Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Joe's Awesome Day

The students had the day off, so I organized an Awesome Day for my son, who is 14. He has been doing the same work as the college students, and been dragged to many an event by dad that would not have been his first choice. He has remained game throughout. So today was his day.

We started last night. A downtown Melbourne movie theater offers all the usual movies - plus "Bollywood." Which actual Bollywood feature they are offering seems to be secondary to the sheer fact that the genre is represented. We went to "Ghajini," a revenge story that turned on short-term memory loss, like "Memento." In the middle of this dark story, though, was a romance between two very handsome leads, with singing, dancing, fantasy sequences, bright colors, but not so much as a kiss. The whole thing last more than three hours, including an intermission. It let out at midnight. There were a dozen Indians, mostly couples, and us. We had a blast.

Today we went to see the State Library of Victoria, a wonderful old rotunda library, like the British Museum reading room. It has a fine exhibit of Melbourne and Victoria history, the highlight of which is the weird home-made armor that the notorious bushranger Ned Kelly wore when he had his final shoot-out with the police in the 1880s.

For lunch we had kangaroo, wallaby, crocodile, and a somewhat less exotic squid. Joe liked the crocodile best.

The highlight of the day was Eureka Tower. This is a residential skyscraper, the tallest residence in the Southern hemisphere (which means it beats another one in Queensland, though that one cheats with a higher antenna). On the top floor there is a great observation deck, including a very breezing outdoor section. Today was clear and hot, so we enjoyed the view and the breeze. The best part, though, is The Edge. This is a cube, about twelve feet on a side, glass on each face including the floor. When you enter, the glass is milky. The whole cube is then extended out past the side of the building. Suddenly, accompanied by scary noises, the cloudiness clears, and you are looking 88 stories straight down. And up, and all around. It is pretty impressive. Joe and I were photographed standing on glass, with the earth visible far below us. He will use the picture to scare his sisters.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if you are a Bill Bryson fan, but his book "In a Sunburned Country" about his travels in Australia is hilarious! His descriptions of the vastness of some of Australia's public places (parks, government building complexes) etc...had me laughing uproariously, as does almost all of his writing!

Gruntled said...

In A Sunburned Country was the first thing we all read together. It impressed the students with how many things could kill them in Australia. :-)