Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Milestone of our Sydney lives

This year, we decided to be brave and actually go somewhere for New Year's Eve. Like, with the kids and stuff. Let me make this clear for you: On New Year's Eve, we decided to take our 3 children and actually leave our house. And our neighborhood. At night. Late. I know--is my tale of valor inspiring you already?

Sydney's NYE fireworks display is spectacular. Each year, more than a million people pack into the city and shorelines of the harbour to see them. We'd never done it, because in previous years we've either been in the States, or I've been pregnant or we've had itty bitty kids. Or we've been wimps. Or all of the above.

A few weeks ago, some friends of ours told us about a spot they go to that doesn't get too overwhelmingly crowded. I'd heard stories before of friends going to the fireworks and it being so packed that they stood for hours and then didn't get home till 3am. Needless to say, we weren't signing up for that.

The nice thing, though, is that Sydney does fireworks at 9pm and midnight. So we decided to go for the earlier ones and then head home. Our spot was near a lovely suburb called Hunter's Hill. It's quite schmancy. I'm told Cate Blanchett lives there, so of course we fit right in.

So we parked our car and took a shuttle bus to a waterside park. All traffic in and out of the area was restricted to residents only. I'd anticipated huge crowds of people and tons of stress (such an optimist--it's one of the things Jason loves most about me), but we took the bus, arrived at the park, found a spot by the water and set up our picnic spot--easy as you please. I kept waiting for some asteroid to hurtle from the heavens to destroy us all, because this was just too easy.
See? Here we are, unscathed. It was a great vantage point too--you can't see it cause my gargantuan melon head is in the way, but the Harbour Bridge is behind us. The optimal view, I'm told, is on the other side of the bridge, near the Opera House. But that's why about a million people go there, and why we opted to stay in the 'burbs. I'm sure Cate would agree.

There was about 12 people in our group, and we just hung out waiting for the 9pm show. The kids ran around, the adults ate and played cards. It was fun to walk around and see what different groups were doing to entertain themselves during the wait. Cricket games, lots of card playing, guitar players, fishing. Here's our friend Matt with Grace--he is one of her favorites:
Finally, the sun started to set! It got a bit chilly with the wind coming off the water.The fireworks were great! Unfortunately I don't have any decent pictures to show you because Grace, who was sitting in my lap at the time, kept grabbing the phone to take her own photos. So they're all a bit blurry. But here's a professional photo of the midnight fireworks, which are quite a bit more showy than what we saw.

Now, that wasn't our view and like I said, those are the midnight fireworks. But still, it was a beautiful display and the kids loved it. And? It was at 9pm, not midnight. Yay!

After that we packed up and headed back to the buses. This was the longest wait of the night, as a lot of folks were going as well. But it was such a festive atmosphere that the wait to get on the bus wasn't bad at all.

There was this one guy, though. There is always this one guy. He led his little group up behind us, and was trying to get ahead of us to get on the bus. And I was all, "Jason! That guy's gonna try to cut in front of us. You need to s that d." (We've been watching 30 Rock lately, and Liz Lemon says that instead of "Shut that down.") So we were like, "Excuse me, we've been waiting here for over half an hour. You need to get in line." And he's all, "Please move toward the buses in an orderly fashion." In this really silly imperious tone of voice. And I was all, "What are you, the bus line captain? Be quiet." See, I can talk like that when I'm with Jason. And the guy was all, fine. And I was all, whatever.

And then we got on the bus. And here is the big finish, the happy ending: We were home by 11pm. I know. I know. And if you think I paused for a moment and reflected on how much my life has changed: that I'd actually be happy to be home by 11 on New Year's Eve, missing the grand finale fireworks show? You'd be wrong. I was asleep just before midnight.

S that D.


  1. Sounds like a lovely evening for all. It would have been nice if Cate had circulated passing out freshly squeezed lemonade. I saw the Sydney celebration on tv and it did looks grand . You remind me of me sometimes. I have been known to correct strangers' behavior . With varying results. But it IS tempting ,isn't it? What do you suppose 2012 has in store for the Hubbarts?

  2. That sounds like a grand time! And not too much hassle even!

    What is it with our family and near-brawling with strangers lately?!? Good on you for confronting his attempts to stealth-cut. A-hole.

    Sometimes you gotta s that d. Love it.

  3. It all sounds most excellent. Really. And sadly, the part that sounded the BEST to me was the getting home and in bed by 11 part. And I'm not ashamed to say it.

  4. We do a similar thing here, which we can do since we live on the West coast: we do "East Coast New Year's Eve." All of us sorry asses with kids and exhaustion get together, have a dinner party, let the kids go wild, and watch CNN so we get the New York feed and the ball drops at 9pm. And then we are home and kids in bed by 10. And I'm in bed by 10:30.