Tuesday, October 31, 2006
On ne fête pas Halloween en Australie. Ca ne colle pas avec le climat: le printemps fleurit partout, nous venons de passer à l'heure d'été et le soleil chaud remplit les rues jusque tard le soir ! Mais à nos amis américains je dédie cette figure grimaçante qui se trouve dans les jardins de Carisbrook House, une maison historique de Lane Cove. La maison se visite mais quand je l'ai découverte par hasard en remontant un petit chemin venant du bord de l'eau, elle était fermée et silencieuse. Je marchais seule dans le jardin ombreux quand je suis tombée sur cet impressionnant personnage... L'étonnant, c'est que cette gargouille se trouve à hauteur d'oeil sur un mur juste en face du portail : c'est la première chose que les visiteurs habituels voient en entrant - pas très accueillant, n'est-ce-pas ? En savoir plus sur Carisbrook House.
Monday, October 30, 2006
This colourful house located in the vibrant suburb of Kings Cross is a youth hostel called The Backpackers Headquarters. Bug Australia, a great resource website for backpackers in Australia, reviews the place in the following terms: ‘This is a very nice hostel that is kept clean and well maintained. The hostel features a nice bright TV lounge, a kitchen, Internet access and a rooftop sundeck with a barbecue. Accommodation is of a high standard and beds are made up and feature real mattresses.’ (Source: Bug Australia)
What do you mean real mattresses? What do the other places have? Straw?
Cette jolie maison aux couleurs pastel est une auberge de jeunesse située dans le quartier populaire de Kings Cross. Bug Australia, un excellent site de référence pour les routards en Australie, la présente ainsi : "Voilà une jolie auberge de jeunesse, propre et bien entretenue. On y trouve un grand salon télé bien éclairé, une cuisine, l'accès internet et une terrasse sur le toit avec un barbecue. Cet établissement est d'excellente qualité, les lits sont faits et équipés de vrais matelas." (Source: Bug Australia)
De vrais matelas ? Mais il y a quoi chez les autres ? De la paille ?
Sunday, October 29, 2006
J'ai trouvé ces deux pélicans au bout d'un quai près du marché aux poissons de Sydney. En me voyant approcher doucement derrière eux, ils m'ont surveillée nerveusement du coin de l'oeil, tournant la tête alternativement à droite et à gauche. Puis quand j'ai été trop près (environ deux mètres), ils se sont jetés lourdement à l'eau et se sont éloignés en palmant.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Cette semaine dans tout le monde hindou, c'était Diwali, la fête de la lumière. A cette occasion, la Galerie d'Art du NSW a organisé mercredi un spectacle gratuit de musiques et de danses indiennes absolument magnifiques. Le spectacle venait également saluer l'ouverture de l'exposition Déesse, Divine Energie qui se tiendra à la Galerie jusqu'au 28 janvier. Après le spectacle, certains sont venus près de ce petit autel effectuer les gestes rituels. Pour d'autres photos des fêtes de Diwali en Inde, visitez donc Mumbai Daily Photo or Bangalore Daily Photo.
Friday, October 27, 2006
St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst has one of the most beautiful facades I have come across in Sydney. Built in 1870, it was founded by five Irish Sisters of Charity who had migrated to Australia in 1838 to serve the poor and disadvantaged. More about the hospital’s history here. But don't be fooled the ancient façade: it has modern buildings at the back and this 326-bed hospital is a leading medical, surgical and research facility. Philosophy: St Vincent’s Hospital is a Catholic hospital with values based on Gospel Teachings. These values are compassion, excellence, human dignity, justice, unity.
L’hôpital Saint Vincent de Paul à Darlinghurst est une des plus jolies façades que je connaisse à Sydney. Construit en 1870, il a été fondé par cinq Sœurs de la Charité irlandaises qui avaient émigré en Australie en 1838 pour servir les plus démunis (pour la petite histoire trois d’entre elles, infirmières diplômées, avaient été formées en France). Pour en savoir plus sur l’histoire de cet hôpital, cliquer ici. Mais ne vous fiez pas à la façade ancienne, elle est prolongée à l’arrière par une aile moderne et bien équipée qui fait de cet hôpital de 326 lits une unité médicale de pointe. La philosophie de cet hôpital catholique : respecter les valeurs de l’évangile, compassion, excellence, dignité humaine, justice, unité.
