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Put the butter on the butter

We started the morning with a walk across town from our hotel in Darling Harbour to an area called The Rocks down by Circular Quay. The Rocks is the original old part of town. Also, it is where the Sydney Harbour Bridge hits the city. We suited up in these jumpsuits that had hooks for everything- hats, glasses, headphones and put on a belt harness as well. They really strap everything down to you because if anything falls off it could cause an accident below. As we climbed the bridge, our guide told us all about when it was built, how it was built, and why it was built. Apparently, it was built during the great depression and helped keep food on a lot of tables. However, it was a very risky job. They had no safety harnesses; the men just relied on their own balance not to fall off. Also, when they were putting rivets in, one guy would heat them up in a set area, then throw them to a catcher who was some distance away. The catcher had to catch the rivet or it might hit him and burn him. Alternatively, it might just fall. There are thousands of rivets at the bottom of the harbour still to this day. Given all of this, only 16 men died in the building of the bridge, and not all of them from falls either. The view from anywhere on the bridge was gorgeous, but being on the very top of the bridge was incredible. The climb down was a little anticlimactic (no pun intended), but I guess if you climb up you have to climb down. Afterwards, we were all starving. We went foraging, but since it was still early there weren't tons of options available. We climbed up the bridge pylon instead (because apparently we hadn't done enough climbing already). The pylons are actually purely decorative- they don't really hold the bridge down at all. The designer thought that people would have less faith in the bridge without them, so he built them to be as imposing as possible, even using more expensive materials to do so. Finally, I got lunch at a food court area. While it was fast food, it was relatively healthy- spring roll wrapped tofu and veggies (not fried). I wish we had more healthy fast food restaurants back at home. At that point, we split up. Dad was tired so he went back to the hotel to sleep, but Mom, Mike, Rachel, and Mike went to the botanic gardens. Since they're pretty much always open, I decided to skip them for now and go see some of the things that I wanted to see but nobody else really did. As I wandered towards the Barracks museum, I was pleasantly surprised by the big menorah display in Martin Place. I had seen "Happy Christmas" stuff all over everywhere, but had yet to see anything recognizing Chanukkah. I saw the Australian national bank as well. As I was in that area, I noticed what looked like a big glass office building with a plan paper sign that read "Museum/ Free admission." I was curious, so I went in. (That's one of the things I love about not having specific plans- having time to stumble onto something unexpected.) The museum was a museum of Australian currency. There were displays of old money and some information about what it all meant. Overall it was pretty dry until I crossed some sensor that turned on a tv. It was playing this adorable cartoon commercial from 1966, the year when Australia switched from pounds and pennies to dollars and cents. It was in black and white and had the funniest music. There was this cute cartoon dollar showing people how much easier it would be to add up the new currency than the old. While I'm sure you can find it on youtube somewhere, the cartoon itself was worth going into the museum. It was hilarious. (Actually- <u>http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=TZVEEs-RJpw</u>) I continued on my way, stopping briefly to check out their hospital and a couple of churches that looked like they belonged in medieval Europe before getting to the barracks museum. Basically, it told the story of the people who may have stayed in the building (or maybe others like it). There was a section on convicts, on crazies, and on Irish teenage girls. Apparently, during the potato famine, unmarried Irish teenage girls were shipped off by the thousands to find husbands in Australia. When I got done in there, I still had quite some time before I had to meet back up with the family. Since nobody had wanted to go to Luna Park earlier, I figured I'd head over that way. However, it was all the way across the bridge from where I was and I was completely exhausted. My feet were killing me. So, I took the train over- smart move. Luna park was originally in Adelaide, but they didn't want it and had it shut down. Just around that time, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was being completed. The government gave Luna Park to Sydney both as a present for putting up with the bridge construction, but also as a way to keep some of the former bridge builders employed for just a little longer putting the park back together. It's a pretty small park- more comparable to Coney Island or some other boardwalk amusement park than Six Flags or Disney World. Also, unlike those parks that have cartoon characters parading around the park a couple of times a day, Luna Park has half-clowns in their parade. Just as I was getting on the ferris wheel, some men wearing neon capris and vests and some women wearing some neon skirts came parading out with a clown car. They were "locomotioning" down the street- a little bit of an odd parade. The view of the harbor, bridge, opera house, and park from the ferris wheel was nice, but I had been much higher up on the bridge earlier in the day so I wasn't as impressed as I could have been. When I got off the ferris wheel, the parade was still going on, except that the half-clowns had pulled some children into a