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Sydney has so many nice beaches but whenever there’s a chance, we’d drive along the coast for a day trip either to the North or South. For the last couple of years, we’ve driven along the Sea Cliff Bridge increasingly number of times to the south coast where we found our favourite fish and chips shop and the favourite spot on the rock to watch the day go by after a dip in the water. Here’s my mention of the Sea Cliff Bridge around 3 years ago:

Sea Cliff Bridge

View from Sea Cliff Bridge, photo taken in Jan 2013.

To give you a better idea of what the bridge looks like, here’s the view from the above:

sea cliff bridge

Photo found on Internet, from Pinterest.

The driving experience on those cliff hugging roads is always amazing. No wonder it is the most featured location on car ads. If you drive pass this bridge one day, stop for a few minutes and take a walk on the bridge. It’s a treat to walk along the pedestrian path and enjoy the uninterrupted ocean views.


Photos: Candidtown Photography

Wish top, Witchery shots, Marc Jacobs leather bag, Superga sneaker
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sunset at long jetty

My desire to visit Long Jetty was first developed when I was searching for a location to photograph sunset.

There are so many amazing photos floating around featuring stunning sunset scenes around the longest jetty in Long Jetty, the boat shed and so on. Being a dreamer, I started to romanticize the area and dream about visiting this beautiful part of New South Wales instinctively.

Long Jetty is only 90 minutes’ drive away from Sydney so it is quite easy to get to. Our first attempt to go was about 2 years ago, but for some reason we ended up being somewhere else in Central Coast. We got distracted by another jetty on the way and stayed there for the sunset. The sunlight was amazing that day and I took some really beautiful photos from that trip.

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central coast-001

It was only a few weeks ago, we headed to Long Jetty and took some photos there for the first time. It was mid afternoon when we first arrived Long Jetty so we went to The Entrance for Lunch and a little wander before the sunset.

There are 3 jetties in Long Jetty, almost one after another. That’s pretty much it. And that boat shed I fantasized so much for a long time? It was nothing like the picture:)  Nevertheless, I don’t regret a bit about our trip to the longest jetty in New South Wales.

Long Jetty sunset

Getty ready for sunset

It was a little smelly when you first step on the jetty, but as you progress it gets better and better.  The sense of serenity, the warm evening glow could suddenly lift all the burden and move away all the worry you may have. I couldn’t help but beam while walking along the jetty, getting further and further away from the bank. It was truly something special: Long Jetty sunset.

Those are some photos from the trip:

Long Jetty sunset

Long Jetty sunset

Long Jetty sunset

Someone was trying to block my view

Long Jetty sunset

Long Jetty sunset

After the trip, I found out that Long Jetty’s longest jetty has just turned 100 years old this year. What a happy coincident!

Happy Birthday jetty. I would just come back to you any day and sit at the deep end to watch the day go by.

Guess a dreamer is a forever a dreamer.

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paris is always a good idea

I stood in front of a scale in the supermarket, trying to match the pictures with those fruits I just picked up to buy.  You need to get the labels for the fruits first before proceeding to the checkouts and I couldn’t read the names in French next to the pictures on the scale.

Just then, a hand merged from the side and within a few seconds all the buttons were pressed for me, labels done. Before I couldn’t say “thank you” in French, he quickly flashed a broad smile and walked on. That was just another friendly stranger in Pairs.

Have you heard about the saying that Parisians are “arrogant”? Well, don’t believe in rumors:). I had a Parisian lady kindly showing us directions without being asked and apologizing “My English is not so good.” at the same time. I haven’t met anyone politer than that. I guess there are different kinds of people everywhere in the world. When you are feeling happy, you notice things and people make you happy. Travel makes me happy.

Some people dream about changing the world. Some people dream about saving the planet. Some people dream about growing up being a doctor. I dreamed about seeing the world and dreaming all day. Paris is a sweet dream that you can touch and feel. Paris is a real beauty without any need for Photoshopping.

Merci Paris. You are always a good idea to many people, myself included.
Photos by CandidTown Photography.

The whole state of New South Wales is blooming. Because of Jacaranda.

5 best Jacaranda Spots in NSW

Photo taken on 24 Oct 2015 in the University of Sydney.

During the months of October and November, Sydney and NSW is awash with the purple bloom of jacaranda season, signalling one of the most beautiful times of the year in the state.

There’s something especially romantic about Jacaranda that I can’t fully describe. But in an attempt to fall back in love with Sydney, I decided to go and look for all the beautiful things about Sydney again. My perfect spot for Jacaranda bloom is the University of Sydney. Why Sydney University? Because it’s old and beautiful. Quality older buildings are hard to come by in Sydney due to Australia’s short history, but the University of Sydney Great Hall is truly breath taking. I’ve been living in Sydney for 18 years, it was only last Saturday that I asked J to take a photo of me standing inside the University of Sydney like that. It’s kind of silly, and I felt like a tourist, not a resident of Sydney. But hey, who cares.

