Monday, December 13, 2010

New England!, What’s wrong with the old one?

pierce02Spent an enjoyable albeit chilly three days in the Boston metropolitan area last week. Sara visited a couple elementary schools and we both dropped in on the students and teachers at Pierce Middle in Milton Massachusetts.

This gave us the opportunity to stay with our friends Christine and Larry – Chris teaches at Pierce and Larry is her husband – so along with these two and their bookended Husky dogs – Montana and Tundra – we enjoyed the bluster that is a New England December.  We visited these two back  Halloween ‘09 when the weather was decidedly more conducive to a stroll around the commons.

I know people like to talk about winter being the dead time of year – but I think really it’s when you feel the most alive.  I mean how quick do you make it back to your car across a  windswept and snowy parking lot ? Teeth chattering shuddering from the cold is indistinguishable from vibrating with anticipation.

Now I admit, I’ve never been one for winter sports – skiing, snowmobiles all that stuff – I have been known to drag a kid up a sledding hill on occasion though but I don’t think holding up for six months under an electric blanket is the best way to pass time.

Anyway – our visit to the Milton School District was a stellar one. We worked with the kids during the day and then with a couple dozen teachers afterwards. Throughout I was fighting a cold and it probably didn’t help that prior to by busiest day (which required getting up at 5 o’this-sucks in the morning) I had a relatively late night at the Boston Poetry Slam – held since 1991 at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge.

I let the hostess of the evening Simone, know I was thinking about swinging by the set – I hadn’t been to the Cantab since 1992 – and asked her what the open mic protocol was. I figured I’d get there and do a poem watch the feature and then cut out before the slam – it was a school night after all.

Well – it wasn’t Boston alone experiencing wintertime blasts – the featured reader Ken Arkind was supposed to be coming in from Denver – but his flight had been delayed and it didn’t look like he was going to make it. So I pinch hit for him – doing a short feature set. Like Woody Allen said: 90% of success is showing up on time. Thanks Ken and Simone.

So it was a good thing I decided to pop some Advil Cold and Sinus caps and brave the elements to take the train into town – I could have stayed home toasty warm like a dog curled up by the heat hole but see, hitting the streets and meeting the wind in your face will pay off every now and then. Plus, I really enjoyed the open mic at the Cantab’s Slam, as well – one of the better I’ve been to in quite awhile.

So – in closing for no other reason than a photo op I leave ya with a pic of the Paps taken 10 minutes ago - wading the snow in our driveway. Anybody know where I can buy a teeny tiny dogsled? Montana and Tundra would be proud.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

The Abominable Snow Cat

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Winter has officially come to our household. Spike the deaf white kitty has moved back indoors.

What difference a week and 1,038.72 miles makes. There I was happily tossing chocolate covered graham crackers to an alligator and this morning I am wondering whether I should have started the snow blower up last weekend just to be sure it would grumble to life this year.

Lili our seven month Pap pup didn’t quite know what to think about the white stuff sprinkled across the lawn – but acclimated to it fairly quickly – barking at the kids walking past our house to the bus stop took priority over the snow underfoot.

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Now Spike has seen this pattern for almost a decade and he knows that when the snow flies it is time to hunker down next to the window and wait for Spring. In fact December is his birthday month – and if he recalls he was born outside in our garage to a neighborhood stray along with his sister Buffy (who is decidedly an indoor housecat) and his brother Oreo who moved in with my sister and subsequently disappeared. The trio’s mom had moved into our garage which was left open by construction workers who were putting an addition on our house unbeknownst to us.

Buffy was the first to be discovered. She was a tiny little ball of fuzz crying, crying, crying,  out in our dark cold backyard. Her little eyes were swollen shut from infection and her whole body was shivering. I scooped her up and took her to my sister’s, the veterinarian,  house where she got pumped full of antibiotics and food.

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A week or so later my son Max and his friend Andy heard some mewing from the garage. Andy, who has since become a chef, had attempted to pick up Spike, the source of this meowing. Spike hissed at the cat loving cook who then backed off in fear of the little six ounce ball of terror.

The two ran into the house and told me about the second cat just found in the garage and of its ferocious disposition making it impossible to retrieve. Of course I questioned their manhood and went out there to show them how to deal with a feral kitten.

