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Tag Archives: Sydney

Sydney: Day 1

They say Sydney is like the girl who has it all and knows it.  I see that now.  It’s all good.  Look at this picture for example, there is architecture, people, mass transit, and a statue of the Queen.  You know, Vicky?

We started our foray into Sydney by looking for a certain bookstore on Oxford St. (we found it later in Newtown; it had moved). We lunched (packed) in Hyde Park, then set out to fill our hunger for knowledge.  First up, The Australian Museum.  It was part Natural History Museum, part Australian History, part random.  It was showing the exhibit Wildlife Photog of the Year 2010, which we had already seen in Cape Town.

First we checked out the obligatory dinos. There was a whale skeleton, but we had been there and done that.

Then, showing remarkable sense of self, they had an exhibit specifically focusing on extinct animals of Australia.  Our favorite was the Tasmanian Tiger.  It was more dog than cat and actually a marsupial.  They had footage of the last known Taz tiger, and it was sad. The critter below is only a statue.

Then of course we have the gargantuan marsupials.  I think I could have fit in its pocket, totally!  The Diprotodon’s nickname is the giant wombat, but although it is giant it is not a wombat.

They also had a lovely interactive exhibit about sea creatures of Australia. The image is projected onto a table and you can interact by touching the creatures or the water.  It did come with its own warning (that we would have put in Signs of Australia but w/o the context it would have been confusing).

I think our favorite part was the Aboriginal exhibits.  They highlighted art, culture, the effect of Europeans in culture, the lost children, and the desire for independence.  It was the most informative exhibit I had seen on Aboriginal life/culture/recent history.

Below to the left is a model of a mission church in the outback.  Over the pulpit there was a looped presentation on Christianity and the Aboriginals.  Most striking is the creation story and how that intrigued aboriginals, but it also focused on how they kept their beliefs alive, and the effect of Christianity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did not photograph it (for obvious reasons) but there was an interesting exhibit of art related to the Lost Generation of Aboriginals.  Those who were taken, adopted or otherwise “lost,” and art depicting the pain.

Then we entered the exhibit describing the fight for freedom.  Below you see a bus that showed a 15 minute movie about the freedom bus rides.  Also I am standing by a model of a cell used to imprison aboriginals.  Aboriginals were many more times more likely to die in prison than other prisoners.

The video focused on Charles Nelson Perkins (aboriginal activist, football player) who was the first indigenous aboriginal to graduate from Sydney University. He was a key player in the Australian Freedom Rides.  One thing that struck was an interview with a white dude.  He talks of how he was protesting because of Jim Crow.  Then a visiting American commented, “Look at what you are doing to the Aboriginals.”  The pure blindness to the oppression of the Aboriginals in Australia was startling.

A favorite quote from the movie was after a protest in a small Australian town. Things turned nasty.  The bus had to come back to this town because it was broken down.  A mob met them of “respectable” town folk.  Some of the Aboriginal girls from that town were with the protestors and just as things began turning nasty a girl asked one of the men, “What’s your last name?”  “Oh that’s my last name too!  What a coincidence.  Maybe you should ask your dad how he spends his Friday nights.”

The last exhibit we visited was the Skeleton Gallery.  What I find most amusing is that you can rent this out as a venue. There were many interesting poses.  It was cool to see the horse and rider.

I think this was my favorite:

 

After the Australian Museum we hit the Art Gallery of NSW.  They had a lovely exhibit on the Teracotta Warriors (we missed it previously in Atlanta) so we checked it out.  There are no pictures (again for obvious reasons) but what struck us was the amount of detail in each warrior.  Each warrior took 160 or more days to make.  They were the most realistic art at the time, painted down to the strands of hair.  It was absolutely stunning.  The artifacts found in the tomb were stunning and detailed–and the Emperor was a bit crazy. He started planning this when he was 13.

The basement of the Art Gallery had Aborginal Art, traditional and contemporary.  The contemporary was the most striking.  Highly recommended!

