Saturday, January 31, 2009

star-crossed under the stars

Tonight I went to see an outdoor production of Romeo and Juliet. Had it not been for a unfortunate incident some fifty years ago wherein my grandparents unashamedly walked out in the middle of A Winter's Tale -- in Stratford-Upon-Avon! -- I don't think I would have stayed. As it is, I have, if not quite the family name, at least the family theatrical reputation to rebuild.

It's not to say that the show was bad -- it was simply impossible to hear. And, much as I like mime, I appreciate it all the more when it's actually meant to be mime, not when you're sitting way too far back to lip read and have to rely on your memory of a college Shakespeare course to get you through. Thankfully, I had a very good college Shakespeare course and have, oddly enough, run up against more than one encounter with the star-crossed lovers before. I had a definite advantage over probably the majority of the oh-look-what's-on-at-the-gazebo audience, most of whom decided the combination of a supposed romantic theatrical event and howling winds were a great cover under which to make out. The more tactful had brought beach towels.

It didn't take long for the audience to grow utterly bored and they began drifting out somewhere around three minutes into the performance. The plus side to this was that the faithful, or otherwise guilt-ridden, theatregoers could move up into their slightly-more-audibly placed spaces. Around fifteen minutes before the end of the first act I found I could hear perhaps a quarter of the actual words, and after intermission I'd manoeuvred myself so far up I could actually hear everything. Funny, I liked the second half a whole lot better, even with all the dying and all.

Before I got to the second act, the main note I could think of, aside from technical way-bigger-than-glitches, was that the cast was quite young, particularly Lady Capulet and the Nurse. In fact, they both appeared to be the same age as Juliet, and somewhat less mature. It was, of course, appropriate for Romeo and Juliet to be quite young, but surely their parents were at least fourteen years older?

Act two began with the famous fight with Mercutio and Tybalt's deaths. It seemed to me that Mercutio had a much smaller role in this performance than he could have, but it could have been that I tuned out a good bit of act one, and he doesn't really make it all that much farther. Tybalt's big scene being the fight, I felt "he" fell rather short -- of stamina, strength and the correct sex, as he was played by a woman who could purse her lips, but otherwise lacked the ferocity and verve I associate with the character.

The fight scenes in general -- this one and Romeo's encounter with Paris in the tomb -- were generally rather lackluster. They were quite obviously staged and, as we audience members wrapped around the gazebo where it was performed, we could easily see that no one was really getting hurt -- or, indeed, even grazing anyone else's skin. Perhaps for this reason, the fights were all quite short, which left them, on the whole, not especially good, dramatic or long.

The romantic chemistry was also quite lacking. For lending his name to be a synonym of romantic abandon, our Romeo seemed quite reluctant to actually caress, much less kiss, his Juliet. Although she was rather receptive, they simply didn't sizzle on stage.

Juliet was an ept actress, though placed somewhat awry -- first with a peer mother, then with an uninterested Romeo. She seemed a professional actress, relying a bit too heavily on standard Shakespearean delivery of the lines, with a bit too much emphasis on the famous ones. She did, however, bring a much welcomed younger, higher-pitched vocal quality than found in many Shakespearean productions.

Romeo performed well, save when he was with Juliet. He somehow even managed to pull off a convincingly Romeo-an image as a kind of metrosexual young hobbit in a white dress shirt and very nearly skinny jeans. He was, apparently, quite attached to his white dress shirt, and refused to discard of it even when a day had passed with Tybalt's (ever freshly red) blood staining it profusely. Lady Capulet similarly favored her long, flowing skirt and ballerina tights style v-back top, never revealing herself in any other garb.

The very ending was a bit odd and abrupt. After Romeo had writhed his last (never making that final kiss he speaks of; but, then again, he hardly made any of the earlier ones either), the entire cast silently circled behind Juliet -- saying nothing, evidently seeing nothing, or at least making no move to stop her, and doing nothing. They witnessed her draw her happy dagger, and then our brief epilogue was given -- evidently presuming her death, but without any semblance or even feign of the dagger actually entering her breast. Why precisely the entire town turned out to watch her suicide, but didn't? actually see it, though they were standing right there, remains a mystery. I suppose it must have been symbolism.

