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Sydney, NSW - A sort of homecoming- 14th Jan 2003

Posted by Edmond on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 · Comments (0)

The Royal Botanic Gardens and observing the native wildlife. Mrs Macquarie's chair and views of the harbour and the city. Opera House and Circular Quay. The Rocks and Harbour Bridge.

Sydney, NSW, Australia:
1. Royal Botanical Gardens
2. Mrs Macquarie's Chair
3. Opera House and the Circular Quay
4. The Rocks and Harbour Bridge
NSW Tourist Board

Although this is my home town, I could not resist writing something about Sydney for the benefit of those who live outside of Sydney and since I live abroad now, I could not help feeling more like a tourist than a resident of Sydney. Even the backlog of mail could not cure the amnesia I was suffering from being away from home so long. Despite this, I still felt obligated to catch up with old friends and work colleagues just to let them know I am still alive and perhaps to remind myself of the life I had before I left Sydney.

Hence I chose the title "A Sort of Homecoming", a reference from a song by U2 about coming home, about rebuilding relationships and rediscovering roots after leaving home and (perhaps) being exiled in another country and, more importantly, moving on after losing loved ones. For the hardcore fans and biographers of U2 out there, the scene of a nuclear winterscape in the song may not accurately reflect my personal situation, but the emotions of homecoming more than make up for this anomaly.

I planned to spend this afternoon walking around the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Circular Quay area. It had been sunny for the whole week, so I was looking forward to taking some good photos. Starting from the Macquarie Street entrance. I walked around the Palm house, its pyramid shape a reminder of the famous entrance of the Louvre in Paris, but on a slightly smaller scale. This was followed on by the Middle Garden, where Flying Foxes hang from the trees sleeping - a surprising find for such a cosmopolitan area and emphasises the amount of native wildlife that can be found in the parks round the city. As they were hanging high up around the treetops, I had to use a 300mm zoom lense to capture the action.

I left the gardens to Mrs Macquaries's Chair to take in the view of Sydney Cove, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and Port Jackson. Since the tide was rising fast, I decided to take the chance and stand briefly at an old disused boat ramp, not needing to be reminded of the excellent views from this area.

It was early dusk on return to the Botanic Gardens, and as the Flying foxes were preparing to take flight, Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorrikeets were returning to roost. These birds have become more and more common around these parts, perhaps drawn by the abundance of food and shelter offered in this gardens. Like the Flying Foxes, these birds tend to settle around the treetops. I listened to their chorus of screeches, letting the once familiar sounds sink back in.

Although it was bright, some foxes in the Middle Garden have starting flying around, perhaps warming up for the long night ahead. But most of the foxes were more than content to hang from their roosts, although many were starting to stretch out their wings. As it was still going to be bright until 7pm, it would be a long wait to see a whole flock take flight from their roosts, so I left, disappointed that I would have to wait until my next return which could be another 6-12 months.

I left the Royal botanic gardens and proceeded to finish the rest of my walk around the Opera House, the Circular Quay and the Rocks area. Although I wanted to spend some time admiring the sleek, modern lines of the Opera House, I felt more drawn to the atmosphere of the area below. Here, I could not help noticing the outgoing nature of Australians relaxing along the bars and cafes lined next to each other as I left the Opera House and as I arrived in The Rocks area, a simple image that sets Australia apart from the world. An image that has always surprised myself when I compare this to the drab and dull atmosphere I will return to back in London.

I left the city feeling more and more reassured of the bright spirit that surrounds the city. Even if it doesn't have some of the interesting history of much older cities around the world, Sydney presents a more livelier and cheerful atmosphere that no other city has, not to mention a lifestyle worth dying for.

Edmond, 2002