The Holiday Season Winds to a Close--with a Bang!

Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
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Trip End Nov 31, 2005


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Flag of Australia  ,
Saturday, January 1, 2005

Sydney does a great job organizing outdoor New Years festivities. I'd be upset that we don't do the same at home, but it's a little bit different when it's almost thirty degrees and sunny for the fireworks instead of possibly snowing.

Donny, John and I along with Kat and Claire (other Newcastle CVAers, plus some of their friends) walked down to Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, a fireworks-viewing point in the lovely Botanic Gardens. It was packed with people, on the cliff in the gardens and with a younger crowd along the water's edge itself, and no wonder: it overlooked the bridge, the opera house, and the harbour. There were 9 barges of fireworks, and we could see two of them, so we could see the same fireworks show repeated in the distance over the Opera House, with the same light flowers blooming immediately above us, lingering and sparkling down through the darkness of the trees.

The area in the gardens was one of the areas that had food outlets and bars set up specially for the night, so we could lie in the grass between the two fireworks shows, drink a few beers, and watch the bats fly over head with the beach balls the millions of others were tossing about.

There were two fireworks shows, one at 9:00 and one at midnight, with a big silver disco ball lowering down above the Harbour Bridge with the midnight ones. The perfect New Year's moment, to make up for all the New Years that held such high expectations but not a lot of pizzazz to fulfill them: red and gold ribbons of light in the sky, hanging over the white of the opera house; thousands of throats screaming the countdown; stars and warm wind and a midnight kiss.

At two in the morning we stumbled back onto the streets with the crowds, considering our next options. We could join a street party in the Rocks, near the harbour, but I was tired and decided I'd get back on the train, as the next one wouldn't leave 'til 5:00 in the morning. As soon as I'd said it, Donny, John and Kat had announced their intention to join me, leaving Claire and the two friends she'd met up with in town to go off to enjoy the street party on their own.

On the train our sleep was interrupted by a strange man who got on and complained about having his wallet stolen during the festivities, but in such a way to convince us that he was totally crazy. "I'm an Aussie. But I'm not proud of it anymore. Osama bin Laden can come and get us for all I care. They took my wallet! I don't have any money! Some guy paid for my train fare!" And then he repeated it, over and over again, to anyone who would listen, yelling at some teenaged girls for daring to snicker at his story. Donny and I pretended to be asleep while the guy took advantage of John's niceness and made him listen. By the time I woke again, the guy was gone, the sun rising, and we were back in Cardiff.
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