Pretty girls are walking by in cut-off denim shorts and bikini tops, heading for the surf in high spirits. The atmosphere is laid-back. Casual. Anything goes.
A bright yellow, almost sunny-looking police car just drove by, followed by a slightly battered red vehicle with a surfboard on top.
There are elderly people doing their weekly shop, noticeable because their faces look weather-beaten and wrinkled. But they’re smiling and relaxed. As are the throngs of scantily-clad shoppers and beach-goers who are milling around, some sipping on a ‘flat white’ before resuming their Saturday-afternoon activities. Others heading straight for the waves.
If this doesn’t sound like the Middle East, you’re right. I’m far, far away, in Sydney, Australia (a country I fell in love with 10 years ago when I spent three months here as a backpacker), and I’m writing this post while people-watching at a cafe in Manly.
My body thinks it’s the middle of the night – such is the jet lag when you fly for nearly 14 hours straight. But it’s worth it: I love the vibe here – the way it shouts ‘Life is better in board shorts!’ I love jumping on and off ferries to get to Sydney’s beachside suburbs, the opera house, harbour bridge, botanic gardens, pie shops and the fact zebra crossings actually work.
Best of all is spending some quality time with DH [whispers: without the kids]. I literally ‘went to work’ with DH, tagging along on his 5-day trip to Australia and New Zealand. He’s flown on to Auckland now, which I chose not to do because I’m a complete amateur when it comes to jet lag. He’s used to it and not phased by doing both countries in 72 hours.
So now I’m solo in Sydney. Just me and the credit card. And a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, before DH gets back tomorrow night!