Monday, November 16, 2009
I was lying last week on an inordinately comfortable chaise longue in my friend Kevin's flat in Pythagorasstraat in Amsterdam. The rain was falling softly in that lovely European way onto the enormous skylight which showed nothing but an expanse of gray. A few bedraggled blackbirds huddled on the branches of the fir tree outside the window and rivulets of water ran down the leaves of Kevin's balcony garden. I sipped from the mug of Earl Grey tea which had just been placed within arm's reach on a beautiful side table and felt pleasantly full with my breakfast of toast and perfectly poached eggs: all was civilised and just so.
And then I suddenly remembered. I don't live in Europe anymore. I live in Australia. This was just an interlude, a sidebar, a cunning distraction. Within the week I would be back in Sydney. It would be hot. It would be hell. I'd have no friends again.
I threw a despairing look at Kevin and began, once more, to complain bitterly about my lot. He sighed (after all, he was about to become a wise old man of 50) and threw out a challenge.
"I want you" he said, "to write to me every week and tell me three things you like about Sydney."
I spluttered into my Earl Grey. "THREE things a week. Are you kidding?"
We negotiated heavily. After all, I was coming from the three-things-a-year angle...
Agreement was eventually reached in Schiphol Airport's rather glum (but still gorgeously European) bar (they gave us peanuts in a glass with a spoon: how Dutch is that...). I would write about ONE thing I like about Sydney at least ONCE a week.
This blog is my attempt to fulfill my half-hearted (and by the end of negotiations half-drunken) promise to Kevin to write about "the things I like about Sydney". Starting next time. Honest.
Enormous apologies up-front to all Australians and all Sydneysiders: really, it's not you, it's me....