Shady in Sydney- Night photos and aimless wandering by Jessica Lee

I was walking through downtown Toronto yesterday night when an Israeli traveler approached me with a question.

"Why is everyone in this city in such a hurry?"

I told him because it was cold. It was well below zero degrees.

That was my truthful answer because if it were warmer, I would totally be exploring and poking my nose around and discovering new things to do.

I love walking through cities at night. There are less people out (unless you're in a nightclub area) and things just seem more still. I feel like I can reflect and just enjoy things for myself.

I'm glad I bumped into him though because he reminded me of myself when I exploring Australia.

Here are a few photos taken near Miller's Point, Sydney:

We started the night with low expectations and no set agenda. Usually, I find the best nights come from spontaneity and an open mind.

The weather is much warmer than Toronto, as you can see by the clothes we are wearing. These photos don't really tell a chronological story, but they capture a feeling.

These photos capture a point in time. I will never be 21 again, but hopefully I will feel just as free in future pictures.

Here I am practicing my runway model pose on Sydney's Harbour Bridge:

We had just left the library after an intense all-day study session and the excitement of the sprawling Sydney nightlife was beckoning. Oh to be young and alive!

I thought the below tunnel looked really cool, so I asked for a photo. This was somewhere near Luna Park.

All photos were taken by me except the ones I'm in, which were taken by my good friend Bon Ng.

Readers: Do you have any photos of yourself connected to fond memories?

Wanderlust by Jessica Lee

Sometimes I still can't believe I'm back in Toronto. I can still see scenes in Australia so clearly in my mind, it's like I'm there and not here.

I can still feel the sand between my toes at Whitsundays, or the cold breeze which blew my hair around my face when I was sailing the Sydney Harbour. I see orange-gold sunsets over the South Pacific all the time and can still hear the steady crash of the rolling waves along the Australian shores.

Sometimes in my daydreams, I am walking at night with a friend down the cobblestone path along the Harbour bridge. The street lamps are lit and they provide an eerie glow to the dark night, setting a mysterious mood. The cityscape is so clear from where I'm standing. As I gaze across the water, I realize standing in that exact spot is where I want to be right here and right now.

I open my eyes and I realize I've fallen asleep in a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway car. The  familiar, automated voice calls out "Arriving at Davisville Station". I'm in commute on my way home. Usually from work, or sailing or the climbing gym.

My life in Toronto has picked up again really quickly. Though things have changed enough to keep me mentally and physically stimulated, the routine is still frustratingly similar to where I left off.

I've discovered I need to constantly experience new things to keep me happy and out of my comfort zone- which is why I've taken up swing dancing. It's no Australia or Indonesia or even Montreal, but it will do for now.

Since being here for the last two weeks, I've fallen back to the rhythm of my hometown. The first day back, I wasn't quite sure what to do on the TTC. I had just walked from an event at Harbourfront and was standing at Union station, waiting for a train to take me back home. As the train rolled into the station, I stood at the side of the door, waiting to get in. There was a crowd of about 10 people near each subway door, and there weren't that many people occupying seats.

Usually when a the subway door opens, it's a race between everyone to get to a seat. (It's even more spectacular to observe when the subway door opens and everyone rushes to get to the escalator.)

As I was standing there, not knowing what to do, eventually indecision of which seat to take led me to having no seat at all.

This didn't happen to me in Sydney because I rarely took the train, and when I did, there were always available seats; which is why the first few days I was back in Toronto, I just ended up seatless from being out of practice in the art of seat-grabbing.

Toronto as a city is generally more aggressive than the laid-back pattern of Sydney. I find that people in Sydney seemed friendlier and a little more considerate of other people. I'm not saying it's better to be from Sydney or it's better to live in Sydney because people are nicer. Aggressiveness and going for what you want is a useful life skill too. The two cities are just different in personality.

And maybe that is the point of living in different cities- being offered the chance to take in the best of what each city offers and choosing to learn and enjoy its distinctive characteristics.

One of my favourite writers, Paulo Coelho is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a place I once briefly visited many moons ago. I only remember the scorchingly hot weather (33 C!), the dark, leathery skin of the locals who frequented the Copacabana, and of course the gorgeous waterline of the beach itself.

I wonder though- would the population think similarly to Coelho's sometimes unconventional philosophies? Do all people there follow their passions more so than people in North America where we are trained to go to university, get good grades, then get "good jobs" and eventually retire?

I would like to know all these things and more.

It doesn't look like I'll be staying in Toronto for long...

Lessons from the road by Jessica Lee

From what I’ve learned these past seven months away from home, I’ve found that the road teaches you far more practical life lessons than anything learned at University.

I am writing this sitting on the Greyhound bus from Montreal back to Toronto.

The obvious lesson for me would be to pack lighter.

No one really needs 40+ t-shirts on any trip. What happened was I packed 20 t-shirts originally, then little by little added more and more, rationalizing that t-shirts take up really little space. Things add up, and soon without realizing it, I was carrying 40 t-shirts to Australia.

I have spent way too much money posting things back home. I wince about the money amount, but I don’t regret it because it’s a lesson learnt.

I also spent way too much upgrading baggage or renting lockers or not walking places and taking cabs to hostels because I couldn’t carry all my stuff.

In the process, I have become stronger because I soldiered up and carried everything during the short walks from the bus stops to the hostels, but I wouldn’t backpack anywhere again with all the things I’ve been carrying around for the past month or so.

In reality, once one item in your backpack starts smelling like smoke or sweat, everything else starts to develop the same smell. Despite growing up and living in a very clean household all my life and being raised to be concerned about hygiene, during the past couple of weeks while backpacking throughout Australia and Indonesia; I’ve gotten used to not minding stale clothing. Doing laundry while traveling is always an option too.

Being on the road has also taught me about people’s motivations. In Toronto, people help you out of kindness because it’s a nice thing to do and it’s common courtesy. If I saw someone with their hands full, I would offer to help carry things for them. The same principle applies in Australia. Two strangers kindly helped me carry my 7 piece luggage from the bus stop to the bus station in Melbourne.

In Indonesia however, I once had a lot of luggage and had just boarded a train. I had avoided using the porters who would have helped me carry the luggage on the train. I made it onto the train without their help, carrying all of my things. Once on the train, I needed to store my luggage in the racks above the seats. A man dressed in a train uniform motioned for me to hand him my luggage and he put the luggage on the rack for me. I figured he was working for the train company and he would help me out because I had booked an executive business class ticket, so I expected this sort of service somewhat.

