We’ve learned another version of English–the Australian one. We spent last week in Australia over the mid-Autumn festival break. Yes, they spoke English, but those Australian accents can be tough to understand sometimes, especially when they’re using phrases you’re not accustomed to. The first time I used a credit card I was asked “pinorsign?” Umm, “yes?”…”no?” Thankfully, Meredith was standing by to interpret for me.
The girl wanted to know if my credit card used a pin or I just signed for it–“pin or sign.”
Funny enough, they couldn’t understand me either. And I always thought I was so articulate.
I’m going to start backwards, because the pictures from the first part of the trip haven’t streamed onto photo stream from Mark’s computer yet. We spent the first part of the week in the Outback and the last in Sydney.
Friday afternoon and Saturday were spent at the Sydney Opera House, a truly magnificent structure.
We considered going to the opera on Friday night to see Aida, but the only tickets left were $270 a piece! The very kind ticket lady told us that if we went on a tour, we could get $270 tickets to Madama Butterfly the next afternoon for $50! Sold!
We learned all about the construction of the building on the tour. There was a competition for the design and the winning design was only a few pencils lines on a page, showing a building reminiscent of the sails on a ship. They started construction with no idea how they were going to build the roofs, and estimating it would take 3 years and cost 7 million dollars. As will happen when one doesn’t have a plan, it took 15 years and cost $102 million! Whoops! No surprise, the architect was fired mid-construction.
The foundation had been constructed and they still had no idea how to build the roofs so they wouldn’t fall down on everyone’s heads. Then one night, the architect had a eureka moment. All the shapes could be cut from a sphere, thus making them inherently stable. The shapes were cast in concrete and moved into place.
What I hadn’t realized before the tour is that there are 5 theaters in the building, each with their own characteristics. The theater for plays, for instance has black walls, so you concentrate on the play and not the decor.
Notice that organ in the back? That’s the world’s largest mechanical tracker-action pipe organ, with 10,154 pipes. It took 10 years to build and 2 years to tune and cost $1.2 million rather than the original $400,000 estimated. Oops again.
After leaving the opera, Mark and I went off in search of 2 meter long Apple cords. On the way we came across what was apparently a popular site for wedding photographs to be taken.
We didn’t find the cords and when we checked the restaurant we had emailed for dinner reservations it appeared to be closed for the evening–hence their lack of reply. Turned out most of the few restaurants that Sydney has were closed on Saturday night. Perhaps they charge such outrageous prices the rest of the nights they’re open, to make up for their days off. We finally were able to locate an open Chinese/Malaysian restaurant right near the hotel. The food was good and the prices were $20-$40 a dish, not $80 and up. (Or $400–really)
Many thanks to Mark for taking most of the pictures on this trip, as my shoulder was still not up to heavy duty picture taking.
And finally before I say, “Ta!”:
Until next time–Ta!