I'm pretty sure a good bit of the script was cut (we made it out in not 3 hours, but only 2 hours and 18 minutes, barring a very brief, perhaps 5 minute, intermission), though I'd be hard pressed to say precisely which parts. I think there was a bit missing at the end, and possibly with various friars, and possibly with Mercutio and possibly various other bits, but such cuts are necessary and actually much appreciated.

And, although the actors were quite good and generally stuck to a standard English-esque sort of pronunciation, there were a few resonant "knows" and "minds" and other such colorful flags of Aussie accents shining forth. Ah, well, it gave the show character.

The character with perhaps the most character (I still refuse to see Romeo and Juliet as anything more than walking 2D infatuated angsty stereotypes), was, as usual, the Nurse. A tall, blonde, high-heeled, short-skirted, highly made-up, binge drinking, shrill Nurse, she could easily have been a woman of the evening had she not had the unfortunate charge of Juliet to tend to. As it was, she clearly didn't do the best of jobs in that regard, but did bring a certain pizazz to the production -- particularly as she was one of the only actors who could be heard, if not exactly understood, during the first act.

Paris was well-cast as a strapping older fiance -- clearly superior to Romeo in terms of sheer bulk. It's a bit unclear how Romeo actually managed to turn the tables and murder him, but I suppose infatuation gone wrong supplies a sizeable burst of adrenaline. Or perhaps the apothecary slipped him a little something extra.

Someone seemed to have slipped him something actually every time he dashed on stage -- because, well, he did dash. Or perhaps it was a scamper. He was always bounding in, with Mercutio and Benvolio hot on his heels. Who does that? What trio of friends always runs 10 yards, then abruptly stops in the middle of a set of stairs before seeing fit to discuss their plans? Theatrical cliches, I know. Willing suspension, I know. But really. One can only be so willing.

Overall, the production was nice. Enjoyable; certainly not moving (but who really wants to sit there tearing up at Balmoral beach on a hot summer's night?). Utterly unexperimental (everything felt very Shakespeareanly normal) and slightly underfunded (it would have been nice to hear). Possibly hastily rehearsed and blocked in parts (stage, ahem, fights), and a little lacking in the immaturity of teenage infatuation, but generally a good night out. How's that for high tragedy?

quicko: turtles

I made the most fascinating discovery today: in Australia, you must have a license to own a turtle.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the bag

First off, purses aren't purses here, they're "bags." I think the Australians take "purses" to be "wallets," but I can't quite tell what they'd do if they encountered a "wallet." I still think this is all kind of silly, but I have to admit the "bag" thing's kind of true. And getting steadily more true.
When I first came here I had a rainbow striped knitted purse with a few sequins. It wasn't a favorite, but it did managed to preserve my passport. When I was home in May I switched back to a long-time favorite, the pretty bright teal-with-flowers-and-a-few-beads purse. Its strap unfortunately broke while I was in DC, so my best friend gave me a slightly larger Old Navy purse that said "Costa Rica" convincingly enough that many people asked if it'd bought it there. (There are lovely perks to being perceived as immensely more well-traveled than you are.) It was big enough to carry my damaged teal purse, and inched me a step closer down the bag spectrum. It's still a good purse, but I recently realized that I was carrying not only a purse but also a small beach bag everywhere I went. Plus, it was navy blue and it's summer here now. It came time to buy a bag.

No, I traipsed last Saturday (which, for the record, hit something like 42 degrees Celcius, and was not weather meant for doing anything, much less strolling through the markets I'd carelessly decided to visit without checking the temperature) to Souvenir World, which sounds awfully tacky, but is actually the classiest souvenir place I've come across here. They have boomerangs and stuffed boxing kangaroos and frangipani lotion, but, unlike other shops, manage to put them on separate shelves. I went there because I knew they had bags.

I'm not saying they've got a good selection of bags (I believe its beige or tan), nor did the salespeople really know what I was talking about when I tried to explain what I was looking for. "It's kind of that style," I said, pointing to an over-the-shoulder beach bag, "but it says 'Sydney' and is, like, beige." I knew they had it because I'd bought one there as a present before, and had been in often enough to know they don't really change their wares, well, probably, ever. Finally one of the younger sales associates caught on and led me in a circle around the store until we found my precious bag near the back.

