Monday, March 8, 2010

Words a guy never wants to hear...

"I thought it would be bigger"

I think that I'm pretty lucky and have seen some amazing sights during my extended vacation. I might not be doing a hardcore backpacker-style trip, but I've still been taking in new sights and sounds. One thing though that strangely keeps happening to me is that I get to a certain well-known spot and think to myself "huh, I thought that would be bigger".

This is not to say that these attractions aren't stunning, breathtaking and everything you wanted it to be, but still... just not as big as I thought. Here are the three that elicited that response.

The Taj Mahal

Oh the Taj Mahal, the ultimate monument to undying love. When I made the exclamation of "I thought it would be bigger" my travel companion looked at me, laughed and asked "well, how much bigger could it be?" Good point. This was when I realized that the mythology of the Taj Mahal is what made it so huge in my head. You always hear so much about the Taj Mahal; the architecture, the history, the Diana-visitng-alone story and most recently the scene from Slumdog Millionaire.

Naturally, it's the destination for all who visit India. So despite the crowds, the touts and the long lines, being able to sit in the gardens and admire the extravagant tomb is worth all the effort. Everything was beautifully proportional and it really is a sight that you shouldn't miss. Do I now think it should have been bigger? Not really. It's quite perfect the way it is.

The Sydney Habour Bridge

I grew up spending many a summer in San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. The iconic red suspension bridge was unforgettable and I recently realized that it had become my basis for all bridges.

One summer my Mum decided that she needed to get the kids out of the house and so we ended up walking the Golden Gate Bridge. It took us about two hours, and so from that experience I thought that the Sydney Harbour Bridge would be the same.

Although it wasn't nearly as high or span the same expanse, it still pretty damn cool. For me, it will always be associated with the 2010 new years eve celebrations. Without a doubt, the fireworks that are shot off the bridge and off barges in the harbor are the best new year's fireworks I've ever seen. You can't look away because you're afraid you'll miss out on the next spectacular display. I'll also never forget sitting on a curb at 1am waiting for the bridge to open so that we can walk home to North Sydney and upon reaching the first tower Risa exclaiming "P*ta! We're only at the first pile-on?!?!" Hmm...not so small at 2am.

The Sydney Opera House

Similar to the Taj Mahal, I think I had just built up the Sydney Opera House to be gigantic in my head. It has iconic status in the pantheon of architecture and the story behind its build is equally impressive. Soo many years, an overinflated budget. Those project managers must have been pulling their hair out!

The Sydney Opera House is massive and I bet it feels even bigger when you go inside. Unfortunately, I didn't get to catch a performance of some sort while there so I had to admire from the outside. The sails are indeed spectacular regardless of which side you're looking at it. It's also amazing looking at the details of the opera house. Back in Manila, Risa and I watched a documentary on the opera house and we were even more amazed with the structure. If only we had known about the details before.

As a final note, although I found these structures smaller than expected, the details that were present in all the structures more than made up for that. So there you go, the very big also has the very small.

Nothing but amazingness.

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