Sunday, 28 June 2015

Australia, Melbourne (Street Art + 1 Cafe)

My walk in Melbourne city gets more and more interesting each time I took a different route. I like the buildings in Melbourne. There's an eclectic mix of Victorian, neo-classical and corporate modern architecture. Well, I'm not an expert in architecture but I'm slowly learning to identify and appreciate most of the building structures that I came across. 

The Theosophical Society caught my eyes here. It would be great to hear the perspectives of the theosophical society on spiritual development and the nature of God. I guess I've often heard from people who claimed to be atheists; it could be a pain talking to them whenever you get around the subject of a supreme being. 

Having said this, I don't have anything against atheist. In fact, I know quite a number of atheists and also those in between because you don't really know whether they have a religion or not.

Interesting find here. I would like to get my hands on those rare books. Does it mean that I have to wear gloves to handle the books? I didn't manage to enter the shop though as it was not opened yet at that time. 

We came across the public toilets along Collins Street. They may look common but I find them pretty interesting.

That's the LV building across the street, surrounded by many high rise office buildings. It's a strategic location, a living magnet to the executives working in those big corporations.

This structure at Hosier Lane intrigued me. Is what I'm seeing a minaret? But there's no sign of a mosque. Hmm.

I enjoyed admiring the graffiti in this lane. The lane has the best graffiti as compared to other areas in Melbourne. 

What's interesting about the street art in Melbourne is that the artwork will change continually. Today, you'll see an artwork, the next time you come around, it will be a different artwork. This is to say that the art scene here is so cool and very much 'alive'!! 

We saw some street artists working while we visited some of the lanes. The newly painted wall smelled of fresh paint and we had to be careful when we walk through so as not to step over on the paint buckets and brushes. 

A werewolf is best kept behind bars. I wonder how the artists put this painting behind the bars. 

I love the monster photo. Is the monster a cartoon character?

Another form of art work. This time, with shoes hanging above us on a tightrope.

We also visited the street arts at Stevenson Lane. 

What's unique about Stevenson Lane is that you get to see the paintings of Ned Kelly. This is the only lane that features Ned Kelly.

We had done a lot of walking, so we decided to take a rest at the Emporium and had some tea. Yeay!! I've been blogging about cafe-hopping lately and I wanted to hop cafes in Melbourne. Well, I ended up visiting only one due to the limited time I had. Huhu... I'm still feeling blue over this.

So here we were... at the Tea Salon!! A very nice place.

They have really pretty teacups in the house. I wish I have one like this. The decoration was very princess-like and the service was the best I had ever experienced. I was in good-spirit when I left Tea Salon, and was ready for more fun and adventure.

There was a variety of scones from the display. I love mine and dipping it with cheddar makes it even tastier. I finished off my scone with an equally tasty Turkish Apple Rose Tea. It was one, satisfying meal. Besides scones, there were also cakes and sandwiches, but I didn't get to try those.

In the evening, we went to witness some activities at the Federation Square. This place is so vibrant because there's always something happening here each night.

We joined a large crowd to watch a presentation by a group of environmental activists. They created an awareness on industrial pollution that had caused damage to the Great Barrier Reef. There was also a petition going around to halt all industrial developmental activity in the Great Barrier Reef. 

This is an eye-opener to me because it is the first time I see activists politicizing their mission in a public space. To me, they are very creative and admirable.



This was another artwork display in the Federation Square, known as the Molecules of Light. It's an award winning art work by UK Artist, Chris Levine, in commemoration to the International Year of Light. 

The artist used laser light to "create a sense of infinite and ever-changing nature in life" (quoted from a webpage). This sounded kind of alien to me and I guessed I'm not that philosophical to comprehend what it meant. Boo... to me.

The laser effect was programmed in a 1-hr cycle by the artist, so I waited for the laser to come around and wow!! The effect was stunning. Laser lights is so powerful. When I pondered more about laser lights, I begun to see the artist's connection with how laser lights has grown to have so many functions in our lives. 

Laser lights could either be used to benefit or destroy usIt depends on how you want to use it, just like nuclear energy. There are many benefits of laser light such as in medical surgery and industrial engineering. So is this why the artist was so fascinated with this light?? 