Sydney Daily Snap in English
Sydney - Une Photo par Jour in French
But it was just too much work to maintain two sites so I have decided on a merger: Sydney Daily Snap becomes bilingual. Welcome to our French readers!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
What do you think the record time can be? Can you guess?
Thanks to all who had a go at guessing. None of you were anywhere close: The record time was a whopping 1 hour, 10 minutes and 23 seconds and it was held by a girl named Chanelle.
Monday, October 23, 2006
I step in to inquire about the conditions - there must be a trick.
The name of the game is Heads and Tails. It works like this : You buy a steak (A$6, approximately US$4.50 or 3.60 euros) and a drink and then you throw a coin: Tails you lose, you pay your fare. Heads you win: your steak is free, you only pay for the drink. Sounds like fun! Are you coming to the pub tonight?
Sunday, October 22, 2006
But where can you see them in the wild, roaming free? There's one place I know where you can be assured to see them anytime: Euroka clearing near Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains. It's a just an hour's drive out of Sydney. You'll find the clearing a few kilometres into the national park, there are always a few kangaroos there eating the grass. They're just tame enough to let you come close and take good pictures, but wild enough that they will never really let you touch them - they will hop away if you try. A truly natural experience. More about Glenbrook here…
Do my local readers know of any other good wildlife spots around Sydney?
Saturday, October 21, 2006
And by the way, they aren't kangaroos here but wallabies, a smaller grey member of the family.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Walking up King Street I noticed this man with a striking tattoo on his arm; I stole his picture from behind. Tattoos are very popular in Australia for men and women alike and I'm amazed to see how mainstream it has become. Is that a fairly global trend throughout the Western world ?
For a different style of tattoo, visit Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK) Daily Photo : Chris had a camera tattooed on the back of his neck!
By the way, most barber shops in the city offer A$10 men's haircuts. How much is a haircut in your country ?
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
For the past two days, big grey clouds have rolled into the sky, yielding no more than a few droplets - to our utter dismay.
WE NEED RAIN.
Level 1 water restrictions were introduced in February 2002. Level 2 in May 2004, Level 3 in June 2006 and finally Level 4 on October 1st, 2006. In this time span, the community’s water usage fell by about 30%.
"We acknowledge that people have already done a great deal to save water, said Gosford Mayor Laurie Maher, but with dam levels currently just below 16% we need to do even more. We are in the grip of the worst drought on record. Indeed 90% of NSW is also in drought so we need to respond accordingly.”
The current average consumption is 180 litres per person per day. The aim is to reduce it to 150 litres per day.
“Take shorter showers, use greywater on your garden, install a rainwater tank or put a brick in your single flush toilet cistern. Every drop counts.”
We abide of course, and I look at the sky: will it rain? So far, only a few drops…
Monday, October 16, 2006
Monday morning. After a two week holiday our children are back to school today for the fourth and last term of the year, which will end just before Christmas.
But life at school is not all work and no play, as demonstrated by this photo of our teenage daughter and her friends during a school excursion at the Sydney Aquarium last month. The Aquarium is magnificent and definitely worth repeat visits... but for the moment, back to work!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Gone are the days when the French were so sure of their supremacy they merely laughed at Australian wines. Today, most of the wine sold here is produced in Australia, and exports are growing. In liquor shops, French wines are confined to a small corner at the back along with other foreign bottles. But the other week there was a promotion on this one. I was startled to read the label: The Arrogant Frog. Well, how's that for self-depreciating humour? These French know how to speak to foreigners. What do you think of it?
Saturday, October 14, 2006
On the topic of education...
Do you remember the Chalk the Walk street art competition I showed you on September 23rd? I went back a couple of days after the event to see the finished artworks. Some were magnificent. I asked myself if anyone would dare walking on them. You bet! See above. Do you think this little girl is too young to learn about Gandhi? Perhaps (although... ?) but all along the bridge she and her dad (and the mum following behind) treaded over a red aeroplane, a green Martian, an Aboriginal dot-paint snake, St George on his white horse, fighting the dragon, Steve Irwin holding a baby crocodile against his cheek, just to name a few - without a care in the world. I'm angry with the parents. I don't understand how they could waste this golden opportunity to teach their child to see, appreciate and respect the works under her feet. Curiosity and respect, two fundamental qualities to me...
The following day, the bridge was washed clean, the drawings were gone.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Between yesterday's photo and today's, there is no more than a rotation of the feet - I merely turned around.
