Sydney – January 2010

July 5, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Posted in Australia, General, museum, Out and About, Sydney, Tourism, Travel | Leave a comment
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Obviously very late with this wrap up and for the next few. Regular readers will know this means that they tend to be shorter than usual. I do apologise for this but when procrastination is in the title it’s got to be expected. Right? Right?

Or not.

So with the mea culpa out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Has Sydney changed much in the past 2 and bit years since I left (over 3 at this writing!)? Not appreciably, no. There are always going to be new shops springing up and closing down but luckily the bustle and energetic vibe of the city remains. This was a nice and welcome contrast to the slightly less active Brisbane.

I was surprised by the redevelopment happening in Pitt Street Mall. Formerly one of the most frequented shopping streets and on my visit largely covered in scaffolds. Presumably this will lead to a super shopping experience in the future, nonetheless is was a touch unnerving.

Now onto the things I went and saw (for those wanting more Sydney activities check out the archive).

ANZAC Memorial
I used to walk past this imposing and towering memorial to Australia and New South Wales’ war dead practically every day on my way to work through Hyde Park and never went in. Even on my last helter skelter day it was still on the cards but never eventuated. So did it live up to the hype?

ANZAC Memorial - Sydney 2010 (14) ANZAC Memorial - Sydney 2010 (10)

Sort of. For foreign nationals it’ll probably only appeal to the military history buffs amongst you. As for an Australian, I did find it reasonably interesting.

There weren’t exactly a lot of exhibits or content but the curators have done a solid job of putting up information that covers the conflicts have been involved in, the lives of soldiers and their families and their current activities.

However, this is a memorial, to remember and reflect. The museum elements are simply there to put it into context.

ANZAC Memorial - Sydney 2010 (21)

Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Lookout
Want to walk up the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge but don’t have the time or money to do the climb? No problem! The Bridge Pylon centre is here to help. Located on the south side of the bridge the right hand pylon houses a museum covering the construction and maintenance of the bridge as well as a viewing platform.

Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (1)

Granted the views won’t be as magnificient as those from the top of the bridge but they’re still very good.

Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (32)

This option is really much faster and cheaper than the climb so if either of these are limiting factors, then go for it!

Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (24) Pylon Lookout - Sydney 2010 (33)

Sydney Observatory
Located near the southern pylons is the Sydney Observatory. It no longer functions in that capacity, rather it now houses a musuem covering the astronomy and the unique history involved in charting the southern hemisphere’s night sky.

Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (9)

The observatory is set atop a hill (as you’d expect, really) and also offers some great views over the surrounding city. A few years ago I watched the new year fireworks from year – a great spot.

Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (10)

However, one bugbear was that in several places it still referred to Pluto as a planet. If by chance they opposed the resolution stripping it of that status then at the very least they should put up a piece of paper explaining the position. If they don’t oppose it then it’s just laziness to no put up some statement. Afterall won’t someone think of the children (and their education!). …. end of rant.

Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (28) Sydney Observatory - Sydney 2010 (27)

Besides that it was a very pleasant wander. In one instance I helped explain the working of a telescope to a family. OK really it was just verbally explaining the instructions to the English speaker in the group who then translated, but still! Don’t take away my moment.

I love visiting Sydney and look forward to coming back again. Will also have to get to Melbourne – people are always raving about you!

Lastly, a big thanks and special thanks to Amy’s mum. Sorry it’s taken so long to get move past Brisbane.

More photos over at Flickr and Google maps.

Pride 2008

August 24, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Posted in Gay and Lesbian, General, London, Out and About, Sydney, Tourism, UK | Leave a comment
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One sunny Saturday in July (5th) was London’s gay pride parade.

I was surprised when I arrived at Oxford Street shortly before it began and found a spot along the route only one person back from the road. In Sydney when Mardi Gras rolls around in order to get a decent view you have to know someone with a balcony or mark out a spot early in the day. Perhaps London’s route is longer and so the crowd can spread out more? That or fewer spectators….

Pride 2008

Boris, Mayor of London, leads the parade

In my area the crowd and passer-bys were mostly into it and supportive. Some staff from Carphone Warehouse were outside snickering – but I guess it’s good that they stayed and watched. About 50 metres further on was a Christian fundamentalist preaching that homosexuality equals death. I don’t know whether he was moved on but once the parade started I didn’t hear him anymore.

Free speech and all that…

London’s parade seemed pretty moderate with equal amounts of skin and community groups. Comparing with Mardi Gras again, I find Sydney’s parade a lot sluttier than London. I suspect that this is because Sydney’s is held at night with a lot more alcohol having being consumed. By the same token, London’s parde is longer and set during the middle of the day – out of the shadows, into the light and proud.

Trafalgar Square  and Old Compton Street were even busier – easily bigger than Canada Day. The Square’s main stage had performances with food and community stalls around the edges. I think the latter is one of the major differences (and benefits) compared with Sydney.

In Sydney things quickly shift to clubbing and partying with limited attempts to expand the community (excluding the parade floats). In Sydney (as with London) there are activities on many days but the parade is ultimately the main day, the day most of the public acknowledge.

London starts during the middle of the day and has plenty of energy to go on through the afternoon and late into the night.

On that note London clearly wins out.

I had a lot of problems including photos into this entry so you’ll find them all at Flickr.

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