It worked just as well as I'd thought it would: it fit both my purse and my mini beach bag, though I have to say I was hard pressed to actually retrieve anything from the purse. Who really needs bus passes anyway?

The bag is necessary, though. I'm a bit anal about my purse to begin with -- what sort of person can honestly think of leaving home without Kleenex, Purell and Band-Aids, let alone a camera, deck of cards and eight colors of pens, just in case? -- but generally everything fits. Sydney adds a new dimension: sun.

Sunscreen SPF 45 or higher is obviously essential, yet I've added two things I've often seen others carry around, but never desired myself: sunglasses and water. Water isn't exactly light as a feather either, in case you haven't tried toting it lately.

Even then there's the salient lingering question regarding the off-chance of managing to leave work on time and finding myself with enough time to go to the beach. Naturally one must carry a swim suit. But where's the point of a swim suit if there's no towel? And the point of a towel with no book?

Then of course it will be later in the day, and one might need a small cardigan for warmth (though, of course, if one is running slightly short on space, one might fall back on the beach towel in desperate times). And, oh, yes, there's the mX the friendly kid managed to stuff in my hands at Museum station, plus the crumpled Magnum wrapper I couldn't throw out on the bus.

And so, you see, Sydney makes purses heavy. So heavy that they can be no longer purses, but ultimately evolve before your very eyes into bags -- big, bulging bags at that. I guess I don't really mind, but I do wish I had my teal flowered purse back. Even if it wouldn't fit that spare pair of shoes just in case I spend the night in Coogee.

quicko: lightning bugs

It seems they don't have them here. Of all the places, with all the creatures, you'd think Australia would be the place where flying balls of light would originate, but you'd be thinking wrong.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

quicko: to london or not to london

Having lived in both London and Sydney, I really see the draw of both places -- Sydney is absolutely gorgeous, a perpetual beach vacation; whereas London is cosmopolitation and extremely well connected, particularly to Europe. Lots of Brits and Aussies have noticed the attractions of their polar opposite, too. They're forever bopping back and forth between the two, and each city (Sydney more so than London) is overrun with natives from the other. They've got the visa situation pretty well sorted out, for a year at the very least, and there's so much criss cross they just tend to get worked out in the wash a lot easier than Americans do.

quicko: australia day!

Happy Australia Day!!
Like the 4th of July, Australia Day commemorates the history and patriotism of its people. It's a fun day off of work and, like the 4th, most people spend it bar-b-que-ing with friends. As there's a bit easier access to the beach than, say, Ohio, lots of people flock there to celebrate. There's fireworks at night, though the most specatacular display was already used up at New Years' Eve.
Traditional Australia Day fare includes meat pies, pavlova, lamingtons and ANZAC biscuits, as well as plenty of meat on the "barbie" (grill) and an abundance of beer. Pickup games of cricket are common (I witnessed one where an adorable toddler was the star player, and cheered most highly for thrashing his bat to the ground when he missed a ball), though more people spend the day watching the tennis or the cricket on TV. Green and gold are the colors to wear (if you feel like it -- that's really the essence of Australia Day: you don't have to do anything you don't feel like doing), and of course there are Australian flags draped around shoulders for good measure.
Interestingly enough, the Australia Day celebration I found myself at in Kirribilli featured just as much, if not more, Scotish and Welsh music than Australian. The Welsh choir sang, and the bagpipers in kilts played proudly. Since many Australians are of British descent, it makes sense, though still struck me as a bit out of place.
We had a couple fly-overs, which we couldn't quite reach out and touch, but really could have had a few of us stood on each other's shoulders and stretched, which I found a tad bit nerve-wracking.
Models of a First Fleet ship (you know, the first batch of ships that sailed over from England) and two others sailed past the Opera House in a grand display of national history, that was promptly and sincerely photographed by approximately half the crowd present.
The day ended rather abruptly with an onslaught of rain followed by nonexistent buses that would have been an hour late, had they cared to show up. Ah, well. Seems the drivers were just exercising their Australian rights, oi, oi, oi!

