Australia, mate

March 3-14 2004

random trip report

NOTE: Some of the photos (the good ones) are by Dave Gedye. Dave's written account (and many additional photos) are here.

Erica and I went to Australia. We stayed for 6 days in Sydney with Dave Gedye, who graciously took time off from work to show us around. Among other things, we:

  • Saw amazing art at the National Art Gallery. High points: incredible aboriginal dot-paintings, and the winners of a national high-school competition; one girl had painted about 20 portraits of her grandfather, in a spectrum of styles, all of them amazing.
  • Had a nice lunch with Dave's parents, and Erica performed selections from The Sound of Music for them.
  • Saw Grace's band concert (quite entertaining).
  • Saw Tracey Newcombe, whom I hadn't seen in 14 years.
  • Did the Sydney Bridge Walk (courtesy of Dave). It's a big production - you have to wear a gray jumpsuit (to blend in with the bridge) and special radio headgear. But the view from the top is worth it, and we were there on a perfect day.
  • Watched rubgy, Australian Rules Football (footy) and cricket on the telly.
  • We had pies with mashed pea garnish from a 24-hour cart.
  • Went to the Australian Center for Computation and Communication, where I gave a talk. This is located in a giant converted railroad machine shop, along with other stuff like a new Media Lab-type place called NICTA.

Notes: 1) Dave owes me a schooner of beer from a bet about the height of Mont Blanc. 2) These pictures make it look like I wore the same Hawaiian shirt the entire time. Almost, but not quite.

A typical Sydney beach

Sandstone has good holds but is slippery


View from North Head

Gedye pays homage to his guru

That's the opera house in the background

National Art Gallery

Australian for food

The columns had speakers and made various sounds

U umlaut?

The dip

Near base of bridge

opera house w/ catwalk

art shot 1

art shot 2

bridge climbers

more of same

On our last day in Sydney it was over 100 degrees - the hottest March day on record. Here's Erica suffering.

super-hot day

the two Daves boldly look to the future

There are some humongous spiders in Sydney. These ones were about 2-3 inches across

a look of concern

big machine

main locomotive room

what a cute guy!

Then Erica and I flew to Adelaide and were there for four days, mostly to attend the arts festival there. We took in a bunch of stuff:
  • 'Parrot Fever', a play about singles chat rooms; pretty good.
  • 3 short plays in which disasters (e.g. deaths of pets) played a part.
  • A piano concert (2 Beethoven sonatas and a modern piece), played on a Aussie 9' piano (Stuart) and followed by a good master class.
  • An aboriginal dance performance, depicting the story of a boy who was swept out to sea on a raft.
  • A mini-circus
  • 'Pluck', a comedic string trio (overhyped)
  • A performance of the musical 'Candide' by Leonard Bernstein. Extremely good, especially the 2-piano accompaniment.
  • A comedy thing by two young guys from Perth, an extended sketch about the grueling experience of the last year of high school.
We took a city bus out to the Cleland Wildlife Preserve. Highly recommended - all sorts of Aussie wildlife in fairly natural settings. Roos, wallabees, tasmanian devils, emus, lots of birds. No crocs. You can buy a bag of kangaroo food and feed them.

Then we walked a couple of kilometers to the summit of Mt. Lofty, the highest point (700 meters) in Australia south of the Flinders Range. I think it was named sarcastically - it's more of a hillock or a knoll.

Our hotel had an enormous marble bathroom with a window to the outside. Kinda weird.

More bathroom

Signpost at Adelaide University

Erica with aboriginal dancers

Gum trees

Tasmanian devil

Momma kangaroo and Joey


More gum trees

A lorekeet

Erica feeds emu

More lorekeets

David at summit of Mt. Lofty, which towers several dozen meters over the surrounding plains

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