Australia 2011PhotographySydneyTravel

Australia 2011 Part 4

Friday 8th April

We needed a day off. Sydney is deceptively sized. It’s too small to bother with public transport but its grid system means you don’t get the diagonal cut throughs you get in London so you end up walking a billion kilometres each day. Add that to the jetlag and you get a day off request!

We went to a really lovely café called Junction Café. We just went for a coffee and a snack really but the food they brought out was insane! There was so much! Ate it all of course! While sitting there I noticed that this part of town has a huge homeless problem, I gave a couple of dollars to a beggar and felt mildly good about myself for 2 seconds because nobody else in the café garden could spare change. Apparently. Also, some bloke picked up a hooker. In the middle of the day! Hand on heart I think the best way to explore a country and witness its naked culture is to avoid the tourist areas and slum it.

After coffee we went to an indie record store I spotted the other day. In Aus, they got the new Foo Fighters album Wasting Light days before everyone else. In Aus, the standard release includes a piece of the master tape the album was recorded on. This is only available in the UK as a special order from the US. This pleased me greatly.

We took it straight back to the flat and tested out the wicked expensive Bang and Olufsen setup. Holy shit this album is good! There is not a weak point on this record. The track order is spot on, designed to be played live and as witnessed at Dingwalls in Feb. A lot of comparison has been made and many have said this is their best since TCATS. I can see how that could be true because it’s their first really heavy record in years and it’s got Pat Smear on guitar but it’s also a bit like comparing chalk and cheese. TCATS is a bitter divorce album written in Grohl’s twenties. This record is so much more mature, just as angry sure, but far more confident and hella catchy! And let’s not forget that Butch Vig is in the producers’ chair!

I love Dave Grohl:

Saturday 9th April

Spent the morning lounging in the flat. Lovely weather, cracked the windows open and took in that lovely sea air. It’s really nice here. If I had a few million in my back pocket eh?!

In the afternoon we took a walk into the heart of the city to do some shopping. The missus wanted some authentic UGG boots and I wanted some Aus editions of Foo Fighters records for my collection. It was incredibly busy and a bit of a chaotic mess. Nothing is structured particularly well here. It’s like the 21st century has snuck up on them and suddenly exploded. Today I fell out of love with Sydney.

For all its faults, London is amazing. It’s massive and busy and a bit seedy but it’s organised and it has amazing public transport and a billion Starbucks and free wifi and ultimately it’s actually surprisingly clean. I think the big difference between Paris, Sydney and London and why I’m not fond of the former two is because they both have a friggin highway through the centre of the city and the pollution is crazy! London doesn’t have that and it has the congestion charge which has driven traffic to an all-time low and it’s all the more pleasant for it!

I found a kick ass record store called Red Eye Records. It had a bunch of special Aus only 2 disc versions of some Foo Fighters albums, a cool second hand section and a brilliant collectibles section. Of course collectibles = big bucks. TCATS Oz tour edition for $50? No thanks! I’ll wait for it to appear on ebay for a few quid! Unfortunately they had sold out of the double vinyl of Wasting Light although I’m pretty certain it’s just the EU version imported which I can pick up when I get home. I also picked up a fantastic sealed copy of I Told You I Was Freaky by Flight Of The Conchords on LP. Comes with poster, lyrics and guitar tabs. Awesome!

We got a bit lost and I think we ended up in the business district which on a Saturday is dead. However, we also found our first Starbucks! I can’t believe these aren’t on every corner like they are in the UK. However even this Starbucks didn’t have free wifi. What is it with this town? Yes, I’m downgrading it from city to town until it gets wifi!

After our spontaneous afternoon tea in Starbucks we headed to The Rocks and got a look at the bridge and the Opera House from a different angle.

See, look, proof I actually went to Sydney and didn’t just download pics from the net. Although I could’ve Photoshopped this…

We walked around Circular Quay and I saw a Fish and Chip shop that sold Perch and Chips. It reminded me of this chippie when I was a kid that was run by an Aussie and he sold Perch and Chips. I wasn’t allowed to get any though. I’ll get fish and chips somewhere while I’m here, you mark my words!

We carried on walking until we got to the Opera House where we got a couple of glasses of wine from the opera bar and watched the sunset. This I was actually impressed by. I was expecting such a massive tourist trap to be incredibly expensive but it only cost $20. Alcohol here is incredibly cheap. I think they have their priorities all wrong!

This is one of my best shots and when we get home, I’m getting it enlarged and framed:

On the way back, we walked up the side of the botanics and witnessed the mightily impressive mass feeding of the bats. They just flew across the sky in waves making the most horrendous racket. Apparently they go out as far as 40km in search of food before returning back to the gardens. Glad they’re vegetarian!!

Hang tight for part 5…

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