Checking out the Sydney Opera House and Watching some Aussie Rules Football (Day 265)

Hey there good-lookin’, what’s cookin’?.  So, I just completed my last week in Australia, fine country that it is.  Most memorable in Sydney for me was the Sydney Opera House, possibly the most ridiculous building on the planet.  I’m not much of an architecture/building guy, but this place is awesome.  It turns out I’m not the only one that thinks so:  in 2003 it won the Pritzker Prize (I think this is architecture’s version of the Nobel Prize.)  I can’t really describe its appearance.  Just look at the picture below.  The story of its construction is just as interesting as its appearance.  It began in 1958.  The original estimates were 7 million dollars and 5 years.  They were off by just a bit.  The total damage was 102 million dollars and 16 years.  Ouch.

No, it’s not a space-ship.  It’s the Sydney Opera House.

The Sydney Opera House’s main concert hall.  The organ in the back is composed of over 10,000 (!) pipes and rises an unbelievable 3 storeys high.  It took 10 years to build.  After that long you think the first thing you might do is give the thing a go.  But, they had to wait another 2 years to tune it.

I was hanging out in the harbour area of Sydney one day when it started to pour rain.  Hard.  I took refuge in the nearest building, which turned out to be Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.  Ah, art… my archnemesis.  I have taken many intellectual beatings by many art musems all over the world.  I just don’t get it.  I feel like art is some kind of language that I don’t understand (maybe I was playing hockey the day when it was taught in school.)  I often stare at “pieces” for a long time trying to solve the mystery that is “art.”  When I look at art (especially comtemporary stuff) I always think, “This is nothing… I could have made this thing…”  But, there must be *something* going on with this piece, otherwise it would not be in such a high-profile museum.  Anyway, on this particular day I got beaten by art yet again.  I was lost.  But, I somehow enjoyed the act of trying to figure it all out, despite the fact that it made me feel dumb.  I will keep trying to deciper this “art”.  I think it will make me a better man.  I will try again at the next art museum I encounter.  You have one the battle again this time, Art, but not the war.  I’ll be back…

That was a long ramble.  The epilogue of my art museum adventure goes on to say that I returned to my hostel and reported my frustrations to my roommate.  I asked her, “Do you understand what was going on in that museum?”  She smiled and replied, “Yes.  I’m an art student.”  Damn.  I should have hired her as a guide.

The last stop on my Australian tour was Melbourne, a most excellent city.  It is is sports-mad, full of beautiful parks, good night-life, etc.  I’m a fan.  The highlight was going to watch an Australian Rules Football game!  I saw a big Friday-night game, between two rivals, along with 83,406 other people :)  Awesome.  If you go to Australia, you should do this.  This sport is fast, tough, and skilled.  I forgot to take some game footage, but I have some video of the warm-up and I think it will give you a good idea of how the game went:

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (aka, “The G”) during warm-up.  It will hold 100,000 people.  I was in the nose-bleeds but I still couldn’t get the whole stadium in my wide-angle lens.

In downtown Melbourne there were signs advertising “ice” skating (like there is any other kind!).  Well, this Canadian guy has not skated in over a year (the longest skate-free time of my life since birth).  So, I made my way over to the ice rink and picked out a pair of rental skates.  They were the plastic molded kind, the ones we only give to infants.  But, they would have done just fine if it wasn’t for the dull, rusty blades on them which wouldn’t slice through butter.

This led to an interesting (for me) exchange between the ice rink attendant and I:

Ice Rink Guy:  Have you skated before?
Me:  Once or twice.

In truth, it’s the only thing I know how to do.  I show him the rusty blades.  There were other people using skates that were just as bad, but they were just sort of walking on the ice, not actually skating on it, so they didn’t have any problems.

Me:  Do you have any skates with, uh, something that resembles an edge?
Ice Rink Guy:  Hmm… no, that is all we have
Me:  These things wouldn’t hold an edge on the front lawn.  I’m going to end up in the boards over there.
Ice Rink Guy:  Sorry, we don’t have a sharpener here yet.  We can’t help you.  You can get your money back.  Come back next week and we’ll be ready for you.

In the end, I was so excited to do a bit of skating, I decided to risk it and make a few laps.  Good times, I’m glad I went.

The other day I had some Kraft Dinner.  For those not from the Great White North, this is a box of macaroni and cheese that is a Canadian staple.  I found it in the “International” section of the grocery store, haha.  It cost $2.20!  When I was in university I think a box of Kraft Dinner was only about 50 cents.  At times I was so poor that I got really excited when they went on sale for 40 cents and would buy multiple boxes :)

The most expensive box of Kraft Dinner I have ever purchased… worth it.

This ends my Australian tour.  It was a (too) fast trip down the east coast.  It was a great time.  Here is a photo album for you.

Why was I in such a hurry?  Because Part 1 of my World Trip is ending.  I’m going home to Cornwall, Canada, July 20th for a few weeks of rest (this world travelling stuff is tiring!) before making my attack on South America.  More on that later.  For the the next few weeks I’m going make a tour of New Zealand.  I’ll tell you all about it…

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2 Responses to Checking out the Sydney Opera House and Watching some Aussie Rules Football (Day 265)

  1. Derick says:

    In case you were unaware they filmed the movie Lord of the Rings in New Zealand. I know you\’re a Tolkien fan. Make sure to give me a ring when you get back in July, even if it\’s only a brief encounter.

  2. B says:

    You will have about 3 days to rest before we start our motorcycle trip to Newfoundland :)

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