Category Archives: Australia

Night falls, lights up

Just saw on the news that Vivid Sydney is on in the vibrant Aussie city. Into its 3rd year. this event is held during winter as a way of attracting people to come out at night in spite of the cold weather. The idea is to enliven the city, boost traffic to shops and maintain the evening business flow for the downtown district.

I was in Sydney this time last year, and caught some of the lights installations. By day, Sydney harbour is already world famous. By night, this after dark lights and music festival adds to the buzz. The Sydney Opera House is indelibly recognised all over the world. At the same time, the famous white sails serve as perfect canvasses for psychedelic splashes of colours, animations and a poem or two, vividly transforming both the harbour night scene and the Opera House’s iconic image. Engaging artworks from amoeba-like patterns, to shifting combinations of patchwork pieces organically unfold in loops during the lights & music display.

Here are some photos of the Opera House during last year’s Vivid Sydney. What do you think would bring your city to life at night?

A documentary in Sydney

After a whole day of walking yesterday , I decided to join in the fun at the Sydney Film Festival in the evening.

The box office lady was really helpful with what’s on that evening and finally I decided on Adrian Grenier’s Teenage Paparazzo.

The documentary, directed by Grenier, turns the lens on the paparazzi mania in Hollywood and peeks into the life of a then 13-year old paparazzo.

As it is a film festival, the audience gets to rate and vote for the film. I gave it 5 stars!

Of Elphaba and G(a)linda

Despite not having a good night’s sleep and waking up early to catch a flight to Sydney, I was still wide awake by sunset. Perhaps it was the lovely weather and cool breeze of Sydney harbour. I had been here years ago, and I’m sure I had tonnes of photos of the opera house and harbour bridge then. Still, I couldn’t help being snap-happy the whole day. And that was what I did the whole afternoon after getting my visa at the Bolivia consulate on Pitt Street.

I also realised that Capitol Theatre was just around the corner from where I’m staying. So tried asking whether there were any discounted tickets. None, except you can show up 2 and half hours before to put your name in for a lottery, and if you “win” the lottery you pay only $30 for first row tickets. No luck in winning the lottery, but decided heck I’m on a holiday and hence bought full-priced reserved A tickets that got upgraded to “Emerald” seats. This is almost a one-tier priced ticket system since most seats that are opened in the house are reserved A and the price difference between reserved A and B is only $10.

In case you still don’t know, I was watching Wicked. For the second time. Felt the pace in the beginning of this production was a tad slow, and that the wicked witch of the east should have worn wore red shoes instead of silver ones. And since it is supposed to be an Australian production, I wondered why the production chose to let the cast speak in american accents, which felt a bit stilted at times. After all, this IS Oz! (Ok, I admit that is a bad pun.) But I still enjoyed it by and large, and found the story and some lines refreshing.

I am clearly not the only nor biggest fan: apparently SF has watched it 3 times! And I overheard a lady in the audience saying to her friend: “Oz is a metamorphose (sic) for yada yada… I can give you the link to the written thesis.”

Fancy writing a thesis about this. But she could be a drama/theatre student for all I know and not just a Wicked fanatic.

Anyway this fan is typing this with the entire Wicked album playing on mp3.

First stop, Melbourne 05.06.10

As there are no direct flights to South America from Singapore, I had a choice of either flying into Europe or Australia and then onwards to Santiago, Chile, and then return via the other way, i.e. Australia or Europe, respectively, this being round-the-world ticket.* Given the choices, I figured making Australia my first stop rather than last would make more sense, especially because of Australia’s stringent customs check – what if I want to bring some exotic food back from my trip? It would be totally wasted if the customs confiscated them.

Australia is a pretty expensive place and actually not one of my target destinations on this trip. However, as I had 4 free segments in Australia/Zealand on my ticket*, I figured I could make a few stops along the way. Plus I could also run some errands**. Another plus: I had always wanted to witness the famous scenery on the Great Ocean Road. AND yet another plus: I could also catch up with friends, some of whom I haven’t met up in a very long while!

So that’s how I made Melbourne my first stop (Technically, Adelaide is my first stop, as my ticket only allowed me on a particular economy class, and therefore a direct flight was not possible on the dates I had chosen. But I had chosen to skip staying over one night in Adelaide.  Hence, Melbourne is, realistically, the first destintation on this trip).

In order to save money whilst in Oz so that my trip could last quite a while, I had chosen to stay in backpackers hostels. In Melbourne, I chose the cheapest one with the most convenient location. Suffice to say, there’s a reason why it is “budget” priced. I would very much like to upload some photos just to demonstrate just how “budget” it is – but I am actually typing this on the internet computer at the very same hostel, so I think I had better not, for the time being at least.

The bathroom next to my room was dark, damp and smelly. Luckily someone told me about the girls’ bathroom, which is infinitely better, even though it is on another floor.  The last time I stayed in a place like this I was in my early twenties, in an ex-refugee-camp-turned-backpackers-hostel in Zagreb, Croatia. And even so, I heard that place had undergone a massive renovation.

No photos for now, but just to give you an idea, this is what I overheard the lady at the reception said, when checking-in a new guest:

Lady: “This is a very friendly place. Just that it is a dump.”

I was already having a headache. After I put down my things, got new (presumably clean) sheets and a phone card, I took a quick nap. Luckily, I felt much better after the nap, and got ready to meet SF who came to pick me up as we head off for a yummy satisfying French meal at Brasserie, at Crown Casino.

*More on my research on flights here.

** More on that in the next post.