I found baby Spike and scooped him up, chiding Andy for being such a wimpy kid that he was afraid of this teeny tiny little feline. This is when Spike sunk his teeny tiny little fangs into the ball of my hand. He didn’t just bite and let go – he dug in, shaking his head like a pit-bull putting the finishing touches on a punctured football. Blood was streaming down my arm like a prom queen in a Steven King novel while I continued to tell Andy and Max what poor examples they were of their gender. So, Spike was taken to my sister’s as well and the next day Oreo was found and all three kittens received shots, spaying and neutering.

Now Buffy lives in the house where she has grown big and fat and Spike is the neighborhood tomcat – killing moles and baby birds while spending his time more with the elderly couple next door than with his real family here. Spike acts as if he doesn’t know us most of the time – but will rub up against the leg of the old man while he works on cars in his garage and can often bee seen sporting long grease streaks on his head or tail. I don’t know if it’s just an affinity for garage living brought on by birthright or if he remembers me as tasting bad but it seems all we are good for to him is soft food in the morning, first aid when he has been in a fight and  a warm place to sleep in the winter.

So like some hobo hopping a train to Florida in November – Uncle Spike has moved back into the house. Yep, Winter is here.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NCTE Conference 2010

ncte01 Just back from the National Conference of Teachers of English conference which was held in Orlando at Disneyworld’s Coronado Convention Center. Several thousand teachers, librarians, reading specialists, authors and publishers descended upon the house that Mickey built for a week of keynotes, break out sessions, cocktail parties and side trips to the magic Kingdom.

Sara and I were there to attend sessions and to speak about our new book HIGH DEFINITION. We were good citizens – trying to travel self contained so as not to cost our publisher extra dough for projector and sound equipment rental by bringing our own equipment. We were set for the fifty or so folks we expected in our session. Lucky thing we decided to scope out our room the night before our presentation – seems NCTE had put us into a ballroom that seated over 300 folks!

ncte03 We quickly became friends with Dave – the grand king daddy of all things audio visual for the conference and lucky for us, a friend of our publisher’s school secretary equivalent (you know, the person who is really in charge of everything) Lori. So the next day ignoring a minor hiccup by an uncooperative word document we gave a pretty good session to a packed ballroom!

ncte02 We did manage to sneak off one of the days and visit the Magic Kingdom – my first trip back to this particular park in over 35 years where we did the roller coaster Space Mountain, the Splash Mountain ride, some inscrutable thing featuring the cartoon character Stitch which we still don’t really know what it was supposed to be about and the Haunted mansion. I remember how high tech and impressive the mansion was those many years ago and now – sadly it seemed a bit dated. Special effects that were uncanny when i was 12 years old were now, rather humdrum.

Blasingamephoto Finally, we stayed after the official conference to attend ALAN The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents. Which is like speed dating for authors and educators – two to three authors sit up on a dais for half hour long panels where they talk about their latest books and teachers listen and then cue up in lines in the back of the ballroom to have these books signed by the attending authors. Sara and I along with our poetry pal, Alan Wolfe popped up a couple times in between these panel sessions and performed some of our poems thanks to an invitation from Dr. Jim Blasingame – Pooh-Bah of the organization and a performing cowboy poet himself.

ncte04 We also got to hang out with a bunch of really cool teachers who we have got to know over the years – mostly friends Sara made during the years she worked and learned with literacy expert Janet Allen. Christine, Kelli, Anne, Beth, LeeAnn, our poetry slam compatriot Elizabeth, our new buddy Jack Gantos, Orlando native Charles Waters, Boyds Mills Press, Heinemann and a whole slew of folks far too many to mention made this one of our best NCTEs ever.

ncte05 So to paraphrase an animated insect, “Sometimes wishes really do come true.”

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Windermere Prep

In the shadow of Disney World is a wonderful school that Sara and I have had the privilege to visit the last two years in a row (Sara’s been coming a lot longer than me – she let me in on this gem last year) Windermere Prep where Middle School Pooh-Bah Mary Beth Davis has created one of the most inviting learning environments I have ever seen.

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We were on our way down to the kingdom of the mouse to present and attend the National Council of Teachers of English conference anyway so we called Mary Beth and asked if she’d like us to work with her students and she said certainly! Hooray!

