Aaron’s Blog

Found in Sydney: My Hotel!

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Mine! All mine!

Aarons hotel_1280_for_Web

I guess I should be over getting excited about seeing my name, but I guess we are all still 12 years old at times.

Found in Sydney: The Mexi-Can Meal

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The Mexican’t meal wasn’t nearly as appetizing

I dont see the mexicant value meal_1280_for_Web

Entertaining Kids of All Ages in Darling Harbor

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The newly renovated Darling Harbor area in Sydney has one of the coolest play areas for children that I’ve seen in quite a while.  It’s simple but engaging, let’s kids explore the effects of their actions to undertand the physical principals involved, and it let’s em get totally soaked.  For a free, public play area, it’s impressively well designed.

The area follows the journey of water as it flows from its source, through a series of well crafted gates and switches, as well as other features before it trickles out of sight, only to come back in the form of a walk-through fountain.

One starts the old fashioned way, by pumping out water

Start the water flowing_1280_for_Web

The water then enters a gate system that has been designed so that if one area gets too full, the water passes through overflow points to ensure that nothing gets too out of control.  This balance allows for a wide variety of play, which still keeping things orderly.

Water paths_1280_for_WebFlowing from pump to maze_1280_for_Web

By moving switches and lifting gates, the “kids” can quickly see how what they do affects the way the water flows, where it pools, and where is left dry.

Gates in the water_1280_for_WebWater gates_1280_for_Web

Towards the bottom of the path, there are additional features for kids to play with, so they can splash a little more water around, and maybe just learn a little bit as well.  One of the features was a water wheel, while the other was a spiral, both of which show ways in whick simple machines can be used to get water into aquaducts where it can be harnessed and used.

Water wheel_1280_for_WebArchimedes spiral_1280_for_Web

The water then trickles out of sight, until it explodes out quite briliantly in a fountain, which is great in the day, but gorgeous at night.  The fountain is open so that kids can walk through and not only see the fountain, but feel it for themselves.

Fountain in green_1280_for_Web

Blue Fountains_1280_for_Web

Kudos to whoever was in charge of funding this project, as well as the designer who has created a fantastic play area for kids that does exactly what a good play area should:  let children explore the world around them while learning about what makes them work.

Outpost of Street Art in Sydney

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IMG_1939I won’t claim to be an art afficiando, as that would be a diservice to both afficianados and people who claim things, but ever since watching “Exit Through the Giftshop”, I’ve developed a huge fondness for street art.  Now I’m talking about serious street art, not just an angsty kid with a spray can.  There’s something about the creativity of the work itself mixed with the guts and committment that it takes to pull off a piece in the middle of the night to avoid any legal entanglements that seems to grant extra meaning.

We were lucky enough to find out about a street art exhibit, titled Outpost, through the well known marketing strategy of word of mouth combined with sticker on bathroom stall (I’m sure it’ll be on an upcoming Mad Men).  The exhibit was taking place on Cockatoo Island, one of the small islands in Sydney Harbor, which seems to have lost it’s former glory, as it is now filled with empty industrial warehouses.  This did, however, make for a great location to exhibit the art style that was being featured.

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There were over 150 artists represented, with work from all over the world, so we got to see a great variety in the types of work that was represented.  Some of the more famous names included Banksy (the artist featured in Exit Through the Giftshop”), Beastman, Meggs, Everfresh, and others. Read more

AirBnB: Big Thumbs Up for Traveling Locally

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AirbnbIn Sydney, we decided to try something new with our accomodation.  Instead of going the normal route of either cheap hotel or backpacker’s lodge / hostel, we stumbled upon a service known as AirBnB.  The service allows people with an extra room (or house/apartment/bungalow/RV) rent out that accomodation to travelers looking for a place to stay.  This means that renters get money for a room they already have, and travelers get a (generally) nicer room than they would otherwise, as well as being able to benefit from the information and experience of a resident of the area.

AirBnB has really done a great job setting up their site so it’s easy to find a place to stay in the location you’re looking for, at the right price point.  Accomodation can take the form of either a shared room, private room (the most common), or an entire aparment/house, and there is a list of amenities for easy reference as to what you get with the room.  The calendar shows exactly when the room is available, and there are even house rules so you know what your host expects. Read more