Since last time, Jem and I have watched a scate boarding competition on Bondi beach which was great fun and been down to Macquaries Point, near the Botanical Gardens, to watch the Queen Victoria cruise ship and the QE2 in Sydney Harbour at the same time. This was an amazing sight and we enjoyed it with a nice bottle of wine! We also had a great bavarian beer at the Lowenbrau Keller bar, The Rocks. I had a Hofbrau Munchen which is a pale coloured lager bier - very nice indeed!
I've been busy as usual on my days off. I spent a day visiting the Museum of Contemporay Art which is set in an Art Deco building and has free exhibitions. I looked round one by the Scottish artist, Callum Innes called 'From Memory' which shows Innes work over the past fifteen years. His work is a result of repeated application and removal of paint from the canvas. Calm and authoritative, his paintings nevertheless bear traces of the controlled chaos of their production. Then another exhibition called 'They are Meditating' which was a collection of Bark paintings done by Indigenous people. Both were very interesting.
On another sunny day I enjoyed chilling out in Hyde Park and I looked round the Anzac Memorial, which has a free exhibition covering the 10 overseas conflicts in which Australians have fought. I then met my friend Helen for a drink and we got soaked in a typical Sydney storm! I have never seen so much rain!
Last Saturday I actually had the night off work, and typically Jem had to work until 8pm!! We then headed to Taylor Square on Oxford Street, with our beer crates to stand on, to watch the 30th Anniversary Mardi Gras Parade. We had a great view and met loads of people, who were mainly trying to sneak onto our crates. Then after the parade we met up with Guy and Helen and went out in Surry Hills. On the way home we walked along Oxford Street and the road was just a sea of rubbish, it was unbelieveable. A couple of hours later it looked as if there hadn't been a parade! There were so many funny costumes and mad people out and about - a good laugh was had by all!
On Sunday, after work at the hotel, I went up to Noahs Backpackers Hostel and got my haircut which was a major luxury and a much needed one! Tara, a girl I work with at the hotel had a friend in her dorm who was a hairdresser and she said she'd cut it for me.
On Monday we met up for a drink with our good friend, Senan, who we met in Asia and was in Sydney with his fiance, Frank, for the Mardi Gras. It was so good to see him again and to meet Frank. Afterwards Jem and I sampled the delights of the Burgerman restaurant that had been recommended to us by Garry. It definitely hit the spot and was even better because it was BYO!!!
On Wednesday I was off work and Jem wasn't in until later so we had a lovely brekkie of Almond crossiants with from our local bakery, Infinity Sourdough Bakery. I then walked to the British Lolly shop in Kings Cross, which is opposite the El Alamein Fountain, to buy some British chocolate, it's just not the same here! I then headed to Hype Park to watch chess being played on the giant public chessboard, have a look inside St Mary's Cathedral which overlooks the park from the east, see St James Church which is at the northern end of Hyde Park and then walk up Macquarie Street to the Mint Building. This was originally the southern wing of the infamous Rum Hospital, built by two Sydney merchants in 1816 in return for a monopoly on the rum trade. It became a branch of the Royal Mint in 1854. Inside there was an exhibition of 140 yrs of Nightingale Nursing at Sydney Hospital. The Mint's twinis Parliament House, which was originally the northern wing of the Rum Hospital. This building has been home to the NSW parliament since 1829. The public gallery was open because parliament was sitting so I sat and watched for a while. The Minister for Public Health was talking about what was going to be done after the death of a 29 yr old Australian woman called Rebecca Murray whose death, in hospital after the birth of her third child, could have been prevented had several fatal errors not occurred. It all got a bit heated but it was very interesting to watch. Next to the Parliament House is the State Library of NSW which I had a look round. The Mitchell Wing is a beautiful building and has an amazing library in it. There was a free exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of the arrest and deposition of Governor William Bligh. Lastly I visited the 1816 Cadmans Cottage which is one Sydney's oldest surviving buildings. Constructed in 1816 as part of the Government Dockyard, it was built to accommodate the Government Coxswain - the officer responsible for government boats, their operations and crews. The cottage is named after the third and longest serving Government Coxswain and Superintendent of Boats, John Cadman.
In the evening Jem and I had a gorgeous dinner at Guy and Helen's and a great wine tasting session with a straight Sauvignon and two Semillon/Sauvignon's.
I was also off work yesterday so I went on a tour of the Royal Botanical Gardens for an hour and a half. It was really enjoyable. I visited the Begonia Garden, the Orchid Garden, saw a Wollemi pine which is one of the world's rarest plants, saw the Palace Rose Garden, the herb garden, saw a bottle tree whose trunk contains water which aborigines used to drink and walked through part of a rainforest. There are also lots of Grey-headed Flying foxes in the botanical Gardens who are no damaging the trees and so need to be moved on. Aswell as the foxes there are lots of birds including Ibis, Cockatoo's and king Parrots. After that I visited the Art Gallery of NSW and went on a tour around the permanent display of 19th and 20th century Australian Art. Particular favourites was an artist called Godfrey Miller and his painting 'Still Life' and Ian Fairweather 'Teagarden Peking'. I also viewed the aboriginal photographer, Michael Riley's, Sights Unseen, exhibition which shows photographs of Indigenous people that he has observed.
As usual I have been very busy but it's all been fun!
Take care and lots of love, xxxxxx