After leaving Inana, Maria and I went back into Sydney, I was to see some friends met in Adelaide late last year. Maria needed to be dropped off in Crows Nest, just north of Sydney, which was an ideal place for me to park and head the rest of the way in sans van.
At the same time as I was navigating the streets, my friends Olivia and Michael had just arrived at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, where we would meet. We listened to a few talks on journalistic politics and philosophies before sharing wine and stimulating dialogue on a café couch in the city’s dockyard district. We were soon after met by their friends David and Dawn and the five of us explored the oddly deserted stone relics of an early colonised Sydney, old cobblestone pathways led to narrow alleyways and preserved building foundations assumed to be some of the first erected by settlers in Australia.
We made our way along the water’s edge, marvelling at the vibrant colours bought on by the Sydney Vivid Festival, over the bay we could see the Opera House, swirling light designs splashed and morphed over the iconic building, Luna Park was in full display and its powerfully bright luminescence spilled across the water. Passing more Vivid displays I felt to be deep in the ocean, tentacles filled with light reached skyward while people moved in awe among their base, balls of different sizes changed colour as they were touched and grownups regained their childlike joy, tapping with glee.
Eventually we decided on a place to settle for dinner, the Hero Of Waterloo pub, claimed to be the oldest in Australia, sat nestled on the corner of a sharp but quiet intersection. From it poured lively Irish music that got one in the mood for a jig, I envisaged dancing on the bar with hands held behind my back, legs tapping in precise timing with the enthusiastic fiddle player – this daydream did not manifest into reality – delightful dinner conversations, however, did.
The next morning, Olivia, Michael and I took a quick journey up to North Head reserve not far from where we woke. A particular side of the promontory gave an entire view of Sydney city, from the Eastern point to the Northern point with only the trademarked harbour bridge obscured by a mass similar to the one we sat. Human constructions covered 25% of my full circle viewpoint, a dawning that during my two weeks on and off in this city I had only experienced a miniscule portion. We enjoyed hot coffee and cold paw paw, throwing the scraps to the razor eyed crows who came to investigate our early morning presence.
After goodbyes, I made way to southern Sydney, Cronulla area, to see a friend who migrated over from Adelaide. Felipe and I first met via a mutual friend who invited me to play a role in a short they were submitting to a Columbian film festival a few years ago. We tripped to the Royal National park which housed Wattamolla, a cove, creek, lagoon and beach nestled amongst beautiful rock formations and endless coastal forest. We walked, talked and admired our surroundings while Felipe taught me more of photography and the use of the camera that the lovely Sian from Sale had donated for the journey, facilitating most of the photos I add to these entries.
There was talk of an action shot, one where I leapt over a waterfall cliff into the deep lagoon below, something that when initially suggested to the mind sounded fun and exciting, but when presented with the reality turned into morbid fear and froze any action from taking place – maybe another time and not from a 3 story high cliff Felipe. We instead walked along a saltbush enveloped path to find a beautiful clear stream running over smooth rock, along this the water dropped a metre, enough to get completely under the pour and shower in the mineral rich liquid.
After this spectacular day I drove north through the sunset coloured city and spent the night in a roadside stop carpark, quite the contrast – I stuck to the insides of the van, wrote some of these words and read another’s before falling soundly asleep between the soft mattress layers and the lush feathered quilt.
Three and a half hours to West Haven, too far I felt for a single leg – consulting WikiCamps found a nice stop over called Gap Creek, I climbed the eroded and rocky forest track and found a lovely toileted campsite. My initial explore led me along a dark forest path, Tarzan style vines drooped from the canopy and moss covered logs slowly, very slowly decomposed back into whence they came. The creek, which I assumed was titled the same as the campsite moved through a valley of rocks, as if the entire landscape contained these giant boulders and the earth between was removed by centuries of flow.
Onward to Mum’s place in West Haven where we celebrate my step father’s 90th birthday, cruising gently along the river with – I do not doubt – plenty of champagne and good company.