This week this columnist features a few personal experiences he had
visiting Sydney in Australia. As a piece of travelogue it gives some
information that the reader might like to know.
Coming from Melbourne we decided to spend a few days in Sydney which
is the capital of the New South Wales State in Australia. Melbourne as
we know is the capital of the Victoria State in Australia. Melbourne is
one of the finest big cities I have visited. Within the Metropolis we
travelled by car, train and trams. Comfortable and pleasant journey it
was. Among the personalities we met were the veteran senior journalist
and political commentator H L D Mahindapala, the owner of the Victor
Melder Sri Lankan Library, two illustrious men from Sri Lanka not
belonging to the Tamil community and also another Australian young lady
Kellie Brady who is the great grand daughter of famous R L Brohier
(father of Delorine Brohier)
My son Raam Siva and I chose to travel by the domestic airlines
Virgin Blue on January 29, this year to Sydney. Leaving at 8.40 in the
evening we reached Sydney by 9.40 pm. It was starry night quite cold
with glittering lights and tall buildings covering almost the lower
floats of clouds of the shyscape. All over the most fascinating Mega
City on the lines of New York City.
We understand that the authorities chose Canberra as the capital of
Australia, the smallest continent in the world and the largest island in
the globe as both Sydney and Melbourne – big cities though - were
clamoring for the status.
We booked into the Holiday Inn in the Old City area because it was
overlooking the river and the famous Opera Theatre so that we could have
a panoramic view through the French windows of the hotel.
The purpose of our three days visit was to view the landmarks in the
cosmopolitan city and to meet friends and attend a concert at the
impressive Opera Theatre. One of the easiest ways of City Sight Seeing
was to Hop On- Hop Off in a double-decker bus. You pay A$ 35 and it is
valid for 24 hours and it stops at 34 places. That was fine because one
gets a bus every 15 minutes at various places you visit.
The comfortable bus takes you to places of tourist interest like the
following: Circular Quay, Wynard Arcade, Queen Victoria Building. Town
Hall. William Street, King Cross, El Alaein Fountain, Woolloomooloo Bay,
Sydney Opera House, Botanical Gardens,, Parliament House, NSW Library,
Hyde Park, Australian Museum, Central Railway Station, Power House
museum, Sydney Fish Market (a large one), Star City Casino,, Maritime
Museum,, Sydney Convention and exhibition Centre, Imax / Chinese
Gardens, Sydney Aquarium, King Street Wharf, Campbels Cove, and the
Rocks where the hotel was situated.
If that was one route there was another route too. That was more
exciting to go to the Bondi & Bays excursion. The beach was marvelous.
Everybody was in a holiday mood. It was a sea of many people with
different skins hovering into the sea and eating and dancing and of
course swimming in bikinis and even without them maybe at distances.
Plenty of ethnic eateries around and one can really relax for hours
there and we did that.
While on this route you start from the Central Station (the trains
are superb and so were the trams and buses) and get down at any of these
places and board another bus that goes that way using the same ticket.
The places are Chinatown (Chinese, Vietnamese and South Asians are
spread all over in Sydney as well as Melbourne and other places, but the
Chinese are larger in number), Sydney Tower and Australian Opal Cutters,
William Street, Paddington Town Hall, bond Beach Terminal, Rose Bay,
Double Bay and Australian Museum.
We traveled by train from Circle Quarry to Strathfield to meet a few
Lanka born Australians who are in the writing field and held higher
positions in Colombo. They were Gnanam Rathinam, former Director of
Tamil Programs of the Rupavahini Ambikaipahan, educationist and poet
Kavaloor Rasadurai whose story was made into a film called Ponmani
directed by Dharmasena Pathrajah and a former producer of educational
programs Sathianathan. Sathianathan now holding a prestigious position
in pharmaceutical trade and Gnanam Rathinam were gracious enough to take
us in car from the station to visit the now retired two writers. It was
a pleasant meeting with all of them.
Another Lanka born part-time anchorman over the Australian
Broadcasting Station Kaana Prabha interviewed us in Tamil regarding our
literary views. We also spoke a few words with Engineer Lionel Bopage
who is a resident in Australia.
Visit to the stupendous Sydney Opera House with all its splendour and
also being present at a concert where singer Sting entertained a large
crowd were another memorable images we gathered in our Sydney sojourn.