Todd took Eliza and me to the cricket!
Aus was playing three tests (what they call the serious, old-fashioned, multi-day international country-to-country cricket matches) with Pakistan and the second test was being played at SCG--the Sydney Cricket Ground. Apparently Australia has been the best team in the world for, like forever, and beat Pakistan handily in the first test. There was a lot of rain overnight and it drizzled on the morning of the first day and the Australian captain made the unorthodox and soon-to-be very controversial call to bat first (when the pitch is damp, the bowls get wonky and it makes it that much harder for the batting team. So batting first was a...curious...choice).
We got to the match a little after play had started and Todd was shocked at the start--already 6 wickets and only something like 10 runs. Cricket has two innings. One innings (always with the "s") is 10 outs. Outs are when the bowling (pitching) team catches the ball on the fly or hits the wicket on the bowl. And Aus was doing poorly:
Our seats turned out to be in the Pakistan supporters section.
They were very polite (always sat down before a play) and oddly cheerful, regardless who was doing well: when Pakistan got an out, they cheered like mad and waved the Pakistan flags; when Australia got a four or a six (sort of like home runs in baseball--automatically four or six runs), they cheered like mad and waved the Pakistan flags. And whenever Asif, one of the Pak bowlers, took his outfield position hear where we were seated, they went absolutely nuts. Almost disturbingly so.
You can't make it out in the photo, but the blue sign being held by the guy in the lower right reads, "you are one sexy bowler."
So the pitch is now completely encircled by stands. The two original, old stands are the Members' stands--very chi-chi (or "zjuji" as Todd and Robyn would say--although I'm not sure how they would spell it).
(that's the ladies stands on the left--although apparently the members' stands are now fully integrated. not sure how recently.)
So some of the fans in the "normal" stands would try to get the wave going (bizarrely, they call it the "mexican wave" there--and the authorities don't like), it would go all the way around the stadium to the Members' stands. Most of the Members don't do it so as soon as the wave reaches those stands everybody else automatically boos until the wave reaches the normal stands again and then everyone cheers even more. And then it goes around a couple more times until people get tired of it for the time being. It's hysterical.
Cricket is very very big in Australia--an everyman's game. And everyone just knows it--there's almost no announcing/calling of the game. So Todd just knew (and explained to me), when the umpires started talking at about 6:45, that they were gauging the light. Aus had gotten out a little after 6 pm and clearly wanted to keep playing to force Pakistan to bat under the same difficult conditions, with the pitch still damp from the rain. Pakistan faked an injury to kill time, hoping to just resume the next day when the pitch presumably would be dryer and they'd have an easier time batting. So the umps called it for the day, the fans all booed, and everyone went home. But everyone was walking off the field before the announcer came on and said, as an after thought, that the game had been called for light and play would resume at 10am.
Anyway, after the cricket, we met up with a friend from school, Brett, at a pub near the SCG. He and Todd have both served in senior levels of the New South Wales government and are active in the Labor Party. So for them apparently it's not unusual to have a beer with the premier (governor) (well, former premier--he got ousted in December). So Eliza had a nice chat with Nathan Rees before he got cornered by a couple of drunk yobs who apparently are very big fans.