Sydney town, you had me this time. It was our second date. I haven’t fallen like this for a city since Paris – Not Barcelona, not New York, not Melbourne. There were those three years spent with Edinburgh and I shan’t lie about that. That was first independent love. This is like a re-awakening of that first time when I felt seduced by the visceral constitution of a city, where I hit the ground running and wanted to disappear immediately into the labyrinth pattern of streets, to follow the of histories laid out in the layers of stone upon stone; to blend and merge with the smell of the air. Sydney town, famous for its beaches, its nightlife and its modern Ozzy confidence. The harbour bridge that stretches like the back of a Stegosaurus joining the north and the south. The Opera House, with the creamy gold scales of a dragon just landed and happy to lie at the bottom of town. Two crazed parrots stealing sugar packet from my saucer and ripping it apart in a desperate frenzy for a sugar high. Dining out, the mode du jour would seem to be tapas – done so well. Exquisite blends of tastes and the best pork belly EVER in the well aired Victorian Room, teaming with tiny dapper men and even tinier lady fashionistas, as if the city types want to dispel the image of brawny surfies and Amazon blondes. The blokes headed out to a King’s Cross pub to watch the rugby and my ladies took me on a whirlwind tiki tour of the northern inner city suburbs. We fetched up at a point looking out at the harbour bridge, with Luna Park to the left, looking like a tiny Constructa Straws creation, ferries floating in and out blinding with fairy lights, the sleeping Opera dragon under his bridge. And then a large, orange moonrise under the bridge just above the far rise of city buildings in the east. Oops.
It was a perfect trip. There was quite a swell at North Curl Curl as I played ‘Where’s Wally’ from the polenta-like sand, looking for my friend among the black dots, sitting like fleas on the sea. We all laughed and talked of our dreams for ourselves and the world in general because that’s what you do when you feel energised by people of like-minds, spurring each other on to achieve our potential as parents, creative spirits and status quo-challengers. It was the first time in a long time that I began to imagine myself living somewhere else, asking what it would take to transfer the family – even for just a few months. It’s easy to get stuck where you are, not that home is a bad place to get stuck, but there is just so much world out there. I had thought that National Geographic and BBC Discovery Channels would satisfy that part of me until our wee birds all fly the coop and the man and I can go a-wandering. But to really engage with a place, you’ve gotta live there for a while. And Sydney really beckoned. Reality is a dull mistress and I will not obey her yet. I will keep dreaming, plan a gig over there, the man already has workshops in place. More long weekends, a week, a month, THAT really is a possibility. Each time we will bring back more creative inspiration and that will infuse our lives here in smaller, lonelier, emptier New Zealand. It wasn’t long before I began to submerge under her dark waters again, we are the yin to Australia’s bright yang. But I’m happy to swap the arrogant daring of the bright and raucous Australian bird life for the more mellifluous and muted sheen of our feathered treasures! And the welcoming waiata at Auckland airport is one classy way to enter the country. Ah, we go away to appreciate coming home again. I just want to experience that exchange more often. Wake up and feel that youthful drive again. It was a perfect trip.