Monday, January 26, 2009

quicko: companies

As an American, I'm afraid I have a tendency to assume every English-sounding company must be American. Oddly enough, it turns out they're not. A couple examples? The Body Shop is evidently British, and, upon asking if Australians have Quiksilver, too, I was informed that, yes, actually, it was invented here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

quicko: more vocab

Reggo: registration, as for car insurance
Full-on: intense; "the heat was full-on today"
Good value: a quality person; "she's good value"

quicko: ghosting

Ghosting is my favorite Australian game so far. It’s easy enough in premise, but a bit more difficult to pull off in actuality. Basically, it involves walking (or running, which gives double points) about a foot behind a person, imitating their every move for as long as you want to. They turn around, you turn around. They punch the air with their fist, you punch the air with your fist. You can double ghost, too, where two people ghost simultaneously. It's lots of fun, though works best if you've got an audience who's in on it, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

quicko: the pokies

Today Linda and Sharon introduced me to the great Australian institution of the pokies! They're fun little arcadey things that ring up different shapes and make fun noises when you hit 3 pyramids. Anyway, we had a blast, and came away $9 richer than we went in!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

quicko: libraries

Or, to be more accurate, cleverly disguised bookshops that don't let you keep your purchases.

I already knew books were way pricier here, but it turns out getting a book is a whole lot more complicated than you'd think. First, you have to find a library that lends them. (No, the State Library of New South Wales does not.) Second, you have to establish residency. (Thank goodness for that paycheck I kept in my purse.) Third, you have to pay (!! free public library!?) $15 -- before they close the cash register for the evening, which is 15 minutes earlier than they close the rest of the place. Then, when you're finally all official, you have to get a copy of the book you want. But if, say, it's popular and they only have 8 copies, well, you might get to be number 23 on the waiting list -- for two out of the three books you want, though for the third you might get to be number 19. Oh, and then before you leave, they might casually mention that you'll have to pay a dollar for each book you take you -- because you've placed a hold. The notice will come in the mail. Snail mail.

So now someone might be paying $18 to borrow three books. Perhaps someone should have just bought them on Amazon when she had the chance.

quicko: starting school

The Australian academic calendar starts in --this is bizarre-- January. Can you believe it? They take summer holidays in the summer (December/January) and then start school up in late January. So all the kids are out and about now. And, incidentally, they think it's even more bizarre we pick such an arbitrary month as September to begin school. Silly Australians.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

quicko: no martin luther king day

So here it is, the third Monday in January, and no holiday. Don't they care about racial equality over here?!?

Monday, January 19, 2009

quicko: getting there

From America, it's a wee bit of a hike. 24 hours is probably the best possible time unless you're Somebody Very Important; I managed in about 27 this time, which isn't bad considering it can stretch over 30. Leaving from New York or Chicago or Dallas or Denver would probably give you the most direct sort of an option, stright to LA or San Francisco; from there you still have the trek over the Pacific, somewhere around 12-14 hours. Or, you can start in, say, Cincinnati, and then fly to Chicago, and then the west coast, and then Sydney. However you go, though, it's still one of the most modern-day epic of journeys -- you'll arrive two days after you left!! (Though stay on the same day the whole way returning, which is kind of cool.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

quicko: what to bring

When I went home I took a list of things to bring back because they were either unavailable, more expensive or just not the same here. Here's a sampling:

--jeans (to my great dismay, I discovered American clothing stores are now also carrying skinny jeans ... however, I can report that I did not see a single American wearing any)
--Hershey kisses
--Moleskine blank book
--Pilot pens
--Tide sticks
--Bath and Body Works hand sanitizers, lotions, etc.
--Sephora makeup
--Trident gum
--hair clips
--a haircut (not that I got one!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

quicko: season swap

Being in the Southern hemisphere and all, Australia's seasons are reversed from those in the Northern hemisphere. So now, while it's the dead of winter in Cincinnati, it's the height of summer in Sydney. Not profound, but helpful to know before getting off the airplane.

Friday, January 16, 2009

quicko: raisin toast

It's funny, but certain cities tend to go ga-ga over different foods -- Cincinnati chili, Boston beans, Sydney raisin toast. What more can I say? I like it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

quicko: annual leave

Warning: Americans reading may want to be seated before progressing.