5 Best Jacaranda Spots In NSW

Pay tourist

Ok, here comes to that famous Sydney University Quadrangle jacaranda tree after being cloned:

5 Best Jacaranda Spots In NSW

5 Best Jacaranda Spots In NSW

5 Best Jacaranda Spots In NSW

Love love the architecture:

5 Best Jacaranda Spots In NSW

There are many other magnificent jacaranda trees in the University of Sydney, like the two in the first photo on top, next to another fabulous sandstone building inside the campus.

And this one, alongside the pond and palms trees.

5 Best Jacaranda Spots In NSW

You can see blooming Jacaranda trees almost everywhere in Sydney in October; there’s one in our courtyard.

According to destination NSW’s media release, there are 5 best Jacaranda spots in NSW (New South Wales, Australia):

“1.       Sydney North Shore: The North Shore suburbs of kirribili, Lavender Bay, Greenwich, Waverton, Hunters Hill, Woolwich, Longueville and Wollstonecraft all display a beautiful selection of jacaranda trees during the season. Make a day of it and pack a picnic to enjoy a feast under the trees

2.       Sydney Eastern Suburbs: Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs including Paddington, Woollahra and Double Bay all sport stunning lilac hues during October and November.  Oxford Street and Five Ways in Paddington always have a great selection to view.

3.       Sydney City: Starting at the Royal Botanic Gardens, a jacaranda walking tour through Circular Quay and The Rocks is a great way to see the trees, while taking in the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, harbour views and historic cobblestone streets of The Rocks.

4.       Inner Sydney:  The giant jacaranda tree at the University of Sydney is so iconic that growers at the University have cloned it to ensure it lives on.  This tree is one of Sydney’s most famous jacarandas and well worth a visit during the season.  Neighbouring suburbs of Glebe and Erskineville are also worth exploring for blue hue.

5.       Grafton: Located alongside the majestic Clarence River on NSW’s North Coast, the historic town of Grafton is home to the Jacaranda Festival, taking place from 31 October to 7 November 2015. Famous for its 6,500 jacaranda trees, the Festival is one of Australia’s longest running flower festivals and celebrates the town’s magnificent lilac-blossomed trees. Festival events include the coronation of a jacaranda queen, a street parade with themed floats, markets, live performances and fireworks.”


5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a hidden gem, floating in the Indian ocean. Found just off the coast of India, it is one of the most beautiful and truly unique countries on the planet. Sri Lanka is a paradise of wildlife, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. With a deep religious history, the country bears the marks of Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim tradition. It also has a colonial history, overseen by Britain until the 1970s. As a result, there are hints of European influence too. If you’re planning a visit to this wonderful country, here are some of the unmissable sights.

5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka:

  1. Adam’s Peak

Adam’s Peak is an enormous mountain that reaches 2,234m above the dense forest around it. It has an iconic, lonely presence against the Sri lankan scenery. However, Adam’s Peak is not just famous for its domineering presence. It has a religious significance to the Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim communities. A sacred footprint at the top of the peak is said to be Buddha’s very own foot mark. Hindus, however, believe it to be Shiva’s, while Muslims and Christians believe it is Adam’s. Whatever you choose to believe, the views are simply magnificent from up here!

The view from Adam’s Peak (credit)

5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka

  1. Yala National Park

There are lots of national parks in Sri lanka. Each one has its own areas of natural wonder and beauty. It’s Yala national park that makes our list though. It’s the most popular park, and the second biggest on the island. It’s also the best place to spot the local leopards. In fact, it has the largest leopard density of any area on the planet. We suggest you find a local guide, and head out on safari!

  1. The coastline

The Indian ocean is perhaps the most dazzling in the world. Its crystal clear oceans meet the pristine beaches on every coast of Sri Lanka. Our personal favourite is the east coast, which looks out into the Bay of Bengal. Book yourself into a luxury Sri Lanka hotel, and spend your days relaxing in the sunshine.

  1. Kataragama

Sri Lanka is home to hundreds of remote, colonial towns. Each has their unique character and charm. However, there is something particularly special about Kataragama. One of the things that makes it so wonderful is the nightly temple ceremony. It instantly reminded us of Nantien Temple here in Australia. The ceremony marks the end of a pilgrimage for Buddhist, Hindus, and Muslims alike.

  1. Eat!

We couldn’t possibly reach the end of this article without mentioning the food. Sri Lanka has one of the best cuisines on the planet. Much like India, the food is based around curries and rice. But, their unique blend of spices set it apart from its Indian neighbours. Coconut is used heavily, as are lentils. Perhaps the most famous Sri Lankan export is Dhal curry, which you’ll see in many Indian restaurants. Of course, it’s nothing compared to the real thing!

5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka

Photo credit
As you can see, Sri Lanka is a unique and mesmerising country. There is a beautiful melting pot of cultures and religions, giving it a magical vibe. Have we missed any of Sri Lanka’s best bits?

