Monday, February 26, 2007

road trip to ancient egypt

yesterday, eric and i found ourselves driving all the way from sydney to canberra (three hours one-way) to visit the national gallery of australia who has an exhibit on egyptian antiquities from the louvre (last day was yesterday so it was either that or go to louvre to the view the collection, we decided at this time it was more practical to drive to canberra :-P). since it was the last day, there were a lot of people in the exhibit starting from the queue to get the tickets (entrance is free in the gallery but you have to pay for the special exhibits) all the way to the actual exhibit itself. it started with a short film showing about what the exhibit is all about with an introduction from the director of the louvre museum himself. the exhibit was entitled: egyptian antiquities: journey to the afterlife. so it pretty much showed how the entire civilization of ancient egypt was based on religion and their belief in the rebirth after death. once inside, it was just amazing seeing all these artifacts from that time (photography wasn’t allowed so just take my word for it :-P). there were a lot of statues of their gods, plaques, chests, jars, amulets and some papyrus on display but the highlight of the exhibit was the actual coffins of mummies, some made from wood and some made from stone. the details on these coffins were just unbelievable. i can’t imagine the time and effort put into make these (not to mention the technology available of doing it at that time).

some facts about the exhibit:

* over two hundred objects went on show in an exhibition of egyptian antiquities from the musee du louvre in paris
* the first exhibition the louvre has sent to australia in nearly two decades
* many of the works are drawn from the permanent display of egyptian antiquities at the louvre, while others have never been on public display
* the egyptian collection is the second most visited collection at the louvre in paris, only being surpassed by the mona lisa
* the national gallery of australia in canberra will be the first gallery to display this magnificent collection.

going around the exhibit for a couple of hours sure made us hungry so we took this opportunity to pass by our favorite resto in canberra, belucci’s, to feast on some real good salad, pasta, risotto and panacotta before heading back home.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

dive number six: shelly beach, manly

just came from a dive trip in shelly beach, our best dive so far. visibility and temperature was good. the weather was perfect as forecasted. we saw eastern blue groupers (as big as half of my body), cuttlefish, squid, rays and two port jackson sharks (a little shorter than me) in addition to the various fishes we've seen (which i can't identify). we also found a wreck motorcycle while going around the area. an underwater digital camera to capture all these would be good...but i think at this point we need to invest in a wetsuit before the underwater camera...

here's a little something about diving in shelly beach which i got from dive centre manly:

"the only beach on the entire east coast of australia to face west, shelly beach occupies a scenic comer of manly's ocean beachfront. white sand and a natural reef of tumbled boulders and rocks descending to a maximum depth of 14 metres have made this one of sydney's premier shore diving sites. the marine life includes regular sightings of wobbegongs and port jackson sharks, huge eastern blue grouper, wrasse, painted shrimps, octopus, cuttlefish, squid, long fin banner fish, globe fish, blennys', and much, much more. for beginners and experienced divers alike an escorted, dive centre manly, shelly beach discovery dive is an experience that will long be remembered."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

diving my life away

i am autumn and i am a padi certified open water diver.

i never considered myself to be adventurous. but eric's persistence not to mention being influenced by my papa and ate dawn and marian (who are all divers in our family) made me go through the hell i had to endure during the australia day long weekend last january 26-28.

so there i was, on our first day of our open water diver certification, lugging my colorful polka dots jansport duffel in chowder bay, mosman with my brand spanking new mask, snorkel and booties (you were required to have these at least, everything else you can rent) filled with thoughts on how good this long weekend will be, or so i thought.

you will NEVER realize how heavy the gears are until you have them strapped to your body (i have this love-hate relationship with my cylinder). when we went to bohol after christmas (yes, eric and i were able to spend the christmas holidays in manila...more on that on a different post), my papa and sisters went diving and ALL they have to do was wiggle their way in their wetsuits and hop on the boat. NOT IN SYDNEY. you do pretty much everything by yourself. i was telling my ate that kulang na lang they make us fill the cylinder with air! i was also expecting the confined water dives will be in a pool but not with plunge diving, confined water dives are actually in the shallow part of the bay which made the lessons more challenging (you have the current to work with). in addition, ALL our dives were shore entry dives not the boat dives you normally see where the diver just jumps off the boat. so imagine lugging all the equipment with you from the dive centre to the bay. i tell you, when i woke up the next day, my body was aching all over.

it definitely was a pretty intense weekend. lessons usually run for two weekends in a row. ours was three whole days in a row! we were there in chowder bay at 8:30am and lessons would finish at around 5:30-6:00pm. imagine that! it was a combination of classroom sessions and confined water and open water dives with quizzes and exams (by the way, eric and i both got 100% on the final written exam :-P).

i was in constant communication with my ate updating her on how the lessons were going and she told me na puro reklamo daw ako. don't i have any good thing to say about my experience? all i can say is that on the last day, AM GLAD I DID IT. it definitely was an achievement for me. on the first day all i can say to myself was, what was i thinking? what did i get myself into? but they were right, it does get better. the second day was better than the first and the third day was better than the second.

we have been told that diving in tropical waters can never be compared to diving in sydney. but i was already in awe when i saw a puffer fish, a big crab, a seahorse, a ray and the highlight of my diving career so far, a fairy penguin when i was underwater in chowder bay. i can just imagine how wonderful it will be to go diving in queensland and conquer the great barrier reef (which we are already planning) not to mention going to all these amazing dive sites in the philippines on our next trip back.

was it worth it? it definitely was.

what made the experience more special was the fact that eric and i were in this together.

we have been back to chowder bay for a guided trip. this time, no more lessons, no more quizzes nor exams. just enjoyable diving.

who knows where we'll find ourselves diving next? the sea's the limit...


am alive (in case you're wondering)!!!

been away from the wonderful world of blogging for too long. will start by updating my links first and then keep you posted on what i've been up to the past couple of months.