Sydney. Am going to try to get a ticket (A$800-$1300) for the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony. So today I stood in a line outside a ticket bureau for 1-and-a-half hours before discovering it was just for the collection of pre-paid tickets. A foreign camera crew strolled past and filmed us waiting (the line went round the block). It's theoretically possible to buy tickets over the phone; I rang the number (137279) about 50 times during the day and it was always engaged. It's also possible to get them through the official website, but they can only be collected 4 working days after purchase.

Yesterday, gave in to the hysteria and bought a couple of Olympics t-shirts and pins ("Handcrafted in China"). Don't know what came over me. Saw pins of the 2000 Games in combination with those of the past e.g. Sydney 2000 plus London 1948 consists of the Australian flag and the Union Jack. There's a strange one for Sydney 2000 + Berlin 1936: strange in that instead of using what was the German flag of 1936 (the Third Reich's red, black and white swastika ensign?) it has the post-Wall unified Germany flag of today. Same with the pin for Moscow 1980--not the contemporary red and gold hammer-and-sickle but post-Communism's CIS tricolour.

Went to Circular Quay on Sunday. The last time I was there was late afternoon New Year's Eve 1999, when many thousands of people were already there, waiting for the fireworks; and a giant cursive "Eternity" in lighting and fireworks was on the side of the Harbor Bridge where the Olympic rings logo is now. On Sunday a triathlon trial run had just taken place. Pink buoys in Farm Cove. Police and sightseers everywhere, Hungarian athletes having their picture taken against the background of the Opera House sails.

A very large Olympics logo banner is suspended from a crane at the Naval Dockyards beyond Farm Cove. A huge representation of the 5 rings has been installed in Martin Place, and from time to time a fog of dry ice emerges from gratings in the ground at its base. There's a continuous blue line painted on the roads of the marathon route, for the runners to follow. "LOOK LEFT" AND "LOOK RIGHT" have been stencilled on the road surface at pedestrian crossings, like in London. Because of the Olympics, Daylight Saving began in the state of New South Wales on August 27, about seven or eight weeks earlier than it usually has in other years. So now it's Summer Time and it's not even spring yet.

September 9, 2000
September 14, 2000
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October 1, 2000
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