier. There was a story of yet another shark attack in South Australia today - a guy swimming with fish and dolphins, got nibbled by a 5m white pointer shark... argh... its best not to think of these things while you're out there....

In any case, sore wrist didn't prevent me from starting singing last week and I'm contemplating the idea of joining a mass volunteer choir (450+ people) that Sydney Philharmonia Choir recruits every year to sing Handel's Messiah at Christmas. It is a pretty cool idea and in general these choirs are quite inclusive, there are heaps of pathways for you to go and join all kinds of singing (I'm still pondering on the idea of singing Carmina Burana in June). Their website also answers questions such as "What should I wear to concert?", "When should I clap?", "What about other noises - coughing, cell phones, pagers?", it aligns nicely with the Australian ways - not snobbish or elitist at all (= lack of culture and sophistication?)!!! Love it!

I was telling Kaj that after a long(ish) time I don't feel stuck. Opportunities abound!

Posted by gkligyte at 07:13 PM | Comments (205)

April 27, 2008


After 2 long weeks of endless rain we finally got some respite! 2 full days of sunny balmy weather!!! I can't describe how much I missed the sun, we went surfing both of the days and I was soaking the sun in while lying on the board... It felt fantastic! They blame El Niño (or La Niña) for the rain, apparently we had a very "unusual" summer this year... I wish we'd have more "usual" weather in places where we live: apparently the first winter we were in NZ was the longest and coldest in 35 years, now we're having the coldest and rainiest summer in Australia in 10 years, and so it goes... Ummm... Normal weather would be fine thank you very much...

Things are really settling, it feels like we've been here forever (and its just over a month since we moved to our current place!!!) So the novelty of work-home routine (that I dreamed about while going through cockroach infested madness of apartment hunting) started wearing off by now. I'm thinking of starting aikido again and singing, possibly. Sydney is fantastic in that way, I can choose from tens, if not hundreds of dojos (aikido clubs) around the city and at any given time there might be a couple of movie festivals, tens of theatre plays, exhibitions, festivals and all sorts of other interesting things going on. And things are easy to do and reach. Going from place to place in Auckland was difficult. You wouldn't want to go to the city at night, because there would be no buses (or if there would be, they would be scary) and you wouldn't want to drive, because you'd struggle to find a parking place. So obviously it would be much easier to stay at home and watch Desperate Housewives... While here you can just hop on the train and it would instantly take you most places you want to go. Fast (kinda) and safe (almost).

When I take the train over the Harbour Bridge in the morning, I can't quite believe that I actually live here.. My first encounter with an idea of what life might be in Australia was the Paradise Beach TV soap (that was even before Home and Away). It was full of those incredibly good looking kids having the time of their lives. Like, seriously. It didn't quite fit in my head then (and I guess for a reason, the show was incredibly bad, no one could really act there!), but I guess I still expect that life is somewhat like that (for other people that are, like, mostly models). Kimberly Joseph in Paradise Beach summed up the Australian woman for me then, she was, like, totally cool. From what I've seen so far, the Australian reality bears only slight resemblance to that soap though... :)

Posted by gkligyte at 07:19 PM | Comments (5)