Monday, April 10, 2006

Harbor Bridge Pylon (Sydney)

April 4th, 2006:

Today I popped back to Harbor Bridge, or "the old coat-hanger" as it was affectionately known as it was being built.

When you pay the exhorborant $164 AUD for walking up the bridge, they give you a voucher for walking up one of the bridge's "pylons" at any time up to a month later, so that was today's project.

The Harbor bridge has four pylons and they are the granite towers at each side of the bridge. These towers are purely aesthetic and the bridge would work just as well without them, but the bridge designers felt that they were vital and so the city paid what ended up being a quarter of the total cost of the bridge for them.

One of the reasons for spending the extra money was for the jobs that were provided. When the bridge was being built in the 1930s, Australia was caught in a deep depression. The Harbor Bridge, or the "Iron Lung" as it was also known, breathed life into the economy in a similar manner to a similar depression-era project in America, the Hoover Dam.

Today, there is a mini museum in the Pylon nearest the Opera House. This museum houses various artifacts from the bridge's construction, along with descriptions of the construction process and photos showing how it progressed.

Once you reach the top of the pylon you can walk outside and take panoramic photos of the Sydney Harbor.

That evening I went to the cinema. Now, usually I don't bother describing where I went on a night out as it is so transitive: a pub/club might be popular this month, but next month it might be dead, whereas the main attractions in an area (e.g. The Sydney Opera House) are more long-term. However, this evening I went to the five-screen "Reading" multiplex in the city center to see the "Inside Man" (its worth watching by the way) and... I was the only one watching it (!) I had the entire Screen 2 of the cinema to myself, so having chosen the center seats I proceeded to fold up the retractable arm rests on the nearby seats and proceeded to lie-out across the seats :) The last movie I had seen was "Date Movie" back in Ireland, and after seeing that I wasn't sure if I'd ever go the cinema again (it really was that bad!), but after effectively getting a private screening of a movie, I could easily see myself going back to the cinema again. Hopefully Reading Cineplex won't close due to lack of sales in the meantime!