Friday, August 25, 2006

Various bonus photos

An old one, but a great photo taken by Edd in Sydney Aquarium in 2002. A giant ray drifts over Paul's head above the perspex roof of the shark tunnel. I remember Edd walking up to the ticket counter and asking how much it was to go in. "20 dollars" said the woman behind the desk. "It's 20 bucks to get in" he said to us, as we walked up behind him. "No it isn't - it's 20 dollars", said the woman, snootily. I think she was possibly the only rude Australian I ever encountered.

Sunset looking from my old flat in Sydney, over the terraces of Paddington. The step-shaped skyscraper in the distance is the World Tower on George Street, which was completed while I was there. After the long walk home from work, I used to stand out here on the back decking with a tin of Carlton watching the bats flap lazily over our house. Can't see any in this picture, but every night at the same time they would all fly from the Botanic Gardens by the harbour to Centennial Park behind us, in a slow, unbroken line. They were so regular, there is even a 'Follow the bats' pub crawl you can do, along their route. Tough to get them to buy a round, though.

The Pinnacles Desert in Kalbarri, Western Australia, is well named. Water and wind eroded a sandstone plateau over thousands of years, leaving twisted columns sitting in the middle of a desert. At first glance, they looked to me like African-style termite mounds - although we saw those further North and they were much, much bigger. Early explorers looking at Kalbarri from the sea thought these pinnacles were a large city.

The Hungarians love a statue - this one sits atop the large hill on the Buda side of the Danube in Budapest. Initially erected by the Soviets, the woman was holding a missile and commemorated their soldiers who died in wartime. When the Russians were forced out of Hungary, Communist statues and iconography were banned, and a feather of peace replaced the warlike imagery on top of the plinth.

Takeaway lunch, Japanese train-style. I never get tired of looking at this picture - it sums up all the amazing food we ate over there, and how incredibly intricate it all was. The bottom right corner has a piece of carrot cut to the shape of a dragonfly - and this is a £6 meal from a station shop - no soggy Tuna Mayo sandwiches here. The orangey balls are salmon eggs, one of the few things I could identify (apart from the prawn). It was all fantastic.

The nearest thing North America has to a castle town - Quebec City, Canada. The large building in the background is actually a hotel - and a very expensive one at that. The wooden boardwalk runs for about a mile along the top of the main hill, giving you great views over the St Lawrence river. Grant and me have our hands stuffed in our pockets because even though it was sunny, it was freezing.