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The Road to Melbourne

As we landed in Sydney, I (Tompaul) looked out the window at the city. A monorail snaked by. The Sydney Opera House sparkled in the harbor. It was picture-perfect–my dream since I was in elementary school had come true: I was in Australia!

The excitement turned to panic, however, when I spotted cars driving down the highway. In car after car, the driver’s seat was empty! Did I need to reexamine all my religious beliefs–was this THE RAPTURE? Then I remembered that our rental car, like all the others, had the steering wheel on the right, and we were actually driving on the left. Whew–God was in His heaven, and all was right with the world. Well, except for the world’s skinniest car lanes as we tried to get out of Sydney toward Woollongong.

The pedestrian zone of Wollongong, swarming with hipsters, skaters, and other youthful types. It sounded like a good Australian-named place to spend the night.

Yes, Virginia, there are slurpees in Australia. The selection was limited, but beggars can’t be choosers.

(It’s Lisa now).  The next day we hit the road for our road trip to Melbourne.  Armed with a Lonely Planet Australia tome and a handy atlas we were ready for sight-seeing.  We took Route 1, for better or for worse (it was both actually).

This is blowhole point in Kiama, just a bit south of Wollongong.  It was one of the nicer stops, a bit touristy but more like Maine in the summer.  We got ice cream cones, and made the mistake of getting them chocolate dipped.  The dipping was overzealous, meaning we couldn’t break through before the ice cream started melting like nobody’s buisness.

We stopped at a couple beaches but the next one I liked was MollyMook Beach so we will skip the endless pictures of beaches and get to the good stuff.  Mollymook was a lovely little resort type town that had a nice beach.  We took a long walk on the beach, sat, walked in the water.  It was awesome.  It was a cloudy day (our days in Australia were either super sunny or cloudy) so no swimming.  The rocks and waves were sweet.

We stayed at some random hotel on the Princes Highway, where we had a 300KB limit for internet.  After one blog and a few Google phone calls it was totally blown.  As you will see later we recommend camping during Aussie road-tripping.  Hotel rooms go for 100 bucks a pop and they look like old mom and pop joints from the ’50s.

The next day was a sunny day…

We are on our way to Eden and using the local info centers and our Lonely Planet we found this nice lookout.  The view was amazing.

Then we got to Eden.  Eden totally lives up to its name.  The water is crystal clear and the beaches are pristine.  We walked downtown and ate ate Cuppaz Cafe.  We got the veggie burger (it had a nice slab of sweet beet with it) and one order of chips (that is one order people!)

Downtown had lots of helpful historic signs.  If it wasn’t for this sign I wouldn’t know what was sold there in the 1860s and who sold them!  It reminds me of historic signs in Grand Turk…if you have been there you know what I mean.

Beach from Eden.  I can see Adam and Eve in my mind’s eye.

 

Is this the snake?  No it’s my love!!!  Anyway…Eden has two beaches surf and quiet (for floating, swiming etc).  I would totally go back.  We then headed on towards Melbourne.  Our next stop was 90 Mile Beach on the way to Gippsland.

To get to the beach you cross this bridge.  In the middle, note the bird house type thing…that is the beach.

This is one view of the beach (to our right).  We are looking good!  The beach stretches as far as the eye can see. There is a lovely walk/hike you can take in the brush by the ocean.

This is the town of Gippsland, getting ready for bed.  We were staying in a “hotel” about 20 km down the road.  The hotel in question is below.  It is located above a bar circa 1870 Wild West.  At this juncture we felt we had to get camping gear.  The problem is we didn’t know where to go.  Target, Woollies, KMart all had super expensive gear–not that great.  Then in the morning as we went out to grab brekkie we crossed the street only to see the camping store (by the yellow van below) having a sale. Again, we felt like we’d zapped back to the 1950s–great service, right on Main. We got one tent, two sleeping bags, and a tarp for 200 bucks–what we spent for the past two nights and sub par lodging. To top it off we invested in our first pair of high-class binoculars (on sale of course).

Hopefully tomorrow we can pop up another blog about Melbourne (yes we are a month behind).