When Sydney Shows Off…

March 13, 2008 at 3:33 am (Uncategorized)

March in Sydney kicks arse. It is the best month here, or, as I like to say, the king of the calendar year. It’s brilliant. Day after glorious day of sunshine and blue skies, perfect light breezes and a water temperature that is just so. Forget summer. It’s an unreliable whore. This, the first month of autumn in the southern hemisphere, is the real beauty. And last night, it’s safe to say that Sydney was just plain old showing off.

Friends of mine from my Canada days have recently moved to Sydney after a number of years in Darwin. Roberto is Italian and Lai Heng is Malaysian, but they’ve been calling Australia home now for quite a long time, first Adelaide, then Darwin, now Sydney, which means they’ve lived in more Australian cities than I have. And I think it’s fair to say that they’ve saved the best ’til last. Yes, I am hopelessly biased. I think Sydney is the best city in Australia. I do. By a long way. I like all the others I’ve visited (actually, Darwin is the only one I’m yet to see), some of them I like very much, but nothing compares to Sydney, let’s face it. Some Melbournians are fond of suggesting that Sydney is full of philistines and that Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia, but come on, what bollocks. They just need something to cling to because Sydney is soooo GOOD LOOKIN’ (whereas, you know, Melbourne has a great personality). The suggestion that Sydney is a cultural vacuum is frankly absurd, even on sheer numbers alone.

And last night some of those numbers gathered in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House for opera on the big screen. We met up with Lai Heng and Roberto at the Opera Bar as the sun went down and the pink light dusted the western skies, then we wandered upstairs, found seats on the steps, bought some drinks and a cheese platter, and settled in for Opera Australia’s Carmen. Inside the Opera House, the production was being staged as usual. Outside, we were able to enjoy a free televised link on a massive screen under the night sky. The city skyline ahead, the Harbour Bridge to the right, the Botanical Gardens left, and the Opera House behind. It was such a perfect evening beneath the stars.

Afterwards, we wandered around to the other side of Circular Quay to the Rocks, making a beeline for (you guessed it) Sailors Thai Canteen. It was our civic duty to introduce this place to two of Sydney’s latest arrivals, and needless to say Lai Heng and Roberto did not resist. It’s going to be so much fun sharing our Sydney with them in the coming months and years. There are so many things I adore about my town, and last night ably demonstrated one of them: opera, outside, at night, in March. Perfect.

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