Friday, 31 July 2015

Sailing the bay

Whilst in Alaska earlier in the month we sailed into Glacier Bay. The MS Volendam silently and slowly made its way amongst small icebergs to get as close to several glaciers as safely possible.

Entering Glacier Bay
Low mist in the bay
Margerie Glacier
Johns Hopkins Glacier
Johns Hopkins Glacier

Thursday, 30 July 2015

BC Parliament alight

On his tour of Canada Andrew mentions British Colombia's grand Parliament building but evidently he didn't get to see it lit up at night.

We visited Victoria, Vancouver Island a few days after Andrew and our hotel was adjacent to the Parliament grounds. Here is a photo I took of the building at night.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Ruben Guthrie

An award winning advertising executive tries to win back his fiancee who has separated from him because of his alcoholism.

'Ruben Guthrie' is rather heavy going. A host of characters most with very little back story to engage your sympathies are also rather unpleasant to boot. The poster refers to this movie as a comedy but there are few laughs to be had and viewing Guthrie's battling efforts to mend his ways feels like a very long slog.

Rather ironically for a plot about an advertising executive, the film is littered with (not so) subtle images and references to sponsors' product.


Monday, 27 July 2015

Love and Information

(Sydney Theatre Company)
Just a day after seeing 'Detroit' and this time another play, or rather performance piece, without a plot; 'Love and Information'.

This performance piece comprises seven sections, each containing seven scenes. The sections must be performed in order but the scenes within them can be performed in any order. There are a further ten scenes of which at least one must be performed and an additional sixteen scenes all of which are optional. Therefore any performance will comprise a minimum of fifty-one scenes to a maximum of seventy-six.

The scenes are short lasting from only a handful of seconds through to the longest of several minutes. There is no common theme linking the scenes, no plot and some scenes have minimal dialogue. A cast of eight perform the roles, hundreds of them, all characters unnamed.

It is an innovative idea and proved far more interesting to view and listen to than I imagined from pre-reading the program notes.

This cast is to be congratulated for its expert handling of the roles, the swift scene changes and for instantly establishing numerous mood and emotional senses scene by scene.

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Darlinghurst Theatre Company

Two couples, neighbours, socialise over barbecues. One couple are down at heels recovering addicts and the other are struggling with the husband having been retrenched.

This play of self discovery has virtually no plot and so seems aimless for most of its length. The four actors portraying the couple do a sterling job in the circumstances.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Lincoln Place

An update of the Lincoln Place development next door.

16 May 2015


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Home...but not so smart

We've arrived home after the 15 hours flight from Vancouver.

Despite departing Vancouver twenty-five minutes late we landed in Sydney about twenty minutes ahead of the scheduled time. Presumably the traditional head winds had a lesser effect on our flight. The early landing was completely undone by two delays once at the gate.

First we had to wait for the plane to be sprayed internally to eradicate those nasty bugs trying to infiltrate Australia.

Then having disembarked I made the mistake of trying to use the 'Smart Gate' Immigration clearance for the holders of those high tech microchip enhanced passports.

Perth's Smart Gates
The first two 'smart' gates I approached broke down just at the sight of me. A harried Customs Officer referred me to a third gate which worked until the moment it informed me it could not match me with my passport photo. This 'smart' gate referred me to the 'Assistance Desk'. My traveling companion, Hn, on the other hand was recognised by another of these 'smart' gates and quickly was waved on to the baggage carousel.

The benignly named 'Assistance Desk' was just one lane amongst many overcrowded lanes at the Immigration Clearance line. Being Saturday morning there were huge lines of passengers queued for clearance.

Our 'Assistance Desk' lane had its own ever growing queue of very disgruntled passengers each rueing that they had tried the 'smart' gates. I was queued for over thirty minutes before 'Assistance Desk' cleared me for entry. Hn, in the meantime was waiting with both our bags.

By the way, a young girl in one of the presumably 'non smart' queues for passengers unfortunate enough not to be in possession of a high tech passport fainted in the crush of the queues of which she was a member.

