Category Archives: NSW – Australia

From Kathmandu to Sydney

It is always hard to say goodbye and farewell but that is the reality of life. So with a heavy heart I left Nepal for Sydney.

I had an awesome time in Nepal and it was fun but it was time for me to get back to reality after 6 weeks of holiday.

Before I left I went and said my good byes to my grandparents in law. They were happy that I visited them before I left. As I mentioned in my post before, granddad is 94 and grandmum is 89 but both of them are still very healthy for their age.

grand parents

While having a conversation, granddad asked me why I was wearing Kurta Suruwal , not pants. My MIL explained to him that I normally do wear pants but out of respect for them, I chose to wear a traditional outfit every time I visited them. I was really surprised what I heard next. He said I should wear pants even when I visit them as it is comfortable and acceptable these days. I never expected to hear such a modern thing from him. He even went on saying to my MIL that she should wear pants as well as they are more comfortable than Saris or Kurta suruwal. So hats off to him for changing with time and having an open mind.

His one wish is to see a great grand son from us (he already has 5 great grand daughters) so asked us to come to Nepal with 3 members in our family and not just 2 the next time :).

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I also visited my maternal grandma and it was so sad to see her eyes full of tears while saying goodbye to me. She is 80 now and not as healthy as she would like to be. I really love her and wish she can be happy all the time.

As I told you before I did heaps of shopping for gifts before we went. I am pleased to let you know now that I was spoiled equally with heaps of gifts from everyone. I got a pendent with Ganesh, a bag, shoes, shawls and scarfs, earring, necklaces, titaura, sunnies, sukunda, and a cute teddy from my cousin. It was really nice to get all of those gifts as I feel loved and cared in return. 🙂 Also my MIL bought a nice sari for me as well as beads and some necklaces .Thank you everyone for making me feel so special.

The day before I was to leave for Sydney, I went to my new home from my parents place. Many people told me it is not necessary to leave for Sydney from there but I wanted to do the right thing by everyone so it was best to leave for Sydney from my new home. My parents were already sad from the previous few days before as I was leaving. I was the last one to leave after my brother’s family with my little nephew, then AS and now me. I told them to make sure and visit us soon so we can all be together again. So the afternoon I went to my new home, my MIL along with my FIL came to pick me up. It was a sad goodbye to my birth home but I knew that was necessary.

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Once we were at my new home, there were heaps of friends and relatives calling to wish me a safe journey. Also my cousin, aunty and few of my friends came over to say their good byes. I was distracted the whole evening and I didn’t feel sad . After everyone left and we had dinner it was 10pm. My MIL came to my room and the two of us chatted about various thing till midnight. It was really nice to have such a great time with her as we didn’t get lots of time with just the two of us. I feel blessed to have her in my life as I know how bad some MILs law can be.

The next morning I woke up early, finalised the packing and had breakfast. There were still some last minutes shopping left to do so my BIL was helping me with that. After a while my MIL gave me sagun and we left for the airport. On the way there, we picked up my parents and all of us headed to the airport.

At the airport, my mum put tika on my forehead and blessed me. I spent 20 minutes outside and it was time for me to go inside the terminal. In Kathmandu airport once you go in, you can’t come out. So after check-in and immigration, I was in the lounge all alone for 2 hours while my parents and in-laws went back home. I am so glad that my mum didn’t cry this time otherwise I would be crying with her as usual.

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From the airport, I called and messaged most of my friends and relatives while AS was constantly on the phone making sure I was ok and not crying. I felt really sad there but I didn’t cry. I really wished AS was with me that time but I knew I was going to see him in 24 hours.

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The plane took off from Kathmandu and I was in Bangkok airport after 4 hours. There I had 14 hours to kill before I would board my flight to Sydney so AS insisted on me getting a dayroom there and I am so glad I did. It was really expensive and they charged for every hour but still the rest was worth the money spent. The room was comfortable and cozy but the bad thing about the room was that I could constantly hear the PA system of the airport announcing various messages. I couldn’t sleep in the beginning so I went and got some cotton to put in my ears and finally I went to sleep.

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After a nice conversation with AS on Skype and a good sleep and breakfast I felt better when I boarded the plane for Sydney.

For the first time in many years I was unable to get a window seat so it was a bit annoying to stand up every time someone had to go to the loo. But I did manage to watch 3 movies before we landed in Sydney. I had an easy run with customs and immigration and finally I was outside in Sydney. It felt really good to be back as AS was waiting for me. It was nice to hug him after more than 2 weeks.

