Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Royal Easter Show in Sydney

Part of the crowd at the Main Arena

To a lot of new migrants and visitors to Sydney, The Royal Easter Show is part Agricultural Show, part Harvest Festival; as in "Fiesta" in most Hispanic countries and part trade show.

It was first started in 1823 in Parramatta, after the formation of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) in 1822. The RAS was formed by a group of Sydney's leading citizens with the aim of "furthering the quality of Australia's primary production by means of contests and competitions".

To date, the RAS showcases various competitions from cake making, decoration and baking, to painting, photography, arts and crafts, stitching, "recylced art", meat and dairy produce, and almost anything to do with primary produce. It awards the coveted "blue ribbons" for the best of the best of the show, and the red and yellow ribbons for the runner up.

Produce Showcase at the Agricultural Pavillion

The atmosphere nowadays is of festival with modern rides (as opposed to the olden horse and buggy rides), food galore and showbags.

What do you say are showbags?

As the Royal Easter Show is a national icon and an annual event, that "celebrates all things Australian from (our) bush heritage to the latest in entertainment"; showbags are what the kids, teenagers and some adults wait for eagerly. In the strictest of sense, it is a bag full of goodies at "discounted" prices; from chocolates and other lollies to mostly toys, magazines, trade samples, etc. There is practically a showbag for everyone. There is even a "review" of the best valued and sought after show bag!

"Showbags Pavillion"

Part of the Crowd at the Show

Of course there are also horse jumping, wood chopping, various animal shows; showcasing the best breeds of cows, chickens, sheeps, horses, etc. Plus showcases of the various agricultural produce, as in vegetables and fruits.

"Wood Chopping Competition"

"Agricultural Showcase"

"Smiling Clowns"

If in Sydney during the Easter break, don't miss the Easter Show. It is an Aussie icon that one can not miss!

Easter Florals


"Cuvee' Daisies" Peterson's House

"Santa Maria" Mannering Park Holiday House Garden

I love photographing flowers, it is so easy and the results are always spectacular! Nature provides all the "raw" elements, the wonderful and contrasting colours and hues, the patterns and textures. All you need to do is come closer, pay attention and "smell the roses". Thank God for flowers!

"Easter Sunrise" This reminds me of Easter Sunrise Church Services.

"Blue Moon", A personal favourite

Hunter Valley Vineyards

"Magnolia" at Hunter Valley Gardens' Car Park

"Tempus Two Vines", Tempus Two Winery

"Wine Horse", Entrance to the Peterson's Champagne House

"Casks", A piece of Italy in Hope's Estate Vineyards, Hunter Valley

"Hope Estate Wine Tasting Room"

"Magnolia Nectar Vineyard", Carpark, Hunter Valley Gardens

See this post.

Four Days in Easter

Day 2 at Lake Macquarie, Mannering Park
Black Saturday

"God's Pelican"

"On Holidays"

"On An Innis"

"Alum Dinghy"

"Boats' Row"

"Just Sticking Out"

"Family Time: Gone Fishing"

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Thirteen Days at Sea: On the Way to the South Pacific

"Blue Lagoon", The beach on the other side of Yasawa I-rara Island.

This is my first leisure cruise. It brought me to the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. One of the best vacations I had - "living the life" as one friend quipped.
I was planning to get a decent DSLR but decided not to. I was paying off the cost of the cruise!But see some of the pictures I took with my point and shoot Olympus digicam:

"Artifact - Sea Cones"

Taken on the island of Yasawa-I-rara, off the coast of Fiji on the Nadi side of the island. The Yasawa group of islands extend up to 90 kilometers long on the western side of Fiji.

The Yasawa I-rara island is remote and not develop at all, no touristy shops just a virgin island, unspoilt. There's only a small village, a community center and a church. One of the best islands I've been to. The locals are nice and friendly. According to the P & O staff, they don't go there much so as not to spoil the tranquility of the island and the villagers. I hope it stays that way!

Villagers Unloading from a Day in the Market.

With our ship and tenders (the orange small boats, that ferries us to and from the cruise ship); as background, these residents of Yasawa I-rara unloads the week's shopping. It took them a three-hour ride by boat one way to shop and barter on the main island of Viti-Levu (where Suva, Nadi and Lautoka are).


Bula! A less formal greeting which literally means "health" and "life". The western equivalent of "hello", but in a more meaningful and substantive way, like the Hawaiian "Aloha" and the Filipino's "Mabuhay".

The Alliance Francaise: French Film Festival 2008 (In Sydney 5-19 March)

Driving in CBD Sydney downtown last week, I saw this streamer regarding a "film festival". As I was busy driving to a relative's wedding, I asked my wife to take a quick picture so I can read it afterwards.

I sometimes use my digital camera like this, to record and "take note" of signs and other announcements, billboard and other advertisements and what have you that takes my fancy but "too busy" to remember or make a note of. A snapshot of what it says rather than the image itself.

Anyway, I learn that there is a French Film Festival in Australia sponsored by The Alliance Francaise. In Sydney, this was scheduled from 5 to 19 March. There are other schedules for the rest of Australia and New Zealand. This is the 19th edition of the festival here in Australia, and offers 436 screenings!

The Alliance Francaise is a non-profit organisation founded in Paris in 1883. It is now an International Federation that promotes and teaches the French language as well as promoting French culture and arts.

As I write this, this is the last day of the Festival and I am cooped at work till 9:30 PM! As always, I took it for granted and was not able to see even one film. Imagine, I don't need to travel to France and I'll save heaps of money to savour the French cinema experience. Well, I hope there will be another one next year.

Back to my SBS, ABC and Foxtel at home! Sigh...

Friday, 14 March 2008

Earth Hour 2008: Turn Your Lights Off for One Hour - 29 March 8:00 PM

Earth Hour 2007 was a Sydney event, but this year's Earth Hour is a global event.

Only if a household turn its lights off just for an hour (8PM your local time on 29 March), will make a huge difference in the carbon footprint of the world.

Make a difference and join me in this year's Earth Hour. To make a commitment, please click main title or here, you do not need to donate any money. You will save money by turning your lights off for an hour!

World's Greatest Shave 2008

Lilac Shavings, All Rights Reserved Copyright © 2007

The World's Greatest Shave 2008 is on again from 13 to 15 March.

This annual event is a project by the Leukaemia Foundation to support patients and families of leukaemia sufferers.

This is a fun fundraising, the biggest in Australian fundraising event; you either shave your head or colour it. In return your friends and co-workers will be requested to donate or pledge donations to the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.

In Australia alone, every hour a person is diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukaemia.

A couple of years ago, my grandson Jaylen was diagnosed with leukaemia (ALL variety). Fortunately for him and us, he was cured just last January. Without the help and support of medical practitioners and people like you who donate to worthy causes like this, he would have not had the chance to live. So please donate to your local Leukaemia Foundation, it is the least you can do.

To donate, please click here, or click here to go directly to the Leukaemia Foundation in Australia.

See me here, after my "no hair-do!"