Sydney resembles Pacific seaports, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco with many spectacular sites, Sydney Harbor, the Harbor Bridge, Sidney Tower, the Opera House and many beautiful parks and gardens.
It’s a busy city, the nation’s center for finance, fashion, art, and culture with high rises, shopping centers and ethnic neighborhoods. Government buildings, the Australian Museum, Town Hall, Sydney Library and Sydney Museum were gothic replicas similar to what you would see in London or Edinburgh. Street names are also English: King, Elizabeth, George, Prince, and Queen Streets.
Our first four nights we stayed at St. John’s Academy on the campus of University of Sydney. The grounds, commons, and courtyards were very much Cambridge or Oxford.
On a walk around campus, we watched local cricket teams playing on a pitch.
Chaps on one team sitting out their inning let me snap pictures and teased me when I said I didn’t understand cricket. “It’s like baseball, mate,” one of them said with a smile, “but with a few different rules.” I asked him about cricket terms I’d read on the Sydney Herald Sports page about games Australia was playing with India at the time: ‘duck,’ overs, wickets. He told me, but I already forgot.
I was further confused when during the next cricket match between Australia and India, an Australian batsmen scored 364 runs in one ‘up.’ He batted for ten hours over two days. And then he took himself off the pitch, saying he was making the sacrifice for the team. Everyone cheered, called him a national hero, his face was on front pages and lead TV sports broadcast for days.
As the mate said, “the rules are like baseball, but a little different.”
Australian National Maritime Museum
On a chilly day, we visited the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbor, a very congested area with high-rise office buildings, shopping malls, an aquarium, indoor wild animal zoo, and monorail crossing over Pyrmont Bridge.
The Maritime Museum had excellent exhibits on Australian maritime history as well as a display of American nautical history donated by President George H.W. Bush who had been a Navy pilot in the Pacific during World War II.
We toured two Australian naval ships docked at Darling Harbor, a Royal Australian Naval attack submarine, HMAS Onslow, and the Royal Australian Naval destroyer, HMAS Vampire. Both were active during the Cold War when Soviet warships and submarines patrolled the Pacific.
We also went aboard a 17th century Dutch two-masted ship that made several voyages bringing settlers and building materials to the South Pacific, returning with spices.
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Next: Sydney Royal Botanic Garden
I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.
I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan. I’ll be posting along the way from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.
I have a few posts on another blog, Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller. I’ll add more posts there as well.
Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.