05.12.2008 - 03.01.2009 30 °C
What were we thinking.
12 hours. 30 degrees Celsius. 3 bottles of wine, each.
It was always gonna end in embarrassment.
But let me explain. You find yourself in Sydney, on New Years Eve, on an immaculately blue and cloudless summer's day in a city that prides itself on it's end-of-year knees up and light show, carrying two eskies laden with funky grape juice, sitting in front of that bridge, with great company and alongside several hundred like-minded revellers...
… if all that doesn't excuse serious red wine spillage on a friend's pristine white top, or adopting mock Mancunian accents several decibels above shouting, or parading the leftover food contents of an esky (now drained of booze) in front of a bus load of celebrators, or wondering out loud why everyone else on said bus looked so damn miserable...
...I don't know what does.
If pictures tell a thousand words, then this little lot sum up my 31st December 2008 perfectly. Spectacularly blurry. See if you can fill in the gaps, cause I sure as Vegemite can't do it for you.
In addition to the stills above, I've got somewhere several minutes of video - different sections of which were shot progressively throughout the course of NYE. It all ends with a nice long ten minute sequence of bangs, whoops and exploding light as Sydney's harbour erupts come 00:00 on 01/01/09. Technical difficulties prevent me from sharing it with you here, but I may be persuaded to persevere in getting the thing online if anyone is interested.
First though, I've got to summon up the courage to watch the video again - I've still a lingering feeling of cringworthy terror that I may have added 'commentary' to the video in my slightly tipsy state.
My time in Australia, made up of two different Sydney-shaped eleven day lumps sandwiched either side of a week's worth of Perth filling, was not really travelling.
Unlike the previous two months, I wasn't changing location every other day. I enjoyed the total luxury of staying with friends rather than switching between random guesthouses.
A friend from back home, currently on his own half year-long walkabout, recently wrote about how quickly a state of constant travelling becomes the norm. Any event that breaks this new pattern, such as staying put in a city you already know (especially amongst friends from your pre-travelling life), can be a bit of a jolt at first.
It was a lightening quick and heady four weeks, during which I managed to gain weight (five whole kilograms, mainly in calamari and Budvar) and lose hair (for heat loss efficiency, I shaved my head), witness first-hand the Aussie's last layer of cricketing superiority sandblasted away (thanks to one Jean-Paul Duminy), and generally live the life of Riley. Or whatever name Riley's antipodean cousin goes by.
But I just have a feeling that it may all be as dull as ditch water to anyone but me, so please forgive me if this is my one and only Australia post.
Here's a huge big massive thanks to (amongst others) Al, Mr and Mrs D, Fendi, Animal, Denusha, Magic, Charlie and Thea and Chloe and family, Shiv, Vin and Raenu and Rohan, Gaj, Viv and hubby, Deano, Zoz and Matt and family, Jordy, Isis, Jessie, Den, Angie, Jen, Jules, Shamila, Tulloch Wines, Clarke's Point, that Asian restaurant in Parramatta with the extra special calamari...
...but most of all Mano, Aunty and Uncle Kumar and the extended Melbourne crew. I owe you big time. Living with you all for a month was too much fun.