Thursday, June 16, 2005

serendipity in sydney

The plan was to go to the Powerhouse museum in downtown sydney- they were having a special exhibition of greek artifacts. I wasn't too keen, I've been to enough museums and the sight of so many limbless, headless statues only tends to depress me. But it had been a while since I've actually been to a museum, so when DP suggested we go there, I agreed. It turned out to be one of my better decisions, because the day was an unusually fortuitous and multicultural experience. Here's a list of the things we saw/did that day-

The Sydney Jazz Festival: We could hear the music from the bridge, and there were three separate stages. Two of those were floating stages and the third was in a park. Each stage had a completely different style of jazz, and we lingered for a couple of songs worth in each place...though I have to admit I wasn't really impressed with the Air Force Band's orchestra-type jazz, still it was a real pleasure to hear this music on such a sunny bright day.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship: A carefully constructed garden packed with all sorts of allusions to chinese philosophy and culture. A still lake fed by waterfalls in the middle of city. I tried to take a photograph of the rock standing serenely in the lake, and the skyscrapers in the background did their best to look like mountains in the distance. A short walk through a bamboo forest- thin reed like bamboos- and a longer walk around the garden, stopping every now and then to gaze at the huge white carp in the water.

The Powerhouse Museum: There weren't that many headless statues, but there were disembodied heads. Lots of jewelry and clothing. The highlight for me, was the beautiful illuminated medieval books, but DP claims that the gold leaf wreath, with its intricate patterns, was the best. The rest of the museum was pretty much a damp squib, though.

Market City: This is one of Sydney's largest closed door markets, and i've always wanted to go there, but never managed to get there in time. Walked through hundreds of stalls selling all manner of things, mostly chinese made australiana, but didn't linger long.

Chinatown: Do you see a theme developing? We walked through the China town area and had lunch at a chinese restaurant, where I did my customary struggle with the menu, trying to find non-boring vegetarian food.

The Aboriginal Music Demonstration: At the Northern Territory centre, we noticed that they were just about to start a performance intended to be an introduction to Aboriginal Music. The guide was quite good, and he played the Didgeridoo with great flair, and described what the sounds intended to depict. I think I finally understand a bit more about the music of this land. The power of the didgeridoo was amazing...I immediately wanted to try out the ones on sale, but all I could make were miniature fart noises. Someday...

The Fortune Teller: An automatic fortune teller, who spoke in such a garbled speech that I could hardly hear what it was saying.

Fireworks over the Harbour: To end the day's Jazz performances, there were fireworks. The harbour and surrounds lit up more than normal, and there was a collective oooh of the crowd when something special happened. Sparkly!

And finally a beer at one of the trendier nightclubs. A fitting end to an eventful day.