Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lunch in Broadway

No, not Broadway, the theatre district in New York, USA. Rather, Broadway Shopping Centre in Sydney. 

This shopping centre was the first one I've visited on this trip. And I kept going back for the ice cream at Royal Copenhagen... Never mind that it's really cold (yes, it's my first winter ever!) and the ice cream was draining my wallet; I wanted ice cream to fight off homesickness. 

On this occasion, I happened to visit the mall with fellow students from Prof. Bob Gilbert's research group and his French post-docs, Marion and Patrice. They also happen to be my hosts on this school visit. While they were traveling in Europe, I was tasked to house-sit (I first met their house before I met them). They also had given very clear instructions not to throw out anything off-odoured from the fridge because these were cheeses. 

I'm still figuring out how to deal with the cold and with my leaky wallet. Obviously, I can't spend for lunch like this everyday... and I can't use my credit card all the time. How I can I explore Australia if I can't afford to eat?!? 

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A match of rugby at the Sydney Olympic Park

I wanted to see a bit of Sydney on my first ever visit to the country. On my list of things to see was the Sydney Olympic Park, where the 2000 summer games were played. I can't remember if the Philippines ever placed in that one but still, I wanted to see what an Olympic Park looks like.

So I caught a train in Newtown and went to Homebush Bay, which was a few minutes away. When I got to the Olympic Park, I didn't know what I was expecting but I certainly didn't expect it to be seemingly deserted. But then there's the Telstra Stadium.

And I haven't been inside one of these stadiums. I just had to go in and check it out.

My wallet said it can't afford the cost of a guided tour of the stadium. My brain's telling me that I could live on pizza for another week if I have to but I just had to see what's inside. Curiosity got the PhD student, right?

Forest of Poles behind me.

The Olympic cauldron, transformed into a fountain.

I was about to go bankrupt because I wanted to demystify this olympic stadium.

Alas, there was no tour of the stadium, according to the ticket vendor because there was a match. A rugby match. I have never seen people play rugby before. I just had to see it (here we go again...) so I bought a ticket that was priced the same as the tour ticket.

I was quite shocked to find out that I bought one of the more expensive tickets, one that was three rows away from the pitch! I could see the players quite clearly, and the hotdog sandwich mascot too! Last time I watched a sports event, I was in the general admissions section of Araneta Coliseum, barely seeing the wrestlers of the Worldwide Wrestling Federation fake-duke it out in the ring (I was high school then; Daddy brought Anna, Biboy, and me to see that show). And then now, I got an almost-ringside seat!

Oh boy, what a mistake that was.

Someone (aka Google) should have warned me on how violent a rugby match could be. I mean, the players were seemingly not wearing any protective gear and they kept butting each other to get a ball and bring it to the other end of the pitch. Look at their necks... they're thick!

At the end of the match, I still didn't understand rugby. But at least now, I've seen one. I'll probably stick to watching soccer. It's more straightforward, I think. Definitely, no rugby-watching from now on...

Friday, May 5, 2006

"Hindi excuse ang bago kang dating para hindi ka mamasyal."

I knew Sherry Lou, my classmate in Microbiology courses, has emigrated to Australia some time ago. So when I got back to Marion and Patrice's house in Newtown (an Inner West suburb) after school, I contacted her intending to ask about what I could see in Sydney. Since it was my first day in the city, I was fully expecting a quiet night after eight hours of traveling and then school. Also, it was already dark when I got back from school... I didn't want to venture into a new city at night, without a map, without a plan.

However, Sherry Lou said that being new in a city is certainly not an excuse to not see it on my first night. So I just dropped off my school bag and then caught a bus to somewhere in the middle of Sydney, following her instructions. To my surprise, the area where she directed me to meet her and her friend was still bustling with people! 



We went to Circular Quay to see the touristy lay of the land. 

We saw the Sydney Opera House. Unfortunately, I was not able to see what's inside the venue; but thanks to this trip, I intend to watch a show there at some point. It looks really pretty at night.

And then there's the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's beautiful! I've heard that people could take a climbing tour of the bridge but it's way too expensive for me. Probably next time. For this trip, I'll try to walk across it, at sidewalk level. That's enough for me.

At a different view point, still in Circular Quay, we had a stunning view of the night lights of Sydney's Central Business District. If I hadn't been to San Francisco last year, this view would have made me gasp because there are so many buildings out here! However, San Francisco looks (to me at least) like it's about to burst, with so many skyscrapers in such a tiny area. There's still a lot of sky over Sydney, I thought. Of course, it must just be the view; right in the middle of the CBD, it must be crowded even more.

We parted ways at the Central Railway Station. This has got to be the biggest train station I've ever been to! I mean, it even has restaurants in it! In the Philippines, you're lucky to find kiosks and places where you can grab food to go in the bigger train stations. And the banner above, and the inscriptions on the floor about the Da Vinci Code movie reminded me that this is a movie I was not about to miss. Hopefully I get some free time to see it in the cinema while here.

So many things to see and to do in Sydney! Let's see how much of my check list I can tick off. Adventure down under has begun!! Thank you so much, Sherry Lou and Sherry Lou's friend, for showing me around!!