Wednesday, April 25

As Promised

I have a few more pictures from Sydney...some random stuff.

This first is a picture of Platform 1 at the Parramatta Train Station. I spent a lot of time waiting for trains


This next one is a shot of the inside of the Strand. It is a little mall in Sydney's CBD.


You could spent all day shopping in this area.

Here's another shot from the Sydney Tower.


This is part of Sydney from street level.


This was taken on one of my many walks...best way to get around in Sydney.

These may be the last images of Sydney I'll be posting.

Later

Roswell...getting bored

This will be the only time I’ll write about this…maybe.

Roswell, NM.

Watching the National Geographic Channel, NGC, they always have some sort of answer for most everything. The specialty of this channel is nature and fact, real fact.. I have a problem when anyone, including NGC, ventures into the realm of popular myth and or popular belief.

Most of the time there is “fact”; at least as the people involved explain their story. Now there is no way to know what happened…you weren’t there and neither was anyone on NGC. They show this stuff on national TV… Now I have been watching these stories and the government, ours, has come up with an explanation…weather balloons, or whatever they what to call these things. Top secret spy operation stuff involving a balloon…. Fine I’ll buy some of it. But NGC has totally sold out. They are not an investigative TV channel. The people who write these stories…at least some have been bought…to a point.

Here’s the problem, it’s the explanation…it keeps changing.

Now the guy who found the wreckage said it was a strange metal bar that kept it shape…even when it was twisted. The “authorities said “aluminum”. Fine no problem. Now the “aluminum bar” he found had strange symbols on it. Now the new thing is…remember the weather balloon or whatever…that it was a piece of wood, balsa. Aluminum or balsa…. The strange symbols were caused by cheap cellophane tape with Christmas, or another holiday, shapes on it…our government couldn’t afford anything else for a top secret million dollar project. These shapes, as the report goes, were burnt on to the “wood” by the desert sun. The guy who found this stuff might have been less than a genius but I’m sure he knew the difference between metal and wood. I’m sure he had seen Christmas shapes. I’m sure if he saw aluminum…strange metal, he would not mistake it for wood, balsa.

NGC needs to stay out of the myth explanation business…so do some of the other channels. Ratings…Oprah style…Jerry Springer style. They’ve all sold out. They are getting more sensational as time goes on. Jesus, angels, UFO’s, they make no distinctions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Jesus is a myth…he actually lived. It’s the other stuff. Until we all see it and it can be proved why is NGC discounting all of this stuff and reporting on it.

Bye for now

Tuesday, April 24

I'm Back in Houston

I got back home at about 9:30pm Houston time...very long day. There were a few mishaps along the way thanks to United Airlines...more on that later. Before I went back to my condo I stopped to have a beer at the Woodlake Pub...there'll be more on that later. All in all a partly stressful day and good day too.
Too much to do in the next few days. I've been gone so this is normal.
As I said before I have more pictures of Sydney. I'll post some soon...and a few others. I have some new stuff that has nothing to do with Australia...

Later, Tim

Sunday, April 22

Goodbye Australia

All things come to an end. I'll be leaving Australia tomorrow afternoon...Monday here. I still have some pictures and stories I'll be posting when I return to Houston.
My flight leaves here at 1:47 pm Monday and I arrive in Houston at 10 pm Monday...long day.

I'll be back here sometime in the near future.

Till then, G'day

Saturday, April 21

Sydney Tower

Guess where I went today.

This is called the Sydney Tower. It’s located in Sydney’s CBD. It is 305 meters, 1001 feet, tall and can be seen from just about anywhere in Sydney…just look up. It cost $24, AUD, to take the elevator up to the observation deck. The view is great. Of course I took a few pictures while I was there.

A shot of some of the buildings in the CBD.

This is a picture showing Darling Harbour.

This shot is looking out towards the entrance to Sydney Harbour.

These were all taken through windows so there are some reflections. They do offer trips to the top to an outside deck. You need to wear special gear and the whole deal takes about 1 ½ hours. I believe the cost is about $89.

I have more from today for a later post.

G’day, mate!

Friday, April 20

More from Sydney

Last night after walking around Darling Harbour I decided to walk over to The Rocks. I wanted to have a beer at the Fortune of War. One of the pubs claiming to be Sydney's oldest...says so right on their sign. It's a British style pub, old and friendly. I met a couple of guys there from England and of course a few people from Sydney. After everybody was done buying rounds I left and hopped on a train for Parramatta. About half way home I realized I had left my little camera sitting on the bar. Today I went back thinking my camera was gone for good. But as luck would have it someone turned my camera in and it was there waiting for me.


Here's a picture of the Fortune of War I took today.

Now when you think of Australia what comes to mind besides kangaroos?


