On the Rocks in Sydney...Linda Barnard cruises...Newzapalooza Concert T.O.
SYDNEY - It's been almost exactly ten years, but I finally made it back to Australia.
It took a rather long, 10-1/2 hour flight from Honolulu, but I managed to get into downtown Sydney just before sunset. Someone apparently left the refrigerator door open, however, as it was 16 Celsius and a touch drizzly when I landed. Not quite what I had in mind, but perhaps it'll change Friday.
Anyway, I have a super room at the Park Hyatt with an awesome view - right across the harbour - of the Sydney Opera House. I keep looking up from my laptop to see that it's really there, and apparently it is.
Had dinner in the Rocks at a place that Nicholas here at the Park Hyatt (he's from Newmarket, Ontario and says his mom reads the Star; Hi, Mom!) recommended. It's called Sailors Thai, and it turns out to be the same Thai place my wife and I went to 10 years ago on our only sojourn down to the Rocks. Pretty funny, I thought. Great food. Not cheap; $26 for a solitary noodle dish with veggies, prawns and a smattering of calamari. With a beer and tip it came to $40 Australian, and the Aussie dollar's at par or maybe above the loonie, so it's not like 10 years ago when I got 30 per cent on the Canadian buck.
That being said, it's a great town and I can't wait to check it out tomorrow after some (hopefully) shut eye.
LINDA BARNARD AT SEA
It's always nice to hear from The Star's roving reporters, especially crazy (in the best way) ones like Linda Barnard, ace movie critic. Here's Linda's most recent post....
Ahoy mayteys! Today's highlight was passing by the kennels on the 11th level this morning on my walk and just happening to be there for the official portraits of the 8 dogs travelling on the ship, all decked out in Queen Mary blankets for their pictures. The 2 cats were not invited to the party. There's an old photo on board of an eccentric walking his pet raccoon in the 1930s.
Newfoundland is 400 miles to the southwest and England waits 1,200 miles ahead. So I am literally in the middle of nowhere. I have seen more rainbows (six) than passing ships (1). The ship is rolling in heavyish seas but it's actually very pleasant; there's a reason mothers rock their babies. Last night was the Black and White Ball and it was as posh as you'd expect. Our dining table (two best girlfriends from college now celebrating turning 50) a pair of fantastically hilarious gay boys from Leeds, Rolly, who lives in England and Wisconsin and me - we are having a blast. But now I must go. Yes, it's time for BINGO.
Don't judge, people.
Feeling crushed by the weight of a gruelling election campaign? Flattened by the ponderous rhetoric and runaway bocce balls? Battered by trains and drowning in gravy?
Then you need Newzapalooza, the Battle of Toronto’s Media Bands, on Friday, Nov. 5th. Clear your mind with the pulsating sound of working journalists ditching their day jobs. Seven great bands, drawn from the newsrooms of the nation’s media capital, scrapping it out for every last bit of market share they can find. Plus this year’s very special guest band - the Toronto Police Service Coppertones - will be on hand to keep the peace and the beat.
Legendary host Mike Bullard brings the funny and keeps things ticking with his crack panel of critically acclaimed critics - The Star’s Ben Rayner, The Sun’s Jane Stevenson and CBC’s Errol Nazareth. You could win some of the stunning prizes culled from the finest merchants of Leslieville, all while taking in the magnificent splendour of the iconic Opera House, one of the city’s most storied live music venues.
And if that isn’t enough to send you home satisfied, remember that every penny raised goes straight to the Children’s Aid Foundation. Tickets $20 and available at the door or through our website (www.newzapalooza.ca). Check us out on Facebook and Twitter (#Newzapalooza) too.