January 2003

Click pictures to see the full-size photos.

German Ladies Waterpolo Team together with Balmain Tigers

German waterpolo national team in Balmain. Gary had told us about it at Christmas Day: on Sunday, January 5, 2003, the German National Team in waterpolo has a training match against the Balmain Tigers. Germany against Balmain! That is like Karlsruhe-Rüppurr playing soccer against Brazil!! As part of the German community in Sydney it is sure that we cannot resist to this spectacle, regarding that the (saltwater-) pool is right around the corner, the entrance is only AU$ 2 and during and after the match there is a BBQ and beer on tap. We are eight visiting supporters and vigorously back the German teams. Waterpolo is a nice sport to watch, but it is an extremely cruel sport. There is scratching, kicking, holding the other one's clothes, dipping, and scaping. There is a control of the fingernails before the start of the match (we reckon that they have to be sanded sharp...). Both German teams have start problems; saltwater is not their usual training ground. Furthermore, the tide is low and there are 2 meters to negotiate from the rim into the pool, a source of fun for substitutes entering the match. Ah well, the score: The German ladies win 9:3 against Balmain, the men are successful with 10:5 against the Tigers. Bravo, Germany!

Peter and his new-old sport

Rediscovered hobby frisbee. Peter has re-discovered the frisbee. Ages ago, he used to play a lot of frisbee, regularly meeting with Martin in the Baden-Baden Kurpark to throw the disc. Since then, the disc lay forgotten in a corner until we re-discovered frisbee during our "digestion walk" on Christmas Day. After work, we go to the beach, wait until the swimmers and sunbakers head off and train our forehand and backhand. At our third training day, we go to Birchgrove Oval, where there is already a group of Ultimate players. Peter's forehand doesn't seem to be too bad, we are invited to train with them. Thus, from now on we also have a regular appointment for Saturday evening: Birchgrove Oval for Ultimate. One by one, our sparetime is packed with appointments: Twilight races on Fridays, frisbee on Saturdays, dinghi racing every second Sunday, furthermore Claudia runs 10 km every Tuesday and Friday together with Bine. In between, we sometimes want to eat out, meet friends, go camping, do 4WD tracks, bushwalk, kayak,...

Bird colony from sand

Sand Sculpting Australia. On a Monday night in January, we travel into the dreamtime. Eric had heard of it in the news and told us about it. Just as there are ice sculpting competitions in Switzerland where the artwork melts in warmer temperatures, Australians compete in sand sculpting. From January 11-26, 2003, Cronulla south of Sydney hosts the exhibition Sand Sculpting Australia. International sand sculptors have travelled here to water, stamp, and sculpt sand in a weeks-long hard work. Enjoy our photo gallery Sand Sculpting Australia!

Guess who is the photographer?

With Erica in the Blue Mountains. All our bushwalking plans are put on ice since early November. The heat and the drought in the summer months ignite many fires – in December the Sydney region is heavily burnt, in January the Canberra District. Beneath all the big fires that are reported worldwide, there are many small fires lighted. Even when there is no fire (like mid-December after the heavy rain), often most of the bushwalking tracks are closed. Nevertheless, Claudia finds a day in January to head for a dayhike in the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains together with Erica. The temperatures are moderate this day; no danger of flashlights. The two enjoy the day out in the wilderness of the subtropical rainforest and climb up the rocky pinnacles of the "Ruined Castle" for a picnic. Only two days later, hiking is impossible yet again: Two fires ignite in Sydney, Canberra suffers the worst fire ever and New South Wales declares a state-wide "Total Fire Ban". That means: Each and every hiking track is closed, and even the fireworks on Australia Day are cancelled.

Martial: 4WD, kayaks, and tent right at the water's edge

Weekend at Myall Lakes. During the long week-end of Australia Day (25.-27. January), we put our two kayaks onto our car and head north towards the Myall Lakes. The Myall Lakes are a chain of connected lakes with an opening to the sea at Port Stephens. The water is brackish: Fresh water with a slighty salty taste. Our tent is set up right on the water's edge. During the hot nights, we leave it open at the lakes' side and thus can watch from inside how the sun rises (and continue to sleep afterwards...). The days are spent with paddling (why does the wind always start when we are on our return trip, and why is it always headwind???), watching nature, and eating. The lakes are a birds' paradise, and we are soundless on our kayaks in-between: Seagulls, ducks, water fowls. We see hundreds (sincerely!) of black swans and think they are the kings of the lakes – until we spot the birds of prey. At least 2 metres of wing span. Majestically, they fly their elegant circles over our kayaks. We see these birds of prey on each of the three days at various locations – and no-one can tell us their name. We reckon they might be hawks. Anyway, very impressive!

Seafood and fish in cling wrap

Cling wrap. Ode on our ja!-"Frischhaltefolie". It might never have dreamt of it, our cling wrap of the home brand "ja!", at that time, when we bought it in a Minimal supermarket in Schwetzingen – that it would travel with us around half the world and become one of our most loyal companions in the new life. We didn't bring many kitchen items along to Australia. Salt and pepper are long since finished and replaced by Australian products. Some paprika and cumin are the only reminders of the German past – and until mid-January our ja!-"Frischhaltefolie". Loyally, it has wrapped various sandwiches, has kept steaks fresh and the smell of onions close to the onions. Now it is finished and been replaced by an Australian cling wrap...

Curiosity of the English language. An excercise for everyone who is not a native English speaker: Speak the following words aloud and explain us why they are pronounced this way, give us a rule, something we can stick upon, otherwise we might become desperate: rough – dough; wild – wilderness; cow – crow; gully (Australian) – gutter; Susy – busy. And here is a list of genuine (well?!) English words: impertinent, clair-voyant, impeccable, creche, fiance, deja-vu, resume, cuisine. If people outside of Australia would know what an esky is, and what a capsicum?