My Staycation

“It’s all too easy to take a nice photograph in Sydney”, I thought to myself as I walked around Circular Quay yesterday. A minute or so earlier I’d been stopped by a tourist who asked if I’d take a photograph of him with the Opera House in the background. Too easy. And as I made my way towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I looked over at the Opera House, and there it was, with a stunning cloudy sky in the background, and a woman wearing a head-scarf, sitting by herself, chatting on a mobile phone. “The photograph could have taken it itself”, I thought.

I was in the area, having enjoyed a bite to eat to earlier, and was looking forward to a wander around the Museum of Contemporary Art. There’s a major photographic exhibition there at the moment of works by Jeff Wall. Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that excited by his photographs. They were interesting, but not stunning.

I was more interested to see they’re currently installing a mural/wall-painting by the artist, Guan Wei. As a lot of Guan Wei’s art-works deal with issues of national identity and migration, the MCA (located at the so-called “birthplace” of “Modern Australia”) will be a good place to see his work highlighted.

For me, it’s been a lovely week of visiting galleries, going out for lunch and dinner with friends, and generally settling back into life in Sydney. After a couple of months of travel, you would have thought it might have been a quite difficult, but the weather in Sydney has been spectacular. I’ve also been developing a nice little routine which revolves around waking up reasonably early and making as much of the day as possible.

A long the way I’ve made a couple of interesting discoveries this week have included the new $5 lunch menu at the Bat & Ball Hotel. I recognised one of the barman there as having previously worked at Surry Hill’s “Trinity Hotel”, and when I got home and had a look at their website I discovered they were now owned by the same people. That’s good to see, as the people at the Trinity Hotel having been running a good operation there for over a decade. “Do you still go to the Elephant’s Foot” (as it was previously called), a friend asked me last weekend. It was then I realised it’s been The Trinity since at least 2000, I’m sure. Anyway, the $5 lunch at The Bat & Ball is quite good value.

I also had lunch the other day with a friend at Kelly’s Hotel on the top floor of the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction. With only a handful of people there for lunch, we enjoyed wonderful views over the city, warm sunshine from a window seat, and an excellent caesar salad.

I also re-visited Xage, a terrific Vietnamese restaurant on Crown Street. We then had a drink at one of the new bars, the appropriately named Gay Bar on Oxford Street. “It’s just like Spray and Wipe”, I told my friend… “With a name like Gay Bar you know exactly what it’s about…”

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