Things I like about Sydney No. 39: Circular Quay.
It has been quite some while since I have found anything I've liked about Sydney as the (few) followers of my blog may have noticed. November flitted past without a single thing tickling my fancy. It rained perpetually and Sydney was dismal in all respects. We managed to get away for a week to stay in Berrara, three and a bit hours down the coast, in Karilyn and Tanja's lovely home from home but even there it rained...and rained...and rained. I did spot this in their garden though, on one of our three sunny days...
...an Eastern Spinebill which served to remind me of the amazing hummingbirds I saw in Arizona when touring there with the National Theatre and Hamlet. Berrara also gives me an excuse to put a photograph of a kangaroo on this blog - otherwise there'll never be one. They don't exactly flourish in Sydney after all. In Berrara this mother and her Joey were grazing the lawn outside the house along with a whole pack of their relatives just as dusk descended.
Apparently a group of kangaroos is either called a troop or a mob. These were definitely a mob - rather than backing away as I approached with my camera they stood tall and glared. I was the one intimidated into retreating slowly and rather sheepishly.
Therefore I am happy to say that as I type Daniel is in the kitchen busy preparing tonight's dinner - Kangaroo Fillet in a Green Peppercorn Sauce with homemade chips, asparagus and green beans.
We are fond of the odd bit of kangaroo for dinner. As you can see from the packaging above (Gourmet Game indeed) it is 98 per cent fat free. Indeed, you search in vain for an ounce of fat on your fillet - must be all that bouncing around. High in protein, low in saturated fat, high in iron, gluten free and only 10 dollars for three enormous fillets. What's not to love? And as Greenpeace has urged Aussies to substitute roo for beef in their diet to help reduce land clearing and the release of methane gas from farting cattle I feel that I can only be doing good by eating a bit of Skippy every now and then. Judging by the super cheap price of beef and the shelves and shelves and shelves of it in supermarkets Greenpeace and I are fighting a losing battle.
Australians are generally finding kangaroo hard to stomach - it would be like the British eating bulldog or perhaps lion and unicorn. Over here we can eat both the national symbols - emu is readily available as well.
Woolworths, our nearest crap supermarket doesn't stock kangaroo but Coles, our second nearest crap supermarket, does...(An aside: ALL Australian supermarkets are crap - how I long for a Sainsburys or a Waitrose. Somewhere where saying "Do you have any Bulgur Wheat?" isn't interpreted as swearing unnecessarily).
I digress. What do I like about Sydney this week? Still not a lot, which leaves me with the bloody obvious - Circular Quay.
Circular Quay. Where the Opera House is. Where the bridge is. Where the ferry terminals are. Where the Museum of Modern Art perches next to the Rocks, Sydney's oldest enclave. Where every tourist in the world comes if they come to Sydney. What they talk about when they say that Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. What they mean when they talk about world class Sydney. From where Oprah Winfrey is broadcasting to the world next week (and all Australians, including Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister, seem to have their tongues firmly lodged up Oprah's arse as a result: "Ooooh, the boost to tourism!").
Last night, Daniel and I met at the Opera Bar (spookily located next to the Opera House) for some fish and chips and a bottle of sparkling wine (unlike Australians I refuse to call sparkling wine champagne or vice versa). Here we are a couple of hours later.
It was infinitely preferable staring up into the pink-tinged sky to watch the flying foxes make their nightly exodus from the Botanic Gardens in search of food to watching the execrable fashions being paraded around the Opera Bar by Sydneysiders and their tourist friends. On the other hand, exclaiming and lamenting about people's dress sense was great fun. As was watching the inevitable slow decay of office workers' sobriety as the evening wore on and they, straight from the office, still hadn't managed a meal but had managed schooners full of beer or multiple bottles of chardonnay. The weeping, the swaying, the wailing, the high heels breaking, the make-up running, the suits crumpling. One man was so distraught he ran from the bar clutching his left ear and screaming.
In the midst of all these suits letting their hair down in the open air in one of the world's most beautiful harbours at the end of the week (it was Friday night, who can blame them) was a poor girl standing in front of a microphone apparently singing along to the music a DJ was playing. I'm not sure if she was extemporising over tracks that already had vocals or whether she was the vocals. Either way, you couldn't hear her for love nor money over the cacophony of 500 people liberating themselves for the weekend from the shackles of capitalism. Daniel and I munched away at our flathead fillets and chips whilst watching her mouth open wide and then shut, wide and then shut and her right hand perform funny actions at the side of her head which made her look like a rabbit grooming its ears.
Here's a gratuitous picture of the bridge and of the City because it was a particularly stunning sky last night and even my iphone with no flash camera managed to get something out of "one of the most beautiful sights in the world" (Oprah, copyright 2010).
And I'll leave you with two contrasting pictures of kangaroo. Goodnight.