June 14th 2016, Sydney, Australia
Australia means silence and peace for me. Worriless mornings as this one. A short walk in the morning breeze to the Darling Harbour. By the way, here, at night there are Laser-Dragon Water projections, which, indeed, are very similar to the ones in Singapore.
It’s Saturday morning, the terraces are just opening, the water in the Darling Harbor are mirroring the glass buildings around, the pigeons are sitting in the sun and walking by the tables hoping to steal some food, but there’s nobody here yet. We stop somewhere on the left side of the harbor, before The Australian National Maritime Museum, right in front of the Novotel and Ibis Hotels, facing the wheel looking like the London Eye. Sun is still shy, but the reflections in the clear water are bliss.
Darling Harbor – and Darling, Darling staaand, by me, oh yeee, stand, by meee! Oooohhhh staaaand by me! – I sing in my mind thinking about…Berlin! He knows why.
I love to be in the silence of huge cities before they “wake up”, seeing them get to life over breakfast by the ocean.
Passed the bridge towards the city and started some sustained walking up to the Sydney Harbor Bridge, looking at the somehow familiar Australian urban architecture, admiring the novelty elements, enjoying the sun, the ships, the water, the lighthouse, the countless sails.
On the other side of the bridge bordering the Cockle Bay from the Darling Harbor is a complex comprising of bars, restaurants, shopping places, tourist agencies advertising cruises, whale watching. Wait a second! Whale watching? Totally in! What time, good, we’ll be here. The agency has a paper saying “This is a great day to see the whales”. So excited! Two hours left.
Cupcakes with blue crabs and green turtles tiny and sweet decoration, The Sydney Markets, wooden wide docks, the beautiful sun in this early Australian winter, the Lamborghini looking boats, my shiny hair, silver stork sculptures fountain in front of The Cockle Bay Whare.
Walking, walking, walking.
Now on Sussex Street.
Many of you ask me how I remember all these details. Well, I write as I look at the pictures – and I take a lot of pictures. Yesterday I discovered one new education institution (I keep it a secret for now) I am thinking about applying for. There are 21 days left. It made me think a lot about it and I even had a somehow related dream last night. It’s a 2 year program and that means it’s not short. It means tying me to Qatar. Which I don’t mind at all.
I wrote the question “Should I apply for … program?” on a paper and put it in my T-shirt, close to my heart. And continued my life waiting for a sign. Well, what I’m trying to say is that I found a picture from Sydney with one word, which is exactly the name of the university…
This happened to me before – many times. I had signed up for Work and Travel in US and I had picked the location and employer based on pictures. I chose the bigges hotel and the brightest one. It turned out to be Lake Placid, New York, but I still had some doubts, I was not sure I would get there, if this is the right thing to do, I was at a crossroad in my life, had just destroyed (total damage) my mom’s car in a stupid accident, I was in a wrong relationship – wrong relationships, university life was really low and my life was just not going the right direction.
One sunny afternoon I was walking on Victoria Avenue and stopped at the Kretzulescu Library, next to the Kretzulescu Church. That is a place where I often found peace of soul which I so much needed. As a parenthesis here, you might say I have a crazy life right now, because it’s very public through this blog and social media, but my previous life – as I like to call it – was very tumultuous, contradictory, by the edge, dangerous, with shadows and demons, rebellious against the world and many times against myself. Never spent there less than one hour. The idea is that, like never, I chose an album on skiing resorts and opened it randomly. Guess where? Right at the page showing the hotel where I spent what I call the summer of my life.
Needed to listen to Caruso sang by soft female voice to calm myself from the agitation I got from remembering all this. I must explain I had a very good life, I had everything, I was going up in my early career, I was in the cultural life and the nightlife of the capital, I was doing charity work, studying law and working at the same time, I was there when something big happened, I got invited everywhere, had lots of men sizzling around me. But I had my path to go, my ways, my deepest darkness and utmost light. Most of the times they came at the same time and I felt like an ant in a huge world. Kept going always. Maybe this is where I got my strength from. I’m not afraid of the storm, I am the storm.