I'll end my post with this night view picture of the Flinders Street Station and The St Paul Church. Ciao.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Australia, Melbourne (Sightseeing & Food)

Walking in Melbourne is such an enjoyment because I get to feel more about the place and have a closer up view on things that interest me.

Well, we did a lot of walking in Melbourne. Imagine walking on a treadmill non-stop. It surprise me that my feet didn't hurt at all. 

A random photo of fallen leaves at Domain Parklands. I'm not sure what are the names of the trees that were planted in the park, but these trees were planted in memory of a specific military unit or association, who had either lost their lives in the war or on a peacekeeping mission. 

The park is a really peaceful place to be. At the heart of the park is the Shrine of Remembrance, where solemn ceremonies are conducted.

We walked to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is just across the road. The Botanic Gardens is opened at 7.30 am every day of the year and closed at dusk. Visiting the Botanic Gardens is a must because Melbourne has one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. The gardens makes me feel relaxed, but somehow I feel like I've not gotten enough of it. To put it simply, I don't have enough dosage of flowers yet. 

I guess to really enjoy and appreciate the different species of plants there is to really go on your own. In that way, you can just spend as long as you want and photograph anything that catch your interest. 

A painter was seen painting at the Botanic Gardens. She's so kind to allow me to photograph her.

I had signed up for the Aboriginal Heritage Walk at the Botanic Gardens 2 days ago and it looked very promising. Got to learn about the Aborigines when visiting Australia because they are the natives to this land. And technically, we're in the Kulin Nation, where the Boonwurrung and Wolwurrung live for countless generations.

We went through a smoking ceremony, which is a ritual to welcome guests into the community. And within the first few minutes of the session, I could grasp that the aborigines are truly, very spiritual people who understand and form deep and intimate connection with the land. 

The aborigines are environmentally savvy who make use of what's in their environment for food, medicine, tools, and rituals. Plus, they know every bit of the plants such as which parts can be used for different purposes and which parts are poisonous.

Here, 3 types of leaves were used in the smoking ceremony: the Cherry Ballart, the River Red Gum and the Wattle. 

We found a fallen tree in the park. So that's how it looks like from underneath the trunk. Many of the trees at the botanical gardens are very old; but they are taken care of very well even though their surroundings keep on undergoing many changes.

At the end of the session, the guide showed us the aboriginal map of Australia and its flag. There are actually so many different clans of aborigines and they speak in different dialects too! It's pretty amazing to me. There was a family from New Zealand who was also part of the tour group and they too talked about the Maori heritage there. What I realised is that the aborigines have a very strong sense of belonging because they love to start their sentences with 'My people... '. 

It was the same for the New Zealanders and they too shared how they had undergone a much easier time as Maori because it seems that the Maoris were an accepted group in New Zealand. They were assimilated into the community and their aboriginal heritage were retained and promoted as part of the New Zealand cultural heritage.

We're back on the streets of Melbourne. In the background is the famous Flinders Street Station. I bought some Spanish doughnuts because I was hungry.

I love churros, but then again I love anything that has custard and chocolates. Besides churros, I find that Asian food is everywhere in Melbourne. It is so easy to get your fix on Asian dish if you miss home cooked food. From the photos that I have gathered, I suddenly came to a realisation that we had been eating Asian food most of our time while we were in Melbourne!

We ate all these in Melbourne. Nasi Lemak with Crab and Curry Laksa with fish at the Laksa Bar. We also had vegetable spring roll and iced teh tarik there. 

On one of the days, we also dined at Killiney, where there's a wide range of Singapore's hawker food. Most of the patrons were Singaporeans; I was thinking are we all home-sick? Well, I'm not but I loved the taste of familiar food.

Here were our fried hokkien noodles and fried kway teow noodles.

You know how Singaporeans prided about being multi-racial and multi-cultural. So we already had Malay and Chinese food, now it's time for Indian food. We had Indian bread and chicken curry at Desi Dhaba. 

That's it for now. This is such a long post.

