Thursday, April 24, 2008
Sorry about the non-existent posts but I've been busy at my quasi-job. That's right. Phil got me a very part-time job at his office working the front desk when the regular girl is out. I worked one day last week and yesterday and today. Yes, DAGS...that beloved answering-the-phone job. Never thought I'd volunteer for it. I feel like a dork when I can't find the right employee on the phone ext. list or at times can't understand the Australian accent over the phone, but who's going to fire the boss's wife? :)
Tomorrow is Anzac Day, a national holiday here in Australia. It commemorates April 25, 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey during WWI. They fought there for 8 months and had 25,000 casualities. Every year they start the day with memorial services at dawn. Or earlier. Since the soldiers (or diggers as they're called here) landed at 4:28 am most cities and towns across the country have early services. The one here in Sydney begins at 4:00 am. Yikes...I don't think we'll make it. But we are going to try and go to the parade later in the morning.
Tomorrow night we fly up to Cairns for a long weekend. We'll explore the rainforest on Saturday, get on the boat which will take us to the dive boat on Sunday morning and spend a few days snorkeling and diving the Barrier Reef. Who am I kidding...I'll probably spend most of my time on the deck with a good book or three, but I will snorkel some and maybe try scuba diving. I'll post some pictures when we get back.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
As I walked further I passed the Chinese Garden of Friendship. This was built in 1988 as a gift from the city of Guangdong. The two carved dragons represent the sister cities of Guangdong and Sydney. (Of course, the guidebook.)
All of the walking led me to the Powerhouse Museum. I had read (yes, the guidebook) that it was Sydney's most popular museum. Well....it was okay. Kind of reminded me of the Franklin Institute back in Philly but not as interesting. The exhibit that I did like, though, and the real reason I went was the traveling exhibit on Diana, Princess of Wales. Now that was cool! I saw all kinds of personal effects, lots of dresses/gowns, home movies, funeral condolence (not sure of that spelling) books and I was this close...this close to her wedding dress with the 25 foot train spread out! (Well...it was behind glass, but still.) One of the signs in that room said that over 1 billion people watched the wedding on tv. (Including yours truly with my mom and sister.) Ah...good times.
Oops...I forgot to add the pictures of Darling Harbour so here they are.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
My first amazing feat was to get Beast out of the parking garage (or car park as they they call it here). Picture a lot of backing up, going forward, backing up, going forward. And that was just to get out of the parking spot. Phil kept reminding me to make wide turns and crank the steering wheel all the way over when I made the turns in the garage but one thing at a time. I'm still trying to get used to everything being on the opposite side of the car.
I never realized how instinctual driving is. My hand would go to dials, switches, and the gear shift that wasn't there as my eyes would automatically go to the rearview mirror that wasn't there. This is going to take a lot of practice.
Once I got on the road, I believe we were crossing the Harbor Bridge when precious Phil glanced at his watch and remarked, "Hm...maybe we should've left a little earlier. Do you see all the cars that are flying past us?" Okay...yes, I was going a bit slow..but give me a break. It was my first time.
Another thing to get used to is the tendency to drift to the left while you're in the lane. Phil kept reminding me to "Watch your lane". I was getting flash backs to being 16 sitting in the car with my driving instructor.
We made it to church just fine. I asked Phil how I did and again...sweet thing...said, "Well...besides almost taking off the side of the car a few times in the parking garage, not bad." Good enough...I'll take it.
After church I drove to the local mall where we eat at the food court every Sunday for lunch and even drove home. Not sure if I'm ready to solo yet...okay, I know I'm not ready to solo yet, but still, it felt good to finally try.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Windsor has this restaurant called the Clydesdales Restaurant. It looks like a stagecoach that is pulled by Clydesdale horses that seats up to 8 diners and takes you on a 2 hour tour of the city while you eat. Cool, I thought. Not cool, when I looked online and found out that it was $145 per person. Yeah, right. So we ate at Windsor Seafood and had that good ole' stand by-fish and chips.
