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Published: January 24th 2014
Thursday January 16th, 2014. Rozelle, Balmain & Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
We woke up the following morning and D joined Rachel walking her neighbour's dog. M went back to sleep. After Rachel had left for work we unpacked our suitcases (for the first time in 2 months) and hung our stuff in the wardrobe. Last night Rachel had advised that she was joining some friends at the Flickerfest at Bondi Beach tonight. She had asked if we would like to tag along and we had agreed. We had to wait to find out if she could get tickets though.
We both felt we had pretty much done NZ (with a few exceptions) but realised that Oz was a different ball game. This country is absolutely enormous. There is no way we can drive around it like we did in NZ. We have included a photo which was sent to us by our friend Margaret from back home, which really shows the vastness of this land - and we have to try to be realistic about what we can see and do in our time here.
Rachel's house is in a fabulous location. You can see the city and
ANZAC bridge from her street. We could walk into the city if we wanted to but Rach had kindly purchased two MyBus 2 passes. We went out on foot to explore the local area and found the local pub in Rozelle and then walked to the neighbouring suburb of Balmain. It is a very pleasant area with lots of cafe's and boutique shops. We found the Woolworths supermarket (yes they still exist here in Oz) and replaced all our toiletries which we had abandoned in NZ.
When we got back there was a message from Rachel saying that she had managed to get us the tickets. M called her at work and Rach gave us instructions on where to meet her at 4.30 that afternoon. We made it into the city and got off the bus at the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) and made our way to her offices. She came out almost immediately and we walked across the road to the bus stop to catch the bus to Bondi beach.
Bondi Beach is a popular beach and the name of the surrounding suburb in Sydney. Bondi Beach is located 7 km (4 miles) east of the Sydney
CBD, in the local government area of Waverley Council, in the Eastern Suburbs. Rach explained that she rarely came over this way as people from the Eastern and Western (where we are staying) suburbs rarely frequent the same places. However, this beach was one of the items on M's Australia bucket list so it was great to knock one off on the first day.
Bondi is an Aboriginal word meaning "water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks". Bondi Beach is about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long. It can be quite a dangerous beach and it is advisable only to swim between the two flags on the beach. Different hazard ratings have been assigned to Bondi Beach. While the northern end has been rated a gentle 4 (with 10 as the most hazardous), the southern side is rated as a 7 due to a famous rip current known as the "Backpackers' Express" because of its proximity to the bus stop, and the unwillingness of tourists to walk the length of the beach to safer swimming. There was a terrible incident known as "Black Sunday" here on 6th February 1938. Five people drowned and over 250 people
were rescued or resuscitated after a series of large waves struck the beach and pulled people back into the sea. The beach has an underwater shark net in situ during the summer months. Maybe we will give swimming here a miss!
We walked along the wide promenade and watched the people surfing and swimming. It was a fantastic beach, although very busy. The only thing that spoiled it was the close proximity of the thousands of car parking spaces on the edge of the beach. We found a bar and ordered a beer for D and white wine for M and Rach. Rachel's friends Mike and Jo arrived and went next door for some food - our bar couldn't do anything quickly enough. We met up with them about 15 minutes later.
The 5 of us made our way to the Bondi Pavilion where the Flickerfest was to be held. This is the 23rd
International Short Film Festival or Flickerfest. It is described as the most significant, dedicated short film event in Australia. This season they are screening 21 different short films from over 2200 entries from around the globe.
We were going to see International Film
Program 4 which consisted of five short films. The first movie was 14 minutes long, called Vikingar. It was set in Iceland in the year 1000 - well at least
initially! The start shows a Viking confronting another called Bjami who has abducted his wife and son. It finished in the present day with the same character, a single father, fighting to have access to his son! Strange.
The next movie was called Aquel no Era Yo (It wasn't me) 24 minutes long. M enjoyed this because it was in Spanish. However it was truly violent. It is a harrowing tale of courage and forgiveness as told from the perspective of the killers. "Being a soldier is not difficult; either you get used to it or they kill you. The hardest thing is getting used to living with your memories an being yourself again after doing what you have done" Basically it is a story about child soldiers. The subject in this movie was deliberately wounded so that he would stop fighting. A wounded soldier is no use and is immediately executed. It really told a story of stuff that most of us don't know about. It was horrible
but has value in that it opens our eyes to what goes on in the world. A story that needs to be told.
The next one was called Orbit Ever After and was 20 minutes long. It is a story of life in space, existing in orbit only with your close family to drive you round the bend. Two star crossed lovers, orbiting in diffeent directions leap towards each other and sacrifice all they have in order to spend one perfect moment together. They then crash to earth as a shooting star. Rach's favourite and by far the most amusing. Mike recognised the boy lover as the child from Love Actually - good job
as it was driving M mad - she knew she recognised him from somewhere.
The next one was half an hour (the longest and most sitting on the edge of your seat one). A story about a woman who is trying to escape her violent husband with her two kids. It was all pre planned, the boy pretends to go to school and the girl waits at bus stop for mum. Turns out the husband nearly shot mum! All the co-workers at mum's work
are trying to help them escape, even to the extent that she gets the sack in order to get quick cash. A bit far fetched but quite exciting. M liked this one the best.
The last one was called Ballkoni and was 20 minutes long an was a tale of incompetence. A young kid is teasing passers by by dangling from a balcony. The police, and then the fire brigade, are called. The left arm doesn't know what the right arm is doing. It was quite funny. Eventually the child's mother arrives and gives him a clip round the ear. End of. Quite funny though.
We caught a taxi back to Rach's place and devoured some yummy cheese and biscuits - washed down with some more vino. Then we all retired. A great first day in Sydney.
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