Sydney has many quality opal jewelery shops. I've been in four or five and the opals are amazing. There are three main types of opals, black, white and boulder. The black opals come from NSW. They are the rarest. The boulder opals are mined in Queensland and are quite stunning. The white opals are found in South Australia. If you are looking for opals, this is the place to be. I never really cared for them until now. My favorite are the black opals. I'll look again before going home.

Sydney is a great city to walk around in. I'll come back if possible. I'll miss it.

G'day!

Darling Harbour

Yesterday, Thursday, I met Brendan in Sydney and we walked to Darling Harbour. We went to the Pontoon Bar to sit, drink a beer or two and discuss various things. The bar has a nice view of the harbour. It's a hangout for the after work crowd. Really great place. After he left for home I wandered around and took some pictures. As I wrote before, this area has many restaurants overlooking the harbour. I think I'll visit this area one more time before I leave for home.



Here are a couple of views. The light was fading fast.

I'll be posting again soon...later

Wednesday, April 18

More on the Royal Oak Hotel

On Sunday, April 15th, after I was done shooting at St. Mary’s Brendan shows up at 7:00 pm to help me break down the shoot rig and take it to his garage for storage. While we were doing this I tell him the story of what happened at the Royal Oak. He tells me that it is owned by a biker club, the Outlaws. This biker club was once called the Bandidos until one of their leaders visited Texas. He talked to the Outlaws and he was given permission to use the name here in Australia. So we, Brendan and I, continue to talk about this and Brendan tells me how dangerous this biker club can be...I shouldn’t have been in there.

A couple of days later, Tuesday, Brendan comes here to the flat to deliver the coming week’s pictures. Of course there’s the usual talk and how things may change here in the future, blah, blah, blah. Then Brendan and I go out to the balcony to smoke a cigarette. Here he tells me what happened the previous night, Monday. His wife, Barb, has a friend and she’s a detective with the NSW Police Department. She’s telling them about the shooting incident at the Royal Oak when Brendan tells her he has a friend, me, that was there while the whole incident was happening. Brendan tells me here eyes lit up and she started asking about me and what I actually saw. She knows me because she and I met at a small party Barb and Brendan put on the first week I was here. Brendan explained to her that he didn’t believe I wanted to talk to the police about what I saw that night. He’s right. They need to talk to the bartenders that were there. However, I’m sure they don’t know any of the guys who were involved…..

By the way, the Royal Oak reopened for business just two days after the shooting. I haven’t returned. I now hurry by in the evenings on my walks back to the flat.


Later

Tuesday, April 17

The Big Boat and Opera House

I needed something to do yesterday so I decided to take the ferry into Sydney again...always something going on there. As we where passing under the Harbour Bridge and turning into Circular Quay a huge ocean liner came into view. Her name is the Sapphire Princess. She was docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.


Here are a couple of pictures.

Next I decided to walk over to the Sydney Opera House and take some close-up pictures. This is a totally awesome building.



I'll be posting again soon.

Sunday, April 15

...Australian for beer

From my conversations with more than one Australian only a wanker would drink Foster's. So here's the line up of some decent beers from Down Under. I've tried them all. Australians like their beer ice cold or colder. Nice break from the British and their "warm" beer.


I guess my favorite so far has been the Tooheys New. However, they are all good.

G'day Mate!

Saturday, April 14

A Bit of Excitement

No kangaroos this morning but I do have a story.

T
o begin, I have traveled all over the world and I have never felt unsafe or that my life was in danger…now this.

A couple of nights ago, Thursday the 12th, I took the train back to Parramatta from St. Mary’s. Some nights I walk and some I take a taxi back to the flat. This night I decided to walk. That evening the weather was nice and Church Street, the main drag through town was busy. There are many restaurants with outside tables, cafĂ© style, that line the street near the river. I decided to stop and have a beer. I’m in no big hurry to get back to the flat. Now, across the river and nearer the flat is a bar, the Royal Oak Hotel. It has a “bottle shop” where you can buy beer, wine, etc., and, of course, a bar. This place is nothing fancy, just a neighborhood gathering place…or so I thought.


Here’s picture of the Royal Oak Hotel. It sits at the corner of Church and Ross in Parramatta. The side with the sign is on Ross St.

I enter and go around to the bar and order a Toohey’s New, one of many nice beers they have here. Around the bar are about 5 young guys drinking. They’ve been there awhile, along while. I take a seat off the bar and everything seems okay. I’m sitting on a stool with my back to the wall. On the wall is a ledge to sit your beer. To my right is the entrance to the poker machine room, all bars have them. Past this is a small area with a couple of tables and a side exit/entrance to Ross St. To my right is a small wall jutting out. Around this wall is the men’s toilet and the main back area of the bar leading to the garden area and pool room.

Finishing my beer I order a second and sit back on my stool. A minute or two later two young guys, Samoans, walk in the side entrance.

