Saturday, 29 August 2009

Going Cultural

Deciding to be cultural today, we made our way to the Australian Museum, and Art Gallery NSW. Although when we got as far as the gallery we were quite exhausted from the museum's Aboriginal exhibition, Surviving Australia exhibition and all the alive, dead and extinct animals shown on the different levels.

After the cultural escapades we went to famous Harry's Wheels and had pea pies and mash. Much better than they look actually. And then finally took a walk along the warf and into the Botanical gardens where we fought the windy weather and finally reached Qircual Quay. Not a bad walk when your stomach is full of mashed potato. :)
Here are some picks of all the things we saw today.

Part of the Aboriginal exhibition.

Annette patting the giant koala. A bit bigger than it is today ...

Sebastian and his new work out buddy.

Mr Skeleton taking a brake.

Demon Duck of Doom. Hehe.

Raaawwwrr. Or something ...


Lunch by the Warf. (Eva, Annette, Sebastian)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Come on Cactus!

Went horseback riding today. First time in many years. We, a group of UTS students, left Sydney behind us and headed for a green valley with a large stable. Some of us were good riders and some of us rode for the first time. We all had a good time though, riding in the bush in lovely, sunny weather. Luckily the tall trees gave a bit of shade, otherwise it would have been too hot.
My horse's name was Cactus. He was the oldest, and probably the slowest, horse in the group. He would not go into a trot unless all the other horses did it first. But he was a kind horse, only sometimes walking so close to the trees on the side of the path that you had to duck for you life so you wouldn't get branches in your face.

I couldn't bring my camera when we were riding but here is a couple of pictures from before we went into the Aussie bush.

A bit of bush on the valley slope.

A not so good pic of some horses and cars. (None of them are Cactus.)

Some beautiful wild lorikeets.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Technical genius?

Today I have overcome my lazy fear of the laundry room. After a month of washing my clothes in the bathtub I decided enough was enough. At some point I needed to figure out how the communal washing machines in this building work.

I guess I'm a bit spoiled. I have always had a washing machine in my home so the thought of taking my clothes out of the apartment, into an elevator and a room where other people I don't know, also wash their clothes, felt weird.

Now I feel oddly, nerdily cool. I have mastered the washer and dryer! After changing my way to 4 dollar coins, 2 for the washing machine and 2 for the dryer, I just did what the instructions told me and voilĂ , it worked! And OMG, I had forgotten how warm and soft clothes are when they have been in a dryer. That I haven't experienced since I moved away from my childhood home. I just wanted to cuddle my clothes and soak up the cosy, loving feeling. (Yes, it does sound a bit weird ...)

Now my dresser is full again of clean clothes ready to be worn. Yay! Next time, it won't be as bad. I just have to get those coins ...

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Fishy Stuff

I decided to be a tourist yesterday and went with my friend Anke to Sydney Aquarium. They had pretty much every kind of fish that swims around the continent. There were also animals like sharks, platipus, small penguins, a dugong and a crocodile. The colors and different looks were incredible.

I took loads of pictures (including alot of bad ones) and it pains me not to be able to put them all up. But here's at least some of them. Enjoy! :)

The "mermaid". Dugongs are so cute!

Not as cute ...

There were some giant turtles.

Beautiful jellyfish (as long as they don't come too close ...)

Deep water fish

Smiling frog.

Find Nemo!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Winter Wonderland

I had a proper sleep-in this morning, longing for that feeling of being well rested. When I finally got up I had tea and some delicious cookies for breakfast. The cookies were given to me by a lovely local couple I interviewed yesterday.

I knew I could't stay in all day so I finally went back to the small garden with the large fish. As promised it was a warm and sunny day, maybe even the 28 degrees they had been talking about on the forecast. The warmest August day in ten years apparently. Not bad for winter.

In 24 hours people had gone from wool coats to bikinis. And of course, there was the compulsory older man with the very tiny thong bottoms. Yuk. But other than that the garden was very calm and nice even though there were alot of people enjoying the weather.

Challenging my phobia I sat down i the grass like everyone else, and luckily only a couple of ants dared to bother me. I finished a novel and read the weekend paper. I don't think I burned myself in the sun, covering myself after a while, but we'll see tomorrow. And hopefully I got a bit of color in my face and on my arms and lower legs. Compared to the others in the park I was quite pale ...

Yes! I did read the entire business section. Hrm ...

