February 17, 2007

Aqua woman

Shots from the aquarium:

February 13, 2007

Eric Clapton: we went down to the crossroads

Thank you, family and friends for your wonderful comments, much appreciated. I miss you all. How can I be homesick, if I'm at home?
We saw Eric Clapton, the legend of all rockers, on Sunday. He is sixty years young, and plays better than my ears remember. My dad is his number one fan, seriously, and loved it! There was an other guitar player with him that was really impressive, Derek Trucks, he has a band of his own too, check him out.
Clapton is one of the greatest artists of all time. He played a few new songs, some bluesy & slow. Then the classics Layla, Crossroads, Wonderful Tonight and Cocaine. He switched guitars several times, played alone, but mostly with the band. His hands move smoothly and with such bold sound, I wish he played Sunshine of your Love.

There was a relatively older crowd at the concert, only a few people my age. Surprising, because I assumed everyone loves Eric Clapton, young and old, red and blue.

Bittersweet story: we almost didn't get in to see Clapton at all. We were running late, after finding a distant parking spot and jogging to the stadium. We didn't have the tickets from Blue Tix (part of Virgin Blue), because they were never delivered from the online purchase. But we did have a letter from Blue Tix with our info and seats, and the tickets were supposed to be waiting for us at the gate. We walked to the box office, then line for pick-up; but there were no tickets for us and when we showed them the letter they said, "What am I supposed to do with this? We've never heard of Blue Tix"

We were thinking....SHIT....so we waited, and calmly argued, and finally asked for this lady moron's supervisor who came over to explain our seats were not secure because we had no ticket. They finally let us in, we saw two people in our sweet seats, with tickets; and we had to accept extra seats off to the side. The seats were not as good as the ones originally purchased to view Clapton. Moral, Blue Tix sucks moth balls!
Cedge and Anne, family friends, are almost in the center of this crowd.

It seemed they finished early, but we enjoyed it so much time flew by fast.

Nathan, ANU, Canberra & Fiona Hall

Nathan studies engineering at ANU, The Australian National University, in Canberra. Part of our eastern Australia trip was to drop off him and his kilos of belongings, he refers to as 'useless crap.'

Three of my favorite photos of Nathan:

Left- Nathan doing the Mommy Dance, which looks more like Stevie Wonder (with an angelic, dopey smile on his face) than Marian moving to music.

Center-Nathan getting annoyed, his favorite past time, even though he is kicking my arse at a game of chess on a giant, checkered table in The Pancake Parlour Restuarant.

Right-Nathan getting a very important cell phone call from a 'friend' wondering when he is coming back to Bruce Hall, his dorm. Is it the phantom girlfriend?

Mom and Nathan are adorable, like two cookies left in the cookie jar.

The circus came to town.

Intersting posters on the city's walls in Australia.

I got to visit with some old friends, Kristen & Kari, from when I lived in Adelaide, Australia. They are such awesome people, this was at Kari's house chillin' party–instead of a warming party, because she was moving out.

We went to the National Gallery in Canberra. I saw paintings by Pollock, Monet, Stella, Matisse, Warhol and many great Australian & Aboriginal artists. I do remember a contemporary Australian sculpture and installation artist and photographer, Fiona Hall, who designed this beautiful Fern Garden hidden in the center walls of the gallery. The art piece is a living installation, with benches, trees and a path that walks you through the garden. I studied Fiona in High School in Adelaide, but never saw any pieces in real life. She is political, sexy, ironic with excellent crafting skills in metal.

Coogee Beach: Nude sunbathing & Chish 'n' Fips

Coogee Beach is one of the more intimate beaches in Sydney, yet on hot summer days it can get as crowded as Bondi Beach.

The house we stayed in was a hundred years old, with windows you had to slid up, high ceilings and flickering lights. The bathrooms were remodelled and the kitchen and patio were modern. I would love to live in this house. We spent the days at the beach or enclosed ocean pools. In evenings we would buy groceries and cook dinners at the house.

A play on the traditional 'Fish and Chips.' You cannot live in Australia without beer battered fried fish and chips (a.k.a. freedom fries in The States).

On the last day Mom and walked 4 km north from Coogee Beach to the next hot spot, Bondi Beach. It was a hilly walk with beautiful views of the most whitest beaches in Australia. We concluded there are dinstict smells and colors of the Pacific Ocean, compared to the Indian Ocean beaches of Perth and Western Australia.

Along the coast there were pools, closed off by cement walls to large waves, but jellyfish (%$#@&!!!) snuck in. It was a safe way to swim in the ocean, and to see crabs, sea urchins and fish with goggles. It was so relaxing to float in the ocean without being carried away by rip tides or sharks.

