After a week of good progress at work, I was ready for a great weekend. It began Friday morning when our group got to take a tour of the Sydney Opera House. It was an amazing opportunity to see the most famous landmark on the continent. The tour took us to some backstage areas, a studio where Coldplay has done recording in, and the two main theatres. Since we only got a taste of what the Opera House had to offer, some friends and I decided that we needed to see a show there. We bought tickets to see a world class composer and pianist in mid February, and we are extremely excited for that. After the Opera House, we went to Manly Beach and enjoyed a day in the water. Quite a splendid Friday.
Then came January 26, which is known to the nation as Australia Day. It’s their equivalent to the Fourth of July in the States. The day began by receiving a phone call from some friends at 7 am saying to come to Coogee Beach. I arrived and had a few drinks with my friends to get the day started. The waves were very strong that day too, so we had fun getting crushed by the current. We also had to deal with some members of our group drinking a little too much too early. It was quite entertaining, but at the same time, it was quite the hassle. Getting them back home for lunch was a long process. But we wanted to keep having fun, so we decided to go back to the beach once we rehydrated and got some more energy. We came home for dinner, and then I prepared to head to Darling Harbour to watch their big fireworks extravaganza. It was the most amazing fireworks display that I have ever seen. They shot the fireworks right out of the bay, they had spotlights that changed colors, and the fireworks were well coordinated. We then met up with some friends at a bar to grab some drinks and dance to a live band. It was an extremely successful Australia Day, and I am going to find ways to celebrate Australia Day in the future.
Though it is nearly impossible to top a day like Australia Day, I still tried to have some fun on Sunday. My friend Brennan and I wanted to catch an Australian Baseball League game. When we woke up, it was raining, so we were pretty pessimistic that the game wouldn’t happen, but we went out there anyway. It was an hour and a half train ride, so we were pretty far out in the boonies when we got off of the station we needed to go to. Already this experience seemed a little odd.
Walking through town was interesting to say the least. All of the shops looked extremely suspicious, houses had bars on the window, and there were more beer bottles and cigarette boxes littered on the streets than I would find outside a bar. Every place we looked, we found something interesting lying on the side of the road. When we finally arrived at the stadium, there were maybe 10 people there (along with the players on the team getting heavily invested in Wii Bowling). We went up to the ticket window and asked what the prognosis was for the game, and they said that it was in a delay and that they might try to play it in the evening. The game status wasn’t helped by the fact that the stadium didn’t have a field tarp and only had small tarps on the mound and home plate. We thought that it was going to be better for us to go back home instead of waiting around for a game that might not happen, so we took pictures of the stadium, bought souvenirs, and rode the train back home. We were a little disappointed, but the team is in the playoffs, so we might have a chance to catch a game if we are not busy.
This past week has been great for getting even more assimilated into Australian culture, and there were more memories than I can shake a stick at just in this week alone.