Apologies for the delayed entry to my blog viewers and lifelong fans, I have been rather busy over the last couple weeks, but don't worry you won't miss a thing, it will just have be a fairly hefty entry today!
Since my last entry I have been involved in a great deal of tourist activity, including going to the city to see 'pommy' friends Ed Marquis and James McCabe. After Tim had drove me in to see Ed and James we walked around Darling Harbour and over towards the opera house. Outside we had a great view of the opera house itself and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, both looked stunning in the clear blues skies as temperatures reached 38 degrees! Here we enjoyed a refreshment and took a number of pictures, before joining an hour tour around the opera house, which was brilliant. On the tour the three of us learnt a great deal of information about the opera house, which we found really interesting. Our tour took us to all the different rooms of the opera house, where we managed to all the stages where some sets being built, as well as a children's choir in rehearsal.
Here's some of the interesting information that I learnt. The opera house was largely built by Danish architect Jorn Utzon. After his competition winning design was chosen by the government in 1957, work began a year later in 1958. Originally it was planned to take 3 years to build and cost AUS $7 million, however it did not turn out as planned. In fact it took Jorn Utzon 3 years to just choose and manufacture the appropriate tiles to build the cream sail-like shell with! In mid 1965 New South Wales saw a change in government. The new government began to question Utzon's designs, schedules and cost estimates and eventually stopped payments to Utzon who was forced to withdraw as chief architect in early 1966. This lad to protests and marches through the streets of Sydney led by Australian architect Harry Seidler, author Patrick White and others, demanding Utzon be reinstated as architect. When the NSW government did not offer him this role, Jorn Utzon left the country at the end of April 1966 with his family. When Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on October 20, 1973, Utzon was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Architects Australia, however he did not attend the opening ceremony. Utzon continued his life with his family, never to return to see his masterpiece again. Although, a room in the opera house has been named after him and his Utzon's son, who also is an architect, now is employed to maintain the opera house, while his daughter is also involved in maintenance of the interior. The project actually ended up taking 16 years to complete, rather than 3 years, while it cost AUS $105 million, rather AUS $7 million.
After further walking around the city, enjoying the brilliant sites and hot weather, we returned to our backpackers lodge for the night. Here we chilled out, ate some dinner than got ready to go out and hit the city nightlife! Before we left the backpackers, we enrolled in a 'goom pong' tournament that the backpackers had organised (which is beer pong, but with cheap nasty wine which the locals called goom). It was a lot of fun, and a great way to pre-drink and meet some new people, including a couple of awesome Canadians, who we headed out into the city with. After pre-drinking we left the backpackers at around midnight, where we headed for a couple close by clubs and all enjoyed a fantastic night out! Although waking up with a considerable headache the next day, after only having 4 hours sleep, the three of us had all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The following day we decided to get a big breakfast and walk to Darling Harbour, where we went to the aquarium - after all what better way to cure a hangover, than to look at pretty fishes! The aquarium was amazing! It was great seeing all the different types of sea life, including sharks, sting-ray, giant crabs, lobsters and sword-fish, most definitely a highlight of the trip so far! After the aquarium I caught a train back to Fairfield, where Tim picked me up and left Ed and James to continue their Sydney escapade.
That week I went out with the cricket guys a couple times and continued my job hunting. I went to the casino on Wednesday and enjoyed a couple quiet nights at local bars, as I continued to gradually recover from the previous weekend. That Friday the cricket guys took me out to watch the Sydney Kings play basketball against the Cairns Taipans. Although Sydney Kings lost the game quite convincingly, it was a great night out. We then headed to a couple bars, where we all drank a little too much considering it was the night before an important cricket match, but it was worth it for an hilarious night!
The following day I was playing 3rd grade for MPSDCC, at Greenway, where we played Georges River. Having lost the toss, we were asked to bowl in considerably warm 36 degrees heat, that continued throughout the day - not what we were hoping for. We ended up bowling them out for 196, after 76 overs in the field. Which meant we had to face out 4 overs that were left in the day, before continuing the chase the following week. Unfortunately we lost 1 wicket in the 4 overs, however we are still strongly positioned to win the tie at 1 for 5 runs. I was successful that day, in taking 2 wickets for 36 runs off 14 overs. However, bowling 14 overs in that heat was a bit of a wake-up call that I needed to try and work on my fitness and not just weight training. Thus I have brought much more cardio into my weekly fitness scheme than I had previously, so I can try and adapt to the hot weather. I also took a great catch while fielding 6/7m from the bat at short cover. The batsman tried to play a cut shot to a short and wide delivery, however played it too early, resulting in it travelling slightly to my left, where I just managed to get my fingers under it and catch it off my laces, just before it bounced. Next week, I'm looking forward to chasing down what should be a manageable total and claiming the points!
As my hunt for job continues I have finally been offered an interview! Albeit at Macca's, the restaurant is really close to Tim's house, within 10 minutes walking distance, which is very handy, while pay is also very reasonable. The most positive thing however is that they employ a huge amount of high school teenagers, who would only be able to work weekends rather than weekdays, yet I am the opposite as I have cricket at the weekends and am free in the week. Although not the most exciting job in the world, it would be perfect for me and the position I am in, so after a successful interview I am currently waiting to hear back from them, in hope I have got a job!
In between the job hunting and chilling with various people, I have greatly enjoyed the weather, which is consistently clear skies and around 35 degrees. Not only beneficial in working on a tan to bring back to the rest of pale Cornwall, but also fantastic weather to enjoy a dip in Tim's outdoor pool!
Finally, as Tim enjoys the last dew days of his relaxing two weeks of annual leave, we decided to take a road trip to the Blue Mountains, Katoomba to get out the house and so that I can experience more of Australia! With the help of a clear day and temperatures of 28 degrees (warm considering you're up a mountain) I managed to see some great sights. This included the Three Sisters as well as the surrounding mountains and landscape. We took a cable car across the valley and back, so we could get some even better views. Interestingly, the floor of the cable car had clear glass so you could see right through to the forest that lay 270m below, it was the highest cable car in Australia, while also being the largest cable car in Australia! We also took a ride on the worlds steepest train, 52 degrees (which was steep as!), down to the forest area, where we walked around some of the 2.4km of board walk there was (the longest board walk in the southern hemisphere) and saw historical remains of the mining village and trade that used to be in function there. It was a great day out, topped off with a steak sandwich and chips for lunch - outstanding!