Monday, 10 June 2013

Why I keep falling in love with Sydney

 By Nila Sweeney

Amazing Sydney

It’s Friday and I was feeling good about my progress this week. It’s been a week of high drama, but the weekend was only a few hours away. I was looking forward to the well-earned break.

Then I found out that it’s a long weekend and everyone has already made their grand plans on how to spend the next three days. I’ve been so wrapped up with work that I didn’t realise I’ve actually got three days to play, not two.

Dang, I haven't planned anything. I frantically searched for last minute deals, as you do, even if you know how futile would be to think you can make a last minute arrangement to leave town.

I remembered seeing some cheap flights in my inbox and briefly contemplated booking a trip to Queenstown, New Zealand. Maybe Gold Coast. Anywhere. 

Then I realised Joe was scheduled to work some this weekend so going out of town was not an option. That's when I remembered that the Vivid Light Show was still on. I’ve heard about it and saw some amazing photos but haven’t paid close attention to the event. Then the phone rang. Joe.

Goodie. He wanted to go see the lights and so did I. Done. Friday night sorted out. I made a mental note to arrange something for Saturday, Sunday and Monday as well to make the most of the long weekend.

Sydney explodes

There’s nothing like a mild and clear Friday night to bring the whole population of Sydney out to the Opera House. I’ve never seen so many people jostling to see the display on the famous sails. Children, senior citizens, families, out-of-towners and people who didn’t plan their long weekends have all flocked along the harbour.

Sydney Opera House, Vivid Festival

Sydney definitely knew how to put on a great show and this was just one example of its brilliance. The way the projected images flow with the music was simply stunning. The Sydney Opera House provided the perfect canvass for the mind-blowing displays.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

As the Sydney Harbour Bridge watched quietly next door, a giant ship slowly made its way. I could see camera flashes twinkle in its cabins as it moved out of the harbour.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

From a distance, I could see Luna Park with that taunting look. I wasn’t about to succumb to it, so I returned my attention to the ongoing display of lights and colour at the Customs House, the buildings along the harbour and then back to the star attraction of them all: the Sydney Opera House.

Somehow Joe managed to find a place to set up the tripod for my camera. It wasn’t easy, as people were pushing hard behind me to get that perfect shot. I tried using my phone camera to see if it can capture the display. Not even close. I was glad to have a ‘proper’ camera to use.

By the time the set up was complete, I was already standing in the front row. I was ready for action. I checked all the settings. So far so good. I took my first shot. 

Whaaat? How did that hand get there? As soon as I thought I had the perfect shot, a head, a hand or a camera suddenly appeared on the viewfinder. 

I started to feel a bit frustrated, then I realised, I actually don’t have exclusive rights to this space. Everyone has the same right as I do to enjoy the show. So I waited patiently until the next cycle started and the people with offending heads and hands have moved out of the way.

Finally I had my chance. Knowing that the vacated space would soon be taken by others, I frantically took as many shots that I could manage.

Sydney Opera House, Vivid Festival
Customs House

After 10 minutes of snapping madly at the display, I decided that I've taken enough photos. Time to enjoy the show. That’s when I noticed a little girl trying desperately to squeeze in to have a look. My heart just melted. So we offered her family our space. It was time to move on to the next location.

Darling Harbour. Joe and I arrived just after the fireworks display but we were told there was another show within half an hour. We decided to wait as Joe traded tips with another photographer.

Darling Harbour, Sydney

The water display was different, but was equally impressive. The crowd were a bit more subdued, but it was still a large audience.  There were also a few street performers, which added to the party atmosphere.

After briefly losing Joe (I thought he was right behind me), it was time to go and have dinner. I was kinda glad we didn't have much planned this weekend. The activity tonight has given me fresh ideas on how we can enjoy Sydney even more. 

It rekindled my deep love for the place. 

As we walked towards Town Hall to catch our train, I can’t help but feel grateful to be in this city where everyone could enjoy amazing shows like this one for free. 

There's no other place I'd rather be stuck on a long weekend than here in gorgeous Sydney.

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