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We wrote memoirs, we wrote poems, and we wrote infomercials. The 7th graders even blocked out a desk that squeaked and groaned like the cargo hold of an over laden pirate ship under the weight of their busy pens. Here’s a couple pics and a vid taken in one of the eighth grade classrooms.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kutztown Middle School

Every now and then I get to visit a school that makes me extra glad for what I do. Kutztown Middle was one of these schools. All the kids were prepared for my visit – which means they actually knew I was coming, they even rearranged the school day schedule in order to make sure i had ample time to work with the kids.

Special kudos to Miss Mancini for all her hard work to bring me to this little town outside of Allentown, PA.  Sara and I always say – we can tell what kind of visit it is going to be three minutes after stepping into a school. Outside I could smell the cow pastures nearby – but inside I found a fresh and bright learning environment – no doubt fostered by the principle James Brown – I felt good!

So here’s a short video from the visit and good luck to all the eighth graders participating in the anti-bullying poetry slam whether as participants or audience.

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halloween Weekend in Oak Park

Sara and I spent Halloween with our friends Henry and Maria in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Here’s a dozen pics.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Measure twice – cut once…

Just back from Chicago where Sara and I spent three days visiting and working with the students at Deerpath Middle School. Our first day was the day after Halloween so I think there was a bit of a blood sugar spike that we were contending with during our assembly and subsequent workshops – but we still got some great work done and I think the kids came away with some ideas to improve their public speaking and to make their writing more concise and precise.

deerpath02 The teachers had our book Outspoken (which we learned upon arriving home has gone into its fourth printing) and we worked from this and our new one High Definition. Sara and I took the divide and conquer approach – here seeing students in a lecture hall and me seeing the other half for workshops in the library where we wrote definition poems.

Between sessions the technology teacher grabbed me and asked if I had any ideas on how he could incorporate poetry into his classes. How cool is that? Coming from a manufacturing and engineering background myself I was happy to talk to him about how to do just that, writing vocabulary poems, infomercials, obituaries and other text types to teach the terms behind the physics of making a two liter bottle powered rocket or a gravity powered Lego car.

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While chatting with this teacher I learned that he once had taught woodshop. Now the community of Lake Forest is a more than fairly upscale suburb north of Chicago proper. It seems that the woodshop class was discontinued because as one parent had explained to this teacher, “We hire people to do work like this.”

This teacher wasn’t complaining to me – we were just shooting the breeze but I’m afraid that perhaps this parent had missed the point and coming from a family that has never been afraid to get their hands dirty, bends or cut metal, dig a ditch, or do their own brake jobs I was a bit worried by the inference.

Would this parent ever walk into a board, court-room or onto the trading floor without a plan, a blueprint perhaps? Would he or she not make sure she had all the tools necessary to complete whatever project they were working on readily at hand? Would they not measure twice and cut once? It seems one of alums of this school, a Mr. Dave Eggers, understands the lessons he learned back in the day when woodworking class was still offered. Returning recently for a classmate’s 40th birthday party also attended by the tech teacher – he let said teacher know that the lessons of working from an outline, understanding the need to sequence steps to conserve materials and to work toward a finished project even when the end was still far off in the distance all lessons learned or made practical by the now defunct woodworking class had helped construct the writer/person into which Eggers had grown up .

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Now I know there are no ovals on the standardized tests that ask the difference between a crosscut saw and a bastard file, just as there are no essay questions about how to make a reed for a bassoon. But aren’t these talents transferrable into the “real world” of finance and law? I’ve heard parents defend their schools athletic departments because of the life lessons learned by the participants – don’t hands on trade classes offer at least as many experience points as a lacrosse field?

By the way – one of the best woodworkers I have ever met, a hobbyist who made beautiful grandfather clocks, tables, chairs, and china hutches was a guy I used to house sit for. Of course his day job did require him to work with his hands so maybe he already had a proclivity for manual labor – he was the chief surgeon and head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eastlake Middle School

As promised – here are a couple vocabulary word infomercials written today by 8th graders in Eastlake Ohio.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Sweetest Town on Earth

Just back from attending the Keystone State Reading Association conference in Hershey, PA. Where one actually can smell chocolate in the air.

