Today I had a day by myself in Sydney, as my flight isn’t until the evening. My friend Katie whom I’m staying with had a first aid course all day so she couldn’t accompany me to yoga, but she is also a Bikram addict and encouraged me to visit the local Darlinghurst studio — where I had the hottest, sweatiest, most intense class I’ve experienced in a long time. I’ve long suspected the studio at Richmond isn’t hot enough, either that or I’ve acclimatised, and Parramatta was similar. At Darlinghurst I naively placed my mat in a conveniently empty space in the front row of the very full and busy studio, only to discover it was right next to a huge hot air vent. As class progressed it became clear this was the hottest corner of the room and I did wonder if I would come to regret my choice! But actually it was just wonderful, so tropical and al-consuming, just the way I love it. I need to find a sweatier home studio…
After yoga I hopped on a bus and headed down to Circular Quay. I strolled along the water and enjoyed an ice cream and the Sydney icons:
Then I headed into the Museum of Contemporary Art, to see what treasures it held. At the entrance are two beautiful pieces, part of an exhibition on stars. The one with the light strips represents the movement of stars across the southern sky, I loved it and found it very moving.
The museum has some wonderful pieces in its permanent collection. I liked that there was a significant number of indigenous artists represented, but it made my experience very different from most contemporary art shows. See… Art is my thing. Even when I don’t like it, I get it. Even when I don’t think much of it, I get it. I won’t love everything I see — there will always be one or two stand out pieces, that speak to me on a very strong emotional level, but I’ll still be appreciative of everything I see — even if it’s appreciating its failings. From prehistoric carvings to medieval illuminations to East Asian ceramics to installation art — I can read it, even if I know nothing about it.
With indigenous Australian art however — the traditional art such as bark paintings I mean; contemporary art works (like the myriad tiny mirrors above) I am — I feel like I’m suddenly blind. Like I’m trying to read a book in a foreign language. I can’t read them; I can’t get a read on them. I don’t know what I’m meant to feel. I need to learn to understand them… but I don’t even know where to start.
After the museum I wandered around the market at the Rocks — very touristy but enjoyable nonetheless. I was drawn to a Japanese food stand doing a roaring trade in okonomyiaki and gyoza, irristable! I grabbed one and headed back down to the quay to nom on my okonomyiaki.
Then I headed back towards Paddington on the bus, from whence I saw a cafe call The Rusty Rabbit. It looked very cosy and I am fond of rabbits (yes that is a legitimate reason) so I jumped off the bus and went for a very excellent soy chai latte.
Across the road from the Rusty Rabbit I spied the National Art School, which displayed a banner for their recently opened ceramics exhibition “Turn Turn Turn”. What could this ceramics lover do, but go for a spin?
I hadn’t realised but the NAS is located in the old Darlinghurst Gaol, and the buildings held that very English feel to them…
The ceramics exhibition was lovely — a wide variety of contemporary pieces from artists and students alike. I tried to test my knowledge and ability to recognise stoneware from porcelain — but there were well over a hundred pieces on display, I ended up just getting lost in the enjoyment of taking them all in.
On on my way out, waiting for the bus, this bird was just stalking around. So much wildlife in the streets of Darlinghurst — I never tire of seeing cockatoos swoop past me!
I really loved Sydney today. The weather was perfect and everything was bathed in beautiful sunlight. It feels much more English than Melbourne, but we won’t hold that against them!