I wouldn't mind a balcony with french doors like this one.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Homesick by Chainsaw

I was working in my flat today when I got terribly homesick. At first I didn't understand why. But then I closed my eyes and there it was. The sound of a chainsaw. I was suddenly back at our summer cottage in the old forests of Finland. I was reading about Nancy Drew and outside my dad was working away at the 100 year old pine trees that had fallen during a storm. It was a calming sound, funnily enough.
Back in Sydney the sound did get a bit annoying after a while. The builders begin their work on the house across the street early in the morning so ear plugs are a must if you want to sleep in. But today, at that time, the chainsaw gave me a nostalgic memory of warm summers, freshly chopped wood and relaxed days spent with my family. I want days like that again.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Local beauty

After the busy night I took this day to myself. I decided to visit Elizabeth Bay House, a house built between 1835 and 1839 by Alexander Macleay, Colonial Secretary of New South Wales. Macleay wanted the house to be the grandest house in Sydney and he also developed a huge botanic garden. Unfortunately the house was never completely finished because of the depression that hit the colony and Macleay's other financial problems. Today the house is surrounded by modern buildings and only a small, but beautiful garden represents the 54 acres Macleay started with before he got in over his head.
Here's some pictures from the house and garden:

The house the way it looks today in the midst of modern houses and traffic.

Part of the pretty garden on the other side of the street. There's big fish in the pond.

The "breakfast room". I want one of those ...

The main staircase. The house has a dome.

Nice view from the master bedroom.

The finished house should have looked like this (without the reflection of me of course ...) :)

Aussie Experience

Saturday evening, after 3 different trains, I arrived at the ANZ stadium at Olympic Park. Clutching my notebook and pen I found the rest of the "Sport journalists". My first ever Rugby league game and I was supposed to report on it like a real sport journalist, with a 1 am deadline. Funnily, I wasn't that nervous. Maybe because of the late previous night (thank you Peter!).

It must have been a peculiar sight, 21 people in a row scribbling like mad while watching the game. Bulldogs vs Raiders. I tried to remember everything Wikipedia had told me about the try, conversions, field goals and scrums. It wasn't hopeless but more than once did the fans cheer or buu without me really understanding why.

Anyway, after the game we went to the press conference. It was one of those you see on tv after a game, with players and coaches giving more or less useless quotes. Once again we scribbled like crazy, at least those of us who had not brought a recorder. Now who was that man again?

The race was on as we left the stadium a bit after 10. The story had to be filed within three hours and the train ride home would take at least an hour. Trying to understand our own notes we started writing something that could work as a first paragraph. Finally back home at 11.30 pm I opened the computer and pushed away the panic. It just had to work.

No, I did not create a master piece. The story might actually be a total disaster with spelling, grammar and factual mistakes but as the clock crept closer to 1 I just had to do the best I could. As long as my english isn't perfect I can't expect myself to work as fast and as flawlessly as the others. But it certainly was an experience and now I just have to wait for the verdict.

I apologise for the bad pictures this time. Rule number one as a sport journalist: Concentrate! So I didn't have time to take more than one pic during the game.

South-West Sydney Bulldogs (white and blue), Canberra Raiders (green).

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Harry Potter and Alice Burdeu

Celebrity sighting of the day: On my way to the movies this evening I happend to see Alice Burdeu, winner of Australia's next top model cycle 3. She was getting up from an outside table at one of the local bars. It was a bit surreal. I mean, here's a person I've seen on tv in Helsinki, Finland, and suddenly she's having coffee, for real, at a bar close to my Sydney home. She's really pretty in real life too, in that fairy tale kind of way.

Secondly, the reason why I went out in the first place: Harry Potter. I joined a couple of friends and saw the latest part of the Harry Potter saga. It was a sad one, the one where Dumbledore dies. On the positive side, Daniel Radcliffe didn't irritate me as much this time. There's been a couple of movies where he's just been wrong! Maybe I'm having a soft day, or maybe he's actually learnt a thing or two during all these years of playing Harry Potter.

Anyway, enjoyed the movie and now I can go to bed. Sweet dreams everyone!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Bondi to Coogee

Soft sand, blue waters and by nature artfully sculpted cliffs. The walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach was beautiful in so many ways. The weather was great, albeit a bit cold towards the end, and both locals and tourists enjoyed the 6 kilometer long coastal walk.

Anke, Annette, Sebastian and I took the bus to Bondi and walked for about 2 hours. At Coogee we bough something to eat and drink and just sat on the beach watching people actually swim in the 16 C cold water. After the long, warm walk we were a bit frosen but Sebastian had to at least try the water with his feet.

Needless to say I took alot of pictures again. Here are some of them (click on the pictures if you want to make them larger):

Bondi Beach seen from the South (it looks bigger that way).

Classic tourist picture of me in front of Bondi.

The views during the walk were spectacular. Hard to catch on camera, but we tried as you can see. (Anke and Sebastian)

In the middle of the walk there was actually a large sematary overlooking the ocean. Best grave site in the world?

After many bays and beaches we finally arrived at coogee beach were we had a rest before taking the bus back to city.

Sebastian and Annette having chips and Anke taking a nap in the sun.

My Sunday ended with a great evening Annette and Sebastian's place. Friends, pizza and interesting conversation, what more do you need?