I made the six hour drive through hill and dale to sign some books and do a session on my and Sara’s new vocabulary book. Here’s a short video of some Big Word poems created by some Pennsylvanian teachers who attended my workshop.

Now when we work on big words we are not talkin’ necessarily about long or hard to understand words – rather we mean words that carry a lot or meaning. Tier two words according to Beck (don’t worry if you don’t know the reference – it’s pedagogy stuff.)

I like to introduce this method of vocabulary acquisition with some words that are packed with meaning that the students already have some ideas about and once we have our lesson process established then we start introducing  content area vocabulary into the mix.

I'm headed to Eastlake Middle School tomorrow to work with my friend Libby Royko’s 8th graders where we will be writing some vocabulary word infomercials using words from their science class geology unit. So you can expect some rock star videos in the near future. in the meantime here’s a quick one from PA.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

High Definition Book Talk

The English Companion Ning is a really cool online community dedicated to English teachers.  Well, later this month their book club will be discussing my and Sara’s new book: High Definition. How excited are we about this?

We’re THIS excited

 

Click on the NING link above for more info.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

St. Gabriel’s

 

 

So I returned to the grade school I graduated from almost 35 years ago for a visit and to talk with the kids about and work on public speaking skills with the kids. Amazingly, my fourth grade teacher is STILL there!

 

Thanks for having me guys!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Don’t forget to look in the basement…

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This Summer had been a crazy busy one – New Zealand and Australia took up almost the whole month of July. Then as soon as we got back I had three days to try and adjust my body clock and I was off to San Antonio to present at an Institute headed up by Colorado comprehension strategy guru Ellin Keene.  Also there were Debbie Miller and Bruce Morgan. This is the second year I have participated in this event and once again I came away with a bunch of new ideas and had a really good session with some quick to laugh teachers.

debbiebruce  Debbie Miller and Bruce Morgan

Unfortunately my body had not yet  acclimated to the 14 hour time difference between Australia and home so  I survived on a couple two hour naps each day.  Add on to the sleep deprivation a series of unfortunate logistical events and things could have got ugly. But, in the end it all worked out, I stayed calm, carried on and was able leave Texas a little bit better teacher than when I arrived thanks to Ellin, Debbie and Bruce.


Directly from disembarking my plane when it landed in Cleveland I drove to Dayton where I keynoted the ending of a teacher workshop series put on by The Muse Machine of Dayton.  What a great organization consisting of teachers who integrate the arts into their curriculum. We had a swell time writing definition poems and memoir, plus I did a twenty minute reading of my own stuff. I hung around and went on a architectural walking tour and attended the awards luncheon at the swanky Dayton Racquet Club.

I was so busy I forgot to take some pictures.

So Now I am home for almost a month – there’s weeding to be done, bicycles to be ridden and just plain old relaxing on my calendar until September when Max and I set off for Morocco to do a little father and son mountain biking in the Atlas Mountains.

Speaking of bicycles – who knows what the title of this post is referring to?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Like, totally Rad(ford)

rad006 In Australia a college is not somewhere students go after high school as it is in the United States – the term refers to any school. Thus, Radford College in the Canberra suburb of Bruce (insert Monty Python Australia sketch here) is a K - 12 campus.

rad007 This school is the first really foreign school that Sara and I have worked in. When we work overseas we have always been in international schools – places where ex-pats, and locals looking to send their kids to US universities, send their kids in countries where the native language is not English. This time we were in an honest to goodness foreign school – part of the local system. Thanks to our friend Dan Ferri – these Aussies took a chance on a couple of poets from Cleveland Ohio.

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You can see they gave us a manageable but busy schedule. As happens quite often our dance card filled up as teachers began talking about our visits into their classrooms and those who were sitting on the fence with a “wait and see” attitude decided they wanted to get in on some of this poetry action. So our schedule became loaded with crisscrossed lines and penciled in times as it evolved during our stay.

rad005 Like I said this is fairly common and understandable. Teachers are busy people and have a hard enough time getting to all their lessons and curriculum objectives and sometimes don’t feel there is time for poetry in their schedule. What Sara and I offer is a way that teachers can integrate poetry as a tool in their classroom – so while the finished product may be some sort of verse it still pushes their classroom goals forward and might I add, at a quicker pace than a five paragraph essay, a report, diorama, book report or any other of the myriad text types used for assessment. Ask the teachers at Radford about the narratives we wrote about the water cycle or the definition poems on democracy and you’ll find some recent converts to poetry as a practical classroom addition.