We then drove to find the town of Wilberforce. Yes, my blog readers of Cedarville knowledge...just like the Wilberforce near our alma mater. You drive a curvy road looking at farm fields, see a tiny little sign that says "Wilberforce", you blink, and you miss the entire town. And yes, it was also named for the English guy in Parliament that ended slavery in England. Not much to see, but smelled quite a bit thanks to the local farms so we turned around and pressed on.
We drove down to Penrith where the whitewater stadium is that was used in the 2000 Olympic Games. Very cool. We walked around the course and determined that we would be back to actually do it sometime.
After a bum-kicking by Phil in a heated game of miniature golf (sigh...another choke by yours truly) we drove back to the city to pick up some Pizza Hut for dinner. As I walked towards the car I'm still not sure what happened. Yes, I realize that there is a step down from the sidewalk to the street...but in the words of Phil who watched the whole tragedy," One minute you were there and the next you were down in front of the car." I'm happy to report the pizzas were never in jeopardy. I bravely held on so they wouldn't go sliding under the parked car in front of ours by the curb. Alas...that meant I landed on my knees. Hard. Still holding the pizza boxes. Man...that hurt/stung like the dickens. Four bandaids later and knees that were scraped up and ached like an old lady, I gamely limped around the rest of the evening. All is well today, though. And tomorrow I'll blog about my stunning achievement of today...I actually drove around Sydney. Yes...that's right.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Directly behind the fountain is this cool walkway that leads to the Anzac War Memorial. Have you ever been in a park where the trees form this sort of canopy feeling? Like you're in a cathedral made of trees? Take a look.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Red Bull's definition of Flugtag: (floog-tag) n. 1. Flying Day 2. A human powered attempt at flight
In a nutshell it was a competition of teams that built human-powered "airplanes" and tried to fly them off a 6 m ramp sitting on top of a barge anchored in the harbor. Apparently Red Bull has been doing these competitions around the world since 1991. But this was their first time in Sydney. Over 35 teams entered "airplanes" they had built to try to win. Each were judged on 1. distance 2. creativity of their machine and 3. pre-flight performance.
The winner with an impressive 14.5 m flight was a crew of mullet-wearing fisherman who "reeled in a victory" (hee hee) with their giant Flying Flounder. No, I am not making this stuff up. Check out www.redbullflugtag.com.au to see some video of the competition.
The dates and locations for the 2008 US Red Bull Flugtag competitions in case you're interested are:
Tampa Bay 7/19/08
Portland 8/2/08 (Wendy???)
[Disclaimer: No, I'm not on the payroll or anything. Haven't even tried the stuff. My resident expert (Phil) claims, "It tastes how sweat socks smell." Just thought you might like a good laugh. I know we did.]
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Unfortunately for Phil his demise in our race was sealed in his stop-over in Toronto when he was severely delayed. Something about trying to re-fuel the plane but they couldn't get the hatch open to put the fuel in. After a lovely 3 hour delay he was finally on his way to Vancouver. But alas, he could not catch up.
Once in Sydney I was able to realize another first. My first time getting a taxi all by myself. I know...what's the big deal...but when you grew up in a neighborhood surrounded by the corn fields of Ohio and then moved to the suburbs of Philly where you drive yourself everywhere, it was a big deal to me. As I sat in the back seat I took a good look at the profile of my driver I secretly named Igor (just in case I needed to identify him in a police line up), memorized his id number posted on the badge on the windshield (in case I needed to phone in the numbers to the authorities), and generally kept a pretty good idea in my head of where we were going. I mean really, what if he just started to drive off somewhere and take me away to the dregs of Sydney's underworld never to be heard from again? How would I stop it? I don't know any kung-fu moves. Could I really open the car door of a speeding car and roll out on to the side of the road to escape?
Okay...nothing like that happened. He drove me safe and sound right to the apartment. Made polite conversation. No problems. Everything was just fine. But where do you think they get the ideas for most of the movies on the Lifetime channel? By the way, I named him Igor because I thought he looked a little Russian mobbish to me. (And of course I know oh so many members of the Russian mob.) Yes folks, the above is yet another reason why I don't watch suspenseful/scary movies. My own imagination is quite enough, thank you very much.