1.1.12

Happy New Year!

New Years Eve, so much hype, so much expectation. You always feel compelled to have "plans", to be somewhere, doing something. The night (and next day) seem to hold so much meaning, for many people who would laugh in the face of any other superstition. Regardless of my cynicism though, I feel the same compulsion. I didn't really want to do much, but had a few options, none of which jumped out at me. Until the eleventh hour when my lovely friend procured tickets to the VIP area at Dawes Point, right on the water at Sydney Harbour, next to the bridge. Prime viewing location. My first time venturing out into the big crowds of NYE in a long time, as I had avoided them in years prior. Unfortunately we had to do battle with a huge crush of people to get through to the entrance of of the VIP area but once we were inside it was great.

Being really in the thick of it this year made me realise that it is a bit of a tourist attraction, as we jostled our way through the crowd I saw lots of tourists and heard lots of accents, and forgive me for making the assumption here that they weren't all migrants! New Years Eve in Sydney is a pretty big event. I guess it is rather large anywhere, and having been nowhere else for NYE I have nothing to compare it to, but I think it is pretty special being one of the first in the world for the new year to roll around and see the big bangs. Being summer for our NYE probably makes it comparatively attractive too, drinking in the sun into the long afternoon is such a lovely way to see out the year.

The spot we had was great, and as much as you can say that once you've seen fireworks once you've seen them all, it really is special being right underneath the huge display that the Sydney midnight fireworks provide. I'm very grateful to my friend for giving me the opportunity to experience the fireworks from close up once in my life and it is an experience that I will never forget. It was definitely one of my best NYE experiences ever and a fantastic way to usher in the new year. The only downside was the music, and listening to Hi-5's Charli who seemed to be MCing.

Unfortunately I only had my iPhone with me as I was unsure of the crowds so didn't want to take my X100 in, but the grainy photos will at least give some idea of the lovely view I had.

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I think Sydney is a great location to experience NYE. But unless you have tickets to some kind of private viewing location, then be prepared to deal with a lot of people, though that is probably true of anywhere. There are other alternatives however, like last year I watched the fireworks from the family-friendly location of Blackwattle Bay, and while it doesn't have the wow-factor of being so close to the bridge, you still get to see most of the display and it's a good spot and not too crowded.

My goal for 2012 is to be experiencing NYE from somewhere new. Not sure yet where though. Any suggestions? (this is almost a rhetorical question though as I don't think many people are actually reading this) I hope my few readers had a fabulous NYE though and wish them the best of everything for the new year.

A post script to this post: I just found this link to more information about the theme of the night (which puzzled me in my rather tipsy state last night I must say). And watching the video of Clover Moore, something else twigged my memory, she mentioned arrests - I was surprised last night at how well behaved everyone was. There were a LOT of people and the streets were full of people who were, for the most part, very drunk. There was a huge line up for Wynyard station and Town Hall station had lines too, but it was all quite reasonable and well behaved. I was surprised, as I am sometimes ashamed at the uncontrolled display of drunken violence we often see on our streets. That said, the whole city was crawling with cops, perhaps they locked the offenders up before I saw them! I felt quite safe for the whole evening, even when I was battling through a SEA of people. Maybe my time in Japan helped me become better accustomed to crowds or perhaps my pre-drinks gave me some courage :D

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