On board the cruise ship I was referring to yesterday, had you taken a cabin on the port side, you would have had views to the Sydney Harbour Bridge; had you been given a cabin on the starboard side, you would now be seeing this... provided you'd woken up before dawn of course. I hope many passengers on board the QE2 bring themselves to it.
I'm not on an expensive cruise, just standing on the quay, but here and now I am treating myself to one of the most inspiring and magnificent sights in the world. I'm happy to share.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
1932-2007: Next year, the Sydney Harbour Bridge will turn seventy-five. In the lead up to the celebrations a drawing competition themed ‘My Sydney Harbour Bridge’ was organised for primary school children. The five best drawings were printed on a poster that appeared on all bus shelters last month and the public was invited to vote for the best artwork. Make your own opinion, view the five best drawings here. The winner will be announced on October 30th, 2006. In the meantime, I'll offer my own entry: the Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunrise.
The building on the left is the cruise passenger terminal, so if you sailed into Sydney on a cruise ship (say the Queen Elizabeth 2 next February), your vessel would be berthed here and you'd get that view from your cabin... dream on!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Never say never, because there you are. But then I couldn't just leave you with Coke's ersatz image of the Sydney Opera house, could I? Here's the original, from a similar angle so you can compare it with yesterday's view. This has to be the most conventional picture you can think of but one thing may save it from the ordinary: the early hour. At 7am, the only people around are locals running or walking along the water's edge. No tourists at all - apart from me!
Can you picture yourself doing your morning jog here?
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
"The most refreshing destination on earth"
The black fizzy drink that generates obesity at an alarming rate can be found worldwide. This particular ad, only in Sydney. To put it mildly, I have no affinity with the product, but I do find the ad graphically attractive. Coca Cola has a very strong visual presence in the streets of Sydney, Pepsi almost none.
And if I jumped from Asian cuisine yesterday to the famous American soft drink today, it's because many Australians wouldn't mind having the two together. Sigh...
Monday, October 09, 2006
If you drive or walk (I suggest you walk) along Hyde Park this week at night, you'll see hundreds of red lights glowing under the trees - a magical sight. It's the Night Noodle Market, an event organised by the Sydney Morning Herald as part of the Good Food Month. You choose a dish from the dozens of stalls lined up near the Archibald fountain and eat at one of the tables set under the trees. Dishes start at A$7. When I got there last Thursday, it was close to 10pm and the staff was packing and cleaning: too late ! But it's on again this week and the next, Monday to Friday from 5pm to 9pm until October 20th. I'll try to go back. Learn more…
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Saturday, October 07, 2006
This Saturday, I took an early morning walk around Kirribilli on the north shore. My erratic steps lead me to this yard at the very posh Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. As I approached this sailboat, the strong smell of antifouling paint brought back incredibly powerful memories.
A good number of years ago, my husband and I sailed half-way around the world from France to Tahiti in a 30-foot sailboat we had built: two years of sailing and discoveries followed by six years in French Polynesia.
Today, seeing a yacht hauled out immediately conjures images of many other yards we saw around the world... usually much scruffier than this one, we never had the budget for expensive yacht clubs! Hauling your boat out means days of hard physical work scrubbing, sanding and painting, mostly working on surfaces above your head until your arms and neck ache. But finally the last coat of paint has dried and the boat, all pretty and clean, is ready to take to the water again, new adventures awaiting. I dedicate this photo to all those around the world who know what I'm talking about and who can, just like me, smell the antifouling paint just by looking at the picture.
Friday, October 06, 2006
On an ascending escalator, do you climb the steps or do you wait to be carried to the top? In my experience, responses are varied and variable. I'm one of the walkers. But right here, this Friday 6 pm in Bondi Junction, I had the shock of my life. As I came out of the train, I saw everyone, and I mean everyone, walking up the steps - some feverishly (was it because of the week-end coming up?), others not so fast, but not one static bundle was to be found blocking the twin marching lines. Flabbergasted, I then reflected that here in Bondi, fitness is almost a religion. Whether it's through Pilates, jogging, walking, surfing, swimming, yoga, martial arts, biking, gym, weightlifting, dance or whatever, fitness appears as both a means and an end. A bit monolithic for me. When I got back to the station at 9 pm that same evening, I saw this lonely boy going down the escalator, quietly standing there. In a way, I took to liking him. I have a contradictory mind.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
There's infinite pleasure in meandering light-heartedly through Sydney's streets looking up and around like an amateur butterfly collector. This building looks lovely with its pink ribbons, wouldn't it look good in my collection? I catch it with care, drop it in my box and walk on with a twinkle in my eye and a soft smile...
