Friday, 27 January 2012

A day of mixed emotions

When we planned our trip to Sydney, there was a to do list that I thought may have been a little long. But with the way we have utilised our travel passes, tomorrow is now a day of new things to explore.

We started the morning with a lovely light brekkie at a French bakery. The kids chose croissants (savoury and sweet), while I partook of the tuna crepe. What a great start to the day.

It was then that the real adventure began. The Harry Potter exhibition at Powerhouse Museum is a collection of props from the movie on display for a limited time in Sydney only.

If your kids love to run and jump and touch stuff, then this is NOT the exhibit for you. It is a strictly hands off, read-fest of all things Potter. If your kids love the books and the movies, they will love this. From the moment you enter via the great hall and the sorting ceremony, through a frightening journey into the Forbidden Forest, you are transported into another world.

It's not until you get up close and personal that you realise the detail and craftsmanship that goes into the making of a movie. From costumes (more wizarding robes than you can poke a stick at, ball gowns, casual clothes, hats, shoes, glasses) to wand manufacture to furnishings, curtains and other props, there is a place for everything and a justified reasoning for its inclusion into the frame. I took the option of the audio tour, which added to the detail given on the cards in the displays by allowing you to connect with costume designers etc for the movie, who explained some of the things they did and how they came to make some of the choices.

There was food from the Great Hall, Quidditch practice, mandrake plucking, Hagrid's comfy chair (which I loved cos my bum looked tiny in it!), the life size replica of the horn tail, the Goblet of Fire, Dobby, Kreacher, petrified Colin Creevey, Quibbler magazines - a plethora of memorabilia from the film sets.

The only disappointment was the gift shop. Priced at the high end of the market, it was disappointing to find wands cost $60. Thankfully Jordan was satisfied with a Ravenclaw tie, and Hayden swallowed his disappointment and didn't buy anything. At $25, I thought the best value was the exhibition book - with no photos allowed in the entirety of the display, at least the commemorative book is a good memory jogger. We also got our photo taken in the great hall, and forked out the money to have a nice personal lasting memory.

But overall, was it worth it? My oath it was!

Our next stop, after a quick bus trip through Paddington was the Sydney Jewish Museum, a humbling monument to the suffering of the Jewish people throughout history, but in particular during the Holocaust. Not a great place for Hayden, who has only a limited knowledge of the history, but for Jordan it was an eye-opening, intense (her word) experience.

As I wandered from exhibit to exhibit I found myself aghast at the fact that no one stopped this atrocity in its earliest days. Where were the allies to assist the Jews, to be a voice against Nazi Germany? How could people do this to other human beings, how did so many turn away with a blind eye? 6 million people. 6 Million. One and a half million children. Where were our voices? Where was our outrage? Our compassion? Our empathy? Our quest for right to triumph over wrong?

I found myself moving from display case to display case, holding back tears, swallowing through the giant lump in my throat. The children's memorial did me in. They have erected a crystal water feature. It holds one and a half million water droplets - one for each child killed in the death camps.

I know the story. I've read my fair share of histories and yet it still sickened me. But I'll leave it at that for now. My thoughts are destined for another, stronger blog when my outrage has slackened somewhat.

Back on the bus, and we disembarked at the iconic Bondi Beach. After a delicious bite to eat at Moo Gourmet Burgers, we tore off the shoes and got some good ole Bondi sand between our toes.

Now Hayden has been having surfing lessons and could not pass up the chance to hire a board and surf Bondi. Cheap as chips at just $15 for the hour, off he went into the swell to test his skills. Massive 6 foot 4 inch board, heavier than normal, but ride he did. I had to feel sorry for the adult learn to surf class who he was sharing the beach with - talk about making them look like rank amateurs!

Was so proud watching him out there - it was a busy line up but he held his own and had a blast. For a kid who has so many anxieties, he can sure put them aside to enjoy himself at times.

Returned the board and I finally got the chance to test the waters; refreshing, cool and did I mention I got smashed! Fifteen minutes was enough for me, but it was another half hour before I tore Hayden away from his great love!

Back on the bus into the CBD and after a brief stop at our room to get our Gleek on, we ventured out into the Sydney evening to enjoy a guilty pleasure at the Lindt Cafe at Darling Harbour. You know that it's rich when even Jordan can't finish her sundae. Especially when she started to tally her food for the weekend and found she had managed to include chocolate in every meal!

So another great day in Sydney. Tomorrow's plans include a leisurely stroll through the Rocks and dinosaur animatronics at Luna Park before a late afternoon flight home. Hope Jordan's ears are better this time - so hard to watch your almost 14 year old in tears because the pressurisation in the cabin has created intense pain when her ears wouldn't click. Let's see what tomorrow brings.