Do you like flying? I mean, flying on an airplane as a passenger. As a resident of Australia, a continent that is so remote to any other continent, traveling overseas is always going to involve some long hours on the planes. But I kind of like long distant flight. The transit between each connecting flight is a killer –  but let’s not talk about that today. Let’s have a chat about how I attempt to be comfortable and stylish on a plane today.

You may ask, why do you like long distant flight? First of all, being a reckless person; I’m not afraid of flight or … should I? Knowing that I’m going to explore some new places or revisit some favorite places always excites me. The fact that I’m going to be stuck in a small space for many many hours doesn’t bother me that much. I do sitting well. Besides, it’s going to be the perfect “me” time! No phone calls, no emails, I’m going to have uninterrupted hours to catch up with the latest movies, read a book, play a game or have a nap, without feeling guilty. Yeah, I’m one of those few people who can sleep on a plane. And, there’s no need to worry about what to eat and cook… Those pleasant and ever fashionable flight attendants will bright me meals and refreshment.

However, long distant flight can get uncomfortable. My big problems are  dehydration and the sharp ear pains when the plane is landing. So over the years I’ve learned to take more care about being comfortable on a plane and take the following with me:

  • Plenty of water.
  • Small individually packed lubricant eye drops.
  • A small tube of face & hand cream.
  • Panadols (pain killer) for headaches caused by dehydration and low quality sleep.
  • Chewing gum for those ear pains.

The stylish bit is mainly referring me looking at stylish flight attendants of different airlines – their perfectly cut designer uniforms, immaculately cared hair, statement ties & scarves; and admiring their ability to stay so stylish and fresh all the time on a plane. Then I came across this cool infographic that tells us all about Australia’s top airline styles and the interesting stories behind their flight attendant collections:

style-high-club-where-fashion-meets-the-skies- Be Comfortable and Stylish on A Plane

It is known that major airlines and designers are teamed up for those fabulous uniforms but wow, this info-graphic shows a lot more in details! No wonder Singapore airline flight attendants are always so attractive – their outfits are personally tailored for each flight attendant, and grooming exports create their very own make-up guide!

Though Virgin is known as a budget airline, the purple scarves really added a touch of luxury.

Oh, the signature red lipsticks of Air Emirates – in whichever shade suits both skin tone and hat color:)

Feeling inspired?

In light of being stylish, a few friends of mine did ask what to to wear to survive a long flight while not looking too sloppy. Well years ago I used to wear jeans.. but not any more. I’m no fashion expert but happy to share my usual flight wardrobe. Note being comfortable and convenient to wear is on the top of my priority list:


  • A comfortable midi or max dress in warm weather. Always bring an extra comfortable jacket, sometimes the air conditioning in the plane is so strong, it can be freezing in the cabin.
  • Cotton pull over shirts or sweater with my beloved Lululemon yoga pants, the thick, good quality ones (not those flimsy ones that caused a media stir).
  • Or Juicy Couture track suits – their track suit pants form perfect shapes:).  Shopping outlets in the US offer a good variety and prices for high quality cotton shirts and jackets and Juicy Couture tack suits and.

Due to me lack of patience, my flight footwear doesn’t involve shoe lace tying:

  • Havaiana thongs (the only thongs I wear).
  • Ballerina flats.
  • Soft leather boots.

Now back to you.

Which uniform do you like the most from the infographic above?

What do like you wearing on the planes?

What tips do you have to share to stay comfortable and fashionable during a long flight?

Tell me in the comments.

Be Comfortable and Stylish on A Plane

Eco-friendly travel

How often do you (would you like to) travel? Ever fancied Eco-friendly trip? It’s easier said than done isn’t it… But out of curiosity, I did some research to see what are the options available for Eco-friendly travel in modern days. As California is an American state that prides itself on its green credentials, I thought it’s good start to take a closer look around there. In this guide, we’re going to explore the ways of how to get there, where to stay, and what to see and do while you’re there. All in the greenest way possible, of course. Let’s get started with your travel basics.

Eco-friendly travel


It’s one thing to want to be more Eco-friendly, but it would be really hard to put that into  action when you are traveling. There is, of course, no such thing as a green way to fly – yet. But, some airlines are definitely trying harder on Eco-friendly front. So if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, there are ways around it. A good place to start is Seat Guru’s guide to green aircraft and airlines.


California has a plethora of forward-thinking hotels, for all different budgets. We’ve had a look at some of the options and have decided to plump for the Super 8 Hotel in Ukiah. They are hot on energy efficiency, waste disposal and water saving. Plus, you get an organic breakfast with biodegradable cutlery, bowls, and plates. To top it off, the entire building has been built to sustainable standards, and they have a saltwater pool. Truth to be told. It’s hard to find anything greener that isn’t a tent. But if you have some great ideas,  let me know!


