November 30, 2018

Practicing to be an Aussie

Well we have spent 40 days in Sydney practicing to be Aussie’s. Sydney is a great place to live. There is a lot to do everywhere from sightseeing like the Sydney Harbour and Bridge, the many cultural museums around the city and of course the beaches. There we days when we did nothing but go to a museum and have lunch. Some of our favorites were the Australian Maritime Museum on Darling Harbour and the Australian Museum near Hyde Park. 

The Maritime Museum in my opinion is a must see. The exhibits were very interesting and you definitely learn a lot about Capt. Cook and the discovery of all of the Pacific Islands. He is a very important figure in Australia the same as our Christopher Columbus as he discovered the south east coast near Sydney called Botany Bay. He then claimed all of it for the British Crown. There are also special exhibits that pay homage to the Aboriginal People of Australia. Outside of the museum there are several ships from all eras in maritime history including a submarine. You can even go on a cruise on a tall ship.

The Australian Museum is comparable to the Smithsonian with both natural history and anthropology exhibits. It is the oldest museum in Australia. The exhibits here range from taxidermy animals, rocks and minerals, dinosaurs and various artifacts that have been collected from the Pacific Islands. There is also a permanent gallery of Indigenous art that is pretty comprehensive. From didgeridoos, boomerangs, spears and even mask’s from the various Australian tribes. There is even a gallery with stuffed birds from all over Australia.

Room of Australian taxidermy animals 
Burial Poles


We visited both Bondi and Manly beach. Bondi was pretty commercialized and noisy and Manly was our favorite mainly because of the small town of Manly that is right next to the beach. We spent the entire Sunday afternoon at the beach watching the surfing and life guard classes as well as walking the esplanade. There are several cafes along the beach to enjoy a cool drink or lunch. The views are amazing since the water is such a beautiful color. On Sunday there is a market in town that you can shop for arts and crafts, jewelry and other cool stuff. On the other side of town by the ferry docks there is a walkway that takes you around the bay or you can just sit and enjoy watching all the boats coming and going from the Harbour. Best way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

Manly Beach

Delwood Beach
Do you know what Aussie fast food is? You can’t find a restaurant in Australia that doesn’t serve the old standard Fish & Chips. You would have thought you were living in England. Although I love F & C’s and we have some very good fish & chips, I think I would get really tired of eating it that often if I lived here permanently. It’s as bad as seeing McDonalds everywhere in the US. The alternate we found was to visit the Sydney Fish Market near our apartment and buy fresh fish that we baked or put on the barbie. We tried some new varieties that we never had before from Specked Emperor, Barramundi and Egyptian Perch. It’s amazing how different the fish tasted compared to what we were used to buying in the states.  

Sydney Fish Market
The selection was huge!
Australian also love their coffee. But not just any coffee and especially not Starbucks. They are into the little coffee cafes that serve fresh pressed. We couldn’t walk down the street from our apartment without walking by several in a few blocks. Of course morning is a busy time for coffee but so is afternoon tea time. From around 3pm until 4:30 the coffee shops are packed with Aussie’s having coffee and cakes. OMG you should see all the different kinds of cakes and pastries they have to go with your coffee. Good thing I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon since I would have to have cake with it too!

What should I choose?

It’s funny some of the comparisons I made while we were visiting some of the museums in Sydney. The gold rushes of the 1850’s were not unique to the US. I hadn’t realized this fact until I noticed an exhibit that had large gold nuggets that were found in Australia and then saw the time period and thought this can’t be true. While the US was having a gold rush in California during 1850’s so was Australia in New South Wales.

Another comparison that disturbs me is the plight of the aboriginals and their rights in Australia. It is pretty much the same as the American Indian in the US back in the mid to late 1800’s. Many of their lands were taken from them and exploited while their people suffered. The only difference is that the American Indians have reclaimed some of their lands and were given the same rights as American citizens some time ago. However, in Australia the aboriginals are still fighting about the same issues as of today. As late as the year 2000 were they granted some basic rights by the government. I still cannot believe this is happening in this country at this place in time.

Aboriginal street art


November 10, 2018

Funny thing happened in the Loo

Funny, I had no idea I didn’t know how to use a public restroom. Normally I would avoid a public restroom like the plague especially one on the street in the middle of the city. But nature called and I was forced to go forward.

I sized up the booth by looking at it from the outside since I thought you had to put coins in to operate. It didn’t have a door handle so I had to stand there and read the instructions on the wall. By waving your hand in front of a sensor it opened sesame. Once inside it looked like the Starship Enterprise and I was going to be beamed up. As soon as the door closed the lights dimmed and elevator music started playing through the speakers in the ceiling. I thought this is really a new experience in a public restroom until I saw “the warning”.

On the wall in front of the commode was a digital screen that warned you only have 10 minutes to do your business otherwise the main door would open and the sprinklers would be activated. Thinking to myself, what if I was sick in there, would I be a victim of the sprinklers and then come out soaking wet? So needless to say I didn’t waste any time.

Once finished, I reached for the toilet paper. You must be kidding! I couldn’t find any rolls anywhere in sight as I frantically looked around the room. So again I looked at the screen in front of me. There it gave me directions on how to retrieve the 8 tiny squares of toilet paper by waving my hand in front of yet another sensor on the wall.

Now to flush. As I looked everywhere and my time was slowly ticking away I kept thinking please don’t let the sprinkler go off! Again, I had to read the directions on the screen. The toilet automatically flushed ONLY after you used the soap and water dispensers to your left. I guess this is a fail safe or is it. Then comes the task of drying off your hands. Now by this time I knew to look for directions from the display. Here they told you to hold your hands under a random bar that then had air blowing down to dry them.

With my business done within the allotted 10 minutes I proceeded to exit the door by waving my hand across the sensor relieved that the door opened automatically. I stood in front of the restroom thinking “You must be kidding me, was that a joke?” When on earth has something you have done most of your life become so difficult. Just remember this if you happen to see a giant stainless steel restroom on the street - Obey the Commands or Else
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