Thursday, March 4, 2010

Different Skillset

Today was my first full day in Sydney. I actually arrived around 5:30pm local time yesterday. To be honest, my last few months have been spent in wilderness mode, so a return to city-life was a rude awakening. The survival skills required here are a far cry from what I've been relying on. Sydney only has a population of four million (about the same as Houston), but the population density is much higher. It feels somewhere between Austin and New York City. Anyways, I spent my first night walking around so that I could adjust to the much higher traffic patterns.

Today, I bought a green travel pass, but I haven't actually used it yet. The weather is supposed to be stormy until Monday, which is a bummer. I want to try and make it out to Bondi Beach, but I'm not sure what the weather holds.

I should have tried to make it out today, as the weather turned out to be beautiful after a light rain this morning. Nevertheless, I had a good day. I started out to look form some info at the Vistor's Center at The Rocks. I had a light breakfast while waiting for it to open. I had a coffee and muffin, which cost me $7.50 AUD, which is about $8 US. Yes, eveything is ridiculously expensive here. Anywayss, the Visitor's Center was nowhere near as impressive as the iSite in Christchurch. The staff was very helpful, but you can tell that Sydney is a working city and does not rely on tourism as much. Oh, all the people walking around in office clothes also gives that impression as well.

Oh, back to my day... After the Visitor's Center, I wanted to head to the S.H. Ervin art gallery. It is very similar to the Menil in Houston. Before I found it, I ran into the Sydney Observatory. The view of Sydney from Observatory Hill is very edifying as well as beautiful. The observatory itself was very well-executed as a historical and educational exhibit. As a History of Science major, I was rather enthralled. As a quick aside, the next Transit of Venus occurs June 6, 2012. That is the event that sent Captain James Cook down to these parts. The information on navigation and cchroonometry is also very interesting. I may try to make a night tour if the weather clears.

From the observatory, I continued on to the Ervin. The current exhibit was of a local artist, Nicholas Harding. The exhibit was entitled "Drawn to paint". Like the Menil, the Ervin grants a very intimate experience with the artist's work. Unlike the Menil, the actual architecture of the building interfered with my interaction of some of the pieces. At times, I would be distracted by light slipping through a window opposite a piece and reflecting off the piece's glass frame. At other times, thee position of a column would prevent me from achieving an alternate viewing angle. Nevertheless, I really liked the exhibit and the venue. My favorite piece was "Robert Drewe (in the swell)" 2006.

From the Ervin, I dropped in to take a quick look at the Botanical Gardens and ended up staying much longer than expected.

This is a really long post, so I'll stop here. With continued poor weather, I plan on visiting the opera house and the Art Gallery. La Traviata shows tomorrow at the opera house. I would really like to attend, but I don't have anything to wear.