22 April 2011

Sydney Family Show

Neo being very careful with the little chick.

The kids and I traveled to Sydney's Moore Park for the Sydney Family Show during the April school holidays. Moore Park is quite an interesting place and has a long history. There are shops, restaurants, and a movie theater. There are also playgrounds and ball fields in the park.

Tristan demonstrating how his Squiggle works.

The Sydney Family Show is very much like a county fair in the US. There were rides, vendors selling "one of a kind items" from various stalls, entertainment, and showbags. There showbags of all shapes, sizes and varieties for sale in the park.

Testing out the DS 3D

Checking out the fun house mirrors

Clara had a ride on the Zorb Balls. Tristan bought a Squiggle pet. Tristan and Neo participated in a sword battle with the TV show "Merlin". All the kids played with the new DS 3D at the demo tent. Everyone enjoyed playing with the farm animals in the petting zoo. Neo played on the playground and in the "prehistoric" bounce house. And on the way home, we all enjoyed dutch pancakes as a treat.

Show bags! The Aussie's love show bags!

Clara in a Zorb ball

These three were all dressed up making their way to the performance.

13 April 2011

Sinking of the Ex-HMAS Adelaide

There was a lot of excitement in the area near our home on Wednesday, 13 April with the planned sinking of the Adelaide Battleship. The day was gorgeous, 70s and sunny. Sail boats, fishing boats, and boats of all sizes began moving past our viewpoint from early on. The ship had been cleaned up in preparation - removing everything that could be potentially harmful to the environment. The artificial reef created by the sinking of the ship was considered a boom for the economy, attracting divers.
Adelaide in position

There was a very vocal group that worked to block the sinking. The "No Ship" group was able to get the scuttle day held up by a year. They had questioned what contaminants might still left on the ship. Also concerns over it's possible break up and debris being scattered in strong currents. They took their concerns to city councils and other government agencies who took another look at the proposal. In the end, they held an overnight vigil prior to the scuttle day and messaged "SHAME" in the sky over the ceremony.

Boats of all sizes outside the exclusion zone, wait for the scuttling of the ex-HMAS Adelaide

At the appointed hour, the spectators were all in place, on the land, in the air, and on the sea. A friendly, playful pod of dolphins took center stage, stalling the event by more then 40 minutes. Zoe was complaining that it was "boring" and she wanted to go home. So 40 minutes after the planned detonation, I dropped Clara off at Captain Cooks Lookout in Copacabana and drove Zoe and Tristan home.

About 20 minutes after we left, the sinking finally happened. Here are some photos from the local newspaper, The Express Advocate.

Below is a newstory from the Sydney Morning Herald with video of the playing dolphins.

10 April 2011

Blooms of Autumn

Double rainbow over Copacabana


It's been feeling very "rain forest" here as we move from summer to autumn. It's been raining more and things are greening up. The temperature has been cooler at night with warm, sometimes sunny days. The flowers have been bursting out in bloom! Their fragrance is amazing, almost overpowering at times.

I had to throw in this picture of an illuminated phone booth.
Not many of those left in the world!

A couple of comments on the NSW election

The election for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly occurred on 26 March. For an old political junkie like me, there was a lot to learn. From the parties and players, to the way a vote is cast. Besides the many differences in government between Australia and the United States (the Governor is appointed by the Queen of England), there were two items that stood out the most to this American: 1) the lack of nasty political ads on TV. The election was issues based. All candidates talked about what they'd like to change if voted into office.

2) The winner was announced in The Telegraph the day BEFORE the election! There were several stories on the percentage of votes for the Labor party.

The election was notable because the Liberal Party crushed the Labor Party! The large number of voters is not the surprise, it's compulsory to vote here in Australia. The surprise was the number of seats thought to be "Labor strongholds" that went for the Liberals. People were fed up.