All settled down for the long haul

So this blog is 5 years overdue, but in the spirit of one of my New Year’s resolutions (be more organised) I thought it was quite fitting that I write about my last 16 hours of 2009 and the first couple in 2010!

16 hours was roughly the wait we endured, just so that we had the best possible seats without paying scandalous amounts that no backpacker could afford. We left our budget hotel at 7:30 AM and set off towards Circular Quay. En route we texted our German and Swiss friends we’d made whilst staying in Surfers before Christmas.

We’d arranged to meet up at a certain place because we thought it’d make sense to go through security (bag checks and the occasional frisk) together so we could find a comfortable spot with enough room for us all.

Me being me, I thought arriving so early was ridiculous (I’ll be late for my own funeral) but it was surprisingly busy already, however we did manage to find a great spot, with a perfect view of Sydney Harbour Bridge, that was also close to the toilets and bar.

New Year's Eve Sydney Harbour Bridge Australia 2009
This was taken later in the evening but it looked so overcast on earlier pics!

If you forget about my lack of time-keeping, I’m otherwise quite organised. I’d packed snacks and been lucky enough to get my jar of salsa through security (strictly no glass allowed), so we tucked into chips and dip to ward off hunger for a while.

After a bit of Face-booking (and maybe a tiny bit of bragging) the hours seemed to slow, so we cracked out the Magnetic Games 7-1 that I’d picked up for long coach journeys and played a bit of chess, although it’s not much of a spectator sport so we got chatting to other people around us. A group of Vietnamese girls were very excited about the fireworks as was everyone around us, the atmosphere was absolutely buzzing.

New Year's Eve Chess Game Sydney Australia 2009
A game of chess to fill the time

In the early evening they started with a bit of entertainment in the harbour, with boats sailing around displaying their flags, and the hotel across the harbour from us had music playing quite loudly.

New Year's Eve in Sydney Australia 2009

New Year's Eve in Sydney Australia 2009

Then before we knew it there was an hour to go. We all took it in turns to go to the toilet to save our spot, which killed a surprising amount of time (doesn’t matter what country you’re in, there’s always a queue for the girls’ loos!), got our drinks from the bar to see in the New Year, then began the countdown. On my very long video you can just hear “3…2…1” before it all kicks off. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it. An awesome display of beautifully choreographed fireworks exploding from the bridge, and the cheers from everyone around me. Being surrounded by so many people all celebrating the same thing at the same time leaves a certain impression and is a New Year we’ll never forget.

The weirdest thing about the whole experience though was calling home. I’d been away for 6 months, and completely used to being ahead of the UK, but to speak to your parents who are still in 2009 is one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced.

My tips:

Get there early
Take entertainment – after 8 hours even chess seemed exciting…
Take sunscreen and layers for later on. It was an overcast day for us but we still managed to burn (typical Brits abroad). And in the evening it can get quite chilly, especially next to the water
Be patient – it’s very busy which results in a bit of pushing and shoving occasionally, especially in the last hour. Put it to the back of your mind and feed on the atmosphere. It’ll be well worth the wait!

NYE was a bit more low key this year, but great to be with family and friends. Happy 2015!

New Year's Eve Back Home 2014
Watching fireworks on the TV this year and singing Auld Lang Syne

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