rad003 The students and teachers at Radford were engaged and enthusiastic, we visited classrooms of kids from third through 12th grade and only went to the wrong building one time during our week long residency. Thankfully a breathless fifth grader found us and led us back to the right classroom. It is a whiplash inducing experience to go from a group of eight year olds writing about the toys in their bathtub to a class of 18 year old young men and women studying Plath and Hughes one right after the other but it’s also what makes our job so much fun.

rad008 We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and met some really dedicated professionals; including a 7th grade science teacher who was carting around a pair of orphaned possums in her bag. So thanks to Peggy, Claire, Dylan, Therese, Dan and all the other folks we met during our stay. In the words of the school chaplain, “God bless you mob!”

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That’s all I Canberra

ycockatu01 What the Aussies lack in pronouncing of syllables in their words – they make up with over the top down under hospitality. After our charmed respite in Sydney I figured things couldn’t get much better and I was wrong. People went out of their way to be hospitable to us at every turn during our stay in the capital city Canberra.

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Sara and I got in on a Sunday and weren’t slated to start working for real at Radford College until Thursday (we did visit a few classes on Monday to introduce ourselves to the staff and visited a couple classes to get the lay of the land) so we had a few days to explore the sprawling park like city. Where Sydney piled up tall against its harbor – Canberra spreads out in a radius from the parliamentary building, embassies intermixed with residences and forested parkland. The place is a biker or runners paradise and I took full advantage of the fact borrowing our friend and host, teacher and former NPR commentary star – Daniel Ferri’s mountain bike. Dan’s a re-planted Yankee (Chicagoan really) who now teaches at Radford (this all fits together eventually – trust me.)

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Anyway – Canberra is nothing like Sydney – in fact it is for the birds. Birds like I’ve never seen in the wild before – parrots – cockatoos – magpies – ravens – swans – crazy looking pigeons with hats on, not to mention the bushy tailed possum that stared us down from a tree during an evening walk or the giant fruit bats with three foot wingspans who darted out from the shrubbery during that same constitutional. Add the kangaroos and rabbits I saw while biking and you’d have thought we were in a wildlife refuge – not the capital city of a whole country the size of the United States.

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As for hospitality – on day one we went to the National Museum – the equivalent of our Smithsonian where we wandered about for an enjoyable couple of hours. The walk there was about an hour and a half and we were a bit tuckered out so we asked the lady at the info booth if she could help us obtain a taxi. She said she’s be more than happy to call but as she picked up the phone an older woman behind us poked her head out and said – never mind – I’ll drop them by. So our new friend Marjorie drove us home from the museum – giving us an impromptu tour of the embassies and a view of the gate to the prime minister’s house. In fact everywhere we went – museums – memorials – just walking on the streets – folks couldn’t have gone out of their way enough for us. This was certainly southern hospitality to the nth degree! Oh yeah – did mention that the bus drivers were just as likely to tell you to skip the fare as not?

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So what’s up with the dropping of syllables in their words though? Canberra is pronounced Can-bra, Melbourne is Melb’n etc etc. Nobody could give me any explanations other than – that’s the way we do it mate. Of course this ruins the pun in my title but, keep on treating your visitors like you treated us and that’s good enough for me.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

I’d rather be lucky than good

sydney02 Organized chaos – as hackneyed a saying as it is - the phrase is an apt description of Sydney. One of the many interesting things we have seen while down under is the way walk/don’t walk signals operate. Rather than the little flashing green man inviting pedestrians to walk in the direction of traffic all four corners flash green at once stopping all vehicular movement and the walkers take over the whole intersection free to cross diagonally as well as directly across the roadway. Sort of a free for all not unlike the seeming anarchy that ensues on a rugby field – just when it looks like everything is all muddled in a tangle of limbs out pops the ball and down the field goes the team.