More posts coming up soon on my trip in Melbourne.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Australia, Melbourne Sightseeing

It's 9 am in the morning, approximately 4 hrs had passed since we landed at the Tullamarine Airport. I'm so excited because we will be heading to the Queen Victoria Market first above all the other list of places we wanted to visit. 

For someone who love food, I absolutely love the idea of getting my hands on a load of fresh and locally produced goods. There was never a dull moment in my life when it comes to shopping for groceries. I'm always walking on air each time I imagine myself having the great ability to cook anything to perfection. Huhu... imagination and reality is not the same though.


I was in a hurry to explore the market, as if it will disappear before me. We entered the seafood section and I wanted to linger and ogle at the attractive display of fishes, prawns, crabs and shellfish, but Jas couldn't stand the fishy smell. 

So for a moment, there goes my broken dream, with cupid wings flying out of the door from where we came in. I lost my imaginary job of being a forager, specialising in seafood.

We moved on to the meat section. All kinds of meat could be found in the market. I've not seen and eaten both kangaroo and rabbit meat before. How do they taste? Eating duck and quail is also rare for me. In fact, I think I only ate duck once and quail twice in my entire life.

There were all kinds of vegetables and they looked gorgeous. In the end, I bought macademia and pistachio nuts, and some grapes. I wanted to buy more but it's already so heavy carrying those things. The souvenirs in the Victoria Market were also much cheaper than anywhere else. 

This was my mode of transportation. Hopping in and off the tram was free because we're in the free tram zone.

Travelling in Melbourne is very easy because it is so well-connected by different modes of transportation. Furthermore, Melbourne has a grid-like layout, which makes reading the map of the city a breeze.

We're in the tram and the ride was smooth and comfortable.

Sometimes, there is a conductor in the tram, who will announce the stop to passengers. If unsure, you can always tell the conductor where you are going and he will direct you to the correct stop.

This is the State Library of Victoria. Its structure looks very Greek to me. It also reminds me of the ancient ruins in Rome, where all the buildings looked similar to this.

I realised that the architecture of many national buildings found in various countries around the world have both Greek and Roman influence. Just take a look at the dome in the library; it's so beautiful.

Photo credits to:

To me, it does look like the Pantheon, the modern version. We're in the library to read on the history of Melbourne and to see Ned Kelly's legendary suit of armour. The armour was the library's special collection but unfortunately for that month, it was loaned out to another museum. I was a bit disappointed.

We went to the Old Melbourne Gaol, which was located nearby to learn more about the lives of Ned Kelly. I was curious to learn why a robber and a murderer had gained so much attention from the Melburnians till today. He had to be someone significant that the library too created a special exhibition about him.

Jas was influenced by me to follow the guided tour and watch a free life performance on the life of Ned Kelly. I guess I wanted to learn as much as possible on what it was like in the olden days, when European settlers arrive in Australia and try to make a living. The story of Ned Kelly gave me an insight of what it was to be an Irish, being poor and looked down by the English. 

My observation tells me that when we discriminate any groups of people and not doing anything to improve the gaps that exist between different social classes, we are not only stunting the growth of that society. We are also impairing the fabrics that hold the society. And Ned Kelly is exactly the product of these. I felt sad that he was executed at such a very young age; he's only 25 years old at that time. 

I was quite moved when I learnt about the story of Ned Kelly and I even took a photo of the spot where he was hung! Gosh!! Now looking at it, the photo looks kind of gruesome and creepy. 

Actually, the entire museum looks creepy too when I was there. For those who wanted the extra dosage of thrill, there are 2 night tours conducted: A Night in the Watch House, which was conducted in the dark and The Hangman's Night Tour. We decided to give these a miss because they were certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Putting the creepiness of the place aside, I still can't imagine how a human being could live in such a confined space. But the guide told us that in the olden days, there were seasonal prisoners who purposely got themselves arrested for petty crimes. 

Women especially, when they were arrested, brought their children along to stay with them in the cell. The prison basically functioned like a temporary shelter. This was also true to pregnant women who chose to give birth in prison because they knew that their healthcare needs and their newborn would be taken care of. It's amazing right how desperation took someone to another level - all in the name of survival.  

That's all for today. Stay tune for more posts on Melbourne city.