“Welcome to our island.” Those were the first words that were spoken to me by the Aboriginal man who was shaking my hand. He knew a new face to the city when he saw one. He spoke with the power and pride of someone whose people can vie for the title of the oldest living people in history.
The Sydney Opera House No one visits Sydney without at least taking a peek at this world famous venue for the arts and culture. Every time I’ve gone to an event there I am taken back by it’s magnificent structure and the artists that I see perform. On my birthday I was treated to the Sydney Orchestra with featured soloist, acclaimed master Taiko drummer Eitetsu Hayashi!
I had my first try at indoor rock climbing and it was al lot more difficult than I imagined. I used muscles that usually are never strained during the course of the day and that I hadn’t even paid much attention to during my bodybuilding days.
In the heart of it all there is this mural of our planet earth and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., superimposed over the Aboriginal flag. The Black represents the Aboriginal people, the Red is symbolic of the earth and its spiritual ties, & the Yellow is the sun-the giver of life. It was painted by Andrew Aiken and Juilee Pryor.
Going to my first “Footy” (Rugby to you) game I didn’t know exactly what to expect but from the energy in the crowds I knew it’d be pretty intense. Well I was not disappointed! The Aussie team was playing England. The newspapers wrote articles about just how badly Team OZ was going to beat the Poms (English), and they were absolutely correct! By halftime they had a 40 to nil lead and showed no mercy. I even saw one player get knocked completely unconscious after an unsuccessful tackle!
The Australian Museum held a special exhibit called Body Art. It celebrates and explains the histories and methods of various body modifications. Piercings, Scarifications, Keloids, and Tattoos were clearly demonstrated and examined.
I have a major love of Wrestling & International Wrestling Australia had matches and my friends and I were first in line! This is, our hero “Big Phil Picasso, The King Of Aussie Biffo!”
I grunted, pulled, and pushed my way to the top eventually! I wanted to do a victory pose but if I’d let go even one little finger I’d have taken the quick way down until my partner caught me by the harness, AGAIN!
The Body Art exhibit played special attention to the indigenous histories of most modifications and progressed to show what new directions those who want to alter their bodies have taken.
Did I mention that I lived in the greatest place in Sydney? Newtown! This year I was able to attend the Newtown festival and it had something for everyone! The “BIG GAME” to the left is just one small example.
I never did learn how to throw my boomerang the right way but that’s not the Australia I came to see anyway! That’s me attempting a throw in the picture on the left. I lived the metropolitan life in Sydney, Australia’s largest & most active city. Australia is home to far more than crocodiles & snakes! The Sydney Opera House, great Rugby League, & a wealth of world class restaurants are just a few reasons that Sydney was a priority destination for me!
That’s me with Celebrity-Chef Ainsley Harriott at the Sydney “Good Food Show”. He is as jovial in person as he is on TV! Think he’ll put this picture of us in his next book?! “Recipe For Success!”
Cheerleaders for the Australian Rugby Team!
Pub culture in Sydney became a fun part of my week, even though I don’t touch alcahol. Once a week Team: BENT assembled for Trivia Night! We tested our minds and knowledge against the whole of Sydney in a game where diversity of knowledge was just as important as your area of interest! I’m proud to say that we won more matches & prizes than any other team we competed against!
Newtown is where I made my home in Australia. It felt like a like a modern free thinkers colony for individualists and minds that aren’t constrained by conventional thought and expression. Bound only by respect and an insurmountable feeling of a willingness to accept, I fit right in amongst all the other free spirits.
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