I came to Australia under the impression that I was going to be meeting some stereotypical Australians. I was quite surprised to find out that Sydney is a melting pot of cultures with an extremely large Asian population; many of which speak in a thick Australian accent. Being an immature and ignorant American, I found this quite comical.
We spent our first weekend attempting to use Sydney’s transportation system and effectively did use it to give ourselves a 2 hour tour of the entire city every time we decided to go somewhere 15 minutes away. On the second day we all made our first appearance at Bondi Beach where we all had a great time throwing our bodies into the waves, people watching and soaking up about 10 times more sun than we needed to.
The next day a small group of us decided to go downtown for the day to check out the Sydney Festival that was going on for a couple weeks. We ended up running into a street performer, and since we had absolutely nothing to accomplish that day we decided to stop and see if he could entertain us. It wasn’t long into his performance that he pointed at me and my friend Dave Shrigley, along with a couple other innocent bystanders, and instructed us to stand in the middle of circle and join his show. Minutes before this he was standing on the handle bars of a bicycle juggled knives, flaming torches and chainsaws. Against our better judgment we followed instructions from a strange man on the street that neither of us had ever met. The performer told us to lay down on the cement in a line and proceeded to tell the audience what kinds of acrobatics he was going to perform on his bicycle while juggling sharp objects around us. Dave and I gave each other a firm handshake and a goodbye while laying on the cement circled by a crowd of close to 200 people.
After about half an hour and us laying there while the performer rambling on building anticipation, he asked the crowd to make some noise. About 100 kids under the age of 8 began cheering and clapping. He then instructed the adults to do the same and received little more than the sound of a few crickets. The performer took one look at the crowd and said, “I’m done. The shows over.” Then he sat down and had a cigarette as the bewildered crowd just stood there assuming this was part of the act. “Shows over”, he repeated. The crowd walked away and wondered why they had just wasted the last 45 minutes of their lives. We personally thought it was hilarious that a 40 year old street performer just quit on a crowd of 200 people to pout and smoke a cigarette. We were still in one piece so it was probably for the better anyway.