Friday, January 30, 2009

Sydney (Part II)

After another breakfast at the Chinese place, we went to the Sydney Opera House for a tour. The mother of all cost over-runs, the place cost $100 million and 16 years to build, confounding the early estimate of 3 years and $4 million. The architectural community must still be cackling with glee over the profits from this amazing building. Looking at the design today, I wonder how anyone could conceive that it would be cheap. What's neat about the place is that it's got several theatres in it, ranging from small intimate theaters to the large, impersonal halls required for formal things like Opera and classical concerts.

I would have gone for one of the small shows like the complete 37 works of Shakespeare in 90 minutes, but Lisa was enchanted by the Opera space and so we signed up for the Magic Flute. Then we visited Google once again for lunch with Lea, and then the Sydney Wildlife World, which is quite a bit of a tourist trap, but I did learn about all the poisonous snakes trying to kill me while I'm hiking. You do get quite a number of simulated environments, one of which is the nocturnal exhibit that's quite enchanting.

After that, we went back to the hotel and finally had dinner at Mamak. From the Roti to the Nasi Lemak, this place is quite good. Lisa ordered the vegetarian curry, a mistake as I don't recall ever having it in Singapore.

The Opera, however, was a disappointment. This was my first Opera and I can definitely see why the art form is dying. The stories are inane, the music --- well, I'm not the world's biggest fan of Mozart but even I could tell this was not his best work. The amount of latent racism is quite astounding for a modern audience. I will not be sad when this art form is consigned into the rubbish bin of history --- I was sorry that the multi-cultural world that is Sydney couldn't find anything better to do with the $100 million building. The venue did live up to its billing in the evening though, with views of the lit up Sydney Harbour bridge and the other side of the Bay.

We got back to the hotel around midnight, and I was quite tired from the day, so we scuttled plans to visit the Zoo tomorrow in favor of a quieter day around town.
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