F1, Melbourne 2012

Formula 1 Racing.

Watching a F1 race up close at the grandstand. This is on my bucket list. The only time I got close to one was when I was backpacking around Europe and walked around the Monaco circuit 2 weeks before the race.  Australia has played a part in the F1 history going back to 60’s. This included Jack Brabham, who ran out of fuel, had to push his car across the finishing line and ended up finishing 4th but ended up winning the World Champ in 1959. So although F1 has been dominiated by Europeans and the occasional Brazilans, there is a fair bit of sentimental history with Australia – after all the McClaren team was started originally by Bruce McLaren (who was a protoge of Brabham’s and albeit he was Kiwi). Bruce was a young dashing driver but died young tragically in a test run.

It is unfortunate that Australia has a time zone issue and all the money is chasing towards Asia and other wealthy countries. So there is a small chance Australia will lose its F1 race in a few years, especially when F1 is about to list. So, I finally decided to attend the Melbourne F1 race.

Moss Wood, Margaret River, WA

When we were at the wine region in WA, we visited a winery called Moss Wood. We found out it was appointment only when we drove up. We didn’t have one and tried our luck anyway. Moss Wood is quite a famous brand. But unlike other wineries, they decided to just concentrate on making good wines. So no cafe, no shop, no tasting house. We were greeted by a young mid 20’s winemaker in his work boots and all. His main job was to make wines. His second job was to look after visitors. We were invited into a shed. In the corner was barrel with some tasting glasses and we were treated to an informal tasting. The guy was young, rugged and good-looking. So much so, I ended up being the photographer taking snaps of the girls with him in the cellar. I think I was featured only in 1 photo.

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Voyager, Margaret River

Margaret River is a premier wine region in Western Australia.  It is a short 2 hour drive or so from Perth.  We visited the area some years ago now.  One of the biggest vineyards is Voyager Estate.  Voyager was set up by Michael Wright.  His father made a lot of money from the mining boom in the 60’s and Michael bought this vineyard in the 90’s and transformed it into an excellent producer.  We particularly enjoy their SSB and Chardonnay.  After he bought the place he decided to plant one of the biggest flags on his property.  The vineyard also runs a safari tour of sorts around his vineyard on a specially built 4WD.  Included  in the tour was the obligatory wine tasting at the end.  We tasted and enjoyed pretty much all their varieties.
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Tau Bay, Cabramatta

This is small and simple pho place.  It simply is fantastic pho.  Been there for a long time.  We were recommended it by some Vietnamese friends.  They are not as big as some of the other more established pho places.  The room barely fits about 10 tables and it was packed.  Perhaps because of the scale of the operation, they spend more quality time with their stock because it is so much full of deep flavour.

Ampersand, Surry Hills

This is a cafe we visited on a Saturday, opposite to the Clock Tower on Crown St at Surry Hills.  It was very busy.  The room was quite narrow so the sitting was quite tight.  We had a wonderful experience there.  We ordered the Bloody Mary Breakfast and the Mediterranean Breakfast.  The Bloody Mary (without the cocktail) was definitely the highlight.  The eggs looked so inviting in the little pan that it was cooked in.  The salad went well with it.  The haloumi was good too.  The breakfast was so go, we had passersby gawking at it – they should’ve ordered it they said.

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Park Hyatt, Tokyo

This was taken some years ago now in Tokyo. At the time, we had a Canon 400D. We had done a quick camera course at the community college some months before and barely knew what we were doing withe camera. I was playing with the 50mm 1.8 and probably maxed out the ISO. The camera was rested a some upside down saucer as tripod.

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Lovers’ Sunset, Observatory Hill, Sydney

Observatory Hill is on the other side of the Harbour Bridge. It is not on the must see tourist list and this is a good thing. It is almost like a secret local spot and even then not many locals go there. At any time of the day you will find boot camp fitness classes, wedding photographers, friends having a picnic lunch. joggers, walkers and other people just enjoying the spot. The other beauty of the spot is that each group does not crowd out the other and there is a lack of traffic sound. So it is a calm spot with little wind as a bonus.

Click on more to see the full picture.

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Park Hyatt, Circular Quay

The hotel Park Hyatt was recently refurbished. A Japanese billionaire heiress visited it, liked it so much and convinced her father to buy it for $230 million Dollars. Another $70 million Dollars and you have a brand new hotel. The top floor presidential suite (and a few US presidents have stayed there) costs something like $17,000 per night. It looks straight at the Opera House. Must be a wonderful sight watching the sunrise in the morning.

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