The weather was kind to me that evening as it was raining and cool after being super-hot for over 2 weeks. The temperature had gone up to 46 0 centigrade last weeks.

After a short drive , I was home after so long. AS had some food ready for us for dinner and home was in perfect shape . I was so glad to finally be back home but at the same time was missing family in Nepal. I went to sleep straight after a light dinner.

Today is my first day back at work. There were so many things from Nepal that I want to share with you in the coming days.

Till my next post take care everyone. 

Sculpture by the sea

Each spring, artists from all over the world converge on Sydney’s Bondi Beach to Tamarama coastal walk to showcase their work at Sculpture by the Sea, the world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition. The scenic walk is transformed into a 2km sculpture park with more than 100 works by artists from Australia and around the world.

Sculpture by the Sea began in 1997 with an exhibition held over one day at Bondi Beach and is now an annual event.

I have been going to this event for the last few years and it is a really nice thing to do on a day off as it provides great exercise, spectacular views, beautiful arts and many photo opportunities.

Like every year, this year also, I went to this exhibition with my husband and my friend SS. This year the exhibition consisted of a variety of works from 49 New South Wales sculptors, 28 interstate artists, and 36 international artists from China, Denmark, England, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, and the U.S.

Every year there are some wonderful arts on exhibit along with some weird one.

I really wanted to go this year for the sunrise but these days the sun rises at 5am so to be there at that time, I needed to wake up at 4am. On weekend, that was not a good plan so we decided to go around 8am. Unfortunately, it was a gloomy day but it wasn’t raining yet.

We started from Bondi and were surprised to see so many people already there. I saw busloads of tourist everywhere. There were also lots of family with young children.

We started of walk from the first sculpture and followed the path along the Bondi beach to the top of the hill. There were many amazing arts there and some complicated ones.

On the top of the hill, there was a tent with mini sculptures so we entered and started looking at the amazing creations. In that time, it started raining heavily and we felt lucky to be inside the tent. The rain stopped within 15 minutes.

After the rain, we continued our walk toward Tamara beach. We saw two award winning arts. It was so nice to walk the coast and finally reach the last art. Overall we had a great day and quite good exercise.

Sharing some photos from the day.

Helensburgh Hindu temple

I am sure you get the vibe from my blog that I am not a very religious person but I do enjoy going to the temple occasionally. My husband always reminds me how religious my mum is and he finds it a bit surprising that I am not like my mum in the religion department. I always tell him, “If I have a clean heart and make sure that I am not hurting anyone in my day to day life, God will consider me as a good citizen and will be happy with me. There is no need to really visit a temple all the time or pray for hours :)”.

There are not that many Hindu temples in Sydney and most of them are not close to where I live so planning is required to visit one.

From time to time I feel like I should go to the temple and pay my respect so I drag my husband along for some prayer. Last weekend we managed to go to a temple in Helensburgh called Sri Venkateswara Temple. It is around 45 minutes’ drive from my apartment or an hour from Sydney city center (55km). The temple is built on top of a hilly area 400 feet above sea level. It has four ‘praharam’ (encircling corridors). Sri Venkateswara Temple was built in 1978 by the Indian people in Australia as a South Indian-style Hindu temple.

So far there is no Nepali temple in Sydney but they are planning to build a version of Nepal’s famous Pashupathi in Sydney.

At the temple devotees are supposed to leave their footwear outside and wash their hands and feet before they enter the temple. The temple area inside has small shrines for each of the Gods. There are priests performing rituals at each of the shrines at a pre-determined time.

There is a temple counter inside which provides visitors with more information about temple rituals and prayers.  They also sell puja for $15 which goes towards maintenance of the temple. You get a plate of puja which has Sindoor, flowers, dhup and fruits. Also, you can buy diyo (oil lamp) if you want to light just the diyo.

The temple has deities like Lord Venkateswara, Goddess Mahalakshmi ,Lord Chandramouleeswarar, Goddess Thripurasundari , Lord Ganesh, Lord Subrahmanya , Lord Navagraha, Goddess Durgambika , Lord Rama , Goddess Andal , Lord Krishna, Lord Brahma , Lord Hanuman, Lord Garuda  , Lord Sudharsana , Lord Viswakshena , Lord Dhakshinamurthy and Lord Chandikesa.

I have seen lots of South Indian weddings being performed inside the temple in my previous visits.

