New Years in Sydney is a bucket list item for many. Despite my ambivalence for large mob scenes, it has long been on my to-do list as well. It takes 12 months to prepare this world renowned 12 minute show. I am excited but can’t figure out how 1.6 people are going to cram into the area surrounding the bridge and opera house to enjoy the much anticipated, spectacular show. We know crowd management is a concern and Jeff made an outstanding choice to buy a seat (aka-patch of grass) to see the fireworks from “A Lawn with a View” in the Royal Botanic Gardens right in front of the Sydney Opera House. We check out the map a few days before the 31st and are stunned with the choice real estate we will have access to on New Year’s Eve.
We were warned that they are very strict about security and what comes into the seating area. Toward that end, we brought very little other than the dress, camera and the smallest of tripods. We arrive at 7 pm to join a very long queue. Security barely glanced at my backpack but I am not one to flout rules. We pick up our dinner boxes and bottle of water which were much more gourmet than we expected. Claiming a small unoccupied patch of glass with our paper thin beach towels we purchased at the flea market, Jeff begins to check lighting taking test photos. Some jerk behind us, tells Jeff he can’t stand the whole time and if he complains, we will be asked to leave. Jeff asks a security guard what the protocol is and is informed that we may stand or sit as we wish. Rather than argue with Mr. Self-Important behind us, Jeff finds a lovely family who welcome us to join them for the festivities. Time flies with this happy, welcoming crew who make the time pass so quickly that I am surprised to need to change into the dress for the 9 pm short family show which is good practice for the main event. At 10:40 there is another mini-show and by midnight we are excited to count down for the real deal.
For me, I get to sit with a glass of champagne and revel in the best firework display I have ever experienced. It is a delight and over far too quickly despite being long past my usual bed time. If I had concerns about getting back to hotel safely over a mile away, they were completely unfounded. The mass of people swarmed in a smooth and orderly fashion through the streets heading toward our respective homes for the night. The largest issue that I had was not using the port a potty before exiting the park. With a one and half mile trek back I was in serious trouble. Given the flood of people, most businesses closed their toilets during the park’s exodus. I was fortunate that a yogurt shop we had stopped at a day ago was in the process of cleaning their toilet. The janitor took pity on me and allowed me to use the facilities. By 1:30 we were nestled back in our Chinatown apartment with a perfect start to 2015. If you find yourself anywhere near this part of the world during the holiday season, the world’s first New Year Eve is not to be missed. It is worth the hype!
When we woke the next morning, it was odd to realize that New Year’s Eve festivities hadn’t even started back at home!
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