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Sizing up Sydney


I found out very soon that the “rocks” is a world-class-tourist-concentration-camp-trap. You can get everything the rich and yuppie tourist can desire, from (this is so bizarre) Kässpätzle and Weizenbier to Szechuan duck but no native Aussie grub. After doing the tourist two-step around circular quay, I took a ferry to Manly beach for a walk around. I am not going to amuse you about how I enjoyed Manly you would only be jealous of me. If you take a map and look at Sydney you will see that the northern approach to the harbour is a half island joined to the rest of the continent by way of manly beach. The island is now a nature-reserve and walled off but! The wall has holes big enough to climb through I wandered around for a bit enjoying the sun, the endless sky, strange looking flora, with flowers like toilet brushes, flowers that give of the kind of heady smell that gets drug dogs howling, the heat radiating from the flat topped stones was amazing. One danger was quite obvious: If you walk too far and blindly through the bushes you should know how to fly without use of a aircraft because very suddenly you will be standing on the edge of a very high cliff that looks like a piece of cake cut of by a knife. I mean suddenly, one minute you are walking on the ground through dense undergrowth and the next step you take is in thin air with no creepers to hang from.

On the ferry back to Sydney, I read a bit about the history of Manly. It seams, that the head had been used first as a disease control centre, although in the days we are talking about disease control meant chucking you over the wall and leaving you to fend for yourself. I wonder how many people chose the step over the cliff to a gradual death from your illness, lack of sanitation, clean water, and care! I started reading the book “this fatal shore” about Australia’s beginnings as a penal-colony after a few chapters you start to read between the lines and the misery of the first colonies just jumps out at you. Having now travelled for quite a few years, I have been to places and seen things that would drive you to the brink of your sanity and maybe beyond. My upper lip curls sometime when I contemplate the pampered “masses”, people whose only hardship is found in the price of petrol or the strain of finding out what to wear and which restaurant to go to. How humans can do the things described in the book to other humans is beyond my thinking and even if I try to look at things from a eighteenth centaury perspective I always fail, the saying goes that life is cheap but is it that cheap???? Maybe true civilization will always elude us and things will get worse even as we think things are getting better our great, great, great, great grandchildren falling back into barbarism existing on a improvised planet that has nothing left to offer, no clean water or air, the easy Iron long mined no fuels left. Only stories of ancient magicians that were able to fly to the gods, talk over long distances and in the end got themselves destroyed by some jealous god. For myself I try to filter the worst out but I fear sometimes it makes me just callous and cynical perhaps we are not the crowning glory of creation after all. With these thoughts and more, I entered the hotel bar…

I awoke in my hotel the morning after, my brain was amusing itself by jumping out of my left ear using its spinal cord as a bungee, I had a tongue in my mouth that felt and tasted as if it had been used to clean the kitty-litter. Now whatever you think about demon booze, just try to remember that the waking up after a good night on the town is the worst you are going to feel all day. The day will only get better from then on. I mean that, come on! After all, one must try every exotic and unknown drink on the menu (I had a feeling that the India ale was going to be deadly) The trick is to have a ritual. After waking curse yourself for being such a weak willed idiot with the braking strain of a bread-stick for having had to much to drink, worry like hell that your kidneys/liver/prostata/guts/heart/venes and so on are about to fail in the next ten minutes, turn over on your back and think toilet/bursting-bladder/coffee-need and “wazzafukintime” This hotel that I was staying at catered very well for the lone business traveller. Breakfast with the bean, really thick cut bacon, egg dripping with cholesterol, toast and lots of coffee made me human once more. I have this theory about hotels that customers book for us techies, the more pissed the customer is with us he worse the hotel, I have been in Hotels-rooms fighting cockroaches as big as mice before getting into bed. Once! Just before the trip, home I just left my clothes in the hotel and bought new when I got back to Germany. I like playing Nimrod to the local insects…. Ah! The sounds of a crunching cockroach underfoot as you go to the loo at night… I really miss it!

Ray was rather calm and relatively normal today apart from diving behind tables now and again shouting something about Charlie and incoming, bless his little socks. He spent the morning bobbing up and down between the printing machines trying to get “sarge” to “trigger the claymores” poor sod maybe he had forgotten his medication. A thing I noticed was that when he starts muttering things about dirty commie chinks being everywhere and his eyes are darting from left to right, then the low wage sector Asians on the workforce know to vanish and will not be seen for the rest of the day. I for myself, am just propped up against the machine, almost invisible in my dark clothes in a dark corner, taking it easy, eyes half closed and waiting to hear clanging squeaking and general “no go” and “crises in the mechanics” noises from the machine but to my delight my machine is working perfectly well. Until Ray bursts in the room waving a printing plate…. “Scratches! There are scratches all over the Plate,“ he screams!

Six hours frantic searching later reveal, that a pneumatic hose had fallen of and the airflow wasn’t able to lift a large format plate off the delivery system. I will kill the person responsible.

Thank goodness that the dropped air hose was the only setback of the installation. Oh! By the way! The Holden “Wantanna” is the Holden one Tonner pickup, but you knew this from the beginning didn’t you…. Ah, well back to Denmark and the Hell desk for another week of listening to techies whine and winge. Oh for once, just for one time would I like to tell someone to RTFM.

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