25 March 2006

in which I succumb to the Commonwealth Games

I decided it was high time to get over my Bah Humbug attitude towards the Games.

So the Soup family, with the interstate parents in tow, (oh by the way, I got my visiting mum to cut my hair, thereby postponing the evil day when I attempt to do it myself for another couple of months, thought you’d be interested to know) set off into town to participate. Not in any of the sporting events, mind. No, we went along to the river precinct to partake of the festival atmosphere and mix with the hoi polloi. Yeah, we went to the free stuff.

Besides, everyone had told us we shouldn’t miss the fish.

singapore guppy

Behold. The Fish.

tuvalu fish

Just for my dear PILL.

tuvalu fish2

There is a fish on the river for each of the countries participating in the Commonwealth Games. Seventy-one of them, all in a fishy procession heading up the Yarra to the MCG. When night falls, on the hour every hour the fish indulge in a kind of sound and light show, featuring, um, sound, and light, and spraying water, all to music. It’s astonishing, and quite lovely. The fish change colour and water jets dance to Under the Milky Way Tonight by The Church; a beautiful song that featured strongly in the Opening Ceremony, which othershave blogged about far better than I can so I will not repeat here. Unfortunately all the pictures I took of the fish performance were duds. Too dark and blurry. Suffice to say The Fish are an enchanting experience. Go see The Fish if you haven’t already.

We saw many other wondrous things.

The circus was permanently full every time we passed, so we settled for the comedians, jugglers, cricketers on stilts …

it's just not cricket

… and being stalked by dinosaurs.


Bagpipes and drummers did their thing, sending picnicking families into a spin as they realised their picnic rugs were right in the path of the oncoming men in skirts …


… Son #3 indulged in a little air guitar when a band appeared onstage …

air guitar2

…and the velvety night gradually crept over us.

night grasses

Melbourne put on beautiful balmy weather, as it has done for the entire two weeks of the Games, and the mood in the city was abuzz.


But the best came last.

strange fruit1

Strange Fruit.

strange fruit2

Doing their entrancing, mesmerising thing, as only they can.
At night, up on their huge bendy poles, swaying and dancing against the black sky.

strange fruit3

We watched open mouthed for nearly an hour as they swayed, bent, twirled, flirted and danced to an eclectic soundtrack. The wind rippled the women’s long dresses and their hair flew as they lunged and wheeled gracefully across the sky.

At the end I realised I had momentarily lost Son #2. I spotted him nearby and, calling, I stretched my arm out across three people to grasp his hand. He did the same, but just as our hands were about to meet, he slowly arched his arm back over his head and back to mine again in a joyful giggling echo of the dancers who had swayed and reached and touched and swayed again. It was a magic moment.

strange fruit4

It was a magic night.

(PS. No one got the location right in my Where Am I Competition, however Jorth was the closest with her guess of Cumberland River. We were actually a little further along the Great Ocean Road at Wye River. A couple of hours drive out of Melbourne.)


blackbird said...

of course the butterfly fish is a fine fellow -
but nothing really beats men in skirts...except, perhaps those dancers, and finding #2 through the crowd.
it sounds magical.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

This is a partial copy of my response to your comment on our blog, in case you miss it. Yes. Suse it IS holy SNAPPING duckshit and it you say both possibilities out loud you will see just how inferior flapping is. In this context.
Although, if I were a duck I would undoubtedly appreciate both verbs equally.
Suse. Does this go any way towards answering your query about whether I am brainy enough to make your turning list?
Because me? And the ducks? We're not Commonwealth Games material. We just like our words to earn their keep.
That's all.

jorth said...

What an amazing evening! Oh, and I'm totally kicking myself now - Glenn told me to say Wye River, but my ego wouldn't let me. D'oh!

shellyC said...

I think I would much prefer to watch the festivities televised than the actual games. Glad you had a lovely day!!

Jerry & Maxy said...

Glorious photographs that let me experience the Commonwealth games, if only for a moment or two. Thank you. The evening was enchanting. And the fish are glorious, although I'm partial to brightly colored fish.

Kim said...

You really did get into the spirit of it didn't you. I'd love to partake in that sort of caper, but the crowds make me cranky and then all anxiety prone. THe last Ben Kweller concert in Sydney is a prime example - too long queueing (sp!?), too long waiting, anger morphed to tiredness morphed to major anxiety attack. Classy.

Anyway, it all looks divine and the fish remind me of the animals they had floating on the harbour during the Olympics, that were just stunning.

Bagpipes. Divine.

Lazy cow said...

I'm with Kim about the crowds. Not even the wonderful Strange Fruit is worth the crowds. I do love them though. Sounds like you had a magical time.

String Bean said...

Thanks for the vacation!
The fish remind me of the salmon sculptures in Olympia, WA. There aren't any lights, music, or fountains, but they're still quite a sight to behold.


Those dancers at the end sound entrancing. Your descriptions and pictures make me wish I lived in Australia.

doubleknot said...

Such nice pictures. Love the fish ones and the dancers. Glad you all had a nice time.

sueeeus said...

How did I miss this post? I check your blog all the time! I think you slipped it in with a pre-dated date, I do! What a lovely time, what with all those fish and fruits. :) Oh, and about the self inflicted choppy hair look - sometimes that's called a style, and some people pay lots of money for that!!!

Ed said...

I was in your lovely city for the Games ... well, not for them specifically, but they just happened to coincide with my visit.

I must have heard "Milky Way" about 6,000 times, and not just at the fish event. Even my friend's neighbours were playing it -- I recognised it in the shower one morning, the bass line coming through the wall.

now, that song will always remind me of Melbourne.

Bianca said...

I am so late with my comment but have been way behind on my bloglines. Of course posting this now will just seem like I am a cheat, but as I was scrolling back through a whole bunch of your posts I was looking at those gorgeous photos of your boys playing on the beach and thinking geeze that looks like the back drop of my photos from Wye River...and then you dropped the further west hint and I was certain. I love Wye River...it's so quiet and peaceful. And I love the fish and chips at the pub! Lucky you seeing the koala - we only heard them screeching in the middle of the night!