Californian food is that perfect mix of American classics and Mexican spice. But, head out to the coast and it’s amazing for seafood, too. We like the look of the Cafe Fina seafood restaurant in Monterey. Stunning views, plenty of outside seating and locally-sourced fish to flex its green muscles. If you’re going to spend your carbon footprint traveling, we think it’s best to have everything on tap once you get there. The fewer miles your food travels, the better you’ll feel about the miles you have clocked up.


There is plenty to do in California, but if you are looking for green options, then we have a couple of choices for you. First of all, check out Natural Habitat Adventures. They run a good range of green adventure holidays around the world, including trips to the ace Yellowstone National Park.  You can also investigate what’s on offer at the Nature Conservancy. There is an enormous range of things to see and do on their website, so head over and keep up with the latest news.

These are just a few ways of getting to see California, green-style. There are plenty more options out there if you look hard enough, so it is possible to help the environment when you travel. Have you ever tried Eco-friendly travel? Let me know if you have had any eco-friendly adventures in California or the States – I’d love to hear from you!

Visiting Great Barrier Reef has been on my bucket list for quite sometimes. Although in theory it shouldn’t be that hard to go as I live in Australia, it still took some research and planning to finally be able to see what’s the best the Great Barrier Reef has to offer.
Great Barrier Reef
Cairns seems to be the most common place to stay as the base to stay if you want explore the Great Barrier Reef Region. But through research, I found that Cairns doesn’t have direct access to the flight over the iconic heart reef or the magical white heaven beach. If you want to see the best part in Great Barrier Reef, choose dreaming Whitsundays as your base.

Situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the grand landscape of Whitsundays is dotted with 74 tropical islands.

7 Things You Must Experience Around Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef

1. Go To Whiteheaven Beach

First of all, you must go to Whiteheaven Beach, which is renowned as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. It totally lives up to its reputation! Here’s a view of the Whiteheaven Beach and Hill Inlet from our seaplane trip.

white heaven beach, Great Barrier Reef

We took a full day boat trip to explore Whiteheaven beach, Hill Inlet and Snorkeled among the most beautiful coral reefs. I couldn’t wait to jump into the the crystal clear aqua water and jump up like little kids on the pristine silica sand.

Whiteheaven Beach great barrier reef

View of the Whiteheaven Beach on a seaplane

2. Snorkelling

Yes! Snorkelling is also high on the list! Needless to say, Great Barrier Reef has the world’s largest and most magnificent coral reefs. We were blessed with beautiful weather during our stay in Whitsundays. The tide was so low on the day we went snorkelling. As a result, we were so so close to the reefs and fishes and corals. It was quite amazing to see so many colourful corals up close!

snorkelling - Great Barrier Reef

boating and snorkelling, Great Barrier Reef

3. Fishing

It is a quite romantic notion to ride in the boat and go fishing in a hot sunny day. And indeed we did just that. We tired a half day fishing tour which took us to the fishing grounds in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.

I was so excited about the fishing trip and dreamed about catching lots of big fishes. We even planed a ways of cooking these fishes we will catch. However, the fishing gears provided were old and almost not functioning, the low quality bait offered couldn’t hold firmly on the hook. As a result, we were not that successful of catching anything noteworthy. Though we had lots of bites, there was not possible for any good catch. So if you want to go fishing, the best way is to take your own bait and fishing gear and hire a boat only instead of going with fishing chargers. Nevertheless, despite the fact we didn’t catch any dinner, we enjoyed so much of the beautiful weather, the tranquility of calm water and chilling among the the most picturesque spots.

fishing - Great Barrier Reef

4. Exploring Hamilton Island

If you go to the Witsundays, stay on the Hamilton Island  simply because it’s so pretty and reminds you of a somewhat fairy tale place. The Hamilton Island is a perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and Whiteheaven Beach.

The island alone has so much to offer. That’s why this island receives so many visitors on a daily basis. You can certainly catch the free shuttle bus to explore the whole island. Or hire a buggy for the ultimate convenience.

One Tree Hill Hamilton Island Great Barrier Reef

One Tree Hill, Hamilton Island

Hamilton island - Great Barrier Reef

love birds hamilton island

A pair of love birds at Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island - Great Barrier Reef

5. Visiting Airlie Beach

Airlie beach a lively little town situated on a picturesque peninsula that overlooks the sparkling Whitsunday waters. I have never seen another town with more backpackers than Airlie Beach because the whole town is packed with young backpackers from all over the world, mainly Europe.

If you want to taste a little wild life in the dreamy Whitsundays region, head off to Airlie beach. Bars, The main street of the village is lined with shops, bars and night clubs. Stroll along a pleasant boardwalk, you’ll reach The port of Airlie, from where the cruise Whitsundays ferries depart.

airlie beach whitsundays

Airlie beach Marina Whitsundays

Airlie Beach Marina

6. Cruising Around

Cruise Whitsundays offers many types of day Cruises for you to fully explore this amazing part of the world.

