Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Return of the Steve: The End of An Aussie Trilogy

This has been my third trip to Australia.  The first was to research the book.  The second was to participate in a conference (found out this week that we have a publisher).  And the third was not about me.  Well, originally but I could not help myself.  I was invited to be a discussant for a book workshop on secession.  Ryan Griffiths of U of Sydney organized a workshop to vet his book, and asked me to come all this way.  I said no if it was only for one day, as my rule is that I must stay in a place longer than it takes to get there and back.  Given that the flights are about 24 hours each way, I needed to be here for three days.  Ryan agreed, and he was able to organize a talk for me to give on what I learned about Australia for my book. 

The third day?  That was today: tourism.  I walked along the coast from lovely Clovelly Beach up to Bronte beach (where I went into the water and played with the waves) and then Bondi Beach (the La Jolla of Sydney, at least in my mind).  I then took a bus to Watson Bay, which is the tippy top of the "south head"--the part of the land that reaches upward to form the southern edge of the bay that is Sydney's waterfront. Illustrated to the right as an old sailing ship was leaving Sydney and going into the Pacific today.

So, what do I have to report from this trip? 
  • The U of Sydney folks are a very bright bunch of folks, as Ryan's book is already in very good shape and he received some great feedback from a variety of perspectives.  And they were terrific hosts--I ate well.
  • That perhaps I can drive on the other side of the road, but I keep forgetting to walk on the other side of the sidewalk. 
  • I had no real jet lag upon arrival.  I do wonder how I will handle class on Monday after twice experiencing Sunday via the miracle of crossing the international date line and flying 24 hours again.
  • When I visited Romania in 2004 or 2005,  I was struck by how many EU flags I saw.  So, after a few days in Sydney, I can only guess that there is a deep desire on the part of the Aussies to join the international organization of the Lion King.  So many banners for the Lion King, it seemed like the national flag.
  • Aussies start early and end early, at least while I was here.  Heaps of traffic at 7am the morning I arrived.  I walked to Darling Harbour my last night to try out a brew pub.  The whole area was chock full of folks who were finishing their drinks and moving on.  At 7pm?  Including bachelorette parties.  I would expect such stuff to get going later.   
  • When you order kangaroo tail, you get a heap of meat.   
  • I was reminded that Australian TV is ... lame.  Although Paula Abdul is judging dance competitions in Australia!  Hmmm....
  • On the other hand, Sydney is a beautiful city, where even the thunderstorms move quickly through so that we can get ack to enjoying the city. 
  • I still don't quite understand Australian Rules Football, but it makes more sense than cricket and is pretty entertaining.
Anyhow, twas a quick trip.  And I do hope that there is a second trilogy.   I do hope to return and see more of the country/continent. 

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