Photo: Clarence Street
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I haven't had a banana in the past six months. Why? The price used to be around A$3 to A$4 a kilo but went through the roof (A$12 a kilo = approx US$9, or 7 euros) after Cyclone Larry crossed the tropical north Queensland coast on March 20 this year. In the regions of Innisfail, Tully and Atherton, 80% to 95% of the banana plantations were destroyed. Australia protecting its local farmers will not allow imports, so whatever little is left sells at shocking prices. Well, we''ll just have to wait till the new banana trees start yielding again (about a year I believe) ... and in the meantime, keep eating apples! How much are the bananas where you live?
More about cyclone Larry and the Queensland banana industry here.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Flicking through the Sydney Morning Herald last weekend I almost had a fit when I read this headline: Arrival of the monokini. What? As far as I know, a bikini is a 2-piece bathing suit, the monokini is just one piece: the bottom. So - are Australian beaches going to go topless? The trend is popular everywhere in France, including on all family beaches. But here! Even on Bondi Beach where hordes of young European girls swarm, very few go topless; anywhere else in Australia, it's a big no-no. Is that going to change? Not at all: the Aussie version of the monokini is just a standard one-piece cossie with large chunks taken off the sides, have a look at the photo! Pheeeew, virtue is safe. (Photo: Bikini Island window, Bondi Beach waterfront, last Saturday)
PS - Cossie is one of the many Aussie words for swimming costume.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Fresh and full of salty breeze (my poor camera!), today's photo was taken less than an hour ago. I wanted to show you the opening of the swimming season. The beaches have been unpatrolled all winter but now, as the October holidays start, the surf life saving teams are back on duty. The season will last six month, until after Easter next year. These red and yellow flags (identical throughout Australia) are your key to safety: they mark the patrolled area. Treacherous rips and surf claim a number of lives each year so the single most important rule here is 'Swim Between The Flags'. And if you're caught in a rip, just raise one arm (not the two, it's too tiring and you need one to keep afloat!) and the life guards will come and get you. Have never figured how someone who's half drowning can keep an arm out of the water, but these are the instructions anyway...
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Have you missed my first Yellow water taxi ? Here is Taxi 2, the sequel. Been sitting in the traffic for what seems ages, haven't moved an inch? Use a water taxi and beat the traffic! Today is a City Daily Photo theme day and if you want to see what taxis look like all over the world click on any of the participating sites below. Bet none of them gets such a fast run as my yellow water taxi! For another angle, see Sally's entry today Water taxi, Darling Harbour.
Re websites below, one of the most interesting in my opinion is the last (St Paul, MN, USA) for the comment about muslim taxi drivers refusing to take people carrying alcohol. Will they soon also refuse to carry single women not accompanied by a male relative? This sets a precedent for future dangerously divisive paths. The cutest is number 28 (look for the Oct 1st entry)...
Participating sites : 1 (Porto, Portugal) -2 (Albuquerque, NM, USA) -3 (London, England) -4 (Seattle, WA, USA [Kim]) -5 (Edinburgh) -6 (Stayton, OR, USA) -7 (Greenville, SC, USA) -8 (Budapest, Hungary) -9 (Antigua, Guatemala) -10 (Alexandria, VA, USA) -11 (Manila, Philippines) -12 (Twin Cities, MN, USA) -13 (Szentes, Hungary) -14 (Paris, France) -15 (Portsmouth, England) -16 (Ryde, UK) -17 (Sydney, Australia) -18 (Oulu, Finland) -19 (Singapore [keropok]) -20 (Santiago, Chile) -21 (Melbourne, Australia) -22 (Dubai, UAE) -23 (Bandung, Indonesia) -24 (Copenhagen, Denmark) -25 (Sequim, WA, USA) -26 (Singapore [Raymond]) -27 (Tenerife, Spain) -28 (Sharon, CT, USA) -29 (Tuzla, B&H) -30 (Jakarta, Indonesia) -31 (Rotterdam, Netherlands) -32 (Brussels, Belgium) -33 (Stavanger, Norway) -34 (Aliso Viejo, CA, USA) -35 (Oshawa, ON, Canada) -36 (Vantaa, Finland) -37 (Trier, Germany) -38 (Newcastle upon Tyne, England) -39 (Hong Kong) -40 (Shanghai) -41 (Brussels, Belgium) -42 (San Diego, CA, USA) -44 (St Paul, MN, USA)