Saturday, March 12, 2011

Post Seventeen: Temporary Town Hall Trouble, Beaches, and the Opera House!

This blog has now become a weekly thing. For this I apologize, but with homework increasing and increasing and me still wanting to have SOME fun here, I can't afford to spend a whole lot of time blogging.

However, I can still hope to post weekly.

I have now had my first Global Leadership Session. For those of you who don't know, the Global Leadership Program has several colloquia designed to enhance one's knowledge of the global community and relations etc. For example, the session I just attended was titled "religion secularism and state" and was about how the Government (in various countries) deals with religion (rights it grants, religious stuff it recognizes). It was really interesting, though focused more on what religion is considered to be, and less the political aspect. I would have liked to learn more about the State actions etc. Not just general recognition of religion etc. Nevertheless it was interesting.

Friday I attempted to make M&M brownies, the regular, American Nestle cookie recipe version. Suffice to say it was a total disaster worthy of I have never made anything worse in my life and I was too embarrassed to take a picture to put on here. First of all, the flour here tastes funny (kind of like soy flour mixed with...starch) so the brownies did too. Second, the baking soda and the eggs made it cakey in some areas and gooey in others. Third, I was forced to use a microwave to cook them so...Anyway, we ended up trying eating the better tasting gooey parts and then picking M&Ms out of the cakey parts. It really is kind of sad that one cannot make just regular American cookie bars here...Did not help with the needing to feel at home...conclusion, while it may be a wonderful place, Australian food is both expensive, and not the best to cook with. Especially when one does not have an oven...

Friday night was the DLC commencement dinner. Another fine example of Australian organization, we were told we MUST attend, but then, the principle of the college deemed it not important enough to show up...The dinner was basically just to announce the scholarship winners. "Anyone can get a scholarship at DLC!" false. we study abroads are left out of this category...THEN the waiters were totally incompetent and the service abominable. instead of asking us for our orders, plates of food were thrust under our noses and one had to be fairly forceful several times (as several different waiters offered one food) if one wanted the other option. Sigh. Oh well, the food was pretty good and the ceremony ended a half hour after I would have liked, but a half hour earlier than it said it would. So I suppose it was not a total bust.

Saturday was the most fun. Angie and I went out to Bondi Beach. Our journey began on the train. We were very excited because we realized that there was no track work for the first time since we have been here, thus we would only have to transfer trains once to get to our destination (instead of transferring trains to remain on the northern line several times). It was not to be. First our train experienced 'technical difficulty' so we had to switch trains at North Sydney. Ok, no big deal, still on the right track, just one more train. We planned to transfer at Town Hall just as we were going to before. However, Town Hall temporarily fell off the face of the earth...I kid you not. Our train pulled into Wynyard, then Town Hall is the next stop. we get ready to get off, look out the window at the signs and they read 'Central'. What!? We had not passed through any train station, we had not stopped at any train station, Central is the one AFTER Town Hall!!!! Where did Town Hall go?? Perhaps it was our train that went somewhere...(twilight zone music)

No problem we got on the line that would take us to the beach, this line just went back to TOWN HALL (it was there this time) before going out to the beach....strange. perhaps the technical difficulty experienced by the one train was due to a wormhole through which we tumbled for a bit.

Bronte from the coastal walk
Some Real Estate for sale along the walk...if only...
Eventually we made it to the beach. We walked from Bondi to Tamarama and then to Bronte via the coastal walk (about 3.5 Km). A beautiful walk along the shoreline we enjoyed looking at the real estate and the view. Bronte beach is alot smaller than Bondi, but the waves were alot bigger!
Can you find my feet?

Angie and I enjoyed soaking up the sun (through liberally and hourly applied sunscreen) and playing in the 6' waves for hours. After this, we walked back the coast and up to a hamburger place near Bondi where we had some quite taste Australian beef. Here we split up and while Angie went back to the beach, I headed to downtown Sydney and Circular Quay and the Operahouse!!!!

These waves are actually huge

The Operahouse:

I walked around the quay for a bit before sitting on a bench outside the Operahouse to watch the sun set over the bridge. I was joined on my bench by a lovely couple who were there to attend the play and we had some conversation about the architecture of Sydney.

Around the back INSIDE the Opera house

This is not from my camera. I would be sitting to the right of where this was taken (I pretty much had a straight view), and then for the second half, I was in the center about 8 rows back from the stage
Inside the Operahouse: upon entry I saw that the points that one sees of house are actually three different buildings (restaurant, concert hall and opera theatre) connected by the platform on which they sit. This does not detract from their beauty. Though the inside (before one gets into the hall) is not too interesting, alot of cement although the windows are gorgeous. One is not allowed to take pictures inside the concert hall, but I have posted a photo I got online. It was BEAUTIFUL and worth the money I paid to get in. I was sitting at the back of the back but this is where the balance is best I am told. The Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor was first, it was gorgeous and played well, though there were simply not enough instruments on the stage to fill the hall with enough sound. The balance was great, but it just felt like one wanted to turn up the volume. After intermission (there was champagne served at $10 a glass I did not get any, just looked) I was able to sit 8 rows from the front in an empty seat I had seen earlier. The sound was of course louder from here and I am glad I moved so I could see.....The Conductor!

Ashkenazy was his name, a very famous pianist who is about 4 feet tall (I exaggerate, but it did look like he was not much taller standing up than his violinists were sitting down). He fun to watch, it was like Bugs Bunny meets Victor Borge. Very fun. At the end, he was given flowers and he picked a few off to give to his orchestra members before throwing some petals into the audience on a whim Anyway, the Mahler piece was also interesting and all in all it was a fantastic performance and all around experience. Worth the trip for sure!

1 comment:

  1. That Bugs Bunny is one of my absolute favorites! What a hoot...