That Gum You Like

In Which Dave Goes Explorin’

Posted in Sydney by Dave on September 16, 2009


After a quick breakfast this morning, I headed off into Sydney, to see what kind of wandering I could get done by myself. Without a guide, I expected to get lost, and as soon as I got off the train in Town Hall, this expectation was met handily. As I tried to make my way to Circular Quay, the area Sarah had showed me around the day before, I walked in the exact opposite direction, ending up on a different part of the bay. After futilely trying to figure out the way back to Circular Quay by myself, I buckled down and asked for directions. Now, I’m certainly familiar with how difficult it is to give directions to tourists, but after five sets of conflicting instructions from storeowners, (including one dude who started to list streets and then laughed at my baffled expression and offered to call me a cab), I decided my best bet was to buy one of the incredibly overpriced maps sold at the little news kiosks, which finally got me on the right track back towards Circular Quay.
En route to the Quay I stumbled across the Art Gallery of New South Wales, probably my best find on the trip so far. This museum, like the Museum of Contemporary Art the day before, was completely free. I spent a few hours wandering around it’s three floors, checking out its incredibly varied and satisfying collection. Although I suppose the museum is particularly focused on Australian and Aboriginal art, it had a great collection of 20th and 21st century works.
The highlight of which was Study for a Self-Portrait by Francis Bacon, tucked away in a little corner of the 2nd level. I don’t profess to know a whole lot about art in general, but Francis Bacon is somebody that I’ve been geeking out over this summer, after I read some interview with David Lynch where he said Bacon was his favorite painter. So after spending a few months looking at the google image versions of Bacon’s work, it was a really awesome surprise to walk around the corner and stumble across this:

Forgive the glare

Forgive the glare

Other highlights:

No Joke. Gold.

No Joke. Gold.



Nip Slip.

Nip Slip.

Cool Falcon, Bro.

Cool Falcon, Bro.



Shapes FTW.

Shapes FTW.

After leaving the museum, I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the bay, getting a few shots off on my little digital point and shoot and lusting over all the tourists with their fancy SLR’s and 35mm cameras. Anyway, here’s the obligatory Sydney Opera House Pic:

Had to do it.

Had to do it.

The bay is really an incredible spot, edged by the gorgeous botanical garden, and with incredible views of the surrounding city. Spending the afternoon amongst thousands of other tourists was actually surprisingly comfortable, a reminder that as much as I might feel like a weirdo american most of the time, there are plenty of people in my same shoes.


Spent most of today driving around Ku-Ring-Gai national park with Margaret and her daughter Barbara. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I can’t share with you the incredible flowers and aboriginal carvings I saw, or the awesome view from Barrenjoey lighthouse. Suffice to say, they were pretty awesome. No wildlife so far, although I was assured there were Kangaroos and Wallabies (which are apparently basically the same thing…) just around every curve. Still waiting on those. But, despite the foggy weather, had a great day cruising around the wilder side of Sydney.


Today, Margaret’s son Andrew took Margaret, her sister Jean, and myself out on his vintage motor-yacht. It really is a pretty awesome boat. We took the day to motor around the rivers that run through Ku-Ring-Gai, the park I had driven through the day before. Very cool to see it from the water, and what the landscape looked like on a larger scale. Took a few opportunities to row ashore, and saw my first real Australian wildlife (okay, aside from the birds, but really, who cares):





Apparently these creepy things are known as Goannas, which if you’ve seen Rescuers Down Under, you should have repressed memories of. I also was told to be careful swimming, as there was a pretty solid chance of Bull sharks in the water. Sharks are definitely my one true phobia, so when I did go swimming, I went from the beach, and was barely in enough to get my head wet. After lunch we motored over to a waterfall, which was a good opportunity to try out my Super 8, which I’ve almost completed one roll of so far. Not going to know what it really looks like for a while, but I bought about 8 rolls of film, so something interesting should come of it, I hope…


Today I went into Gordon and ran some errands, which pretty much brings us up to know, where I’m sitting in a coffee shop and typing this post. No internet though, so I think I’m going to sneak into the McDonalds and upload everything. This afternoon I leave for Roma, Queensland, where I begin the first true leg of my stay here, working on a cattle ranch belonging to a dude named Simon Body. I don’t know a goddamn thing about this place, except that every Aussie I’ve mentioned this to so far has laughed at me and told me I’m a moron. Should be GREAT!!

Hugs, Kisses,


Some tunes for YOU!

Country tinged genius pop from former underground disco phenom:

Arthur Russell – I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face

John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees, The Hospitals, etc…) runs on premium. Super high-octane head bangin’ :

Coachwhips – Dance Floor Bathroom

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5 Responses

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  1. leah said, on September 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    bring me back a wallabee so i can name him rocko, please.

  2. E said, on September 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm


    And, lolzz

  3. C-Dawg said, on September 17, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I showed your mom some of my aboriginal carvings. . . . in my pants.

  4. lillie said, on September 18, 2009 at 4:57 am

    your new glasses make you look like a different person.

    that and your “i’m taking a picture of myself in the context of some ridiculous art” face.

    did I tell you? bernal hill is now my everyday running spot. not so much up, but around. much obliged for that tip.

    oh, and i’m glad you are blogging and not being too cool to admit total tourist-hood and i like the tunes too.

  5. brickbrickbrickbrickbrick said, on September 23, 2009 at 4:29 am

    Francis Bacon is the bacon in the shit sty of artists…glad you saw one in person. Shit is the bomb. I am planning on doing my own rendition (heterosexual of course) of ‘Three Studies for figures at the base of crucifixion’…watch out for it. Keep up the blogosphere!!! Also, how fuckin crazy are all those bats living in the trees around Sydney? watch out for those fuckers.

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