Judo at Darling Harbour, lunch on The Bounty
Day two of the Olympics, day 13 for us, and our first destination was Darling Harbour again, this time for the Convention Centre where the Judo preliminaries were to be held. Any doubts I might have had about the amount of custom the shops here were getting had now gone right out of the window. As I sat watching the lazer show the other day, I had wondered where the visitors were. Well, they were here now! Possibly all of them. Everywhere we looked people were milling around with take-away food in hand, looking for somewhere to sit and eat.
Judo is not something that I make a habit of watching - there's no secret, these were quite cheap tickets (and believe me, the tickets for some of the events were very expensive) and it was an excuse to go to another Olympic event, whatever it may be.
I had done Judo myself for a short while though many years ago (never got past first belt before the club closed down!), so I thought I would be able to appreciate it to point. As it happened, I had no idea what the scoring system involved, no matter how many contests I watched. It certainly was NOT flooding back for me! Some of the bouts seemed to end so quickly and left us thinking just how the winner got the point.
Strangely enough, the most entertaining thing about this event was actually the crowd. Koreans (North & South, united for the games) had blocks of seats on either side of the arena. They were all wearing the same colours, they had cheerleaders, and they were co-ordinating their efforts on each side. If one person was waving their arms one way, sure enough 50 others would be doing the same thing with them!
The Bounty, The Rocks
Later that afternoon, we took a ferry back to Circular Quay where we met Andy, Craig and Jo for a short while to get some complimentary tickets for The Bounty. This is the replica of the boat that was built for the film The Bounty starring Australia's Mel Gibson. These days it's fitted out with such advanced fittings as electrical sockets and a well-stocked bar. The tickets were for a promotional do held by Fila - Wendy had got the complimentaries as the company she worked for had supplied them with the coffee machines.
We were among the first people on the boat, if you discount the girl working behind the bar, the Fila representative who sat reading his Italian newspaper and someone else wearing an Olympic pass whose identity was a mystery. Athletes had been invited, but perhaps it was just too early. The band was still setting up and the peanut dishes were overflowing. The boat looked like it was going nowhere though. Whether a cruise around the harbour was ever on the cards is doubtful.
We stayed for a while and took in the relaxing atmosphere. As we sat at the bow of the rocking boat, we could hear the sounds of people enjoying themselves in the bars of The Rocks. Behind us, the Opera House was changing colour, chameleon fashion, as projectors bathed it in multi-colour hues of light. In the end though, our bellies made the decision to leave. Food was included in the complimentary ticket, but we couldn't really wait that long. Peanuts can only go so far, so we headed back in to the CBD for a quick bite.
Rocking beats in Martin Place
On the way back to catch the train, we passed through Martin Place, one of the live venues (Trivia time: the scene in the Matrix with the 'woman in the red dress' was shot here). In the evening these turned into open air nightclubs of sorts, and tonight there was a group playing who were really very good. It was a simple set-up: one guy on a synth sampler, playing some really rocking heavy beats over which he was dropping the odd sound effect; one guy on the decks who was cutting over the top (and very well at that) and a bongo player who must have lost several pounds in weight judging by his efforts. I was well impressed, and would still like to work out who these guys were - so if you can identify this heavily compressed MP3 of what they were playing, please let me know!