Regular ferry services to the main islands and Whiteheaven Beach are offered.  Hence getting a timetable of the ferry services is a good idea to easily plan your day.

7. Flying Over The Reefs By Seaplane

For a bird’s eye view, take in the panorama of the Whitusndays landscape from a seaplane. It’s certainly worth the effort and money spent. Those amazing views over the reefs, trope cal islands, the Whiteheaven Beach are breathtaking!

The heart reef great barrier reef

View of the Heart Reef, Great Barrier Reef from a seaplane

flying over Great Barrier Reef

Taking a sea plan to fly over Great Barrier Reef

mushroom picking australia milk caps

Mushroom picking in Australia is a great day out with a yummy meal as a bonus.

I’ve heard it so many times over here. All mushrooms, apart from those on the shelf at your local shop are dangerous, poisenous and better left alone. Why risk it, right? Well… Wrong!

Mushrooms are delicious. Picking them in a forest is great fun for the whole family and there is also this pleasure in finding your own food. Brings us back to the time when we were all hunters and gatherers responsible for our own survival instead of having our food nicely presented and plastic wrapped in the local grocery store.

Besides … They look great? And check out the black berries too! Actually, take a good look at them. Those are the only mushrooms I’d recommend picking around Sydney – Saffron Milk Cap or the Pine Mushrooms. They are very distinct in shape and colour and you should have no trouble telling them from the poisonous ones.

mushroom picking australia milk caps

Mushroom picking in Australia is slowly gaining popularity among locals. 20 years ago you would not find an English speaking person there; now its pretty common. Mind you, most English you hear would have a heavy Polish, Scandinavian or Arabic accent. It will belong to someone who brought an Australian to the forest for the first time and is trying very hard to reassure them that its safe to eat them. It’s a cultural thing, I guess, but I’m proud of my Australian friends who come along with us every year and try something that is apparently very unusual and generally not recommended over here.

Best times to pick mushrooms in Australia is Autumn; from February till April.

I hear that because of this climate being much milder than European, mushrooms can be found here almost all year round. There are only 2 types mushrooms you should pick in NSW forests.

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Saffron milk cap (lactarius delicosus), commonly known as the pine mushroom or Rydz
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Slippery jack (suillus luteus or boletus luteus)

Personally I only collect the pine mushrooms. Slippery jacks are great if you have time for canning but that’s too time consuming for me. What we normally do is collect a few, cut them into strips and fry them with butter and some garlic with a bit of salt. That’s IT.. serve hot with a slice of good thick sour dough bread. A bottle or 2 of chilled Sav Blank or beer are optional, but highly recommended.

Don’t forget to bring:

  • A small sharp knife. We don’t pull mushrooms from the forest floor. Cut them off, leave the roots in the ground.
  • A basket or a bag. Preferably not a plactic bag as they may not survive the trip home in it.
  • Good walking shoes, a hat, a poncho for the rain. It’s also great to ward off the leeches. Oh… come on! You’re in a forest! Where is your sense of adventure?
  • Picnic and cooking gear
  • Outdoor chairs; table can be useful too.
  • A gas burner. Frying pan. Butter, salt, bread, wine…
  • A large garbage bag.


Word of caution about mushroom picking in Australia

  • While mushroom picking is an age old tradition in many European countries, if you’ve never done it before, exercise extreme caution.
  • Come with friends who know what they’re doing or at least consult people in the forest before you eat them.
  • If they find a poisonous mushroom in your haul, throw away the whole lot. Don’t be a hero.
  • If you have ANY doubt, do not pick it. If you pick it and still in doubt, do not eat it.
  • Please! When you finish, take your rubbish back.
  • Ahh… When you use the bathroom the next morning do NOT be alarmed. Its not blood …

This is the one to avoid. Fly agaric mushroom (amanita muscaria). It is the most common poisonous mushroom known to men. Mainly due to their beautiful bright colours and their popularity among fairy tale writers. Well, the forest is full of them. They look magnificent and make great still photography subjects. Still, try not to touch them, and if you do, wash your hands before you handle food. It may not poison you much, but you’re in a forest, miles away from a doctor and a decent bathroom.


Oberon, NSW


Berrima ( Dalys Rd, Belanglo NSW 2577, Australia )



mushroom picking australia berrima



mushroom picking in Australia

Magical forest

“Do we have to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge?” J is a not a big fan of walking.
“Yes.” I replied with great enthusiasm, “It would be fun. Everyone said we must do the Brooklyn Bridge walk at least once. And the view would be amazing. We can take some nice close up photos of those cables.”

I heard about the history of Brooklyn Bridge many times. It is legendary:
The bridge’s construction took 14 years, involved 600 workers and cost $15 million (more than $320 million in today’s dollars). At least two dozen people died in the process, including its original designer whose son took over the leadership of the bridge construction. The son later suffered from caisson-disease as a result of the works on the pillars of the bridge and it was the son’s wife who eventually supervised the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge until its completion.
More than 125 years after its completion, the Brooklyn Bridge is still the world’s largest suspension bridge and one of the most famous icons of New York.

