31.12.2008 - 31.12.2008 34 °C
31st December 2008
Ok, so conjour yourself up a picture of Sydney... Imagine you're there for New Years Eve... Ok, where do you want to be? Somewhere with a good view? A good bar? On Bondi Beach?
Right, so pray tell me why I am not (at 2 minutes to Midnight) in any of the above places!?!!! I shall explain....
I should have know really that when I got a text from George that she was meeting up at 8.45am (but Midnight is hours away...) that it wasn't going to be an ordinary day! So, I happily get myself on the train (I'm such a Sydney Commuter already), and head into Central to meet George and her friends who I'm joining for the day. We head off to a supermarket and pick up some picnic items which seems to take forever.. and then onto St James' Park to wait for more people to join us.
We're heading for Mrs Macquarie's Point - which is a really good spot to see both the Harbour Bridge and Opera House - but it seems like every other person is doing the same. It has capacity for 20,000 people and they open the gates early so by getting here early, the plan is that we get ourselves a good spot and chill out for the day... in theory that is.
Now imagine that its 34 degree heat and you have a headache already.... imagine your absolute delight when you see the queue to get into Mrs Macquarie's Point. Its about a mile long (and that is no exaggeration). It snakes its way around the parkland before the entrance and there are thousands of people already there before us.... this could be a problem.
Despite my suggestion that staying in this queue is crazy and that we should try elsewhere, I'm one of many and being a 'newbie' to this group, I don't have any influence. I am destined to spend the day in the queue... I then get a message from Juliana and Ina to say that they have a ticket for me at the Cahill Expressway (great views and no need to queue...) but I feel too rude to leave now considering I've landed myself on this group of people when they didn't have to invite me along!
Four and a half hours later (no joke), we reach the front of the queue and we're allowed into Mrs Macquarie's Point. Unsurprisingly, the place is packed out and the good seats are gone! I'm feeling so sick from my headache at this point that when we find a spot in the shade, I plonk myself on the grass and fall asleep for an hour or so (there's not much else to do!). I struggle to understand why it is I've got myself into this and think about high tailing it back to the comfort of my apartment and watching the fireworks on the tv. But thats not the point of it is it? I shall persevere.
I'm glad of my picnic items, I'm even more glad of the two 2l bottles of water that I've bought. They make a lot of sense in this heat. Despite bringing a change of clothes with me so I look a bit more 'celebratory', I can't even be bothered to switch! Bah humbug - I'm so like my Dad when it comes to New Years Eve! Such an anti-climax, even in Sydney!!
The time ticks around (quite quickly thankfully) to 9pm when Sydney have a warm up fireworks session - mainly for the families who don't want to be out on the town all night - which i think is a lovely idea. Had they set fireworks off on the bridge at this time, I would definitely be leaving after this. But, because they didn't, I feel like I'm missing out so I stay.
George and I head for a walk around the gardens where we are and try and pass some time away, I'm glad I've brought my book!
Towards Midnight, everyone starts to make there way to a better point to get photos so George and I head out towards the exit gates where there are a few viewpoints which we hope are quieter. The one we decide on is ok but not great. There's no countdown - bizarrely - so we only know its Midnight when the fireworks start which are just stunning - about 12 minutes worth which is quite some going. The bridge is lit up in every sort of colour and even a watefall effect - amazing.
I get a text from Clare to say that Alan is watching it live on Sky so I give him a call - bizarre!
Then its over... no Auld Lang Syne. So aside from George and I setting off a few party poppers, and a few shouts of Happy New Year, we're into 2009!
We make a quick exit and George and I go our separate ways - I'm on a mission to beat the crowds onto my train home (which is free! yay!). I just miss one train but I'm still surprised when I get onto an empty train! This soon changes when we stop off at Circular Quay and later stops - now I feel more like I'm in rush hour on the Tube in London. Familiarity is great.
I squeeze myself off the train at my stop - some people further up are falling out, its not a pretty sight! - and with it being 1am, I race back to the safety of my apartment. I'm so glad to be back! I'm exhausted, even though I've done nothing!
Starving, I get myself some food and then spend the next hour or so catching up with home and friends on the phone! Now I feel homesick!