Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sydney (Part 2)

On day 3, we planned a cruisy day. We thought we'd sleep in, then catch a ferry to the suburb that my aunt's (Russell's partner) parents lived in and hang out with them for the afternoon. After Russell and Karen (my aunt) finished work they would meet us there and we'd have a big family dinner.

Tony and Julia (Aunt's parents) picked us up from the ferry terminal and we had coffee at a nearby cafe. We had Jack with us and thought after making him endure the boredom of adult conversation for so long we'd better do something a bit more on the fun side.

 Tony and Julia live across the road from a bay and have a boat house with several kayaks and a dinghy with an outboard motor in it. The oldies were quite content to stay around the house chatting, so I decided to go kayaking with Jack. It was a really hot day again, so paddling around the bay seemed the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

After dinner, another plan was hatched. Russell decided that he would take and Karen's brother, who had been with us at dinner, and I to town to give me a taste of the night life in Sydney and to see the Art and About Exhibitions that were only around at night. At this point, I hadn't even explored the Wellington night scene so I was quite excited to be heading into a big city after dark.

We got driven to the nearest train station where we jumped a train into the city. Nathan (Karen's brother) had a hell of a time with a self service ticketing machine which wouldn't take his card and when he finally got his ticket, the gate wouldn't scan it to let him through. Our train was at the platform as we arrived so we didn't really have time to mess around with it. He jumped over the barrier and probably looked pretty shifty doing it but we made our train so all was well.

The Art and About exhibitions were first on the agenda. We went to the park that the signs with faces and photo exhibitions were set up in because in a different part they had a night exhibition. The piece was basically three different projections of different peoples faces onto trees to make it look as though the trees had faces. To add to the spooky factor, they weren't still images of faces, they were blinking, sleeping, yawning, wrinkled, expressive faces. It truly was an amazing spectacle and quite freaky seeing big faces on trees. They looked so alive.

The other exhibition we saw was a series of projections at various locations around a city block designed as a recreation of the old Australia Hotel which was once a hub for societies elite and was demolished for more modern buildings to be put in. It was a cool concept but the projections were small and grainy. The execution was quite a let down compared to what they could have done with it.

The first bar we went to was a nothing sort of a place. We basically just went in to have a beer and think about a plan of attack. We tried to get into one place that Russell had thought could be fun. It seemed pretty cool when we started getting close, there were drag queens everywhere in massive platform shoes and most of these guys/gals would've been tall people without the help. Unfortunately they had a private function going on so that was the end of that plan.

Instead, we ended up at the coolest bar I've ever seen. Russell remembered that there was this hole-in-the-wall type place somewhere down a little side street so we went there. We spent a couple of minutes walking up and down the street before a guy who looked like just an ordinary guy came up and asked us if we were looking for "Shady Pines." We told him that we were and he opened what had previously been a wall but was now a door to reveal a busy little bar.

Their set-up was very small town American, there were license plates, deer heads and native american statues all around the place. It was the size of a small house but there must have been about 150 people in there. We had a couple of bourbon and cokes there and watched an awesome couple dance like pros for about 45 minutes. It was surreal being inside this place, a world away from Sydney and then stepping back outside into the silence of  the dimly lit side street.

For our last stop of the night we took a taxi to a different part of Sydney and ended up sitting in an Irish pub. They were screening an international cricket match which New Zealand and I think Sri Lanka were playing in. They had a guy playing covers in the corner there who was rather good as well. We had a couple of beers there and watched New Zealand get beat in an extra over game before heading home for the night.

I woke up bright and early the next morning to pack up all my stuff. We didn't have anything exciting planned for the day other than putting me on my flight home. Grandma, Jack and I ventured to an indoor market they have in Gladesville and bought some nice stuff to have for lunch. After lunch we had Tony and Julia pick us up to take me to the airport.

When we got to the airport I said goodbye to Jack, who was having a hard time pretending not to be sad at my departure and was on my own. I checked in, cleared customs and had a quality meal at McDonalds before heading to my gate and boarding what ended up being a smooth flight home.

My trip to Sydney was a much needed getaway from Wellington and put me in a good head space. I had a lot of fun seeing the public art around the city and being in a big place that reminded me so much of America.  It was also nice enjoying some summer weather as at the time New Zealand hadn't really come out of winter yet. All in all it was a lovely 4 day holiday. Next post will be about the premiere of The Hobbit.

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