eat. go. do. // sydney

(last month, I spent ten days in Sydney. It feels like a breathe of fresh air in my warm comfort zone. The fresh air was very chilly, by the way. I was there during the mid-winter and spending day to day fighting with the winter bite.. but still, Sydney has been very lovely. The people are nice, the city is especially green and gorgeous, the food are indulging, and the sky~ oh.. don't let me start talking about the sky and those rippling clouds! 

I also love the solitary walk! It feels somehow meditative. Walking alone in a random bookstore talking about the shopkeeper's favorite book that he would recommend is probably one of the moment I'd like to remember. I spent most of my time there working (read: studio visits, gallery and museum hopping, writing, and joining talks about art); but I was lucky enough to have a friend who shows me around the city, the tourist spot, the beach, and up to the cabin in the wood!)

I didn't go and eat out as much as I usually do when I'm in a new city, but here are a few of my favorite place around Surry Hills (where I stayed): 1/ line up at Bourke Street Bakery for their famous ginger creme brulee tart (it's a 'thing' to do in the morning.) 2/ grab a cup Almond & Macadamia milk cappuccino at Reuben Hills (they serve crocodile meat too!). 3/ have Asian stir fry, sausage roll, or meat pie on the go to eat at the park! 4/ have fish 'n chips and king prawn on a picnic by the sea.. 5/ chill out and treat yourself for a glass of wine and a slice of cheese at Formaggi Ocello. 6/ line up to get a scoop of nitrogen ice cream or Gelato Messina in the mid-winter afternoon.. "because it's not a gelato: it's Messina!", they said.. (I know.. it doesn't actually make sense to line up in a four-degree-celcius mid-winter afternoon for an ice cream.. but apparently, it's a 'thing')

there are so many bookstores to go but I only went to some walking-distance bookstores around the neighborhood. My favorites are: 1/ Pentimento-- super cute! it reminds me a little bit of Cat Socrates in Singapore.. 2/ Magnation-- if you're crazy about sidestream magazine, here's heaven! 3/ Elizabeth-- it's not so great but if you're willing to spend hours and hours digging for treasures for bargain second-hand book.. this is the place. 4/ Title-- most of their collection is about music and film but when I was there, they have 30% off mid-winter sale and I got Brassai's book for $17.5 only! 5/ Oscar & Friends-- my personal favorite. The shopkeeper is passionate about book and they have a section called 'Beautiful Books' and just like that.. consider me sold! 6/ the Art Gallery of New South Wales' bookshop-- I died a little when I was browsing through the shelves! // as a part of my job, I went gallery and museum hopping quite a lot (and it was literally hopping-- seems like we're always on the run!). Some of my favorites are those that are architecturally stunning, such as: 1/ Alaska Art Project which is a contemporary art initiative located in a parking space where people usually sell used car.. 2/ Carriageworks-- during my visit, they have a show called "Hereby Make Protest".. the show was enlightening and the gallery is located in an old railway station which is .. magical! 3/ National Art School's Gallery was showing a powerful series of Chien-Chi Chang.. and the gallery used to be an old jail-- which is especially contextual with the works shown at that moment.. 4/ The Commercial Gallery is located inside a plain store building-- which make it reasonable to choose the name and the ongoing show at that time (work of art and 'self-portrait' presented as parfume-- yes, parfume!) 5/ The Conductor Project is an art project that shows artworks at two of the busiest train station in Sydney to get wider audience. // some other venues that I visited: 1/ 4A Center of Asian Contemporary Art-- it's where my curators' intensive was held.. 2/ Art Gallery of New South Wales where I finally see Monet's painting and Sol LeWitt's retrospective show in person..  3/ Artspace-- the space nor the work didn't exactly resonate with me but it was a good show nevertheless.. 4/ Museum of Contemporary Art Australia-- we were rushing because it was almost closing hour but we managed to get swayed by the video works by Taibamo 5/ Newsagency-- where the ladies from Indonesia had their show last year and the gallery has the sweetest cat ever! 6/ Gallery 9-- magical facade, minimalist artworks. // what I missed: 1/ First Draft 2/ Minerva 3/ Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation 4/ ACP 5/ Roslyn Oxley9 6/ White Rabbit 7/ Damien Minton 8/ Darren Knight Gallery

1/ if I could do it once again, I'd like to go for a slow long walk down the Botanical Garden, to the Opera House, and the circular quay.. which, I did in a very brisk walk because we were always on the run.. (and probably being the only 'touristy' thing I did in my visit) 2/ buy Lucas Papaw Ointment as a gift (everyone thinks it's a great idea: small, simple, local, and useful). 3/ climb the Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Palm Beach-- I was lucky that my friend took me to his summer house by the sea! It was a bit of a hike up to the lighthouse.. but if you are very very lucky.. you can see the whale migrating from that spot! 4/ go to the zoo or the Koala Park! (okay.. I didn't go there so I don't know what's inside the Koala park aside from koalas, of course.. but we drove past in on our way to my friend's home in the woods.. and then I realize: I haven't seen the koalas, the wallabies, and the kangaroos at all!! but well.. then there is a reason to visit the city once again!). 


let me think only about the sky!

(At this moment, I am desperately need a holiday from being concerned. Work has gotten to me lately. I just surprised myself by finishing nine articles for three magazines, two curatorial notes, one catalog essay, and six short online articles. All was done in one and a half months plus two weeks trips. Being back home only to find myself hosting ten dining parties in one week lead me to this point. 

This annual holiday open house ritual has made my house belong to many others: friends, families, and the loved ones. I actually enjoy the baking, the tidying up, and the daily get-together with different groups of closest people. It's heartwarming! It's just.. somehow my June and July has turned into numbers, words, trips, and to-do's. I need that kind of pause when you're so deep in a story that everything else is forgotten.. the world is gone and you are living a moment that is yours and yours alone. 

I am now in a holiday mode. Longing for more privacy; freedom to do whatever my heart tells, a pause to get lost in a good book for hours and hours, to go under the sun, sit on a park bench holding hand with him, transforming small poetic thoughts into something real, to be on the seaside and think only about the sky.. and for just one moment in life: stop making list in my head. For that, I have one more day before Lir start. 

Wish me luck and the fullest day to do nothing..)