circle and were dancing with them. It seemed a little desperate, but I guess that's how things work at Luna park. Perhaps due to the extensive amount of walking I had already done, I got hungry. I grabbed a Picnic bar. Don't ever get one. It's like some kindergartener put it together. There was a bunch of standard candy bar stuff inside, but not stuff that all made sense together. It fell apart every time I bit it because there wasn't really anything except the chocolate on the outside holding it together. I'm not really sure how these bars keep in business unless people are thinking "I want a little of everything random on my ice cream, but I'm too cheap to buy it all, so I'm going to get this Picnic bar and chop it into little pieces and put it on top." As I headed out with my snack, I was debating whether or not to take the train back- I was completely exhausted and had already walked lots of miles, but on the other hand, I thought I would regret not having capitalized on the opportunity to walk the bridge since I wasn't likely to have another chance. I walked all the way from one side of the bridge to the other and am really glad that I did. I would have regretted not doing it for the rest of my life, but my legs are only going to regret it for a day or so. Instead of taking the main roads back to Darling Harbour, I took some side roads. While the city near the bridge and Circular Quay was hopping, the side streets I took back were almost deserted. I enjoyed my walk back in the relative calm and quiet. When back at Darling Harbour, I went to the Maritime Museum to climb on a real submarine. Except, it was closed. Instead I went on a tour of (a replica of) Captain Cook's ship. It was pretty interesting. I know that people were shorter back then, but some of the areas of the ship were still pretty short, even for the short people. By the time I was done with that, I was time to head back to the hotel, which was a good thing, because I wasn't sure my feet and legs wanted to keep going. When I finally got back to my room and stopped, it still kind of felt like I was walking. It reminded me of when you've been on an amusement park ride and are still spinning when you get off. After a quick nap and shower we headed down toward the Sydney Opera House, stopping for a quick dinner at a Malaysian/Chinese Restaurant. One thing that I've noticed in general here is that a large portion of their immigrants seem to be from Asia the way many of ours are from Latin America. Just like back at home you can get Mexican, Brazillian, El Salvadorian, and Puerto Rican food, but often Asian food is all labeled Chinese or Japanese, here you can get Indonesian, Malaysian, Japanese, Thai, and different types of Chinese food, but Latin places are all relegated to the "Mexican" title. Also, I've seen lots of Asian people in the jobs we often stereotype to be "Latino" jobs at home. At home, when things are in two languages, the second is often Spanish, while here the second language seems more varied, but always uses characters that I can't recognize. We got to the Opera House and boy is it beautiful. Personally, I think the inside is more impressive than the outside. It isn't decorated with expensive looking materials, but the design itself is very simple, yet fancy. Even the bathroom sinks were designed to be pretty. The show we saw was a comedy that was supposed to be focused on events of the past year, and while some of the comedians did that, some others didn't. Overall, they were pretty funny. We didn't have that hard of a time getting past the accents, although some did refer to a few events that didn't quite make the news back home. There were quite a few comedians that I would recommend out of the bunch, but two acts stood out the most to me. The first wasn't because it was funny. There was a male comedian who was dressed as Queen Elizabeth and gave a so-so monologue "speech" to the crowd. Later, he/she reappeared in a "dueling piano" type of fight with the regular keyboardist. However, this duel was special. The "queen" was playing the concert organ. . That instrument is absolutely amazing and took my breath away for a moment. If ever you have an opportunity to hear it play- do it!!! The second comedian was the one who told the single best joke of the night, the joke that we'll be repeating for days and days and will probably become some sort of long0term family inside joke. He was talking about his daughter. He said that one day, he was sitting on the couch, looking for the remote control to change the channel. His daughter was sitting on the couch next to him. He asked her, "Where's the remote." Her response was to get off the couch, walk between him and the tv, and do a little dance while saying in a singsong voice "You put the butter on the butter." I was cracking up during the following comedians' acts just thinking about this. When the show was over, Shanaenae and I both said that we thought that was the funniest part of the whole show. Why? Because we can both see that clearly she must be his daughter as that is something we could expect her to say. (To finish the joke: He said "There is no question under the sun that can be appropriately answered by the statement Put the butter on the butter." Later, one of the band members piped up, "There is a question that it answers: How do you make a butter sandwich on butter with extra butter?")

Tomorrow: disaster strikes! (sort of)

Bridge climbers

Bridge climbers


Captain Cook's ship

Captain Cook's ship


inside of the Opera House

inside of the Opera House


Luna park from the ferris wheel

Luna park from the ferris wheel


the Chabad Menorah

the Chabad Menorah


the Opera House

the Opera House

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Australia

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