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Romancing Sydney: the Aussie way of life

They say love comes unannounced. I didn’t believe in the adage till I alighted the airbus to lock lips with my rain-drenched beloved.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2010 01:19 IST
Rajesh Ahuja

They say love comes unannounced. I didn’t believe in the adage till I alighted the airbus to lock lips with my rain-drenched beloved. Sydney, unlike many foreign uber-cities, doesn’t intimidate you. It only flirts with you till you give in to its playful gimmicks. And then, you may no longer seek artificial companionship.

As I settled for a hot cuppa at a high-rise hotel at George Street in New South Wales — with the Opera House on one corner, the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the other — pleasure refused to elude me. I bit into the clear sky with a laidback luncheon at Café Sydney at the Circular Quay. Fish, chips, wine and banter introduced me to the exuberant life the metropolis is known for. There were aboriginal musicians (with their didgeridoos) on the street facing the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) which houses some quirky digital artworks; a film crew shooting by the harbour as bronzed bods took off for a mid-day jog, and tourists making a beeline outside souvenir stores — a typical day under the Sydney skyline had me delighted.

Hopping across Sydney is never a problem. You can jump a cab (like I did) or take a bus or the metro that zips through the city. Either way doesn’t pinch your pocket. The second day was a West side story. Literally. The Parramatta, situated in the Western suburbs, had me swinging to a live concert as part of the annual Sydney Festival. Since it houses many Indians, be prepared to bump into an odd auntyji who may know your neighbour’s tenant. The suburb, quite different from the lush Central sphere, offers neighbourhood entertainment through malls, parks and stores. However, it’s the Eastern suburbs that rocked me alive.

The bays here offer respite from the city madness. Palatial bungalows opening to beaches tickle the Donald in you. A Sunday brunch here with family is perfect. Let the kids shape up castles on the beach, while you enjoy a mojito. Take a walk, and you’ll head to Watsons Bay that also plays host to a bar popular among youth. The Gap, known as the city’s suicide point, offers a picturesque view of the Pacific Ocean.

There are ‘tasks’ that the city throws at you. The one I was most kicked about had me climbing 456 feet on foot! Take time (and moolah) out to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The three-hour ‘workout’ may leave you dry, but the breathtaking 360-degree view of the city from the top is worth the pain.

Spending time with this gorgeous city, I figured, could be therapeutic too. You could walk the restaurant-laden Darling Harbour at night, strum the guitar at Bondi Beach or enjoy a beer ‘n’ meat pie at the Woolloomooloo Wharf and breathe life into your worked-up soul. Mine needed attention, and Sydney helped me fix it. Just in time.

You’ll love this!

Shopping: Head to The Rocks for a flea market experience or Paddy’s for Chin-Aussie souvenir picking. Designer cravings can be satiated at stores in George Street and Newtown.
Food: Seafood fanatics will like the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar and The Waterfront. China Doll at Woolloomooloo Wharf, serves great Chinese while Zaffran in Darling Harbour is ideal for desi fare. Try the lamb chops, it’s divine.
Nightlife: Beer-grabbing at any pub in George Street is a fab deal. Wicked hours turn wicked-er over weekends and are safe for singles. Jacksons On is a crowd favourite.