Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

An Aussie Hello to the New Year

Well, it has been a merry week.

As I write it is raining outside and although I can't say it's been cold, Sydney has not been delivering on the weather front of late.

On Friday the girls had a party in the house. A trio of German women and a couple of Galway lasses added some colour. As things threatened to wind down, Ronan, Gary, the Galway girls and I headed into the Gaff on Oxford Street. It was there that Galway girl number one's boyfriend showed up. It didn't stop me dancing until 5.

The next day, Antonio, an Italian from my Australian Contiki tour last year texted me wondering if I would come out that night. He is in Sydney for the Yuletide season. He had a new group of Contiki friends along with him and the venue, Retro, was grotty but very good. I had only sat down to wait for him when two Aussie girls plopped down beside me in search of free drinks. To be fair, they stuck around most of the night even after the drinks went dry. A lot of landscape in that particular establishment, so I was home by 2.30 or so.

Last night, of course, was New Year's Eve. Linda, my cousin, wasn't keen on seeing the fireworks as she'd seen them last year. Tara and Grania had "seen fireworks in Roscommon" and so were of the same opinion. The rest of us, still excited by the prospect of the biggest pyrotechnic display this side of the Millenium, started with one or two drinks at home before heading to watch them from Dover Hieghts, near Bondi. On the way we stopped off for a few more drinks at a friend of the girls at Bondi Beach. Julie, after her burst appendix, is still a little fragile for too much walking, so we got a bus up.

The set up was very impressive. Although we couldn't bring our own, a bar sold some close to expiry date Heineken, and stalls sold hotdogs. There were families, gangs and dancers. We sat down beside a family from Roscommon and initially got booed for blocking their hard won view. There was plenty of space though.

The fireworks themselves, though somewhat distant, were spectacular. We got to see the main fireworks from the bridge as well as supplementary ones from Darling Harbour. I loved the way the lit up the waters, the bay being luminescent.

We bumped into the Galway girls again. Bride, who hails from London and Galway, is brother to an animator, who was also there. He didn't know much Eastern European stuff, but his taste in other stuff was good. Unfortunately the others moved on while I chatted (they got split up into two groups, each thinking I was with the other). The Galway crew offered to adopt me, but I sent off a few texts and made my way to the buses.

I was surrounded by Welsh people and a girl from the Roscommon family (doing her leaving cert). At the back of the bus things weren't so convivial. After a lot of Irish songs, including the National Anthem (which also got an airing at Dover Heights), someone smashed the back window. There was no further trouble though and I got off at Bondi Junction to find the Tea Gardens, a favourite of the girls, closed. No texts replies had come, so I called around but couldn't get an answer. Nothing for it, I headed home. Once there I got a crazy notion to watch the sunrise from Bronte beach, so grabbing a jacket, a towel (remember your Hitchiker's) and a bottle of orange juice, I walked down. It was a stupid idea. The beach was by no means deserted, but this wasn't Bondi. I lay on my towel staring at the stars and wondering whether gravity might give out. Stars formed pupils in cloud faces while an occasional helicopter made a bright wasp in the sky. It struck me staring into space that the unknown without fear or hope is the essence of adventure; you have to be prepared to fall, fall up, let your grip go on the soil. The laws of physics held good though, and I was roused from my reverie by a mosquito. Shaking the sand from my shoes, I walked home. As I trudged up the hill, a fruit bat flew out of a tree on leathery wings.

Linda texted me to say they were in the Gaff, but by three in the morning, I wasn't much gone on battling my way into town for an hour or two of battling my way through a club. I went to bed. As it happens a lot of Irish celebrate the Irish countdown as well (just 13 minutes away as I write) and Linda and Grania, after coming home for a bit have headed down to the Tea Gardens to welcome in the New Year - again. Not for me. An Australia hello is enough for me.


At 3:06 pm, Anonymous Alison said...

Happy New Year Niall from a sniffly and cold (4 degrees) Dublin. Have a great 2007!

At 10:55 pm, Blogger Niall said...

Thanks Ali and right back at you. Have a wonderful 2007! Hopefully you'll see some warmer climes soon.

At 10:56 pm, Blogger Niall said...

Thanks Ali and right back at you. Have a wonderful 2007! Hopefully you'll see some warmer climes soon.


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