I know it doesn’t sound so right but I love to go to this temple because they serve a great Indian food in their canteen during weekends. I always have Masala Dosa (made by stuffing a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices in a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and black lentils) and Vada (a donut  shaped dish made from lentils and gram flour or potato) . They are so cheap but so yummy. They do sell other South Indian vegetarian dishes as well but those two are my favourite especially with masala tea (spiced Indian style milk tea).

The temple opens 8am – 7pm, week-ends and public holidays; 8.00am to 12.00pm and 4.00pm to 7.00pm on weekdays.

Chinese garden of Friendship

Last weekend, we went to visit a hidden treasure of Sydney, in the middle of the city in Darling Harbour.

Initiated by the local Chinese community to share their rich cultural heritage and celebrate Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary, the Chinese Garden is the result of a close bond of friendship and cooperation between the sister cities of Sydney and Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, China. The Chinese Garden of Friendship was designed by Sydney’s Chinese sister city, Guangzhou.

Even though I have been living in Australia for so long I have never been inside the Chinese garden. I have walked past the garden numerous times but for some reason never thought to go inside. Last weekend the weather was so good that I and my husband decided that we must go out and enjoy the sunny day. So we took a train to the city and walked to Darling Harbour from Town Hall train station.

We were in the garden by 11am and there were only 3 people on the queue to get tickets to go inside. We got the ticket and it cost us just $6.00. We started our tour from the right hand side door of the garden.

The whole garden cannot be seen from any one point within the garden. It has a number of features including the Dragon Wall symbolizing the bond between New South Wales and Guangzhou, the Water Pavilion of Lotus Fragrance, the Twin Pavilion and The Tea House that offers traditional Chinese tea and other refreshments. The garden is a popular venue for weddings, providing many beautiful backgrounds for photographs.

We were there to enjoy the day so we just walked around the garden and enjoyed the sun taking photos from time to time. There was a big pond in the middle of the garden and it had big colourful fishes. I actually forgot that we were in the middle of the city once we were inside. As spring has started here, there were so my beautiful flowers in the garden. I just loved everything in it: the trees, well-trimmed plants, beautiful spring flowers, calm lotus pond and the magnificent temple.

It was peaceful, serene, beautiful and calming. There is a waterfall which gives the feeling that you are in some national park. There are some alcoves to rest and overlook the whole garden to just soak in its natural beauty. We took so many photos as wherever I turned there was a beautiful view. The garden isn’t large but there are plenty of places to sit and take in the views. It took us about an hour to meander through the garden.

We saw a beautiful bridal carriage which is the imperial bridal carriage was used by Chinese Emperors in ancient times with extremely ornamental decorations. The jade carriage is typical of the historical carriages of past dynasties. It is believed 100 skilful artists were engaged in the laborious and intricate carving work. Over 300 tons of raw jade were used, the finished weight approx. 2 tons.

The carriage has a canopy decorated with entwining dragon motif with two lanterns in front. The main body of the carriage is carved into elaborate openwork of dragon, phoenix and fairies which are the symbol of Luck, Prestige and Authority. The two front shafts are cut as two lively charging dragons, guiding the carriage. Behind the carriage are two ornamental fans, which symbolise Royal Dignity.

The age and the cost of the carriage are unknown, however it is believed the carriage came from the Chinese Province of Guangdong and it is said to be the only carriage known to be outside China.

As we were walking around we saw a few people wearing traditional Chinese costumes and taking photos so we decided to find out more about it.

We found a place in one corner of garden where you can hire a costume for $10 and pretend to be a Princess/Queen/Emperor/Empress. They let you roam the garden with the costumes as long as you like and parade around the gardens and take as many photos as you like.

So me and AS decided to dress up as well and become Chinese for a while. I choose a red dress and the lady in the shop helped me to do my hair. AS choose a dark blue one and even got a long white beard to try with his costume. This was one of my favourite photos of the day.

Once we were dressed, the lady from the shop took a few of our photos. From there we walked the whole garden taking photos in different locations. We felt like we were in some movie walking around in the costumes and taking photos. Lots of people stopped to look at us and a few even asked us to pose so they could take a photo of us :). It was a really interesting experience to feel like we were in China.

I saw two girls wearing the costumes so we took photos with them as well. It was so much fun. I really loved it.

If you feel hungry there is a teahouse. You can also hire a 45-minute audio tour in English and Mandarin, if you like.