In Australia, instead of "vacation days,"
They have to make due with the government ways
Of "annual leave"
(an odd Aussie craze),
But the words aren't the biggest difference, oh, no, no, no, no!
The biggest difference, my friends, let me show
Is something like this (this reading not for the meek!):
They get -- from year one! -- just four piddly weeks!
Poor souls, these Australians; they have it quite rough
And deciding where to venture has got to be tough.
But somehow these strong ones are stalwart and steady
Soldier on and prove themselves exceptionally ready
To deal with the trauma, and the trauma and grief
Of knowing their holidays must remain brief --
Not more than a fortnight or two until when
They get long service leave (three months!) at year ten.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

quicko: green and gold

How precisely a country with a red, white and blue flag settled on green and gold as its national athletic colors is a bit beyond me, but then again so are athletics at large. Maybe it's some sort of in joke I'm just not getting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

quicko: what i learned on late night

I'm savoring my last few nights with Jay Leno before reentering the land of no-late-night-but-Letterman. And tonight Jay brought up something really important.

It was all in the Headlines section. It seems he found an ad requesting someone who could "read and write Australian." I didn't find it particularly funny, though. Not because it's not a humorous little foible, but because I've heard it before. In fact, I hear it every time I tell an inquisitive American that I teach English as a Second Language -- "ho ho, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't they speak English there, too, ha ha?"

Oh yes, hysterical. The first twenty times.

But then I kept watching past Jay's show to the next one I don't really like but stuck with because I was bored and Daniel Radcliffe was supposed to be on -- and discovered something even more linguistically scintillating.

Ever since I've been in Australia, I've been picking up endless quirks of language that fascinate me immensely, but rarely figure out when I'm saying something that they just never would, unless it's something profoundly American, like pleading the Fifth or Jolly Ranchers. But finally, tonight, on that other show, Daniel Radcliffe (I knew there was a good reason to watch him, besides the fact he also laments most British children use "like" to excess, as he said, when it's not in a similie!) exposed an American-ism: "yeah, I know."

Beautiful, isn't it? I was so touched he thought to share something so profound.

Monday, January 12, 2009

quicko: new zealand, eh?

New Zealand : Australia :: Canada : The United States

(Roughly, of course. There is a higher percentage of sheep in New Zealand.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

quicko: easy access

A couple weeks ago I was at a meeting at church to help plan activities for the kick-off (they call it a "launch") of a week celebrating Kirribilli's 125th anniversary later this year. We were tossing around all sorts of fun ideas (fireworks! scavenger hunts! 1800s costumes! block parties! sidewalk chalk!) when someone got around to the serious idea of inviting dignitaries, which was all very well as long as they didn't mind the fireworks. They started tossing around a few names which, as expected, I'd never heard of. But then they came up with one I did know: Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister. Of course, I thought it was a lovely idea to invite Mr. Rudd, but the thing that amazed me was that they actually thought he might come. Of course they know their PM better than I do, and it really does seem feasible he could pop by if he's in town (since, after all, his Sydney home is in Kirribilli). I just could never quite picture any organization of a similar size asking the American President to make an appearance for a 125th celebration and having him actually come.

It was then they brought up the Queen of England, but I do believe even the Aussie optimists faltered a bit there. Just a bit, though.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

quicko: to root

Slang for sex. Gives a whole new meaning to "root, root, root for the Red Sox" ...

Friday, January 9, 2009

quicko: lemonade

Lemonade is not lemonade in Australia. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but it's fizzy. Not quite Sprite, not quite Slice, probably closest to some Kroger brand Lemon Lime contraption. Not bad, just not lemonade. Consider yourselves forewarned.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

quicko: the footy

I went to a "footy" match awhile back, and this post is all I've got regarding the entire realm of SPORTS. Sorry.

Hmm. The footy, I'm pretty sure, refers to Australian Rules Football, but they don't call it ARF. It's quite different from American football. It's one of the bigger sports down under, along with rugby and cricket and ... I'm pretty sure there's something else played in a stadium. League Something?

