7 Oct 2007, Comments Off on From Syder-nee

From Syder-nee

Author: Helen

I’m typing this from the 8th floor of the NSW Rugby League association, which is a very fine place to have a Travelodge. I’m here with two Girlchildren- the trip is a birthday treat from Grandmother to them, and I’m the facilitator.

The view out of our window is the side of another multistory building pretty much as far as the eye can see (it’s the Law chambers above Silks cafe) and puts you very much in mind of an urban scene from a graphic novel. I should have published a photo essay, but I had a couple of camera disasters. Long story short, few photos if any will ensue.

Things which are interesting/fabulous/awesome about Sydney:

Circular quay, well duh. It must be hard to Sydneysiders to understand how weird it is for the rest of us to sit on the quay by the Rocks and gaze at the bridge and opera house. We’re so used to seeing photographic and other representations of them, the real thing looks somehow… surreal.

The way that the Harbour bridge climbers appear in the afternoon, climbing up the bridge like ants.

The ferries. So fun!

Balmain. The way the ferries stop just at the end of a suburban street. I went for a wander round and it was so relaxed, but it would get you fit walking up those hills. I had a glass of Chardy in the Commercial hotel courtyard and tried to imagine all the old socialistic Nation Review types arguing there way back when. But yes, the area is very trendy now (not the pub, I found it quite unpretentious.)

That big bridge over Darling harbour which slowly rotates, and the control tower looks more like a little garden gazebo than a piece of industrial equipment.

Again on Darling Harbour, that little light ship called Carpentaria.

Pinchgut.

Friendly taxi drivers

Regurgitator with I <3 Hiroshima and New Pants at the Metro. (Using the teenagers as an excuse to revisit my wasted yoof – and the black on black overpainted and gaffa’d decor and the sticky carpet are straight out of the early 80s, as are most of the musical influences.)

Things which are maybe not so interesting/awesome about Sydney:

The pavements. They’re slippery, and the sloping bits at the crossings can be dangerous. I saw two people come to grief on my first walk.

The billions and billions of tacky souvenirs.

The extreme dagginess of the Australiana at tourist traps like Centrepoint tower (although the view from the top is pretty spesh.) There are a bunch of Skywalkers clanking past at intervals; one of the group leaders looks like Daniel Radcliffe, and doesn’t he love himself.

Eateries aren’t quite as varied, cheap and thick on the ground, and the ones at Darling Harbour: Bloodyawful.

The men in front of and behind me at the Metro: Tank (in front) and Fucking Nuisance (behind me).

But on the whole we really loved Sydney. (OMG those buildings! The rocks! the harbour!)… to end on a really good thing: Meeting up with Suz and Tigtog, Suz’s partner & NZ friend and the wonderful Olle for a quick drink at a lovely pub in inner Sydney. (As I said, camera challenged, so no pictures.) It’s great to put faces to names.

I’m out of time.

Comments (0)

  • shula says:

    The Nation Review! God, that takes me back.

  • Caroline says:

    I used to catch the ferry from Birchgrove. I’d walk across the oval to get to the wharf. It all seemed very old fashioned. I’d sometimes meditate on the morning ferry and hear the trains above on the bridge clattering away and be oh so glad not to be on one of them. Hearing their roar above told me that soon we would be pulling into the Quay. Sometimes I’d wish the ferry could get hijacked and just keep ferrying on out through the Heads. I’ll never forget the rude shock of stepping off the ferry at the Quay, to see a banner for the Bulletin with a photograph of Michael Douglas and the caption ‘Greed is Good’. This was the eighties. It was formative in my long held contempt for all those banking- type ‘suits’. I could scarcely believe what I was reading.

    Then I moved to Manly and caught the ferry again. In a big swell, commuters would be literally screaming in terror. Heh! Better than Luna Park. It was such fun to go to work with screaming, terrirfied commuters, who were usually very much more deadpan. I wasn’t scared, I thought it an absolute hoot!

    If you can, the hydrofoil from the Quay to Manly on sunset is sublime. The Sydney skyline verily shrinks into the sunset diminishing into much more manageable proportions.

    Enjoy your stay. I’d like to spend a bit more time there again too. I very much like the Sydney I used to know.

  • Helen says:

    Back in Melbourne now Caroline, getting ready for Monday among the suits.
    Fortunately the people I work with are fun (IT, but not suits)

  • tigtog says:

    It was indeed good to put a face to the name, Helen. We’ll have to do it again the next time we’re within a hundred miles of each other!

  • Helen says:

    Yes indeedy.

  • blue milk says:

    I was just there on the weekend, and ants – that is exactly how people look climbing the bridge.

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