As Hussey and Clarke were killing the Indian bowling attack (or what was left of it) at the SCG on Day 3, three Australians on Bay 17:
“I want to see Sachin get the 100th century as the rest of the team crumbles around him.”
A typical 90s deja vu. These Australians love their cricket and respect a worthy opponent. And as some Australian friends agreed, that is why what Virat Kohli did was despicable and just doesn’t cut it in that country. Not just these guys who were chugging beer behind me. The security guy checking bags at the gates wanted Sachin to get that elusive century on Day 4. The taxi driver – an ex-barman from Adelaide Oval – regretted that Sachin missed it. But he did remind us that his team thrashed us. That’s how it goes around here. They’ll keep reminding you how great they were/are and how poor you were/are. But they also recognize a fighter when they see one. That’s why the little man commands respect to this day. There was collective silence for a second when he gifted Clarke the wicket and then there was a standing ovation. They knew that was his last innings in “Sachin” Cricket Ground. No?
But that’s it about the bitter taste of cricket. What made it one of the best trips of my life was the city of Sydney. Stunning. Beautiful. The city is vibrant the way a city should be. There is an easy charm about Sydney that grabs you by the neck when you travel through the city. It’s faster and infinitely more urbane than, say, Melbourne. It’s a lot like Bombay and New York City but unlike those concrete jungles – not that this one doesn’t have those – Sydney is also naturally picturesque. And that makes a hell of a difference.
Something has to be said about a city that has water flowing everywhere and allows for transport in a city already well connected by public systems. The ferries were a joy to ride- to take in the beauty of the city side in contrast with the suburbs. Sydney is also one of the most fashionable cities I’ve ever seen. A walk in the business district feels like someone’s summer/fall collection is out in the open. The business, the casuals, the trendy, the sporty – you can see it all, be it Saturday evening or Monday morning. There is a suggestion of some sort of effort to remove the ordinariness of daily life and that people here are actually living it up. It’s lovely to observe. The night life on George St. is a sight to behold. (in more ways than one!).
The conflict in one of the GRCA movies of the year, Crazy Stupid Love arises out of the cliched clincher about women, “Perfect combination of sexy and cute” and that’s what Sydney is all about. Plainly. A cosmopolitan outlook married to old world sensibilities in an incredibly good looking city. The Sydney beaches are an example. We took the 8km walk from Cooge Beach to Bondi, called the Eastern Coastal walk, that somehow eclipsed the whole Great Ocean Drive experience from Melbourne. The sights of waves lashing at the rocks, people enjoying a beautiful day in the beaches and absolute nothingness far out in the Pacific was stunning. Our final stop that day was THE spot in Sydney, seemingly virgin as we hardly noticed people over the two days we were there, called Gap Park at Watson’s Bay. At the edge of Sydney, overlooking the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sydney skyline and the Harbour Bridge on the other. The Pacific ocean over the rocky pedestal completely overwhelms the beauty of the skyline. It’s a combination of “unmai ellam solla thonudhe” high and a “manidhar unarndhu kola idhu manidhar kadhal ala” feel.
Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do any justice to the place. Sometimes they don’t say a single word.