Archive for February, 2007


Look at me, look at me!!

Where I live in Sydney - Close Up

Well not quite me but you can now get a close up look at the roof of my apartment after Google Maps updated their images of Sydney with higher res photos taken on Australia Day this January. Unfortunately I wasn’t up there hanging out the washing that day otherwise you could have seen my smalls. Click on the pic above to see full size.

You can now even see the sunbathers on Bondi Beach close enough to pick out who’s in speedos and who’s in shorts! The pic below shows where I live in relation to the places you’ve probably heard of in Sydney. I’m about a half hour walk to work, 45 mins to the Opera House. Click on the pic to see full size.

Where I live in Sydney

It’s pretty cool to see the city close up from above so if you want to have a play yourself start on Bondi Beach here on Google Maps.


Room for two more Queens in Sydney?

Queen Mary 2 & Queen Elizabeth 2

Well they were pretty massive but Sydney still managed to squeeze them in. The Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 made a historic rendezvous in Sydney yesterday, the one and only time they will meet in their current world cruises. It’s also significant because their original namesakes also came to Sydney together during World War II. No idea whether this would have been mentioned outside of Oz but it did get a story on the BBC News site.

Yesterday at dawn the Queen Mary 2 cruised into the harbour complete with hundreds of small craft escorting her in. I was busy having a swim and doing Body Balance so couldn’t make it down there. At 71m high and 345m long she’s too big to fit under the Harbour Bridge or dock at the International Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, so the QM2 was docked at the Garden Island naval base. This meant there was no public access to get close to the ship.

However there were a number of vantage points to see her and at lunchtime I jumped on Monty (that’s the scooter!) and rode over to Mrs Macquaries Point. The traffic in the city was hell, the visiting ship caused chaos as people tried to get to the harbour to see her….tho things were due to get worse. Luckily with only two wheels I managed to get there tho it still took much longer than it should, fired off a few pics and headed back.

The main event of the day was the arrival of the QE2 at about 7pm, again accompanied by hundreds of small boats, she cruised into the harbour and the two ships saluted each other with their horns. I couldn’t make it again coz I was playing softball but you could still hear the horns where I was which was about 10km away!

Finally a fireworks display celebrated the arrival of both ships. The QM2s visit was short and sweet as she left at 11pm the same day, in her wake she left an outcry over the fact that the city effectively melted down into traffic gridlock and chaos. Clearly the authorities were totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and cars pouring into the city to see this occasion, and now the media are calling for heads to roll and apologies and so they should!

The QE2 is now docked at Circular Quay for a couple of days so I wandered down there and took a few pics, not as impressive as the QM2 and not drawing as many crowds but still a very impressive lump of metal. Now I’ve just gotta save the $250,000 it costs to do a round the world trip on the QM2 in a top of the range suite.

Unfortunately I haven’t got a helicopter at the mo (it’s next on the list) so here’s an excellent slideshow of images of the QM2s arrival, a video of the QE2 arrival and fireworks, and finally a gallery of images from the day…should be enough to be going on with.


A gay, a lady and some sisters

Happy Mardi Gras!

Well what a busy weekend. After the early Bridge Climb it was time for the launch of Mardi Gras 2007. You know Summer is well and truly here when you’re sitting in the sun on the steps of the Opera House waiting for the Mardi Gras launch. It was all arranged by text message so we knew where to meet and when but didn’t really know what was going to happen….it was a kind of attempt at flash-mobbing. There were rumours that the guys from Little Britain would be making an appearance though.

Bob & Aunty Mavis appear

As expected it was a little disorganised at the start, we didn’t really have a clue what was going on, then some people turned up with Happy Mardi Gras flags, hats and plastic Gaydar maracas (yes the full name of MG is “Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras presented in partnership with”…snappy ey?). Finally Bob Downe & Aunty Mavis turned up and got proceedings underway.

"I declare this thing open"

By now there were a few hundred of us on the steps, tourists wandered round looking mildly bemused as to what was going on, but what was good to see was some of them joining in, acquiring some maracas and shaking them along to the music, even some olden people too! The short route took us from the Opera House to Customs House at Circular Quay. Firstly there were a few speeches and finally, as expected Matt Lucas and David Walliams from Little Britain appeared as their alter egos Daffyd Thomas (the only gay in the village) and Emily Howard (“I’m a Lady!”) to officially declare Mardi Gras open….and that was it, next big event is Fair Day on Feb 18th.