This photo was taken on a glorious, sunny day. The bridge looks majestic over the east river except for the huge pieces of white cloth hanging close to its tower.

The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan

the brooklyn bridge over east river

The plan was to walk over the bridge one day and take some nice sunset photos. There was only one slight problem: the sun didn’t show up on the day we took the Brooklyn Bridge walk.

Never mind that. We could just enjoy an easy stroll and the view. Right? There were dedicated pedestrian walkways on the bridge so it was safe to walk too. Vendors were selling stuff and brave tourists were taking photos with a huge snake around their necks.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The view? Hmmm… I’ve seen better. Sorry New Yorkers. There were plastic bags and other rubbish tied on the rusted metal wires. Obviously some people felt free to write all over the poor old bridge too.

The Brooklyn Bridge

Another small section of the bridge was used to put love locks and stickers.

The Brooklyn Bridge

Views to the harbor were blocked due to construction and parts of the bridge were scaffold-ed. I started to feel for the Brooklyn Bridge. Repairs seemed to be long overdue.

blocked view

scaffolding The Brooklyn Bridge

It was like walking across a tunnel

Can you feel my excitement of finally walking out of the tunnel?

open sectionIt was a cloudy Saturday afternoon. I took a photo of J taking photos on the Brooklyn Bridge and looked around.

taking photos

Right there, I saw the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge again. Though not exactly as what I have imagined up close, the Brooklyn Bridge is just like the New York City. Grand, alluring and forever under construction.


We didn’t get to walk inside Lincoln Memorial Washington DC. 1st October 2013 was the first day we started touring around Washington DC. It was also the first day United States federal government entered a shut down.

Fences were placed in front of World War II memorial. A sign ” because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN, All National Parks Are Closed. ” stopped everyone right there. The SHUTDOWN in capital looks somewhat angry.

ww2 memorial shut downThough feeling strange, I wasn’t angry. World War II memorial is an open place so I could still possibly have a look at it without actually going in. But there were bus loads of angry people. 3 buses of WWII veterans were not impressed of being denied access to the memorial build in their honor. World War II memorial is normally just an open space without doors and fences. But because of the government shutdown (due to short of funds), extra fences were added around it to make it closed. We’ve never seen so many wheelchairs in one place and I started to feel for those veterans.

An angry tour guide was trying to call someone to rectify this situation. Many tourists from other States of America booked and paid their tours way in advance. They WANTED to walk inside WWII memorial and Lincoln Memorial Washington DC.

We kept walking around National Mall. It was hot and sunny day. Ducks were having a pleasant time relaxing around the Reflecting Pool. Lincoln Memorial on the other side of Reflecting Pool looked like a Greek Temple. Empty inside.

Lincoln Memorial Washington DC

Otherwise open to public 24 hours,  Lincoln Memorial Washington DC was closed by fences and a sign. People gathered outside the fences. Some looked confused. Some were trying to catch a glimpse of Lincoln Statue sitting in the dark inside the temple. Beyond the fences, the Lincoln Memorial looked deserted. Journalists were interviewing visitors outside the fences. I tried to have a “been here” photo taken.

lincoln memorial

Obviously it’s an awkward picture. I wasn’t quite settled in front of the fence and you can see the same SHUTDOWN sign on the side. It was an awkward situation.

So no, we didn’t  inside Lincoln Memorial Washington DC. Not that I’m complaining. I could still find out more details from Google after all.

It just felt strange.

central park new york city

Two sisters were robbed at gunpoint in Central Park New York last Sunday around 9.45 pm. The two sisters were tourists visiting New York city from California. What a disaster, to be held at gunpoint when all they expected was to enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of the park.

What a shame, Central Park New York has so much nicer things to offer.

We liked Central Park New York very much, of course we’ve never been there at night. It’s a luxury to have such a massive, open, green space on populated Manhattan island. Center Park provided us a good place to recharge and escape the shadows of skyscrapers in Downtown and Midtown Manhattan. We took our time walking around the park, people watching and taking random shots (with a camera).

The biggest bubbles

How wrong I was, to think that blowing bubbles is only a kid’s game. There are lots of adults blowing bubbles in the park. So watch out, there are the biggest bubbles to be found.

central park new york city the biggest bubble

The best paying job, arguably

rickshaw and horse carriage

Rickshaws in Central park charge from UD$ 3 – 4.95  a minute. That US$ 180 – 300 per hour. The only skill required for this job is to know how to ride a bicycle. Not bad hey, considering the high jobless rate in America. The horse carriages are charging not any less but these people have to buy horses and maintain them.

Not so pretty fences

There are some rather primitive black plastic fences around the grass in central park here and there. Pictured below is one of the more presentable ones, which at first I thought was a distraction of the nature beauty of the park. However I realize now that maybe it’s necessary after learning about the crime rate of the park after 9pm.

fence Central Park New York

The most portable massage

It looked like some sort of ancient punishment from a distance. But wait, these people might have been actually enjoying themselves. Have a sore neck from walking around? Take a seat.