Anyway, I went to see the Sydney Swans (who in the world named them? even someone stuck on alliteration surely could have done better -- even the Swordfish would have been an improvement!) play the Brisbane Lions. I was generally confused throughout the game, though I did acquire a few ideas regarding play: two teams, going for opposite ends, using a ball, lots of running and jumping (kind of like kangaroos hopping around the field), on an oval, big poles at either end, getting the ball through the poles is good, with more points (6?) between the middle ones and less (2?) between the outer ones. I think they switched sides at halftime, too.

Football is a very colorful game in Australia. First off the teams have different colors (red and white Swans vs. orange? Lions), and then the four refs (green?), and then the odd ones in highlighter yellow who I couldn't figure out what they were doing. They were highly visible, though.

But besides the game, the atmosphere of going is really half (most?) the fun. It's pretty much like a baseball game sort of crowd, but sub meat pies for hot dogs and double the beer. Oh, and take out the wandering lemon ice chill sellers; you've got to get your own. There's not as much in-house entertainment, but in my experience, your Aussie friends are quite likely to provide plenty of that.

And, yes, contrary to popular expectation, I did catch the score: 114-53, Sydney.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

quicko: getting carded

Australians think this is funny: to get carded. They have the concept, but don't call it that. They don't really have a word for it, though they might go for "to be asked for ID" or something. They just get a kick out of getting carded.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

quicko: deadly or not

When I first moved to Australia, my mother was very concerned that I'd be attacked by sharks, bitten by snakes, poisoned by spiders, mauled by alligators and wiped out by shells of the kind she'd read about in Bill Bryson. She was also moderately concerned I'd get a slight sunburn.

So far I've managed to survive an entire year, and have noticed that there actually are four million other people in Sydney who are either particulary hardy specimens, or else spend all day in houses with a resident park ranger Orkin man. I've seen several on the street, though, so I guess they're quite hardy stock.

It therefore seems that it is actually possible to survive in Australia sans Mr. Park Ranger-Orkin. But don't worry, Mom, I know I'm not of such hardy stock, so I'm not taking any risks. I'm going to see if he can move in, just as soon as I get back. Maybe he'll even put sunscreen on my back.

Monday, January 5, 2009

quicko: no cheerleaders!

I am by no means a football fan, but America happens to be in football season now and I've happened to catch a few glimpses of games (boring!). And marching bands (yay!). And cheerleaders (boo!). And that just reminded me that Australia, good on it, doesn't have cheerleaders. In fact, most Australians seem kind of curiously disturbed by them. The end.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

quicko: bogan

What's a bogan?

I'm in slightly sketchy territory here, as despite having been told, I don't have a precise handle on what this is myself. I know it's not exactly a compliment, but I have a feeling I'm never going to know more than what I do now so I'm going to try to explain.

My dictionary of Aussie slang defines a bogan as a "young lout." It's a person without, shall we say, the most refined of manners? I hadn't sensed that a bogan had to be "young," and I think I felt a few more connotations of socio-economic challenges, perhaps with touch of the coarse? And maybe there were particular geographic areas bogans were more likely to come from?
Australians, am I close? Can you help me improve this?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

quicko: cars

I have a feeling that if I were a boy I'd already have commented on the cars in Australia and how they're so much (less?) x-er, y-er and z-er than American ones. As I'm not, you'll simply have to settle for learning A. they've got cars here and B. they might be different from ours. Or then again they might not.

Friday, January 2, 2009

quicko: wombat divine

I have a new favorite Mem Fox book. I am, of course, still much taken with Possum Magic, but with books, unlike boys, it is acceptable to be much taken with more than one simultaneously.

The new book is Wombat Divine, and it really is. Of course, I do have a special affinity for wombats, having once been one, but that's another story entirely. This one is about Wombat.

Wombat is one of the most lovable fictional characters I've come across. It's not just because he (I think it's a he?) is soft and furry, but because he's so excited to be part of the Christmas play. Oh, okay, I think you have to read the book to really get it.

When you do, be sure (how could you not?) to pay attention to the illustrations. They're full of little surprises, not to mention a vast array of Australian animals. My favorite page happens to be the one with the two koalas attempting to make Mary's donkey.

Oh, and don't worry. It has a happy ending!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

quicko: new year's eve

Although it's already old news in Australia, I did just want to mention that Sydney's New Year's Eve celebration has one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world. It encompasses the bridge and the harbour and ... somehow I don't think words quite do it justice!