I found out later he wasn't employed by the train company, and he was a porter working for himself. He asked me for $1 for helping me lift 4 bags!

I have spent $1 in better ways. Like when I paid $1 for 18 bananas at Paddy's Market in Sydney. Or when I paid 50 cents for a motorcycle ride in Jakarta (still have to blog about that one). Spending a dollar to have someone lift four things for me is not an economical use of money.

It's okay though. It's only a dollar.

And it's a learning experience. That's what matters. I pay attention more to people's motivations more now.

Better to learn a lesson and lose a dollar than not learn a lesson and lose $50 later.

Things I will miss about Australia by Jessica Lee

I left Australia not even a month ago, but I’m already starting to miss it. The people and friendships I have made obviously rank at number one, but besides that, here is a list of things unique to Oz which I long for. (Some of these things I haven't even blogged about yet, but I will eventually, so keep your eyes peeled!)

The above photo is of me enjoying a lamington, which is a chocolate cake with a cream filling, which is an Australian specialty; it was okay. My favourite dessert in the whole world is still crème brule.  

1.     Beaches and ocean scenery. There are so so many nice beaches in Australia, it’s not fair.
2.     Sailing in Sydney harbour. It’s just beautiful; the water sparkles in the day time under the sun and at dusk when the sun sets, you can see the sky making all sorts of gorgeous colours.
3.     Melbourne cafes
4.     Vintage shopping. The vintage shopping here is substantially better than what we have back in Canada; much better finds.
5.     Kangaroo meat- just delicious when cooked right!
6.     Angry Australian men (I love overhearing Aussie men vent in their accents! Funniest thing ever.)
7.     Carmen’s cranberry muesli (I guess I will just have to find a muesli like this back home)
8.     When people call each other “mate”. (This always puts a smile on my face) I love it when people yell “Oy” as well.
9.     Red Rock Deli chips in the red chili flavour.
10. Watching kangaroos jump.

Bonus: Vita Brits! I recently discovered Vita Brits and I wish I could take a box home with me, but unfortunately I have luggage problems as it is already.

Tour of Sydney harbour by Jessica Lee

It was sailing that originally drew me to Sydney, so before I left I went sailing one last time.

This time it was to the Harbour Bridge.

I arrived at Woollahra Sailing Club in Rose Bay in the afternoon and we began rigging the boat.

Here is a photo I took of the club. It is a scene I won't see again for a while in real life, which makes me sad.

This is the beach:

And the dock:

I love the feeling of being in a small boat over water. I like the feeling of the wind, balancing on the edge of the boat and hearing the waves gently lapping over the side of the boat.

It was lovely casual sailing weather; sunny, light wind and not too many waves.

Generally, you're not supposed to take electronics on small dinghies because you might capsize and lose everything, but I knew the view would be gorgeous and I wanted to capture it all. I don't mind taking reasonable risks for big rewards. The photos turned out lovely.

We spent a couple of hours on the water, passed by a military base, saw the Opera House and the bridge, saw a huge cruise ship, then headed back just as the sun was setting. There was a streak of pink in the sky which I thought was quite lovely.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos!

Sydney to Melbourne: day one by Jessica Lee

We left Sydney a few days ago to drive down to Melbourne onto the Great Ocean Road.

It has been lots of beautiful farmland and quaint little towns.

Driving through Australia has made me realize how incredibly large the world is. I mean, you pass through small towns, realize you're never going to meet any of these people, then pass through some more small towns and realize there are many more of these small towns you are never going to pass through or stop over and explore.

There is just so much I want to do, so many places I want to explore and stay at but not enough time. And this has only been Australia that I've been through on a drive. There are many other countries I'd like to visit in the future as well. At some point during our drive, I realized (silly I didn't figure this out before, I know) that I won't ever travel the entire world, be in all the spots I want to be before I eventually get too old and die. Sorry I am being morbid, but this greatly distresses me.

Australia is beautiful though.

The gorgeous coastlines we've been driving by make me re-evaulate Toronto's Harbourfront, one of my favourite areas of Toronto. If friends from out of town came to visit, that would be one of the places I'd recommend them to visit. I realize now our harbour is not quite as impressive as what these coastal towns have to offer. That's okay though. I still have lovely associations and fond memories from spending time there with people I love being around. I might still tell people from out of town to visit the harbour, watch the boats, go kayaking, and drink coffee with someone they like at the Second Cup on the dock. And in the summer, I'd tell them to visit Sugar Beach, walk by the sugar factory, inhale the scent of burning sugar and spend the day suntanning.

Anyway, back to Australia.

These photos were taken near Nowra.

We spent most of the first day driving, stopping off at scenic points. 

We watched the sun set from Jervis Bay, in a beach called Murray's Beach. I loved that it was secluded and clean. Bon found out that the sand squeaks when you drag your heels on it. I'm don't know how else to explain it, but if you come here and we arrange a time to meet, I could show you.

I've also developed a habit of running to the water of each beach we pass by and dipping my toe in the water. I don't know why exactly. Originally, this was so I could say I've dipped my toe in Australian waters at every beach- it seemed like a romantic notion, but really now that I think about it they are all just various points of the Indian Ocean. Oh well.

We stopped off at night in Bateman's Bay under a scattering of stars and a lovely coastline view to a gas cooked dinner of bangers and mash- which apparently is a dish originating from England, but something I only recently discovered in restaurants in Australia. I added steamed veggies to the mix because who says you can't be healthy and live on the road?

A date at Watson's Bay, Sydney by Jessica Lee

With three days left to go in Sydney, I had no intentions to meet a charming English boy who would sweep me off of my feet. I had just been hoping to cross off things I wanted to do on my sightseeing list. Sometimes though, you meet the right people at the wrong time.

The timing was horrible since I was leaving and also because I had lost my voice from recovering from a cold. I don’t usually go on dates when I am mute, but this guy was really sweet and at noon, I found myself at Watson’s Bay, which happens to be a very good first date choice (hot tip for the gentlemen reading this!)

The day felt like something out of The Little Mermaid or like the 1930’s. I was pretty much silent for the first half of the date. My voice was gone so I had to write things for him to read in a little notebook I had while he carried on talking normally. Have you ever had to communicate to someone with just facial expressions and words on paper? It’s difficult. The tone of one’s voice conveys so much and it was missing.