Most expensive apartment living & New York City Homeless Advocate

Apartments along 5th Avenue overlooking Central Park are the homes of rich and famous. People regularly point it out to us: That’s the apartment Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis used to live; see that one? That’s Tom Hank’s New York apartment. These hot properties are rarely available for sale. If they do, there’s hardly anything can be snatched up for less than a cool US$ 20 Million.

Right in front of these expensive apartments and Central park stood a man collecting donations for New York City Homeless Advocate. But why? It doesn’t make sense. Why choose New York city to be homeless in. So many other places in American are actually affordable and nice too. People consistently complain how expensive it is to rent a tiny, closet sized apartment in New York city. I reckon a lot people in this world would be homeless if they insist to live in New York City instead.


It reads on the blue collection box: NEW YORK CITY Homeless advocate

Pretty as a picture

Central Park is picturesque and enjoyable. You have to see it yourself to appreciate it more.



A map of Central Park New York


On the way out of Central Park, a couple dressed nicely in suits approached us and asked if we could take a picture of them together. J happily took a few photos of them with the lake in the background. “We got married just now!” The woman couldn’t contain her happiness. Oh wow. We congratulated them in equal excitement and left the park, smiling.

Here’s to happy ending – enjoy the randomness of Central Park New York:).

In case you think I’m in the New York City Greenwich Village right now, I’m not. Though I wouldn’t mind that.

We reserved a whole day to do nothing else but wandering around Greenwich Village area during our New York trip. The goal of the day was to soak up in the Sun and experience the local way of living (i.e. getting there by Subway).

If you are not in a hurry while visiting New York city, spend some quality time in Greenwich Village.

Go Wander, you’ll love it.

Walking into a movie scene accidentally

Greenwich Village is unpretentiously cool. It is a relaxed neighborhood that happens to be the setting of many movies and TV shows. Friends is set in the Village. In Sex And The City, Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment building is also in the Village, even though her address is given as on the Upper East Side. It wasn’t my intention at all to search for those places in the movie scenes in Greenwich Village but you really don’t need to look out for them . They jump at you.

As I was walking along the tree lined streets aimlessly, a familiar garden setting appeared right in front of me. Wait a minute, isn’t it the place where Miranda and Steve got married in Sex And The City? Indeed it is, the Jefferson Market garden where the movie scene was set.

New York City Greenwich Village Jefferson Market garden

Setting for Sex and The City where Miranda and Steve’s wedding took place

The red building at the back is an old courthouse, now known as Jefferson Market Library.

NYC Greenwich Village old court house


No skyscrapers

New York has plenty of skyscrapers in every shape and size. When you want to escape from the huge shadows of these tall buildings cast and urgently need to feel the sun shinning on your skin, come to Greenwich Village.  It is a world away from Time Square and other busy parts of Manhattan. The village landscape is thoroughly enjoyable and I’m never sick of looking at the exterior fire escape on an old building facade. There are cafes, bars and bakeries on every street corner in Greenwich Village. Quaint little shops are everywhere too.

greenwich village building shop


Washington Square Park

Greenwich Village is the arty, bohemian part of New York City. If you are tired of sightseeing, shopping, watching shows, visiting museums… Come to chill out in Washington Square Park. Located at the heart of Green Which Village, Washington Square pare is dominated by the 1892 Washington  Arch and central fountain which draws crowds of students, tourist, locals and artists year -round.

NYC Greenwich Village arch in washington square parkplay in washinton square park

You might even bump into the future Bob Dylan. Actually, you don’t need to meet anybody, just come and sit. And watch the world go by.NYC Greenwich Village washington square park

Joe’s Pizza

Do you want to try some classic New York fast food? Have a huge slice of pizza or two at Joe’s Pizza. It’s a buzz and bustle tiny place with pizzas flying out of the oven literally every  minute. I’m not huge fan of pizza but I loved it so much and went for seconds. Pizzas in New York is different from those in Italy. They are huge with very little toppings. I still wonder how could a plain looking pizza be this tasty. Photos of celebrities eating at Joe’s pizza occupied a wall inside. Everybody wants a slice of Joe’s Pizza, evidently.

joes pizza

joes pizza greenwich

So there you have it, snippets of Greenwich Village. When you go wander, don’t worry about getting lost. Because there’s no other neighborhood more enjoyable to get lost in that Village.

It’s hard to miss Rockefeller Centre visiting New York City. Known as city in the city, Rockefeller Centre looks like a civic planning master piece in NYC, eager to be shown off.  And it does get the attention it deserves,  a lot of it. There’s plenty to see at Rockefeller Centre but the following is the most eye catching for me.