This pretty much sums up our two day trip to this dynamic and cosmopolitan city. We dove into the throbbing masses of humanity on the street, ferries, busses and trains, popping out in one interesting place after another – one of those rare occasions where we never really got lost. soh001

Our first morning we grabbed a cup of coffee on George Street across from Central Station then marched down the street for about an hour to the Sydney Opera House. We took a morning tour of this iconic building that juts into the skyline of the harbor like a piled up collection of orange wedges. These orange wedges though, are covered in more than a million triple glazed off white tiles which capture the sun’s rays producing subtle touches of color depending on the conditions in the sky. Inside, the lack of support columns lends a sense of soaring to the ceilings while the use of native wood throughout the structure intensifies the acoustics. The Opera House is not one massive performance space but rather a series of theaters, studios and concert halls. Sara and I snagged some tickets for a cabaret show in the 200 seat studio theater for the next evening. As luck would have it we ended up at a front row table.

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Walking along the harbor way we followed the sound of didgeridoo music and found some performers playing right in front of the ferry for the zoo. The ride across the harbor gave us an excellent view of the city and opera house. The best view of Sydney though, belongs to the giraffes and not just because of their long necks. The zoo winds up a cliff across from downtown with twists and turns opening up to vistas of the city incongruously augmented by varieties of exotic fauna like elephants, bearcats, snow leopards and the aforementioned giraffes. We arrived right around lunchtime and all the animals were actively about – even the Komodo dragon was pacing around his enclosure lifting his heavily clawed feet like a sumo wrestler as he anticipated his midday repast.

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The koalas though were a little less energetic. It seems their strict eucalyptus leaf diet provides only enough energy to facilitate them being awake for around four hours a day – much like American teenagers these guys prefer to doze through the remaining twenty or so hours .

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Hopping off the ferry back in the city at Quay Circle we discover the train lines and inquire as to which train we should take back to our hotel which just happens to be across from the large and sprawling Paddy’s market, (a great landmark for us when asking directions.) Our answer is “All of them – you’re right near Central Station just get out there mate.” Lucky again!

chinatown01 Our hotel, Aaron’s budget and family lodgings, is located on the cusp of Chinatown which presents us with a myriad of Asian restaurants, so we opt for one of the half dozen Vietnamese places near our room. With our bellies full and walking back to our room I see a brightly lit up street around a corner a little over block away. Turns out this is the gateway to Chinatown proper and there is a Friday evening market festival going on complete with dragon dancers and wool socks, three pair for ten bucks!

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The next morning we head one stop down the train line and surface near town hall. We stroll through Hyde Park where ibises meander about examining the ground and a twenty-five foot statue of Captain Cook waves in the direction of the harbor. We decide to visit the city of Sydney Museum to get some historical background. hyde01This is the closest we come to being lost our whole time in the city – we wander a bit and just as soon as Sara says that maybe we are headed in the wrong direction we turn a corner and are right at the front door like that rugby ball squirting out the back of a scrum. We fill our skulls with Sydney facts. One thing I did not know was that Sydney was R and R destination for Vietnam era American soldiers, this detail documented in a photo exhibition of the Kings Cross neighborhood – Sydney’s answer to the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco during the 60s and 70s.

hyde002  Afterwards we walk back uptown to our hotel and Sara stops in a few shops on our way. We explore the booths of Paddy’s Market across from our hotel and have a late lunch in the food court of this buzzing facility. We choose from Indian, Chinese, Thai, Greek – the selection like the population of this  city seems endless. Back to the room for a quick nap and freshening up and then it’s  on the train again, which we are now almost experts at riding, for our show at the Opera House.

soh003 The show was a smoky affair (thankfully created by special effects and not cigarettes) even though the title of the piece was “He had too many cigarettes to drink”. The performance was a retrospective of the French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg – someone neither I nor Sara had ever heard of. All the songs were in French but this didn’t make the evening any less enjoyable – the band was amazing and the vocalist Fiona Thorn was just the right combination of torch singer and comedienne. Plus – we were in the front row, at a show in the Sydney opera house – I mean gimme a break, how cool is that?

We noticed that on the way down the turnstiles did not eat our tickets for the train as they had on earlier trips – turns out they were still good for the ride back – another pleasant surprise from a city that we definitely would love to come back to. And now? Right now we are on a bus, motoring our way three hours to Canberra where we are going to be working in a school for a week before heading back up to the northern hemisphere and home.

Let’s hope our luck holds out!

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