Right now I am sitting in the terminal at Sydney Airport. I arrived here in a timely manner only to find out that my plane had been delayed by over an hour. So I am stuck here for a long time. The email to let me know about the delay arrived only a few minutes before I got to the gate where I would be waiting. Anyway, there is not much I can do about it except make good use of the free wifi and the battery life on my lap top.
I have been in Sydney overnight to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery. It was a very indulgent overnight stay and I almost feel a bit guilty about it but figure that life is short and I love to indulge now and then.
I stayed at a most fabulously swanky hotel in Sydney called the QT Sydney that was right in the heart of the shopping centre. However, as it is I am of the age where shopping is not high on my list of enjoyable activities to partake in. But, still, it is nice to walk around mindlessly and look into shops. It serves to remind me of how much shit there is to buy and buying shit is what people were doing.
The main shopping precinct was across the road from the hotel I was staying at. It is called the QVB – the Queen Victoria Building. K and I first visited this converted and stylish shopping place many, many years ago when it first opened. It had considerable “WOW” factor at the time because the city was not yet saturated with shops, shops and more shops and the crowds were not as hideous as they now seem to be. All in all, it was a very gracious and beautiful place to meander through.
It is still very lovely to look at but the crowds of people did put me off. The shopping centre also connects with a train station so you have this constant traffic of people coming and going from all directions.
I arrived into Sydney at midday yesterday. It is always a bit disorienting finding yourself in a place unfamiliar and I had a ask strangers a few questions to set me on the right track. This is another reason that this trip was important for me to do on my own, I get very overwhelmed when navigating my way around new places. It is not a recent thing so I am not going to wave the “getting older” card. I, like lots of other people, get stressed when going somewhere new. This time around, however, I was armed with google maps and research before I left.
But let me talk about the exhibition. I have always loved the story of Frida Kahlo. Her short life was full and she left an interesting and unique legacy behind when she died at the very young age of 47. You can read a bit about her here.
The reviews of the exhibition had suggested it was underwhelming. I have to disagree with that. As often happens with exhibitions that are part of a private collection, you won’t see as much as you want to. However, what I saw yesterday was significant enough to satisfy me. There were a number of her paintings along with her husband’s (Diego Rivera) and a large amount of photographs that were taken of her over her short life. She really was a most striking woman. Her beauty is not captured quite as much in her self portraits and to see the photos confirmed what I have always thought.
Considering how she suffered ill health all her life, the art work she produced and the impact she made in the art world amazes me. It was a worthwhile exhibition for me.
After I went to the gallery I got back to the hotel and crashed on the bed for a couple of hours as I was very tired from being up early. At around 6pm I headed down for dinner at the Gowings Bar & Grill. I was the only person eating on my own but that did not fuss me at all. One thing I have never had a problem with is eating on my own at restaurants. Last night was no different. The food was exceptional and the service matched it. However, I am not kidding when I say that the staff all looked like they had stepped out from a fashion magazine. It’s all about the look at some places.
After dinner I went back up to my room as I really wanted to have a lovely bubble bath. There was a uber modern free standing bath in the bathroom and my plan was to fill it with hot and bubbly water and lie in it for as long as possible. So, I filled up the bath and got into it only to find that it was so short that I could not stretch my legs out. At all. If I wanted to lie down in the hot water I had to stick half my leg up on the end of the bath. If I wanted to sit up, my knees also had to be up. Why is a bath that small? If you had a five year old with you it might be okay because the bath must be made with them in mind.
After the disappointing bath I went to bed planning to watch an in house movie but sleep one over and I was out for the count before 10.00 pm.
Today I had to weigh up what I had time to do. A visit to the Brett Whitely studio or a trip the to Wendy Whitely’s Secret Garden. I did not have time to do both. I chose to go the the garden. Firstly, it was a beautiful and sunny Spring day and, secondly, I love the story of Wendy Whitely and the garden.
Wendy Whitely was married to Brett Whitely and was, essentially, his muse. They met when very young and were together for many years, eventually divorcing in 1989 or thereabouts. Their relationship was extremely tumultuous with drug use, affairs and all the drama that goes with a bohemian lifestyle. After his death (from a heroin overdoes) in 1992, Wendy took on a monumental task of creating an amazing garden that was situated on council land. It was a great cost to her but was apparently motivated by her grief. You can read about it via the link because it is hard to appreciate the work behind the creation of this space.
It was a short walk to the garden and when I arrived there I was so enchanted by the little Utopia that had been created. Wendy Whitely was a very creative person and this garden is just an extension of her incredible creative self. Lots of interesting paths and steps, beautiful plants and trees, places to sit and a view over the harbour.
I spent a long time there. It was peaceful. Blue sky. Bird noises. People were sitting at tables and I came across two young girls doing some drawing under the shade of a tree. I loved seeing their enjoyment and asked if I could take a photo and, as you can see, they were more than happy to be part of my day.
After some time I decided to head back into the city to just kill some time until I was to catch the train to the airport.
However, instead of taking the train all the way back I decided to walk across the bridge. I have never done that before. I have climbed over the bridge, but never under it.
It’s a noisy walk, with traffic along side the path. The path itself has a high wire fence on the road and water side. The fence is topped with barbed wire to prevent suicides and they have a few guards along the walk to keep an eye on everyone. The day was windy but along the bridge it was extra wild and I had to hold my dress down to stop it flying up to my waist. Even though I had black leggings on underneath, I most definitely do not feel like showing them off in public.
Of course, along the way I was able to take a lovely photo of that wonderful Australian icon, The Opera House.
Once I got into Circular Quay I caught the train the rest of the way. My Doc Marten boots were making themselves known and I did not feel it wise to trudge all the way back into the city. The remainder of my time was spent walking slowly (you can’t walk fast in crowds anyway) around the shops until I picked up my suitcase from the hotel and caught the train to the airport.
Oh, one thing did happen. When I was at the garden I rang my husband to say hi and have a chat. He told me that S was not too well. He had smoked his first joint at a party last night and was quite ill. He ended up lying on the bathroom floor after he got home at 1.30 am and was till very unwell at around 4.00 pm this afternoon.
Sometimes it is hard to be a parent.