Monday, December 3, 2012

Sydney (part 1)

As I briefly mentioned in the last post, In late September I was given the wonderful opportunity to travel to Sydney, Australia with my grandma. Despite being a short-lived venture as was also previously mentioned, it was a lot of fun and was definitely a much needed getaway. It also provided a sort of cosmic assurance that quitting my job was a good move as I would not have been able to go had I still been working at the time.

The night before our trip, we stayed in a hotel next to Auckland airport. I'd taken to insomnia like a fish to water from early September virtually until present (December 4th) so it was an awful night for me. I didn't sleep until about 3am and we had to be up around 5.00 to get ready and check in by 6.00. After check in and a McDonalds breakfast with my dad and grandad we cleared customs and eventually boarded.

We arrived to a wonderful Sydney day, the temperature was about 25 C (77 F) which was a whole lot better than the NZ winter temperatures we'd been getting at home at the time (somewhere between 10-14 C , 50-60 F) My uncle who we were going to stay with came and picked us up from the airport along with his dog Cherokee. We went for a cup of coffee with uncle Russell at a cafe not far from their house and spent the rest of the day relaxing at their house in the suburb of Gladesville.

Our first real day in Sydney we decided to take my ten year old cousin Jack over to Manly for a walk around the beautiful coast there and to have a look in a few of the shops. This was a particularly fun trip as we used the Sydney ferry system to get around for the day which is a novel thing for me. We took one ferry into the Darling Harbour area (pretty much the central terminal) and from there it was about an hour to an hour and a half's trip across the water to Manly. When we got to Manly, grandma surprised us both with a visit to a cafe that served chocolate exclusively. I had the best hot chocolate of my life along with the richest brownie I've ever eaten. Jack and I loved it but vowed never to eat chocolate again after that, a pact I'd bet we've both since broken.

After our chocolate overload we went on a long walk around the coast, which was absolutely spectacular. It was bloody hot out and so the beaches were packed with gold-skinned people mixed with water that sparkled in the sunlight. Jack enjoyed having the opportunity to run around and climb on the rocks while grandma and I enjoyed the sights and the natural beauty of the place. We spent a few hours in Manly before catching the ferry back to Darling Harbour and from there back to where we had left the car, near Gladesville. I think it'd be safe to say we all slept well that night.

On day 2 we sat down with Russell who had some ideas about what we could have a look at around town. There was an art festival on called Art and About which we thought could be fun, so we mapped out a couple of exhibits we could have a look at. We took Jack with us again and caught the bus into the heart of Sydney.

The first thing we wanted to look at was a piece featuring a house which had been set up in a public space and equipped with a holey roof and a sprinkler system so as to make it rain constantly inside. When we got there, Jack decided he wasn't keen any more but I was intrigued with the concept. I had to take off my shoes, roll my pants up to my knees and put on a raincoat to prevent myself from getting too wet. The place stank of rotting wood but it was interesting to see a fully furnished house this way. The sink full of dishes was overflowing, the toilet was filling up, the bed-sheets had puddles forming and it was extremely gloomy. Being inside the raining house even just for the minute I was in there for was actually quite depressing which was the artists intent. It was supposed to portray the hostile feeling when a relationship inside a household is bad and people aren't talking to each other, which it did frighteningly well.

Unfortunately, most of the other things that had looked interesting in the flyer were night pieces only but we did manage to see an excellent photo exhibition set up on big sheets of canvas by a park including a section of works by children which were awesome. There were also a series of electronic road signs set up in a different part of the same park which were programmed to display different "facial expressions" from : ) to o.O kind of thing. The whole festival was very well put together.

I didn't realise this trip would turn into such a long post so I'm going to split it into two to save you the trouble of reading a massive post in one sitting while still doing the trip justice so I'll end this one here with a to be continued...


  1. One can never stop eating chocolate. Unless you are Alex and don't like chocolate... and are not human.