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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

The Best Tour Guide in Town – Joanna (Day 145)

Back to Sydney to have a personalised tour with our good friend Joanna - the best tour guide in town.

There she is! We had hid behind a post, but she then saw Tim and a huge shriek was heard. We’d come up to Sydney to meet our friend Joanna. I used to work with her in my Corporate days and thanks to Facebook have kept in touch with her. The last time we saw one another in person was 2005! So much catching up to do. She took control and guided us down George Street, pointing out buildings of interest and fascinating facts taking us to the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), built in the late 1800s as a Municipal Market – Crikey what a grand market – those Victorians had style! It was restored in 1986 and is now a thriving shopping centre.

We found the food hall and plonked down for coffee, chatting away and Joanna updated us on all what has been happening in the last 13 years. We realised that workers were coming in for their lunch, so time we moved on.

I had taken a small bag of clothes down with me hoping that I could give them to a homeless lady, and as we exited QVB we saw, huddled by a corner, a mid aged, slight lady in a bright yellow top, with a sign saying that she was deaf and needed help. Joanna and I knelt down and gave her my clothes. She seemed thrilled and thanked me profusely. Oh it is so sad that people find themselves in these situations and I am so grateful that people like Steve Hedley at Trinity support so many people get out of this poverty and move forward in their lives. I do hope that this lady gets some practical and emotional support soon.

On with our tour. We decided to go to the Contemporary Art Museum. Next to this building in The Rocks area is Cadmans Cottage where John Cadman lived (Now – why is there no apostrophe in the name – tut). This cottage was built in 1816 and one of a handful of buildings that remain in Sydney from the first 30 years of the colony. It used to be right by the shoreline, however since the construction on Circular Quay, where the Ferrys’ sail from, it is now 100m from the harbour edge.

Joanna gave us the history of this building even more so than the sign that was in front of us and I was very impressed by her knowledge and passion. She also shared with us what happens on ANZAC day (25th April) and that she believes another very important day is 1st January, Federation Day when the Constitution of Australia came in to force in 1901 and all colonies became States of the Commonwealth of Australia, avoiding the future becoming like Europe, as independent countries. Each state and now 2 territories are huge, just like a country in its own right. Australia is the largest island in the world and there’s a very interesting article where it compares the size of Australia to other places in the world. This article has surprised me. (Farzan I didn’t realise how big Iran is!)

Ok, back to the Contemporary Art Museum, we began with Joanna creating her own art work, opening her sparking water and accidently spraying this all over herself, me and the floor. The splash formed wonderful organic shapes with the depth of colour contrasting against the pale concrete floor! After drying ourselves off, we quickly walked through the first exhibition that didn’t appeal to any of us. Onto an exhibition by Sosa Joseph who lives and works in Kerala, India. One of the paintings was called “Uncertain” and Tim said he was not sure what it was about – he was on form!

We zoomed to the top of the building to work our way down and went out to the balcony to see a wonderful panoramic view….a few photos later, onto the next room. Our mutual favourite work of art was by Nicole Wong called “In the Stars” where she had taken a book about stars and the Universe, covered the word STAR up, rolled Indigo blue ink over the page, peeled off the cover so each STAR was white and looked like a star against the deep blue. Very clever.

Another installation was made out of loads of black rope dangling down like a big boa feather scarf – Tim was telling people it was money for old rope. Yes – definitely on form.

Time for lunch, lots more chatting and then onto our next tour. We past a guy playing the digeridoo, so popped some money into his box. He stopped playing and asked Tim if he’d like to have a go. After a few blows and turning blue in the process, Tim shook hands and we moved on.

Unfortunately we’d arrived at the Museum of Sydney with only 45 minutes to go before closing, and as it wasn’t free, we carried on to Darling Harbour, also known, according to our tour guide, as Cockle Bay, a hive of activity with huge party & tourist boats. We walked over the bridge and then Kath, Joanna’s friend called to say she was waiting for us. We zoomed back round the bay and there was Kath and another friend Deborah waiting for us. Joanna has known both of them for donkeys’ years in the Banking industry and lovely that they have kept in touch. More hugs and off to Malaya Restaurant in King’s Street Wharf. After lots of chats, much laughter and delicious food it was time for us to catch our train.

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