22 December 2005


A while ago I helped out at a conference and I scored a voucher for dinner at the unsettlingly expensive Jordons restaurant in Darling Harbour, Sydney. As is the way with things, this voucher languished at the bottom of a forgotten drawer; however, we were able to dig it up in time and last weekend Briony and myself sauntered on down to the waterfront for dinner at Jordons.

jordons restaurant

Jordons is famous for it's seafood, a point which was lost on us as Briony and myself are mostly vegetarian. The food itself was quite reasonable - with a restaurant with such a high turnover, I guess you can't expect everything to be really fresh.

view from jordons

Using some high tech tomfoolery I was able to get off a decent shot of the view from the restaurant into Darling harbour. With the voucher's contribution, it was easily one of the best $10 meals that we've ever had :P

manly beach

Next on the menu for the weekend was a trip down to Manly for a Christmas BBQ at the bosses place. Given all the recent entertainment on the Southern beaches, Manly beach was extremely quiet. Councils are confident that people will dribble back to the beaches over the break. However, I don't think that the stand-offish atmosphere in the beachside suburbs are doing much to help. The cultural makeup of the lab is reasonably diverse, and we couldn't help feeling a little out of place in the pubs and clubs around the beach. The hoteliers were understandably nervous (they didn't want to see any sort of trouble, and hence were quite paranoid) - but it's still weird feeling out of place in the city you call home.

blue gem concert

On the other end of the scale, however, we capped off our weekend by going to the most surprising Christmas Caroling gigs I have ever been to. Blue Gem Shining Amongst The Stars was led by Briony's singing teacher, Nadia Piave. In stark contrast to the weirdness out near the beaches, this was a musical and cultural blender unlike any I have experienced before. There were performers from a huge range of backgrounds, including Persian, Italian, Sicilian, Yidaki (Australian Aboriginal), French and even performances in Old English. It really was incredible listening and watching performers cover classic, seasonal (the whole Yuletide thing) and traditional songs with a variety of instruments. There were even a familar face on the guitar and piano accordian (seriously, is there anything that he can't do?).

In particular, the traditional Persian music (vocals primarily by Massoud - all I know is that he is Persian, based in Lakemba, and has a voice that blew me away), performed with the superb acoustics at St. Saviours Church had me totally enthralled. The whole gig renewed my faith in the fact that the whole cultural melting-pot thing works just fine (thank-you-very-much), and I'm looking forward to going to similar gigs in the future - I got a real kick out of it.

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