We had fish and chips at Doyles on the Wharf, a much-hyped-up low-key eatery at Watson’s Bay. The food was definitely delicious, possibly the best fish and chips I’ve ever had; granted my perception of the food could have been conflated with the good company I was with and the lovely view of the harbour.

 Watson’s Bay is a perfect first date choice because the area is quiet and isolated being that it’s just on the outskirts of the city. It is also a beautiful place to be. I was impressed.

After lunch, we took a stroll on the beach then hiked up to a gorgeous, secluded lookout point. There is romance written all over this lookout. There is a natural bench for two indented in the rock at the very edge of the cliff and you can watch life passing by here with all the ships and little boats sailing past and the Harbour Bridge in the background. I imagine watching a sunset and sharing a bottle of wine here would be amazing.

On the other side of the cliff, there is a lovely trail with a view of the whole city. You can hear the waves crashing and sometimes spot dolphins or whales. It was the most perfect first date I’ve ever been on. The parting was bittersweet and left me sad the whole night.

Life is never perfect. Sometimes paths intersect for a moment and never meet again. Sometimes the universe conspires to bring two people together. The world is small and large at the same time. Who knows what the future holds?

On the road (again) by Jessica Lee

Goodbye Sydney, hello road!

I used to think of myself as someone who could travel light. And now I know that is not the case.

I am struggling with packing for what I like to call my “world tour”. It is not really a world tour. Though I am hitting four out of seven continents so I think that qualifies for something.

The first leg of my travels will be a road trip in the eastern part of Australia. The plan is to start at Cairns and drive down along the coastline stopping at major towns and snorkeling along the way. We’ll head back down to Sydney then go on our way to Melbourne and eventually I’ll make it to Adelaide to meet one of my friends. We plan to take a ferry to Kangaroo Island and spend a few days there.

Then I’m getting on a plane to Jakarta, Indonesia. I don’t know where I’m going from there. I could end up in Singapore, Bali, or any of the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia. It’s this aspect of not knowing what is going to happen, but feeling like the possibilities are endless that make travel so exciting.

A few other cities I plan to stop by on my way home include Bangkok, Thailand, London, England and Montreal, Canada. I’m pretty excited.

I think one of the best things about travel is that your limits are pushed, your knowledge about the world grows and also your knowledge about yourself gets expanded.

As I was saying earlier, I used to be able to pack lightly during travels. I have learned that I am definitely not a light packer. The problem is that I just have too many interests. About a quarter of my luggage consists of clothes. An eighth is books (love to read), another eighth is sailing gear, and then another eighth is photography gear (consisting of multiple lenses, a film camera and a DSLR. Thank goodness I didn’t bring my tripod); on the side, I have my sketch books, my ukelele and of course my laptop and toiletries. And now I have souvenirs to bring home to friends and family too!

I really hope I don’t become one of those people who are in those T.V. shows about hoarding.

What are some things you have learned about yourself while on the road?

All that jazz! Darling Harbour Jazz Fest by Jessica Lee

I remember the precise moment I fell in love with jazz music. Summer 2009, at the Beaches Jazz Festival in Toronto.

I was young, wide-eyed and fresh out of my first year of university. Jazz, swing and blues was a whole new world to me. The seduction of the rhythm and the way you could feel the emotion behind each note was just too much. People were dancing in the streets and singing along. I fell whole-heartedly and contently.

When I heard there was a jazz festival at Darling Harbour, I decided I would go despite the looming exams.

It was the first time I had gone to Darling Harbour in the daytime and it was just beautiful. A little touristy- but still nice.

The festival was only a three-day one and not as big or memorable as the one I go to in Toronto every year and as a result, it made me miss my hometown.

The summer months in Toronto (June, July, August) are the best months of the year. All the major festivals take place during this time, the patios are all open, the weather is nice and warm, and usually I'm off school. I'm pretty bummed I'll have to miss my favourite time of the year in Toronto because I'm travelling, but you can't have everything and travelling to a new countries will be novel and hopefully exciting.

Here are a few photos of Jazz Fest:

It's a pretty tourist-oriented area so buskers are always around.

I thought the little trains were pretty cool. You pay them $4.50 or $3.50 if you're a child and then you get a little tour. Obviously it's a tourist trap because Darling Harbour isn't that big and is definitely walkable.

There was a good-size crowd but again, since it was in Darling Harbour, some of these people were tourists and not genuine music lovers- the vibe just wasn't there.

That's okay though. I enjoyed the music.

This is James Valentine (another J.V., not the ex Maroon 5 member). I had never heard of him either, but he was alright. He was actually quite decent, but I used to work at a concert venue (lots of AMAZING music) and I also go see a lot of live shows in my spare time so my standards have flown pretty high.

The audience doesn't look that impressed. Tough crowd.

The festival went on until night, but we didn't stay long due to exams. I did however manage to fit in a dance at the end.

Exploring a Newtown cafe in Sydney by Jessica Lee

I took a break from studying today to hang out with and say goodbye to my friend Matt in Newtown.

What's crazy is that I may never see him ever again. I've never had this problem before. Most of my friends live in the general Ontario area so I've always assumed we would eventually bump into each other at some point in time. I've met people in my travels before but our interactions would be small and it wouldn't matter much anyway if I never see them again.

In movies or novels when people are parting, the narrator will sometimes say something along the lines of "that was the last time we saw each other again. He moved on Arizona, made it rich, then died of a cocaine overdose." In the story, the circumstances will be quite dramatic, but the narrator usually passes this information off nonchalantly. I however, am pretty sure I will be heartbroken if I never see some of my Australian friends again.

I met Matt at the Pastizzi Cafe on King street. I had walked by there plenty of times on my way home from the rock climbing gym and I liked the menu on the door.

We decided to order a pastizzi for an appetizer because the place was called the Pastizzi cafe after all.

This is what a pastizzi looks like: 

It is a tasty savoury pastry. The one we had was chicken and mushroom, however there was also a spinach and feta one and a chilli con carne one as well.

This is the mocha I had. So far in Australia, I haven't had a single bad coffee. It's been a great experience. However, is consistently good coffee a worthwhile tradeoff to the crappy internet and rampant cockroach problem here? I am not so sure about that, Australia! (These are just the facts, don't get mad Aussies!)

