Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Love letter to the city of Sydney

Dear Sydney,

How do I love you? Let me count the ways:

1. Inside your magnificent harbour, your sheltered beaches are shaded by gum trees and shallow waves lick gently at soft sand. Boats bob and set sail in the calm waters of inlets and bays, while ferries chug languidly from point to point.

2. Outside your magnificent harbour, along the rocky Pacific coast, your beaches are crashed by ferocious breakers and surfers float on their boards and wait, wait, long into the sunset for that last, longed-for exhilerating rip curl.

3. Your terraced houses of Paddington and Darlinghurst, with their pretty ironwork balconies, are cute, compact and very desirable. Palm and jacaranda trees line the narrow cobbled streets and trumpet-shaped peachy flowers drop onto pavements.

4. Your Federation houses of Randwick and Clovelly resemble Edwardian villas, slumbering in sleepy suburbs amid parakeet-song, the symphony of cicadas, and the splash of a thousand swimming pools.

5. Your Opera House and Bridge are icons to the world. Back-lit by fireworks exploding with Aussie confidence and optimism on New Year’s Eve, the spectacle brings smiles of wonder all round and tears to my eyes.

6. Your outdoor cinema in Centennial Park forces the film to become the side show. Lying on my bean bag as the sun goes down I watch beyond the screen as the dusky air turns pink and your orange city lights wink to the horizon. Huge fruit bats, black against the sky, flap silently overhead on the balmy evening breeze, becoming temporary citizens as they roost for the night.

7. Your Centennial Park in the dark, where a walk home is scented by fresh, astringent ever-present eucalyptus, the warm air alive with night creatures, their rhythmic chirping and mysterious rustling; and the ponds resounding to the piping, primeval frog chorus.

8. But there’s just one thing… the heat and violence of your sun is like a demon on my shoulder, difficult to cope with and likely to cause an argument. Factor 50 ruins my clothes and makes my face shiny. However, all is forgiven when in the late afternoon, your sun mellows and sinks a degree. Your light turns golden, slants through the leaves and sparkles seductively on the water.

9. Cafes, Cab Sav, markets, parkland, sailing, coastal walks, shops, sushi, swimming, wildlife, bars, Bondi!

Sydney, will our long-distant relationship ever last? No worries!

Love from Catherine