For the price, we had an amazing day, relaxing and wonderful.

Featherdale Wildlife Park

As I had written in my last post about discovering more of Australia, we went to Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside last weekend. Even though I have lived in Sydney for so long and the park is only 40 minutes’ drive from our place, I had never visited the park before. I went there with my hubby, my cousin S didi, her husband and her 5 years old kid. Out of all of us, my nephew had the most fun being up close with Australian native animals including Koala, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Crocodile, Dingos, Goannas, Penguins, Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, Echidna and many more.

As spring is here we did not need thick jackets and scarfs. It was a nice sunny day too and an easy drive to Doonside. We arrived at the park around 11am and were lucky to get the last parking spot. The entry price for adults is $27 and for kids is $15.

Wallaby

The Featherdale Wildlife Park has an extensive collection of Australian wildlife – birds, mammals, and reptiles. I really like the way they housed the animals, each enclosure reflected the native habitat of the animals, like mountains, grasslands, and coastal region. At the same time, many of the animals like kangaroos, emus, wallabies, peacocks and some birds run free.

As soon as we walked in, we were welcomed by lots of birds like Galah, Long billed Corella, Sulphur crested Cockatoo. But my attention was quickly diverted when I saw so many Wallabies running freely. There were many visitors patting and feeding these Wallabies. I waited for our turn and managed to pat, feed and take photos with them too. And my nephew was super excited to see these animals moving free. He kept on screaming ‘Kangaroos’ and we had to keep correcting him that it was Wallabies 🙂

All the animals are native to Australia so you get a lot of information about them as you wander around the park. As we walked on we saw more beautiful birds like parrots, owls, kites, eagles, kookaburras and many more.

feeding Kangaroo

Owl

Koala

As we reached the area where there were lots of cuddly koalas, I was really excited as we got to pat the little fellow. It is nice to be able to touch them and take a picture without having to pay extra unlike other places where they charge $25 just to take a picture with them.

Next stop was a dark hut where they had a place for bats and bilby. The bats looked like they were sleeping but the bilby were just playing around. They looked so cute. My nephew went to see the bats two more times later in the day as he was so excited.

As we walk around we could hear lots of birds making different kinds of noise. At one corner was a big crocodile lazily sun bathing. It was not as big as the one I saw in Sydney Wild Life Park but still looked fierce and dangerous.

The other thing I got to pat that day was the wombats. Wombats are short-legged, muscular native to Australia, approximately 1 metre in length with a short, stubby tail. Even though they are big they looked so cute and their fur is fluffy and soft.

Wombat

Next stop was the reptile area where they house Turtles, Lizards and Snakes. They were a bit creepy but it was fun to see so many different varieties of snakes.  On our way out we saw Emu and peacocks as well.

Emu

Peacocks

From there we went to the farmyard where they had farm animals to play with. They had hens, ducks, pigs, goats, sheep, guinea pigs and many more. Some of the goats were a bit scary as they were really big but I managed to get one white baby goat. He was really gentle so I picked him up. My nephew was so excited to pat him.

Farm animals

As it was lunch time by then, we decide to go to the picnic area and prepare lunch. We had some marinated meat which we barbequed and also had churaa, aloo ko achar and badmas saneko. AS and R Bhinaju were busy with the BBQ so I had some time to entertain my nephew with bubbles. It was fun to see him chasing and trying to catch the bubbles.

After the meat were cooked, we all ate and rested for a while. As always, homemade lunch does a good trick to fill you and satisfy at the same time. There were lots of families with kids enjoying their lunch in the sunny afternoon. For people who didn’t bring their own lunch, fresh hot dogs was available for just $2.50. There was also a small café inside the park.

Echidna

After that we went around and saw more animals like Dingos, Goanna, Penguins, Tasmanian Devils, and Echidna. When we reached Echidna enclosure, we realised that the feeding time for them was a few minutes away so we waited for the keeper to come around. Echidnas are also known as spiny ant eaters. The keeper brought food for them which was minced liver mixed with some water. He gave us some interesting facts about the animal and we were allowed to pat it. Even though their body was covered with spines, if you know how to pat, which the keeper shows how, they seem gentle and you don’t get pricked.

We then went around taking photos, enjoying the area and looking at more animals. Then we all decided that it was time for us to head home.

I’m really happy with our day out. It is definitely a place to go with kids as they get so excited to see all these animals. My nephew’s excitement on the day was priceless.