Audrey vs. Australia: Chinese Garden of Friendship

As I mentioned in my last post – I’m doing Australia in a series of posts called Audrey vs. Australia. LOOK OUT! And my first stop was basically in my backyard – a 15 minute walk from our apartment took us to the gorgeous Chinese Garden of Friendship, right in Darling Harbour.

I’ve walked past the Garden more times than I count, but Saturday marked the first time I’ve been behind the walls. It’s $6 for adult admission, and it’s $6 of beauty, zen, and most importantly, big ass, majestic lizards. The garden is filled with peaceful rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and lagoons; is drowning in greenery; is glowing with flowers and lanterns; and dotted with intricately designed pavilions and secret pathways where you can have a sit or explore. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of traditional zen and bustling city, and I had a blast. Will definitely add “Chinese Garden of Zen” to my future dream house plans.

It was a bit cold, and too late into autumn to see the garden in bloom, but it was still absolutely lovely. I can only imagine how lush and beautiful it looks in spring and summer. Or when it’s raining. Ah man.

Let’s take a tour:

 

 

 

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The majestic Bin Chicken beckons you in
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The entrance to the garden – a fun bonsai farm.
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views through the pavilion
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I love red lanterns
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walk way of zen
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lagoon of zen
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Actual Photographer
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I am a rat. Zodia-graphically. The Garden had all the Chinese zodiac animals hidden around the place. I almost found them all.

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lily pads and sculptures and willow trees, oh my!
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waterfall!
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A stranger offered to take our photo. And she didn’t steal my camera. Friendship forever.
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Love Graffiti Bamboo Forest
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1 of 1 billion flower pics
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more zodiac sculptures
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2 of 1 billion flower pics
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SUN BERRIES
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I want this print on a dress.
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top of the falls, and the Rising Jade Pavilion
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I love this reflection
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It’s my faaavourite
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Fake Photographer
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raise the red lantern
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Rising Jade, for my mom – she had jade plants all around the house when I was growing up.
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3 of 1 billion flower pics
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my lily pads and sculptures and lagoon (featuring casino construction in the background)
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4 of 1 billion flower pics
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Twin Pavilion – named for it’s joined roof and benches
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There were SO MANY lizards. I took about 700 photos. In fact, this blog was almost called “Chinese Garden of LIZARDS”
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fantastic details inside the Twin Pavilion. I’m buying all the red lanterns this year.
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East views
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Willow trees = best trees
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baby falls

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I love a good stone stair case – and the Gardens did not disappoint. It’s basically the closest I’ll get to rock climbing.
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I also love this handsome face
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View of the aptly named Grand Pavilion
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More gorgeous details in the Grand Pavilion
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dat ceiling lantern
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Views to the west
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the red-pink flowers were the best
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Forest garden
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RABBIT
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LIZARD (seriously – I had to restrain myself from only posting lizard photos. Be thankful I stopped myself at 2.)
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no trolls were found
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babble babble
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more bamboo islands
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views to the west
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DUCK
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FEEEEESH – we got there right after feeding time, and it was literally a frenzy. These suckers were huuuuge.
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exit with zen
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good bye!

I had a pretty stressful Friday, which bled into Saturday morning, and I was surprised that wandering around the Garden all morning absolutely took my mind off of it. As we left, I felt happy, relaxed, and like I wanted to go right back in. I’m not one who is normally fixed by zen gardens, and I didn’t even realise it, but it actually worked. Triumph!

+10, would definitely venture again.

2016 in 3 minutes, 38 seconds

Well, most of 2016. I fell off the planet for a bit between April and October  when I was a sack of sad and nervous break downs and it would have been nothing but videos of me watching Bojack the Horseman and Teen Mom. But I made up for it by having multiple seconds from each day (also I can’t make up my mind). Enjoy! Spoiler alert: this video is mostly Joel because he mostly is my life.

D’aww.

xoxo

Catchup.com – January

Forgive the radio silence around here – I’ve been trapped in a time warp where the only hours I’m conscious are between 8AM-5PM. And before I know it, I’m waking up to get ready for work again.  I blame the 800% humidity and 37*C temperatures and my debilitating cramps and two relatively stressful weeks at work. So in all honesty, blogging got lost in the cray. Hoo-ray. Continue reading “Catchup.com – January”

Beach burns

When I was nearly 13, my mom let me go to the pool with my friend Pam – and no chaperone. I was pumped. Going to the pool without an adult meant I was officially an adult. She lectured me about being on the look out for creepy older men and about putting on sunscreen EVERYWHERE and I was all “fuck that, I’m getting a tan,” and as I packed my backpack with a comic book and a towel and my rainbow striped hat and 2 boxes of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, I purposely didn’t bring the sunscreen. My friend Pam was Italian and naturally bronze and I wanted to look just like her. Continue reading “Beach burns”

On the Road Again (or, for the first time)

I remember my very first time on the open road. I turned 15 and 9 months – the state of Maryland’s minimum age for obtaining your learner’s permit – and scored my learner’s permit on the first try. Continue reading “On the Road Again (or, for the first time)”

Good Days

The past few days have been rock solid.

