Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is really a wonder to look at. It's spectacular in many angles and when coming close one gets to appreciate how large the structure is (and that the roof is covered by more than a million "glossy white- and matte-cream-coloured" tiles).

The (essential) tour is quite worth it IMO with good tour guides explaining the details and history of the Sydney Opera House (and here are some good sites: 1, 2), and also that we get to walk in and sit in the two large halls -- Concert Hall (2,679 seats with the grand organ) and Opera Theatre (1,507 seats).


Taronga Zoo

This Saturday several colleagues and I went to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. It is just a short ferry ride from Wharf 2 in the Circular Quay. There is a large variety of animals here (but there's only a few for each species), ranging from crocodiles, giraffes, gorillas, kangaroos (are they playing dead in the bottom photo?), koalas, lions, parrots, peacocks, to zebras.

It's alarming to see there are several posters in the airport warning of dangerous animals in Australia, some of which can be lethal to humans. The Taronga Zoo do exhibit some dangerous animals. The largest living lizard, Komodo dragon, seems to be pretty normal, but it has been filmed to be able to take down a big bull. The Komodo dragon bites on the bull's legs and since its bites are venomous, the bull will eventually fall and become a feast to these beasts.

The Fierce Snake seems very scary. It is very restless and agile in the glass tank, and it may seem like if the snake were in the wild it would come fast right at you fearlessly because its venom is so deadly -- the sign says a bite can kill 200,000 mice!! Fortunately reading wikipedia revealed that "fierce" only describes its venom and not its temperament.

And the Tasmanian devil looks like a harmless dog until you read the descriptions on the sign and the associated photos and skeleton of this small beast. Their jaws can open very wide and have power to crush bones -- apparently it "generate the strongest bite per unit body mass of any living mammal."

Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour Hotel

Room @Novotel Darling Harbour
I'd like to stay in hotels or serviced apartments so I can slowly look for a good place to rent. This time I am staying in Novotel, which has reasonable rooms and facilities but is at a great location -- it's right next to the Convention MLR station and the Darling Harbour Shopping Centre (Harbourside), is close to numerous good restaurants, is close to the office, and has great view to name a few.

I bought a camera -- Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR -- before coming to Australia so I can record my experiences and blog them here. The camera is light and compact but has several features that I liked such as GPS, 360 degrees Panorama, 15x optical zoom, and smart (so I can stupid) EXR. Below are examples of the panorama showing a room in Novotel and the view looking out to the CBD, respectively.


Good food in Sydney

So during my trip to Tokyo my Japanese colleagues had tried to lure me to join the Tokyo office instead of Sydney with the reasoning that the food is great in Tokyo (yes that's true) while the food in Australia is awful. I am happy to report that after trying out various food I had in Sydney I must say they are good! Below are just two examples.

The picture on the left is the "Hot and Cold Platter for 2" at the Nick's Seafood Restaurant at Cockle Bay Wharf. There's a LOT of food for 2 -- cold oyster, mussel, salmon, prawn, and crab; and fried fish, prawn, calamari, and chips. I feel the seafood tastes noticeably sweeter and better than what I get in Taipei, likely because they are fresh and from cleaner sea.

The pictures on the right is the seared scallops entree and chargrilled beef fillet mains at the Sugaroom restaurant. Again they are both very nice. And the prawn stuffed zucchini flower in the mains is especially unique and good.

Thanks much to my new manager for taking us to these great treats! =D~