We keep walking on the streets and stop – inevitably – in a UGG Boots Australia shop. In my opinion these are the ugliest and least gracious shoes on the planet, but I take a look at their furs and I’m attracted by some rabbit fur and red leather smooth gloves. I spend quite some time with baby boots, which I will buy for sure, in different prints – roses, animal print, shattered paint. I put one on my belly, but there’s such a long way to that. So long until that small spirit will choose me.
Pass by another travel agency and step in, leaving my friends behind asking if I can take a picture with their amazing wall representing a stylized map with big letters saying “Sydney, what’s your adventure?”
Carla Zampatti huge ad on a wall outside inspires woman power. Black and white, clear cuts, big, square shoulders.
The Sydney Tower between tall buildings and a bombardment of 11s in many forms. I’m thinking of D. and our meeting and when this 11 festival started. Well, it started when I was born, but that’s a too long story.
The psycho killer story in the gay pub is hitting the first pages of the newspapers. Could someone tell what was going to happen the following month – the attacks in Istanbul airport, in Dhaka, in Baghdad, in Medina, almost each day? I’m sure there are people who could. Kent Street 333. Numbers and subtle messages.
The dried leaves are sweeping the street where an old SUV is parked with the cover of the spare wheel saying “Which way today?”. Pure me.
We’re in The Rocks, the historical area of Sydney. It was established soon after the formation of the colony, back in 1788. It’s pleasant to walk by the old terrace houses, looking like downgraded London houses, with the streets opening to the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Lord Nelson Hotel, Sydney’s oldest hotel, since 1842 and a short stop on the square rocks by the park to look at the harbor and at the residents either jogging or…practicing yoga.
Later that day, somewhere on a speedboat in Sydney, following whales
It’s time for the highlight of the day, the two hour speed boat whale watching time!
Back in the Darling Harbor to take the boat. Soon we are at sea (oh well, at ocean) and the adorable whales start appearing. Sometimes 2, sometimes up to 4. They jump and sneeze and throw the water up in a waterfall, they sink back leaving a huge whirlpool and everyone on the boat cheers with joy.
Right before going back, at sunset, we go to see them do some flips, somewhere in a further place. It’s time to say goodbye to the kindness of Sydney, to the colored lights of the night, of the whales, of the gardens and also time to reflect at dusk (listening to The Prayer – Andrea Bocellli and Celine Dion as I write this).
I was laughing at people seeing the one in each relationship, but I don’t want to waste my time with any random guy who’s not the one…Funny, right? Contradictory. Queen of Contrasts.
Want to fly straight to Bucharest after the flight. As I said, this month will either cure me or kill me.
June 15th, 5AM, landing from Sydney
Apparently, we’re delayed and then the gate given by air traffic control was wrong (WTF), so more delay and the system does not recognize my request to leave the country. No big deal, it’s not meant for me to go today, I need to solve what I need to solve in Doha (!!!). At least, I can sleep.
54098 km flown…this month so far.
In a nutshell: Sydney is a great place and although it’s a too long flight for me and this will be the last time I will have requested it, I hope I will return one day. There are so many things to do and places to see. Just to give some examples, The Hyde Park Barracks ($10) – an UNESCO World Heritage site, opened in 1819, where around 50.000 convicts passed in around 30 year timeframe, Museum of Sydney ($10), trying the Lyrebird Pass – fly in an electrical glass bottom skyway, walk in the rainforest, trying the Cockatoo Pass – experience aboriginal culture, Australian Museum, walk in The Sydney Olympic Park, the Jazz Nights at the Opera Bar Café, tan at Bondi Beach, attend the a Boat Festival – there are more, all around April, see…Vivid Sydney 2017 – May/June?
Tip: Search for the Souvenir Edition Vivid Sydney (A3 format) which tells you all the activities available in every day of the festival, the shows, the locations, the timings, comprises maps and pictures, prices, guiding for transportation means from bus to sea plane, sports, musicals, family activities.6