These two didn’t come in to have a beer and socialize; they were “looking” for someone, another Samoan. Now this is where the story gets interesting. The 5 young, and rowdy at this point, guys start yelling, telling these two “intruders” to leave. I guess they weren’t complying fast enough because the “5” start chasing and shoving them out the door onto Ross St. About that time this guy, the Samoan in question, appears from around the small jutting wall. He’s wearing a t-shirt and cargo pant type shorts. In the next second he pulls a 9mm semi-automatic out of one of his pockets and pulls the slide back. Now one of the drunkest of the “5” sees the gun. He runs up to the Samoan and wrestles it from his hand. This is all happening not more than 3 feet in front of me and the gun is COCKED. This idiot, with cocked gun in hand, runs for the side door. When he reaches the door he immediately fires 4 to 5 rounds down Ross St.

Now, I live in Texas, the land of the cowboys and the idiot wannabes. This made everything I’ve seen pale in comparison.

Needless to say I left as fast as possible, sirens screaming in the background. I’ll not be going back to the Royal Oak Hotel, at the moment it is closed.

I’m sure the police have a few questions that need answers. I’m sure the girls behind the bar that night know most of the answers. I’m sure they will be looking for new jobs. I’m hoping these idiots will be found.

G’day!

Friday, April 13

G'day!

Who said Friday the 13th is unlucky?
Well, I don't have pictures but I did see some kangaroos from the train window this morning. I've been traveling west from Parramatta to St. Mary's for the past few days to the St. Mary's Rugby League Club. Just before the train station in St. Mary's there is a large open field and today there were 3 or 4 kangaroos grazing in it. I thought I might have seen some yesterday but they were too far off in the distance for me to be sure. For a time there I thought the only way I was going to see a kangaroo was to take a trip to the Taronga Park Zoo. I may still go time permitting. It might be my only chance to get a picture of one.

Maybe I'll see more tomorrow...

Monday, April 9

Sydney Aquarium

This past Saturday I went to the Sydney Aquarium. Nice place but not as impressive as the one on Okinawa.
Here are a couple of pictures.


Some jellyfish under black lights.


And a shark...maybe they feed all the kangaroos to the sharks?

Later

Katoomba

Today, Monday April, 9th, we took a trip to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. The train ride there is about 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes. The day started out a little cloudy and foggy as we neared Katoomba. I guess the most famous landmark there is the Three Sisters.


Here I am wearing my Katoomba sweatshirt with the Three Sisters in the background.


Here’s another shot of the Three Sisters.

This area was the home of the Katoomba Coal Mine at one time. We took the railway, something like a roller coaster train, into the valley where there is a rainforest. There is an elevated boardwalk, about 2 kilometers long, at the bottom.



These are some shots down in the rain forest. There are tree ferns, eucalypts and gum trees here. This place has a Jurassic look to it. Somewhere in this area there are Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Swamp Wallabies but I didn’t see one. I did see a lot of birds, some very pretty parrots.


Here’s a lone Sulfur Crested Cockatoo.

I’m still hoping to see a kangaroo while I’m here and be lucky enough to get a picture of it.

Bye for now.

Parramatta

I’ve been staying in Parramatta, a suburb a bit west of the Sydney CBD on the Parramatta River. I’ve been taking the ferry, Rivercat, to Circular Quay.


Here’s a view from the balcony of the flat I’m living in. Below are some shots of the wharf in Parramatta.



The first is the wharf and the second shows the Rivercat after it has turned around to make the trip back to Circular Quay. The trip takes 55 minutes.


Here’s another shot of the approach to Circular Quay.


Here’s part of the crowd on the bow of the Rivercat Ivonne Goolagong. All the rivercats are named after women. Ivonne Goolagong was a tennis player.

I’ll be posting more soon…still no kangaroos!

Sunday, April 8

More for Easter

Here are a few pictures from today, Easter Sunday.


This first one is Luna Park. A small amusement park restored from the 1930's.


This is Circular Quay as seen from the Rivercat.


This is another view of The Rocks.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7

Happy Easter from Sydney

As promised here are more pictures from Sydney…still no kangaroos…


This is a shot of the Harbor Bridge from an area known as The Rocks. It’s a little “trendy” area that has many small shops and restaurants and “hotels” which are bars. Yesterday there was a market area set up where vendors had booths selling all kinds of arts and crafts stuff. Despite the rain there seemed to be quite a few people out.


Of course this is the Sydney Opera House looking across Circular Quay. The boat in the picture is a Rivercat. I’ve been taking the ferry, Rivercat, into Sydney from Parramatta.
The Rivercat is the most fun way to get to this area. I could take a train but the scenery is better taking the ferry.

Here’s one more picture of Sydney.


We were on our way to the Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbor. There are quite a few restaurants and bars in the Darling Harbor area and is quite popular with the partying crowd on the weekends.


Here’s some of the partying crowd, mostly young people in their 20’s.

I’ll be posting again soon…later