Usually at Italian places, I have a routine established where I order either the seafood pasta, carbonara or spaghetti bolognese. This is because it is extremely difficult to screw up any of these dishes and I love eating these dishes anyway.

Needless to say I am not a big risk-taker when it comes to eating out since I like to repeat things that work for me. In psychology, this is called the Law of Effect, according the father of cognitive psychology, Ed Thorndike. He discovered this while playing with cats and decided it could apply to humans. It's silly how he didn't study humans right from the start. I'm sure he could have found lots of people with similar eating strategies to mine. Maybe he just liked playing with cats.

I think animals are different from humans though. For my main, Matt convinced me to try something new, so I ordered the cannanoli, which is pasta sheets filled with minced meat in between.

Picking something new on the menu was a pretty big move for me but I'm glad I did it. The cannanoli was really delicious and seemed authentic (unlike that chain-restaurant pasta crap you can order in North America). If I stayed in Sydney longer, I could definitely see myself coming back to the Pastizzi Cafe often and trying out all their dishes.

We followed up our meal with a tiramisu. Just lovely.

If you look at the photo below, you can make out Matt's face in the reflection of the spoon (how mysterious!).

I haven't had the opportunity to fully explore (read: shop) Newtown yet, but walking by the shops cursorily, I get a sense that I am going to regret not browsing this area when I leave Sydney. Newtown is like the Queen Street West of Toronto- a really fashion forward, hipster-y place filled with bookstores, skate shops, clothing stores, thai food and cafes.

There are so many thai places that I would like to try, but sadly not enough time.

Looks like I'm coming back to Sydney by Jessica Lee

Sydney, I am not done with you!

I am leaving Sydney in two weeks to start my road trip around Queensland and Southern Australia. You would think that me living in Sydney for four months would be enough time for me to fully immerse myself in this city. It has definitely not been sufficient.

We made a list of things we wanted to do at the beginning of the four months. Not even half of it has been crossed off. Some of these things will never be crossed off either because they were festivals that we simply missed. They are lost moments, but there were many other moments that weren’t anticipated that made up for it- like housemate-bonding moments watching Australian primetime television shows Masterchef and Please Marry My Boy. (Don’t judge)

I made a new list of things I want to do before leaving (see lead photo). It only consists of about 14 things, so that roughly equals to me doing one thing per day. I still don’t have a lot of hope that this list will be accomplished given that exams for me start in six days.

Still, I will never experience this moment of my life again. I will never be this young ever again. Even if I were to visit Sydney again at a future date and do the things on the list, it would feel different. I will never feel as free as I am right now. I have no commitments to jobs, significant others or children. So I say it’s okay to spend a small percentage of each day experiencing life instead of just studying for exams.

Looking back, I’ve been trying to pinpoint where all of my time went. Though four months is not a lot of time (in the grand total of my life), it still is a significant amount. I try not to have regrets, but I have to say I made some bad calls here and there. BUT that is okay. Sometimes, you need to make mistakes to learn. Like that one time I spent the whole weekend studying for a quiz that I ended up doing terrible on anyway. Might as well have not studied. As I recall, the weather that weekend was great.

Another thing I would change in how I spent my time would be to vary my activities- less time at the shops (it’s always the groceries), less time at the gym and more time exploring Sydney.

Also, instead of skipping class to sleep in (which I did towards the end of the semester on Mondays and Wednesdays), I should have skipped class to go out. LIFE IS SHORT, LIVE A LITTLE.

Still, it has been a good run, and not getting to do everything I wanted only means I will have to eventually make a trip back here. Of course, everything will change. Friends who live here now may move away, buildings might get torn down, restaurants may close, public buildings may lose their funding, etc. etc. You never know, life’s always a gamble.

Here’s to today. Go out and explore!

Sydney: theatre edition. My review of Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Jessica Lee

I was starving for drama.

Back in Toronto, I would regularly go out to see theatre at least once a month. I have a terrible theatre addiction and it's a hard habit to break. If you know me well, I have probably asked you to go see theatre with me at least once. Ever since being on the road four months ago however, I hadn't had the chance to see much and was starting to crave the theatre.

My dreams were finally fulfilled this weekend as I had time (at last) to go with my friend Dan to see Les Liaisons Dangereuses put on by the Sydney Theatre Company.

It was just amazing. Hugo Weaving, Australian actor extraordinaire, was playing the starring role of Vicomte de Valmont. He was perfect in the role, oozing charisma and seducing the audience.

Here is a photo of him in the program photo with the other lead, actress Pamela Rabe:

Even though the actors were amazing, I was most impressed by the storyline. Even if you don't watch this play here in Sydney (because you're on the other side of the world or something), you should check out the movie Dangerous Liaisons, which I am assuming has a similar plot (my mom actually has this movie at home but I never bothered to watch it because the cover looked boring and stuffy). The whole thing is rather complex with the love pentagon- or rather it's just a bunch of people sleeping around; but it's not hard to follow and not too predictable either (this is a key factor in why I enjoyed it so much). 

Here is a photo I snuck while in the theatre:

Some of actors were on stage in character while the audience was being seated. 

I know some people don't value arts (ahem Rob Ford administration), but there is so much you can learn from watching a movie- not just practical things that impress people like history, if you were to watch a period drama; but also cool psychological things like what happens when you play with human emotion (like my psych textbook, but far more dramatic). It's also nice when you understand clever representations and metaphors. In a movie, the director might symbolize someone's death by doing a panning shot towards the sky to signify someone has "gone to heaven". In theatre, someone collapsing on the side of the stage would signify them "unravelling" and on a downward spiral.

One of my favourite parts though would be at the end. I like the feeling of catharsis when the final dramatic plot turn happens, the lights dim and come back on again, and the audience claps.

This is the layout of the stage:

I would say our seats were pretty good. We could have been more centred, but this is what you get when you buy tickets only one week in advance. We were quite lucky too as these tickets were just released five minutes before we were searching for them.

Here are photos of the Sydney Theatre Company building down by the wharf:

I was really quite impressed with the whole building itself. It was a long narrow hallway mostly, but I liked how it was different from all of the other theatres I've ever been to. My favourite theatre in Toronto is the Young Centre for Performing Arts and this theatre was definitely comparable (possibly better?) to that.

Here's why:

I think the theatre experience (what you see in the theatre) is influenced by pretexts. There was a really cool bar attached at the end of the theatre and we got to play some pool before and after the show, as well as enjoy the view of the Harbour bridge.

