Posts Tagged ‘sydney’

Southern Paradise

November 25, 2009

Before leaving Australia, Graham and I were trying to make the most of our time together. We took a quick weekend trip to the Nan Tien temple in Wollongong south of Sydney. It’s the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere and an absolutely beautiful, peaceful place.

Nan Tien Temple known as “Southern Paradise” is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. The temple focuses on the exchange of eastern and western cultures; the interchange of the traditional and the modern; and also the adaptation with the local communities. Not to mention, the nurturing and educating of devotees and the general public. Over the past ten years, Nan Tien Temple has become one of the favourite venue for religious study groups, school excursions and community group outings. Nan Tien Temple offers regular events, such as meditation retreats, excursions, art and craft classes etc. Nan Tien Temple is not only a place of Buddhists attraction in Sydney but also one of the most well known international tourist attractions. It attracts more than a few hundred thousand visitors from all over the world all year round. In addition, it plays an important role of propagating the Buddha Dharma and promoting the exchange and harmonization of the eastern and western cultures as well as all religions.

I’m not a religious person but I do think that religious places are beautiful and I love visiting them. Nan Tien features a number of different temples, each ornately decorated and allow you to give different kinds of offerings. Some had incense, rice, candles or flowers and each offering stood for a aspect of life that could use some cleansing or prosperity.

Nan Tien TempleIn the first temple Graham made a donation, I made a prayer and then received this itty bitty scroll with good advice 🙂 Behind me you can sort of see the statues and decoration but cameras weren’t allowed :/

Nan Tien TempleThe second temple was set up higher than the first and was surrounded by smaller buildings for teaching and seminars. There is a room for learning caligraphy, restaurants and tea rooms. This temple had a big bell and drum (I wanted to hit it so bad!) and had a beautiful view of the mountain side and the Pagoda in the distance.

Nan Tien Temple

This was NOT ALLOWED but I couldnt help it…it was so impressive! Each little light on the was a small recess with a statue of buddha. The lights were lit in prayer. Here you could light a candle in prayer or tie a wish to a small tree. All over the grounds of the temple were lily ponds surrounded by many small buddha statues and each one was very different. Apparently, buddha isn’t one person but rather a name to refer to someone who has reached enlightenment.

Nan Tien Temple

After leaving the temples we climbed a very big and steep hill to ring this gratitude bell. I wasn’t feeling grateful when I got there but it was a beautiful view and a beautiful bell. From there you follow back down the hill to the Pagoda. I was surprised to find that the pagoda is a very tall mausoleum filled with small compartments for ashes. The bottom floor is a temple and each level up has small compartments with brass plates naming those buried there. On the grounds there is also a crematorium.

It was a great trip and I really recommend a go if you’re in the area!


Sculpture by the Sea!

November 12, 2009

Last year I just missed being able to see Sculpture by the Sea, an event held every November on the Sydney coastal walk from Bondi beach to Tamarama.

Submissions are made from tons of artists and the walkway by the water is littered with all different types of artistic expression. Apparently this year had significantly fewer submissions than usual, but I thought it was quite a spectacular exhibit with the ocean in the background! Here are just a few of my favorites…

Sculpture by the sea

These panels of colored plexy glass looked beautiful over lapping on the beach. My house-mate Cindy was a trooper and made it out at sunrise for some beautiful photography of this sculpture.

Sculpture by the seaI loved this horse and rider at the park mid-way on the walk. He is woven completely out of what looks like hay!

Sculpture by the seaThere were a few of these metal wire sculptures near the beginning of the walk. They looked like 3d sketches!

Sculpture by the seaThis was the first thing I saw… and it saw me too! It was a bit creepy but clever use of the space I thought!

If you’re in Sydney, Australia and you have a chance to check out Sculpture by the Sea I highly recommend it. Start out in Tamarama and walk your way along the coast to Bondi Beach. You can catch a bus to anywhere from there!

Aussie Swap…Aussie Flop!

November 11, 2009

I did go to the Aussie swap yesterday, unfortunately it wasn’t a great experience. I have no photos to share because I didn’t have the opportunity, nor the space to whip out my camera.

The idea was a good one! I brought along my three items to swap and though I made pretty good contributions to the event. A keyboard, patten leather shoes (brand new!) and a pair of fossil sunglasses. By trading in your three items, you receive three tokens you can then exchange for other donated items.

There was a lot of decent stuff layed out but because they held off the “shopping” for a count down at 12:30, the crowds grew, the crowds grew angry, sunburned and piled around a few items. People were left to “rock, paper, scissor” fight over a few choice items and if they didn’t win that then good luck finding something else! By then they were already fought for and won.

Had the items been left up for first come first serve then a steady stream of people trickling in, leaving items, and finding their swaps could have given more opportunity to find little treasures without fighting through angry crowds of people.

I fell in love with a wool coat I was quite looking forward to taking back to New York with me this winter and stood by it for 45 minutes getting burned in the sun. In the last minutes before the count down to the swap was called, another swapper came by, put it on and was ready to walk away with it (not understanding the rules). After all my waiting my scissors lost to her rock at the start of the swap and having to walk away from my choice item empty-handed, there was no chance to get through the crowds to even see what else I might like.

I now have an ugly blue and pink sweat shirt that will be someone’s gag gift, a pair of cup cake pyjama pants I can at least cut up and recycle the fabric…and a strange drinking game. I thought it was a light up simon-says type game but as I got it out of the crowd to see what I grabbed I realized the light up contraption was a space to slam down your shot glasses as you race your friends to oblivion.

The best part about the game would be the warnings. This drinking game is not suitable for children under 36 months…because of the small parts! The game is not “intended” for use with alcohol. In addition, while the object is to slam your shot glass down on the electronic game board while heavily intoxicated, the game box warns that slamming too hard will break it!

Unless some major changes are made to the Aussie Swap, I don’t see myself wasting my time at this event again. I’m far better off going to thrift stores and finding my treasures where no one will fight me for them. I had three nice items, now I have three much less than nice items that will find themselves donated soon!

Swap ’till you Drop

November 8, 2009

Attention Sydney!

Along with Planet Ark, Sydney will be celebrating National Recycling week by holding the Big Aussie Swap.

On Tuesday the 10th of November, bring three easy to carry items to Martin Place at 12:30. For each item you will be given a token that you can then swap for other items!

This sounds like fun to me! I’ll be there with goodies to share and I hope to pick up some great finds!

Help celebrate National Recycling week with the Big Aussie Swap!

(gather at 11, swapping begins at 12:30 and extends until 2. Bring only up to three items and they must be easy to carry.)

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2009

This is my first Halloween in Australia and while this evening we are spending watching psycho and eating candy, the day was spent at the beach.

I did my best to pull together a somewhat Halloween theme for my photos for the day. We dug about the rocks for the gross and the scary. I really wanted to find a crab…the SPIDERS of the sea…but alas they were too quick for me!

The Blob!



Liver and some Fava Beans….


Sea brains of some kind!

I thought of carving a pumpkin but the only ones I saw were at the grocery store for $25 so I passed on that idea. I made a sand pumpkin instead 🙂


I hope you all have a haunting halloween! Enjoy the day!