Thursday – it rained all day, and the temperature dropped to about 20*C, which was FANTASTIC, considering the temps were near 32*C on Tuesday and Wednesday and I thought I was going to melt. My coworker and I had a day of cleaning up/closing up shop at our smaller practice, and we got out earlier than expected due to construction. The early dismissal gave me time to get my driver’s license and have some quality rainy night couch time with Joel, who put up my string lights and made a damn good pasta dinner and was basically a sweet angel baby. With the exception of some horrendous cramps, it was a great night.

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Friday – first, it rained all day AGAIN which meant MORE chilly weather, which meant no sweating and much good times. I had a good day at work, got some surprising (good!) news about my promotion, scored some fantastic second hand clothes,

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some of the second hand goodness – more on this later.

and I came home to a book surprise/early Christmas present from my parents.

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I heart Bloom County. I had a stack of these comic collections that I read and memorised when I was a kid. I haven’t read any of the re-boot comics before now, and they sure as shit don’t disappoint. Subversive 80’s comics for the win.

Friday night concluded with more rain, an order of Thai food from our new favourite take out place (Oriental Healthy, if you’re interested – really delicious and super affordable), and watching Home Alone and Botched Brides, and working with Santa (Amazon Prime) until about 1AM. A+, all around.

Saturday: Unfortunately, the weekend of thunderstorms didn’t happen, as I woke up on Saturday morning to annoyingly bright sun, blue skies and stupid hot temperatures. I met my friend/coworker Casey for coffee and a last minute thrift store run before our Recycled Clothes themed Christmas party that afternoon. I mis-read the invitation as 80’s Christmas, so I was on the hunt for a sweet fanny pack (or bum bag, as they’re called here). We trekked through the heat and I sweated through my clothes, but we made it. And even though I didn’t find a fanny pack, I did find some sweet tops for work, a pair of barely worn hi-top Converse shoes, and two awesome little dessert plates.

Then, it was time to suit up for the party. Here I am in my vintage 80’s goodness:

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Welcome to the 80’s, may I take your order?

 

Heaps of fun was had, and heaps of champagne and G&T’s were consumed.

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I won “Runner Up Best Female” for what, I’m not exactly sure. It might have been for costume, but I might have just been almost good enough to be the best female at work. I don’t know, I was quite drunk. I was up for Employee of the Year, but the winner was drawn at random and the other American snagged the title. I’ll just have to settle for Second Best Female. Saturday night wrapped up with me passing out on the couch with a face full of make up and spilled curry down my shirt, until Joel put me to bed and cleaned up my mess. #sweetangelbaby

Sunday: The merriment on Saturday meant I was absolutely useless on Sunday. I slept in, and then was stuck to the couch watching Sex and the City until about 3PM. I managed to do some laundry, but that’s about it. Eventually I showered and made it to dinner and pool with Joel and our Abercrombie St family.

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Spice Alley – very much good.
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The pool game that would not end. I’m not normally a good pool player, but I was exceptionally not good tonight.

 

So yes, it was a lovely way to wrap up the week. And it’s hard to believe that it’s already Christmas next week. And in two weeks, it’s a new year. Holy shit.

Better get my act together on all those resolutions I was all gung ho about this year  o_0

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

xo

 

 

Ticket to ride

After 2ish years of avoiding the Australian equivalent of the DMV, I finally got my Australian Driver’s license.

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My real license, complete with Extra Terrible Photo arrives in a few weeks. Whee!

 

I’m not sure why I put it off for so long – maybe I was equal parts scared of waiting in line forever at the Service Centre, taking a right handed drive driver’s test, and maybe it was all just WHAT IF A HUNTSMAN GETS IN MY CAR?! (this happened to me with spiders in the States a few times, it’ll sure as shit happen here. Just much bigger.) Also we have public transport and I’ve really been enjoying not having a car payment or related wallet-crushing expenses.

But the wheels went in motion the other night as Joel and I were having our 500th conversation about when we should get a dog. And he might have said “We can get a dog when you get your license, because we’ll need a car to take him places.” And I might have had my application filled out and ready to go the next day.

(#motivation)

And today, we got an unexpected early release from work, so I found the Service Centre that’s about 6 minutes away from our place and walked on over. I waited about 5 minutes, showed a few documents and my application, took a 10 second eye test, took yet another ID photo where I look like a meth-faced criminal who can’t decide which gender he identifies with (seriously, I look like a man in all but 2 of my ID photos. Thanks for the strong genes, Dad.), and $56 and 10 minutes later I was out the door, with my unrestricted license (albeit temporary) in hand.

That’s it? That’s it. No road test, no knowledge test – nothing. I have never driven in the right side driver’s seat and I haven’t even sat behind the wheel of a car in over 2 years. Don’t they know I’m American? And that I learned to drive in Maryland, home of nationally renowned terrible drivers? So this will surely be exciting. And now that I have my license, Joel can finish is permit (#citykids). So, double exciting.

I can’t wait for more road trip adventures and not waiting for the bust to take us to the beach and most importantly – GETTING A DOG PAL! Well, one day.

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vroooooooooooom

Summer goals: 1 down, 100 to go!