This was the view from their heated patio. It was actually really nice. In fact, I almost felt like a yuppie because I was enjoying so much luxury.

The theatre crowd is mostly older (over thirty) and classy, so we pretty much had the pool table to ourselves. The general atmosphere of the bar was a nice mix of modern hipness and elegance because of the distinguished, older crowd. 

 If you notice in the above photo, the designer chose to line the walls with literature (hard cover classics). I thought it was a nice touch as it adds intelligence to the feel of the bar.

 Some other photos of the building:

The long hallway reminds me of the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) back in Toronto, but I would argue that this place is much cooler as it is on the wharf and has a brilliant view of the Harbour bridge.

A walk through Hyde Park and NSW State Library by Jessica Lee

I had my last day of class yesterday so it's officially exam season. Which means an excuse for an hour walk to the NSW state library to get some hardcore studying on! Above photo is me at the library.

This library is intense! It reminds me of the library in the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. It's got the wood paneling, sunroof, marble floors, fancy marble detailing on the roofs, etc, etc.

This is the Mitchell Room. You're not allowed to bring your camera inside, so I had to take this photo from outside.

It reminds me of the Harvard library. I haven't actually been in the Harvard library but I've seen it from various movies.

Security here is pretty strict. You're not allowed to bring bags in, only laptops and books. You have to rent a locker to put your stuff in.

This is what it looks like from the outside. It's quite impressive.

This is the entrance:

Back home (Toronto), our most impressive library would probably be the Robarts Library, which is shaped like a phoenix, but only the outside looks nice. Inside, the air is stuffy, the lighting is not the best and I feel like I'm in a prison.

They have high ceilings here so I feel fine.

Check out the bookcases! I guess the books are a pretty big deal too. Leather-bound and all.

Here is a photo of Sydney University's nicest library (in my opinion) as a comparison. Take into note Sydney University's libraries are pretty nice (compared to the gross gross gross library at University of Toronto Scarborough). This is the visual arts library. Not many students at the university know about this library.

Libraries like these make me feel like a prestigious academic. I feel "smarter" and somewhat pretentious being in the visual arts library, like I'm doing real work instead of just checking Facebook.

My favourite library at Sydney University would have to be the Law Library because it's clean-looking and has lots of outlet plugs. I do not have a photo of this library though because it's huge and really silent. If I took a photo, everyone would hear the shutter click and look over at me. My favourite library used to be the SciTech Library because of the booths with the cushions but then I got into the security guard's bad books. It's a long story.

To the NSW state library, instead of taking the bus, we decided to go on foot. It was a long walk, but it was also justified because we were going to the library to "study".

Here is Hyde Park, which we passed through to get to the library.

I love how this place is completely surrounded in trees. It's in the downtown core, just across the street from some office buildings. On our walk through, we saw some business men having lunch. If I worked near here, I would definitely have lunch here as well.

Here is another fancy building, as if Sydney doesn't have enough fancy buildings already.

Walk further along and you'll find a gorgeous water fountain.

Before coming to Sydney I never thought there would be so many nice buildings. Apparently they take their architecture seriously here.

Guess what this nice building is? (scroll down for answer)

It's a hospital!

If I were sick, staying in this building would cheer me up.

I'd never think of Sydney as an "architectural city"- those would be European cities, but now my mind is changing.

Readers: What is your favourite building for its architecture? It can be in any city in the world.

Picking up the slack in my climbing life by Jessica Lee

Greek philosopher Epictetus once said "tell me the company you keep and I'll tell you who you are".

Never before now have I believed in this statement more.

Since coming to University of Sydney, the group of people I hang out with the most besides my housemates are rock climbers. As a result, I've been going rock climbing quite frequently and I've been learning a lot about the sport. Also, my forearm muscles are now huge and my finger nails are never painted. I'm coming back to Toronto real buff.

We went bouldering in a park the other week.

Bouldering is climbing, not up, but sideways. Or just shorter, more intense routes.

This type of training is good for you because typically it is more difficult (harder to hold holds) than climbing up. It trains your muscles so you can climb better.

I don't usually like bouldering because it doesn't seem like I'm achieving a lot since you don't really cover a lot of distance compared to regular rock climbing. I originally got into rock climbing because my mom wanted me to stop climbing trees since it was dangerous (this was when I was very young). And I first got into climbing trees because the playground just started to get boring.

I was scaling 5.9s as a kid and was doing pretty well. I didn't stick with it though. And the inconvenience of going to the gym and too many other interests got in the way climbing frequently. I did meet someone else who rock climbed eventually in my teens but both of us did it more socially rather than trying to improve ourselves.

I have since lost my agility but it's nice to finally dive back into rock climbing and learn so many new things from seasoned climbers. Rock climbing is great because not only do you get to go places many people wouldn't be able to see, but the people are usually friendly.

I really like the rock climbing community. Everyone is just so supportive of each other.

At the bouldering event, people kept saying encouraging things like "you got this" while other people were climbing. Little things like that just makes things seem so much more do-able hearing that while gripping onto a terrible hold. People also were spotting each other in case someone would fall.

I was learning lead belaying at the gym from my friend Dan last week at the gym and I shared a laugh with a complete stranger over something specific to rock climbing. These kinds of connections are usually rare among strangers but I love them. 

Dan was climbing and practicing some falls while a rope was attached from him to me. If you are familiar with how a see-saw works, you can imagine what would happen if a heavy person fell while climbing when attached to a light person on the ground. Answer: the lighter person flies upwards.

This is not really supposed to happen because usually you're supposed to belay someone closer to your weight. The first time he "fell", it caught me by surprise because I was jerked upwards really quickly. This caused the belayer next to me to burst into laughter and we had a moment. I like this so much more than going to a regular gym to work-out. In a regular gym, everyone is just so focused on improving themselves they don't have time to share. It's hard to start a conversation in a regular gym!

In rock climbing however, everyone works together to solve a bouldering problem by making suggestions. It really is a nice community. Everyone is more intelligent than the usual people you would meet in a weight room too. This is because you have to use your problem solving skills to get to the top of the climb.

Here is a photo I took of the group at bouldering last week. I like this one since it's pretty candid.

First impression: yacht racing by Jessica Lee

Today was cold, rainy and practically windless: a perfect day for sailing.

Just kidding.

Ha ha. What a dry joke for such a wet day.

