Day 17: SuperBowl Monday and drive to Sydney
Watched the SuperBowl with the US ambassador to Australia in a ersatz Irish sports bar. Wincing at the grotesque mockery of the massacre of Sandy Hook. Apparently surviving a massacre allows some kids to sing a jingoistic anthem with Jennifer Hudson, and no mention of the reason for their inclusion shall be given.
We found ourselves rooting for the Ravens and excited by their exceptional play, even as Canberra locals cast bemused glances at the assembled throng of expats, Footie-players, and early drinkers.
The local cheerleading squad was also out in force.
Then… The lights went out. I’ll be posting my thoughts about what followed elsewhere. But suffice it to say we enjoyed the expat experience (while missing that misogynist Audi ad so many of my friends have been talking about). After the necessary gelato, we hit the road. The drive thereafter was a smooth and quiet one. Good roads and lovely scenery the whole way into Sydney. We checked into our hotel about 6 and set out for a walk through the parks and shops of town. What seemed a single contiguous park on the Map proved a series of poorly-connected (or simply unconnected) areas. We tried to get to the Opera House and simply failed. That said, I love this view that I’ve somehow never seen:
Day 18: Spirals
We scribed a clockwise spiral around Sydney today, traveling on foot to no fewer that 11 Advertizing Agencies over a route that took us 7 miles. We’d walked 4 miles in New York last July, but 7 set a new inner city record. Funny to think how easy it would have been by car (had there been anywhere to park), but we’d have missed so much of the city!
It amazes me how different agencies are in their cool cat offices and different neighborhoods. And how specific their org charts are – where some have Art Buyers, others have Heads of Print, and still others Creative Directors. Whether in the US or Sydney, one size definitely does not fit all.
We were rather astonished to come across some manner of media event on a small side street. Photographers and bodyguards mingled with the great and black-clad good. After a few questions we learned that we’d come across a memorial service.
“A big man used to run a financial service that blew up in a shower of sparks. Rather Wall Street. I think you understand.”
We stopped intermittently to shoot reference pictures – Sydney is a glorious spot for texture and pattern. Here are just a few of the ones I shot that day:
It took me a surprisingly long time to realize why I felt there was so much more good old architecture here than in London: probably because the Nazis didn’t bomb it repeatedly….
After a trip through The Rocks and the respite of a lovely salmon dinner, we headed to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I want to climb bridges – pretty much ALL bridges – but somehow the locals never let me. Here in Sydney by contrast, they are all too happy to take most anyone’s cash, equip, train, and generally fool-proof them, and let them scale the bridge. Each small red circle below represents a group climbing over (and briefly, under) the bridge. The easiest to see is the silhouetted group at the top [Blown up in the larger red circle]:
Our party was a dozen or so folks, including a tiny 70 year old Canadian lady and a strapping 6’6″ fellow from Newcastle. We were the only Americans and, wouldn’t you know it? the first in line to lead the parade up the magnificent bridge. At twilight. Cruise ships sailed below us, helicopters flew above. The Sydney Opera House shone in the gloaming. Up the top of the eastern bridge support and then, at the top, crossing over to the western side in time to see the sun set on North Sydney’s version of Luna Park.
We had a Nick Cave singalong with our wonderful guide Hayley just beneath the roadbed, and generally had a magnificent time. Another expensive adventure, but one I’d recommend to anyone (who doesn’t suffer vertigo anyway)!
We shared a cab ride back downtown with an Irishwoman who’d come to town from working the sweltering mines of the NW, had a wee bite, and fell into hot baths.