Top 4 Attractions of Rockfeller Center New York City

  • International Fags

I was first drawn to Rockefeller Center by the colorful international flags around its lower plaza. Have you noticed there are gigantic American flags flying almost everywhere in the US? Displaying an array of multinational flags certainly makes the whole building group stand out in a crowd.

rockefeller center nyc


rockefeller center flags

  • GE Building At Rockefeller Center

One of the top skyscrapers in the New York City, GE building is the tallest among the Rockefeller Center group of buildings. Does this picture make you feel dizzy? I felt dizzy taking this picture. Top of Rock, the observation deck is on the top of Rockefeller center’s GE building.

front of ge building

Does this picture make you feel dizzy? I felt dizzy taking this picture.

This is the front entrance of GE Building:

front entrance of GE building

Inside the GE building is grand. I guess you can tell from the look of the lobby:



  • Lower Plaza

Located in the center of the buildings, Lower Plaza of Rockefeller Center is full of life. The weather was still warm while we were there so it wasn’t converted into an outdoor ice skating rink yet. See the most famous artwork at Rockefeller Center in this picture? It is the gilded bronze sculpture hovering over a fountain – the Prometheus sculpture. It depicts Prometheus who returns the stolen fire to mankind.

lower plazaHere’s Prometheus sculpture with GM building at the background.

sculpture and ge building

  • Top of the Rock

You need to follow the signs inside the building to find your way to Top Of The Rock. The line to buy a ticket on the spot is very, very long. If you have a voucher to Top of the Rock, you need to join the other queue, which is significantly shorter, to redeem your voucher for a ticket. After you get a ticket, chances of going to the top immediately is slim. Most likely, you will be assigned with a specific time slot to go up by the lift. In our case, we were told to come back in an hour and half.

What the hell is this? You might ask. This is a picture taken inside the lift to Top Of The Rock. The lift has transparent top so that passengers can see the whole journey from bottom to top. It was late by the time it was our turn to go up.  Inside the lift, it is pitch black. The traveling speed of the lift is extremely fast. Again,  I felt dizzy looking up  on the way up. See what I mean? That’s what tall buildings do to you.

inside lift

A trip from top to the bottom inside the lift is a total new experience. Looking up all the time on the way down is not recommended as  you do feel the power of gravity and the sense of free falling is not that pleasant:).

They say the view of New York City on top of the Empire State Building is magnificent but the the view on Top Of The Rock is even better. Because you can see the Empire State Building on Top Of The Rock. So here it is, the amazing view on top of the Rock.

View from top of the rock rockefeller center

NYC – the city never sleeps

Can you spot the Empire State Building?


We nearly scrapped Ottawa off our travel list due to tight schedule in Canada. Glad we didn’t.

Ottawa was our next stop after Toronto. Toronto is modern, friendly, clean and pleasantly boring to me. Sorry to use the word boring, but after visiting Toronto twice, I just didn’t find the city exciting.

Tired and worried that Ottawa is going to disappoint us, we weren’t sure if we wanted to drive up there. But Ottawa is the capital city of Canada that we’ve never been. After flying all the way from Australia to America, not to check it out sounded a little  silly.

“Let’s go”. I finally made up my mind.

And yes. Ottawa is fantastic. Grand old looking buildings, fabulous museums, magical autumn colors and fascinating Rideau Canal over Ottawa river.  Canada’s Capital is blessed with historical highlights and the region’s natural beauty.

Ottawa view from bell tower

View from Ottawa Parliament House Bell Tower

Visiting Ottawa, nobody can miss the centerpiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape, Parliament Hill. There were so many visitors from all over the world on the day we were there. Chinese visitors topped the list. They were getting their pictures taken, one by one in front of the Parliament building, each stood tall and straight with hands firmly placed downwards alongside their bodies. I’m too familiar with this pose (I’m a Chinese immigrant living in Australia). When people are not comfortable in front of the camera, they appear to be stiff and extremely awkward. My mum is an expert on this pose. Every time I’m trying to take a photo of her, she strikes out the standing still, serious looking pose automatically. J named it the “Chinese Soldier Pose”.

It was late in the afternoon, we marched towards the parliament house in a hurry. Luckily, we made it to the last group to the Bell Tower of Parliament building that day. The best view of Ottawa has to be on top. We went up  to the Bell tower with another group of tourists.

Ottawa parliament house bell tower

View from Ottawa Parliament House Bell Tower

Ottawa is a French speaking city so everyone – from the security guard to the tour guide in the parliament house speaks French. But you’ll soon find out everyone speaks perfect English too. So don’t get frustrated if you don’t understand a word of French.

The Gothic architecture inside Parliament building is equality impressive.

inside ottawa parliament house

Snapped on the stairs inside Ottawa Parliament House

When we walked out of  its door, Parliament house still stood tall and stately. Gone were the busy large groups of tourists. Parliament Hill went all quiet and peaceful.

Just like that, J passed me the camera and I heard a rare request of him: “take of picture of me.”

ottawa chinese soldier

J – The Chinese Solider Pose