It was terrible conditions for sailing, but I ended up heading down to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) anyway to participate in the Winter Race Series.

It was my first time sailing on a yacht and I definitely was not ready for it in terms of being dressed for the weather. By the way, I am definitely buying a dry suit at some point after this.

I came to Australia on the false assumption that it would be warm and sunny year round and did not expect to need warm clothes. Since being here for four months, I have already purchased two hoodies and am considering getting another jacket.

The above photo is the only photo I have from today as it was raining the entire morning and afternoon when we were yacht racing. It was pretty cold. I snapped a photo from the dock and then hurried to get ready for the race. I didn't bring my camera aboard the yacht since it was raining. Thus for this post, I am going to try to describe the full experience of yacht racing through words.

I met the crew through mutual friends. What many people don't know is that you can sail for free if you show up to a race day and be accepted onto a boat if a boat is looking for crew. Sometimes you don't even need experience, just a good attitude and a solid work ethic. 

For our yacht, we were a group of six. This is a good size so that there isn't too much work for one person pulling ropes and throwing on sails. Also, there needs to be enough weight on the boat to keep the boat flat. There were really large boats out there with maybe twenty people in them. Ours was a medium-sized yacht. I don't even know how to describe what kind of yacht it was, but it was beautiful.

Just being on the harbour surrounded by all the other yachts in their different coloured sails was lovely despite the grey weather. There were maybe a hundred boats out on the water? Possibly more. It was like being in a movie, you know that one cinematic clip where you see the main character flying in the air in a hot air balloon or a dragon and you see all the other hot air balloons or dragons- it was exactly like that but on water. Since it was grey and rainy, there was even a nice fog around the harbour bridge and the opera house.

Sailing on a yacht is pretty much just like sailing on a dingy (small boat) except less intense. Everything moves slower. Moving on a small boat from one side to the other requires speed but things are less affected if you take longer to run from one side of the boat to the other on a yacht. Also, in a yacht, the whole team works together to make turns or put up a spinnaker. It was pretty cool to watch everything happen and contribute as well.

The crew was pretty experienced and I got a kick out of them using sailing lingo such as "pressure", "bullet" and "zero". There's still so much I don't understand in sailing and it's great to be able to hang out with pros. Sailors are pretty laid back and easy going. The first beers were cracked open before noon on the boat and after the race, there's a nice camaraderie at the club where all the sailors talk about the race and meet people over food and more alcohol. Sailors take the "drunken" stereotype pretty seriously it seems.

Today wasn't all sunshine and rainbows (far from it) but honestly, I'd take this cold and rainy sailing experience any day over an overpriced touristy rehearsed sailing "adventure". It's just more genuine.

Just call me Sal by Jessica Lee

I started packing for my road trip around Australia already.

We don't leave for another month, but I'm pretty ready to escape exam season at school.

We are going to be driving from Cairns, making our way along the sunshine coast to the Great Barrier Reef, stopping at towns throughout the way and going down back to Sydney for around two weeks. There will be beaches, kangaroos and hopefully sailing opportunities. (I am looking to sail to Hobart, if anyone has any leads or a big boat with space for me, please let me know!)

Then we are heading to Melbourne and going climbing in the Grampians for another couple of days.

The final leg of the tour will involve going to Adelaide and hitting up Kangaroo island.

And then my Visa expires and I have to leave the country.

Six months really isn't that long of a time.

If I knew time moved so fast, I would have moved faster as well.

Vivid Sydney + Guylian Cafe by Jessica Lee

While in Sydney, one of the things I had been missing about Toronto was its big arts festivals and events.

I finally got my wish for an arts event as this week the Vivid festival was happening down at Circular Quay.

There's something lovely about big crowds, a good vibe and lots of interesting things to stimulate the mind and imagination.

I think it's great cities are putting on free cultural events to enrich the minds of its people.

The quay was lit up with installations and it reminded me of a smaller-scale Nuit Blanche back in Toronto, which is an all-night arts fest that goes on until the wee hours of morning. It's pretty intense.

Sydney has the sun, surf and weather, but I think in terms of arts festivals, my hometown takes the cake. Toronto's council was talking about slashing funding to the arts a few months ago, and I hope they never do because it would be a great loss for Toronto. Art inspires and educates. It sparks creativity. I could write a whole speech about art, but I don't want to get preachy.

At the quay, there were some pretty cool things. An artist took Sydney's cultural icon and made it look like different things was happening to it.

Here, it looks like there is a hand sticking out of it.

Here is a closer look.

The artist did some other pretty cool things, like making the opera house look like it was catching wind like the sails of a ship or projecting images of cartoons.

That was pretty much the main attraction.

Here are some giant glow sticks: 

And here is a glowing giant fish.

It's definitely cooler in real life than in the picture because this fish actually moves. Not sure if you can see, but there is someone inside the fish, cycling the fish around the dock. There were a set of three fish that just cycled around the dock and a crowd of fascinated people just followed these fish around. It was surreal and kind of weird- like a movie.

We decided to take a break from the festival midway and stopped at the Guylian cafe right on the quay. For those of you that don't know, Guylian makes fine Belgian chocolates. They are my second favourite chocolates after Ferrero Rocher. Godiva is okay too.

They had a menu full of things like sandwiches and salads. But honestly who goes to the Guylian cafe to eat sandwiches and salads? I think it's just there as an option incase you are like my housemate Myra who doesn't eat sweet things but is sometimes dragged by me or the rest of the housemates to some place (usually cafes).

Here is a bunch of pastries that look appealing.

The fifth one from the left looked particularly good. It was creme brule but with a chocolate topping!

Here is a closer look at other pastries. See the impeccable perfectionism?

We ordered a tiramisu and a pot of hot chocolate to share on their heated patio.

I made these next photos black and white so the food and people in them would look classier.

See? Doesn't it look like we're in a French cafe or something?

The tiramisu and hot chocolate were delicious. Then we ordered hot water (big mistake) to follow the chocolate.

Did you know it is $0.75 for a cup of hot water at the Guylian cafe?

I know it is tacky to take pictures of your bills and post them online but this is atrocious!

Actually, it is not that atrocious but I know even Citizen Kane would not approve if that happened to him when he first met Susan Alexander.

Anyway, we got past that and continued to work our way across the harbour.

Beautiful isn't it?

We also encountered a colourful fibre optic display.

