• 01 . 01 . 07
  • One of my New Year’s Resolutions, (along with 30 million lapsed bloggers, I imagine), is to start writing here again. In Japan, I felt like I had lots to write about, but in Australia not so much, especially since I began working full-time in Brisbane. There are already thousands of people writing about what their […]

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Fresh Start

One of my New Year’s Resolutions, (along with 30 million lapsed bloggers, I imagine), is to start writing here again. In Japan, I felt like I had lots to write about, but in Australia not so much, especially since I began working full-time in Brisbane. There are already thousands of people writing about what their cat had for dinner, so why add another? Well, that and my cat’s in England, so I’m not even sure I could do that. I’m hoping the urge to write about interesting things will motivate me to do interesting things while I’m here. I’ve got the first two weeks covered at least, with a road trip planned around New Zealand’s South Island with a fellow traveler I met in Melbourne earlier this year last year. If I can’t find anything interesting to write about there, I know it’ll be time to call it quits.

At least I saw the old year out in style watching the Sydney Harbour Bridge explode in colour. The day started at 9am where we joined a waiting line outside the botanical gardens which already had a few hundred people in it. If the English were born to queue, then I was certainly in the right place. Luckily, the gates were opened at 10am, not 10pm, and we finally made it into the park at 11:30am, a full twelve and a half hours before the fireworks. Time is apparently money, but with an unbeatable admission price of free and a spot on the grass directly opposite the Opera House and Bridge, it was a price worth paying. The majority of Aussies prefer to watch the festivities on TV at a house party, which meant that most of the people swarming around the gardens like ants were actually part of a huge colony of Brits. The day was broken up by chatting, reading, the obligatory drinking and, until it was shutdown by overzealous safety officials, a game of catch involving 200-300 people, on a steep slope, with 2 tennis balls, 3 footballs, an American football and numerous frisbees.

Sometime later on, a giant neon question mark started glowing on the side of the bridge, which later became a diamond and a coathanger, symbolising the 75th anniversary of the world’s most famous Tyne Bridge replica. When the fireworks finally arrived, they were as spectacular as had been promised, easily eclipsing the Hanabi festival in Gifu, which itself made anything England ever did look like 30 matches and a catherine wheel. Though a little short, the intensity was amazing, with synchronised displays going off from the bridge, behind the opera house, from the tops of the skyscrapers and on blast barges all the way down the river. Fireworks aren’t exactly life-changing, but I won’t forget it in a long time.

Today was my day of rest – sitting down for 12 hours can really take it out of you! I thought I’d been careful with the sunblock this time, so I was gutted to find out I had sunburnt ankles when I woke up this morning. I didn’t even know you could get sunburnt ankles! I just about managed to catch Big Ben bonging at 11am and watched the London fireworks live. It’s strange to think I had as good a view as anyone back home after the Embankment was closed due to gale force winds and torrential rain. And I was genuinely impressed with the show – 30,000 rockets and the London Eye as the world’s largest catherine wheel looked pretty awesome from where I was sitting. We’ve come a long way since the infamous River of Fire millennium shambles.

With my ankles duly covered, I went for a nice wander through the Australian National Museum and a bit of a walk through town. We even managed to sort out a rental car for New Zealand, which was fortunate considering it’s for the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m off to Manly to see a bit of the North side of town. Hopefully the weather will continue to be good – aside from the ankles, I’m not nearly red enough to call myself a true Pom yet. Happy New Year!