There were women and childern only baths (70 years old) for essential nude sun bathing and women with religious retsrictions, unable to bathe with men present. There was a broad range of women from eight to eighty. It was very comfortable, expect for the two male fishmen who decided nearby rocks were the best place to catch fish.

These Blue Bottle Jellyfish littered Coogee Beach. They are known around the rest of the world as 'Porchoguese Man O War' because they look like a ship at sea. If a human gets stung, skin will hurt and become more painful if you touch the area, as it release the poison.

The jellyfish you have to watch out for is the Box Jellyfish, one of the most venimous animals on earth. They kill about one person a season on the Queensland coast. I did not see a deadly Box Jellyfish, only the pretty Blue Bottle Jellyfish.

February 12, 2007

Sydney: blue harbors & gilded lifestyles

I love Sydney!
What a beautiful, exciting city–it is like the New York of Australia (I've never been to NY). We saw city folk parading among skyscrapers, expansive gardens, the Opera House, Harbor Bridge, old suburbs dripping with history all under the Australian sun, extra strong from the hole in the ozone. My calves are still burning from walking all over the city, we also took ferry rides across the harbor.

I enjoy the rare occasion I'm a passenger on a boat, why don't I travel by water more often? Oh, that's right...I live in Tucson, Arizona!

Stayed at the Star City Casino Hotel in Sydney, with an awesome view of the city skyline. Nathan and I went downstairs to the casino when we arrived, we lost $40 in 5 minutes on the roulette tables. We should have played slot machines instead, because the fun lasts longer. Ironically, a few days later, void of hostility toward the casino for stealing our money, we returned with better luck. We split $7 dollars on the slot machines. I hit a semi-jackpot and $40 in one dollar coins spilled out. I won back how much we lost earlier, it was perfect, I can understand how people can become addicted to gambling.

Below is the view from the 12th floor of the hotel. Sydney's skyline is so beautiful and the harbor shines like diamonds in the morning. Three different cruise ships from all over the world were docked in Sydney harbor during our stay– gigantic, titanic ships with millions of tiny windows.

We had dinner (or "tea" as you would call it in Australia, being invited for tea at 5 o'clock really means dinner) right on the harbor. I feel healthy from eating fresh fish and vegetables and walking like a marathon tourist.

My adorable parents, Marian and David. My mom's hair is not as white as it appears. They've been married for 25 years. They enjoyed sharing Sydney with us, but we should've climbed the Harbor Bridge tower, Dad would've enjoyed it.

Lily pads, the most magical of all pond plants in Sydney's botanical gardens.

Visiting the Opera House was the trip's highlight. The Opera House was perched on hundreds of steps and pointed toward the sky; the exterior walls looked like armadillo skin; and the shape of the building like sails of a ship, butterfly wings or a futuristic landscape after the earth's destruction.

The ship below, titled "The Bloody Storm," was filled with intoxicated pirates tickled pink at the idea of Australian mermaids.

The surface of the Opera House was not as bright white as I imagined from Olympic footage. I wondered if one cleaner jumped down with suction shoes and a soapy sponge to scrub the side of the building. More likely, rain washes the dirt away.

Interactive science exhibits and designs across time were displayed at the Powerhouse Museum, a major public museum in Sydney. I saw the "Red and Blue Chair," Givenchy (who dressed Audrey Hepburn) gowns, Bauhaus kettles, 60s furniture, Art Deco textiles, posters and ceramics. I recognized them from books and classes at UC Davis. Seeing beautifully designed objects and their progression through time fills my heart.

I adore art history, like vegetarians like cheese.

On a Sunday, we managed to catch a street fair in "The Rocks" where people sold arts and crafts. The man below was demonstrating his $300 didgeridoos, a musical instrument of Australian Aborigines made from a long wooden tube that is blown into to create a low drone. Two couples with Texas accents were thinking of buying one, but only the largest and deepest sounding instrument. So they had the vendor scrambling to try each pieces, he was becoming out of breath from the frequent circular breathing. It was amusing to watch tourists interact.

There was a filming of a bollywood film in downtown Sydney. Yes, a bollywood scene, with singing, synchronized dancing and bright costumes. I know nothing of the film, except the director was female.

We had a beer at an old pub in The Rocks, a historic, hip suburb of Sydney. It was called "The Hero of Waterloo" with history oozing out of the walls. It has a 'secret passage' which we've heard runs from the pub down to the dockside, used, apparently, for smuggling, escaping and punishment for intoxicated minors who were put on ships and woken miles out to sea.

We took an iconic trip to the Sydney Zoo, which was nothing compared to San Diego's Zoo. These gorgeous koalas don't drink water, they only eat a certain type of eucalyptus leaves. And they can sleep up to 18 hours a day.