Here come the bokeh photos:

Some artist made a giant tic-tac-toe board. It would have been interesting reading the artist statement for this one. Sadly I passed over it.

These are some kids playing tic-tac-toe with each other.

Here is a photo of me riding a bike where the wings on the back are lit by kinetic energy.

More wings...

This exhibition was really fun.

Basically the structure reacts to noise (the cards flip up) so every five seconds, there would be crowds of people screaming at the structure, mostly kids because most adults are too boring to do anything.

This is a photo I took of kids screaming. I love the energy.

See what I mean about a great vibe at art festivals?

People just seem more open towards each other, interacting with each other and smiling more.

Here are some buildings with lights imposed on them.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (which I still have to visit!) had a DJ party thing going on.

I took a photo of the street full of people to capture what the mood of the night was like. It was bustling.

This is a giant cube that spins when people pull it in a direction.

I didn't read the artist statement but I like how it got strangers to talk to each other and interact. I mean, you see people every day on the subway or on the street but rarely do you share smiles or moments.

I think this feeling of being "connected" to other people at events like these is similar to being at a sports game, being part of a big crowd cheering for your team.

It was a pretty good night. I got some good photos, enjoyed some art and had gourmet chocolate.

States regatta by Jessica Lee

How quickly can you jump from one side of a boat to the other? How about transferring water using a bucket-like tool? How hard can you pull a rope? And how is your balance?

As a crew member of the New South Wales Open Team Regatta, those exact skills of mine were tested in the past two days.

My sailing partner Jeronimo says I did 8/10. Though he might have said that to be nice...

I spent the last two days racing with Sydney University's sailing team.

It was awesome.

It was also my first ever regatta.

We placed second overall in the open category with 19 teams racing, but that was only the icing on the cake.

The whole experience this weekend has been phenomenal. 

I woke up bright and early Saturday morning at 6 am and headed down to the Woollahra Sailing Club. 

It was a pretty relaxing day.

I met my skipper, Jeronimo, who thankfully was 1. knowledgable in sailing and 2. a nice person.

Really that's all you need in a sailing partner.

It was our first time meeting and we had never trained together so I was pretty anxious about sailing with him.

I thought since it was a competition atmosphere, my sailing partner would be uptight and would get tense if I screwed up. He was super encouraging though. And an extremely good sailor who had been sailing since the age of five. He knew all the rules and was on top of everything. So really things could not have been set up better for me.

Here is a photo of us racing with our team:

We are the boat in the foreground and Jeronimo has a neon yellow hood. I would be the one sitting beside him. The two boats in the background are other members of our team.

Here is how teams racing works:

Six boats are racing at the same time through a course set with buoys. As long as more of your team members' boats place in better than the other team, it means you won that race.

For example, if you placed first and your other team members placed fifth and six, that would still mean that you lost.

But if you place second, third and fourth, that would mean that you won.

It is this element that makes for an extremely fun time on the water. Especially if it is a windy day.

At the start line, you've got six different boats fighting for a place, but sometimes two boats will sandwich or force another boat to move to a different position.

It's dangerous (I thought we would crash into another boat), but so much fun.

The closest thing I can compare it to is playing Quidditch in a Harry Potter movie with broomsticks flying all over the place. You know how the camera follows the action and all the players zip by real fast? That is pretty much what sailing in windy weather is like with everyone trying to cut each other off at the starting line.

Sometimes there would be foul play from the other boats not following the rules and Jeronimo would yell "protest" and raise up a red flag for the umpires to decide whether or not the other boat deserved to do penalties. It got pretty intense.

Yesterday we had calm wind, but today we had over 20 knots of wind.

This is a photo of yesterday:

And this is a photo of today:

You can tell the differences in how choppy the water looks.

In the first fifteen minutes when everyone got out to the water this morning, there were five boats that capsized. And this is with experienced sailors.

Also, a couple of booms fell off.

The boom is the part of the boat that holds up the sail. It's kind of important to sailing.

Here is a photo of a guy who is holding on to his boom because it broke.

Luckily that didn't happen to Jeronimo and I while we were racing.

It was extremely cold however. For once, I appreciated bringing my wetsuit all the way over from Canada.

I bought it right after sailing through cold 11 degree rain on a fall day in Toronto. Shivering in a boat was not a pleasurable experience.

Sailing that day ended at around 7 pm (this was after we finished de-rigging), right after, my Toronto sailing partner Yusuf and I ran to the nearest Mountain Equipment Co-op store and I bought a wet suit and he bought some sailing gloves.

I initially had doubts about whether my wet suit was the right choice for me to pack it in my luggage since it took up about 1/4 of my entire luggage space. When I first sailed in Sydney in March, it was hot and sunny weather where shorts and a t-shirt were all that was needed for sailing.

Today however, was hypothermia weather. There were strong winds and add to that getting sprayed with water with every wave we passed through.

Though we didn't capsize or fall into the water, we were soaked just from splashes of water from the side.

I now understand why some sailors will wear sunglasses even in weather that isn't sunny. The glasses keeps salt water out of eyes, which is why they're really handy.

It was my first time sailing in salt water in such high wind as well. I definitely wasn't used to the spray of salt water in my face. After a while, everything just tasted like salt.

In Toronto, we sailed in Lake Ontario, which is fresh water. Occasionally if water dripped off of my face into my mouth, I would think nothing of it because it tasted like regular water.

Here, the salt water taste was prominent!

It also stung my eyes.

When we went back to shore and the water dried, I could see little salt particles on my skin.

It wasn't that bad though.

Some photos from behind the scenes:

Here is the ferry we stayed on. This is so that we didn't have to go from the shore every time there needed to be a boat change.

This is how we got to the ferry: through a smaller boat. That's not a photo of us, just some random team I snapped a photo of.

There was some downtime between races on the first day so I went up to the roof of the ferry with my friend Lovelle and we just chilled and watched other races.

It was beautiful as well. (See the harbour bridge in the background?)

Some Australian pride:

 And us in our boat. We sailed pacers.

Question for the readers: Your thoughts on sailing?

Under the sea: my first scuba diving experience by Jessica Lee

Moving to Australia for me was about trying new things and expanding my limits. So when I saw a Groupon voucher for a CMAS certified scuba diving course certification, naturally I jumped on it.

I had already taken the initial course for a PADI scuba certification in Hawaii last summer and I wanted to get a scuba certification at some point in my life, so I thought this would be perfect.