All the photos from the launch on Flickr!

Scissor Sisters Live 4

Then on Monday night (yes that is a bizarre night for a concert) I went to see the Scissor Sisters at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Support act was Sneaky Sound System, dunno if anyone outside of Oz has heard of them but they’re a reasonably well know dance act over here. They were pretty good tho I’d say the arena was only half full for them. Most people didn’t bother to turn up till about 9pm and the Sisters finally appeared on stage about half past, 2 hours after the start time!….how rude!

Anyways, it was a great gig, well worth seeing, so much energy though Aussie audiences are quite reserved with those in the seating only getting off their arses to dance to the more well know tracks, of course I was up there waving my hands in the air for most of the gig, after all I wanted to get my $100 worth!!

More photos from the gig on Flickr!


Anyone for an early morning bridge climb??

First pic of the day and the best

Well finally after being in Sydney now on and off for over 2 years I’ve done the Bridge Climb….but not just any old Bridge Climb….the dawn one! So the alarm went off at 3.15am to get to the climb for 4am, the most ridiculous thing was paying $295 for the pleasure of such an early start. 3.15am is the sort of time I’d normally be coming in on a Saturday morning, not heading out, however it wasn’t actually that difficult, went to bed at about 9pm so had quite a bit of sleep.

A quick scooter ride into the city and I was at the climb HQ which is a few hundred meters from the bridge under the southern approach road. Dawn climbs start between 4am and 4.30, mine was 4.15 so basically there’s 3 groups that head up for sunrise. Firstly you have to get prepped up which includes a breathalyser test (to make sure you’re not going to vomit onto the cars below or more stupidly fall off), changing into the climb suit, going through a metal detector to ensure you’re not sneaking anything up there and gearing up (including radio pack & headset, cap, handkerchief, lanyard for your sunnies, headlamp, and the most important bit, the clip to connect you to the safety rail for the journey).

There were 8 of us altogether, maximum group size is 12. We set off in the dark and the route takes you under the bridge between the pylons, you’re directly under the road deck so you can hear the cars and trains going over, at this point you’re about 50m above water level. I have to admit that was probably the slightly scariest bit because the walkway is like a metal mesh so you can see right down to the road/water below. My legs were a little bit wobbly. Then you climb a ladder which takes you between two lanes of traffic (of course this is all protected so no fear of being smacked by a lorry) and up to the start of the arch. Once you’re on the arch it all feels a lot more solid and a lot less disturbing.

It’s still pretty dark at this point but you can see the sky starting to lighten over to the east which is over the ocean. The climb to the summit is leisurely with regular long stops to take in the amazing views to the city, Opera House, Harbour, out to the ocean, and loads of Sydney in all directions. There’s a couple of photo stops on the way which, if you decide to buy them, you’ll be shafted for, but more on that later. As the sun rose the sky went from dark blue to orange, pink….etc, etc. The weather couldn’t have been any better, when we started climbing at 4am it was 20C, dry with the odd wispy cloud around. Those clouds made the sunrise even more stunning.

As we approached the summit the sky was getting lighter but the sun still hadn’t risen above the horizon, the clouds turned from pink to orange to white. We watched the city light up and the fishing boats heading out to see leaving long wakes behind them that slowly spread across the harbour. Although there’s 8 lanes of traffic and two railway lines below you it’s amazingly quiet at the top.

After the free group shot pic you slowly make your way down the western side of the bridge and eventually back to terra firma. Now having spent $295 on this you’d think you’d get your photos for free…..well you do get the group shot and a climbing certificate included. But if you want the individual shots then it’ll cost ya….$65 for four, yes I said FOUR, photos on a CD!!!! It’s an extraordinary rip off but you can’t spend $300 and not have a record of it so I swiped the card and got the pics, the best one you see here, the other three are here on Flickr (yep I’m probably gonna start putting the pics on Flickr instead of Webshots so there’s ANOTHER photo album on the web!).

I’m probably gonna do it again sometime, but not the dawn one. The tour guide said that one of the best days to do it is Australia Day coz the harbour is full of boats and there’s loads to see, so that could be a plan for 2008. Overall if you’re only gonna be in Sydney once and you got the money it’s worth doing, it’s overpriced for sure, but there’s no other way to see the city.

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