Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dec 31 2011 - New Year is Happier in Sydney

Hipsters will be prosecuted!!
Sydney takes its New Years celebrations seriously - and unlike a destination such as New York City - it seems to tell visitors "bring it on". NYC tries its best to discourage New Years Eve revelers: you have to get there mid-afternoon and stand in the sobering freezing cold for hours just to watch a ball move a meter in 10 seconds.

The "kids" 9:00 fireworks
Sydney has 9 choreographed fireworks displays lasting about 7 minutes, which are physically close enough together that you can see several of them simultaneously. It's like 3-D with Surround Sound. Even the skyscrapers get in on the action, adding the icing to the cake - and the cherry too.

Drinking Nelsons Blood and sending New Years greetings
In fact, Sydney is getting in the mood all evening leading up to the big event. At 9pm there is the "children's fireworks" which is supposed to be for kids, but from what we have seen, seems to be more for parents (kids would love to stay up to midnight). It's close in scale to the later fireworks, except they don't close and launch from the Harbour Bridge. Then at 10, 11, and 11:30pm there are little teaser fireworks so you can keep your excitement level up, synchronize your watches, and make sure your location is calibrated for optimal pyrotechnic enjoyment :)

The whole gang
Meanwhile we're staking out our home base. Location: Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. This is where we came after dinner and between/after each fireworks sortie. This is where we met up with Danny, our diving buddy from the reef. We also made new friends Adam (celebrating his 30th birthday) and Rachel - locals who didn't care to actually see the fireworks, Lev visiting from L.A., and the swinging Swedish couple. Lord Nelson's is the spot.

One of nine simultaneous wraparound fireworks displays
Our research concluded the best viewing location to be Observatory Hill, standing with thousands of our closest friends. It's a bit more sane (sober) than the madness down in the streets of The Rocks. Australians are so good-natured and well-organized that there was no trouble squeezing into a great spot at the last possible minute.

Danny, Olga, Rachel: happy new year!!
Back home at 4am, I went to sleep with the comfort of knowing we could sleep in, have a slow breakfast, and still be able to call folks back in the states before their own (quaint) new years.


Karen the first said...

So what's a hipster? It must be pretty bad considering the punishment!

Unknown said...

Quaint??!! We had a sophisticated New Years Eve celebration while you made the best of being a tourist :-)

I hope I am not Unknown any more. I fixed my profile.