Sydney. Went past the The Regent Hotel at Circular Quay. It's the IOC HQ. Had heard that the flags outside it were at half-mast because of the death of Juan Antonio Samaranch's wife on Saturday. They didn't seem to be at half-mast today. Outside the entrance are suited security guards. Within are more security guards (or maybe police) manning an airport-type X-ray machine. Everyone who enters with bags and packages has them put through the machine. No one who's not a legitimate guest or IOC/Olympics official is allowed in. Bilingual (French and English) signs. I stood outside the doors and took pictures of the lobby--which is like a rotunda, with "Sydney 2000" logos everywhere and around the walls the names and years of previous Olympic cities.

On the weekend the events of the previous few days finally took their toll. Woke up Saturday a.m. with the symptoms of a massive hangover; all I wanted to do was lie prone in a darkened room and sink into a brain-restoring coma. (The fact that I've read nothing but tourist and Olympics brochures for about the last 5 days may have had something to do with it too.) But I got my laundry done. There's a coin-operated laundromat in this building, so didn't have to set foot outside the mothership.

Helicopters about both mornings because of the triathlon events in the vicinity of the Opera House; on Sunday a.m., from the city center, saw (with binoculars) part of the men's triathlon route up the eastern part of Farm Cove. Managed an invalidish strolled around the city. Westpac Bank (once the "Bank of New South Wales") is one of the Olympic partners, so their buildings everywhere are covered in images of Australian athletes, 20 times larger than life. And one side of their skyscraper at Martin Place has been turned a multi-storey-high tally of Australia's medals. It's visible several blocks away. After you've visited the usual tourist spots a couple of times there's not much else to do...except note the Olympics trappings everywhere, so fleeting, so impermanent.

Sports Illustrated journalists with the ubiquitous plastic IDs hanging around their necks. Buses advertising UPS (the "express delivery partner of the Olympic Games"), painted with the images of U.S. athletes who are also UPS employees. Buses reserved for IOC staff, others for News Limited and Xerox (another Olympic sponsor). A huge Swatch advertisement on George Street, just north of Martin Place. More Olympics watches, t-shirts, polo shirts, babies' jumpsuits, backpacks, bum-bags, gym bags, baseball caps, pins, pin cases, mascot stuffed-toys, sheets, towels, socks, plates, mugs, glasses, pens, school pencil-cases and photograph frames than you'd ever want to look at. Flags of all nations in the window displays of jewelry stores. "Aerial acts" performances at Circular Quay. Lasers and searchlights from the roofs of some city buildings every night. Fireworks at Farm Cove at 11.15 last night. A FIFA flag on one of the flagpoles of the Sheraton-on-the-Park Hotel. Woolworths wanting to give me an Australian flag when I bought film there. I'm going to have to get my film developed to remember all that I've seen so far.

September 9, 2000
September 12, 2000
September 14, 2000
September 15, 2000
September 24, 2000
September 29, 2000
September 30, 2000
October 1, 2000
October 2, 2000