That is until I heard bad things about booking with diving companies off of Groupon.

Back in Canada, I had no trouble when I used Groupon. I used vouchers to get discounts off of amazing restaurants. Everything worked out fine.

However, I had never heard of this diving company. And people were saying that it was hard to book because the schedules were always full and then their vouchers expired. But I had hope that things would work out and the website looked legit and a quick google didn't come up with anything scandalous or terrible, so in the end I booked.

The diving company I booked with was True Blue Dive.

After buying the voucher, it was extremely difficult to book a course with them as I had been warned. They do not pick up their phone despite me calling them once every half hour for five hours. On the website, all of the dates until June were pretty much full, except for random days like Thursday or Friday. 

However, everything is weather dependent, so I booked Thursday just to get myself into the system because I knew it would rain on Thursday and they'd have to reschedule me to another day. This is exactly what happened. It rained on Thursday so they moved me to Saturday. If it didn't rain, I was definitely ready to skip class to go scuba diving.

On Saturday, I arrived at Clovelly beach at noon, to do my first day.

The weather was a little grey, but it was beautiful. There is a nice cliff of rocks and there's not many people so you can hear waves hitting the rocks very clearly. The air is humid and salty.

It's not a very popular beach because the actual sandy beach area is small. I got there early so I did some yoga and stretches. It was nice.

We don't have gorgeous beaches like this back home in Toronto so I really appreciated the moment. I will definitely miss the beaches when I have to go back home.

The lesson started with us being handed liability forms which we had to sign before beginning the course. To be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to sign it.

I mean, here I am trusting these people I had never met before. How was I supposed to know they filled up the oxygen tanks properly?

But I signed anyway. I was already at the beach, I paid for the voucher and it would be hard to try to get my money back. I had already taken it this far. Might as well go through with it.

After signing, we were taken to the pool beside the beach to do swim tests. We had to do eight lengths. It reminded me of when I was on the water polo team back in high school. From experience, I knew that I could complete eight lengths, but I didn't know how good the other swimmers were and I didn't want to be the last person to finish my lengths.

Though I am reasonably fit, there was a bit of scrambling and I was out of breath as I went for my last length. I wished I had prepared for Australia back home by doing laps at the neighbourhood pool the same way I did push-ups to prepare for paddling while surfing.

I came in third last (out of eight people) so it wasn't that bad.

We did some water treading afterwards for 15 minutes. Though I wasn't tired through the treading (thank goodness for water polo training five years ago!) it brought back memories I thought I'd repressed of when I was a skinny little girl at age 7, tasting chlorine water through my nose, not quite catching up to the treading water abilities of the 9 year olds in swimming class.

The whole "testing of our abilities" felt like I was in the Hunger Games. Especially when the instructor said "we do this to make sure you will be able to survive the dives". He said it with a thick Australian accent, which made me feel better I had decided to get my certification in Australia with a Groupon as opposed to doing it legitimately back home in Canada. Everything is just so much more fun in an Aussie accent!

We went snorkelling in the ocean afterwards. It's supposed to lead up to the scuba diving, to make us feel more comfortable. The snorkelling was beautiful except when a massive condom hit my arm in the water! Gross gross gross! I am just glad it didn't hit my face.

And that was the end of day one.

Day two started at 8:00 am. Or it was supposed to anyway. I woke up at 6 am (earlier than I would have for any class at university) just so I could make it to the beach on time.

Guess what time the diving instructors showed up?

8:52 am.

We were not impressed. Minus professionalism points right there.

Regardless, it's not like I had other plans, so it didn't affect me too much. I would have liked to be able to sleep in though.

We started the day off with lessons on how to put together our oxygen tanks. It reminded me of a university lecture, except the classroom was a gorgeous environment of ocean and sun.

Back in Toronto around this time (April), I'd probably be just waiting for the snow to melt so I could finally head out to play a game of basketball. This is why I love Australia's weather.

The whole set-up seemed a little complicated at first, but after doing it a couple of times, I am now confident in setting up my own scuba gear.

Side note: did you know SCUBA stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus?

After a quick theory lesson (seriously, it was so quick, I felt like I didn't know what I was doing) we were thrown into the water. There were way too many people in the group 11 people for two instructors so we had to divide into two diving groups, which meant five newbies diving with one person who was responsible for our lives. Probably not the most ideal condition to do your first ocean dive in, but hey, you get what you pay for and I paid less than $200.

Funny thing. Everyone else bought off Groupon too, leading me to think this company was run solely through Groupon (a little sketchy). But an internationally recognized SCUBA certification for less than $200 is an extremely good deal and I'm still alive. I didn't get the bends and my lungs didn't rupture either. Everything's fine.

The quality of the instruction was extremely varied. I got the guy who didn't speak English leading me (he was nice, but I didn't really learn much from him), so I had to figure things out for myself in the water. Though this could have been potentially life-threatening, the lack of instruction made me feel more proactive once I figured everything out.

Being under water was amazing. I had visualized a scene from Disney's The Little Mermaid where Sebastian (the crab) is singing, and little fish are dancing in harmony to music. Being near the coral and reefs and the fish in Sydney was somewhat like The Little Mermaid, except without the music and the fish dancing and there were no singing crabs.

There were no sharks either, though I was expecting to encounter one at any moment. Has anyone seen the movie Jaws (1975)? My goodness Steven Spielberg, you have conditioned in me an intense anxiety of being in deep waters.

One thing about diving you should know about is that it requires a lot more physical activity than you would expect. First of all, we were required to carry about 25 kg of gear down to where we actually dived. This included the weigh belt (for us featherweights who can't get to the bottom of the ocean without some help) and the tank and the vest. I was near dying just walking down the trail which couldn't have been more than 300 metres. Seriously I've developed a six-pack just from that walk alone.

After that, we had to get out into the water and pass a huge tide that kept pushing us back to shore while we were wearing 25 kg of gear.

The actual dive was probably the least physically-demanding. It's hard to kick underwater (and there's a special way to kick using flippers, where you kick from the hip), but it's not like I was trying to get somewhere in a hurry so it didn't matter how slow I was going.

I still have a few more dives I have to do before I can get my certification, but things are going swimmingly for now. I don't think I'm going to die from scuba diving with this company.

I'll update you as I go along.

Or not.

If you don't see any more posts from me, you can assume I died from diving.