Welcome to Australia!

Last year I grumbled about slow Immigration clearance at Los Angeles and London Heathrow Airports. Sadly, my home city's performance this morning was just as unwelcoming.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Inside Passage

Yesterday was a day at sea headed for Vancouver. We travelled through the Inside Passage which provided further evidence of Canada's scenic beauty. The weather was very pleasant with temperatures around 22Âșc.

Approaching our berth in Vancouver

Back in Vancouver

We've docked back in Vancouver. Disembarkment was well organised and pain free. Our hotel, the same one we checked into on arrival in Canada three weeks ago, is directly across the street from the wharf and wonders of wonders our rooms were ready for us even though it was only 9.15am.

We have the rest of the day and most of tomorrow at leisure in Vancouver before our flight home scheduled for 23.40hrs tomorrow.

A couple of photos from our last port in Alaska (Ketchikan) to tide you over for the time being.

The view back to the harbour from Cape Fox Lodge with our ship to the right and the Norwegian Jewel to the left. Three other cruise ships (out of photo) were also in port.

The Lido Deck pool with its roof partially open.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Hello, Dolly

Yesterday we sailed to Glacier Bay and I will post some photos from that visit after I return home.

This morning we berthed in Ketchikan, our last port of call in Alaska and the 'salmon capital of the world'. Naturally, our first visit was to a fabled red light district where 'Dolly' ran a grand house and, of course, was a madam with a heart of gold.

Dolly's house bears the inscription it is 'where men and salmon swam up stream to spawn'.

Arriving at Ketchikan
There were two other cruise vessels berthed when we arrived and by lunchtime a total of five cruise vessels in the port.

We depart this evening and will be at sea all day tomorrow arriving in Vancouver on Wednesday morning. We fly home on Thursday night.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

There's a bear out there

We berthed at Skagway early this morning and after breakfast joined a tour that had us backtracking overland into Canada again to the Yukon Territory for the day. I'll post photos of this trip later but for today I'll just post some photos of bear sightings during the day (all shot through bus windows and zoom, hence the fuzziness). In fact we saw a number of bears during the day in multiple sightings.

One sighting

A later sighting

This bear walked across the street

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Red Dog Saloon

We are in Juneau, capital of the US state of Alaska, and everyone who is anyone is in the Red Dog Saloon Bar. Waitresses are wearing red corsets, there is sawdust on the floors and there are swinging doors at the entrance. The bar is full and the singer is in good form.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Butchart Gardens

My friends know that I could kill a cactus. I have no ability to foster flowers, plants or maintain a garden. I can't tell an A from a Z (fill in names of any flower or plant of your pleasure). So a visit to a  garden display is not the first outing I would select.

The Butchart Gardens was on our tour itinerary and I went along without high expectations.

Wow! They are impressive. Even with my lack of interest in this art and hampered by a degree of colour blindness I was blown away the magnificence of the display.

Here is a small sample. (Don't ask me to name anything displayed.)

The Sunken Garden

Japanese Garden

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Whistler to Victoria

Smoke haze from distant forest fires which we first observed yesterday moved across Whistler and 'our' part of British Columbia overnight and today. The smell of burn in the air was noticeable in the corridors of our hotel and turned the atmosphere into a fog-like haze for most of travel from Whistler to Horseshoe Bay and our ferry journey to Vancouver Island for the drive to the Provincial capital, Victoria.

Two Saturdays ago I posted photos from Horseshoe Bay with dazzling views across the harbour to distant mountains and a clear blue sky.

The view in Horseshoe Bay today as our ferry departed for Vancouver Island was very different.

A third ferry is in the murky distance
Chemainus, Vancouver Island BC

We arrived in Victoria mid afternoon and soon started exploring the harbour front to which our hotel is adjacent.

British Columbia Parliament House

The harbour front

Beautiful flower pots all around the harbour front and surrounds