Sunday, August 15, 2010

the city

Night skyline from Darling Harbour. Sydney, Australia. (2010).

And ten years to the day, I return to Sydney.

While the city is still undoubtedly world-class, the circumstances are different this time and, consequently, so is the feel.

I see the Opera House here and the Harbour Bridge there, but the awestruck wow of the backpacker from a decade ago is replaced instead by a quiet appreciation of the spectacle under the night's lights ... as if all of this is simply as it should be, with nothing more and nothing less.

Maybe years of travel have blunted my enthusiasm. Maybe I'm just getting old.

I'm eating late dinner with Linda, my old roommate from Lund and native Sydneysider, under the stars at the Opera Bar. Being in the thick of Australian winter, it's a chilly 6C outside, but it doesn't matter much to me.

It's just nice to catch up with a friend that I've missed ... to talk about life in the 13 months since I last saw her, and the hope for the future.

Looking out over Sydney's magnificent harbour, I think of the distances travelled just to be here ... and the distances left to go.

Maybe there's a wow in this after all.

Linda at the Opera Bar. Sydney, Australia. (2010).

Sydney Harbour. Sydney, Australia. (2010).

Rainbow Lorikeet. Sydney, Australia. (2010).

The Bondi faithful. Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia. (2010).

Koala at the Taronga Zoo. Sydney, Australia. (2010).

Tasmanian Devil. Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia. (2010).

Meerkats! ... keeping warm on a winter's day. Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia. (2010).

Best view in Sydney. Sydney, Australia. (2010).

Sunday, August 08, 2010

time machine

Coconut palm. South Mission Beach, Australia. (2010).

I leave western Canada on a rainy Monday night ... and arrive in tropical north Queensland late on a Wednesday afternoon. Long flight, maybe, but what I really think is that I've discovered the elusive secret of time travel!

Julian is there to pick me up from the airport of the future in Cairns. I've come all this way for his wedding and, somehow, it seems fitting that I arrive one year to the day I left Sweden, given that he was one of my closest friends during starfish and waffles' European adventures.

"It's good to see you," I say, smiling, while shaking his hand.

Jetlag or otherwise, the next few days are a bit of a blur. Still, I recall plenty of friends, family, and food ... and of course the beautiful ceremony on the beach at Etty Bay.

After the wedding commotion, I ask Hanna, the happy bride, how she's doing.

"I'm enjoying being married to Julian so much," she beams, "... this is even better than marrying him yesterday." No way anyone could wipe the smile off her face on this day.

And there it is. For all of life's big events, funny how it's the non-descript moments of such splendid realization, which seem to resonate most.

When it comes to happiness like this, may time move just a little slower.

Down the aisle. Etty Bay, Australia. (2010).

The happy couple. Etty Bay, Australia. (2010).

Bridesmaid parasol portrait. Etty Bay, Australia. (2010).

Morning in the tropics. Cairns, Australia. (2010).