I did date in Sydney but not the “million girls” that bloke in the popular Hotdog song would like us to believe. Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. As one writer rightly described her, Sydney has the greatest concentration of beautiful women in the Southern Hemisphere. The harbour can easily make you romantic. Even the most jaded hearts can’t avoid that. The Harbour Bridge is utilitarian, lacking in grace and ugly as James Michener correctly observed more than fifty years ago. The harbour by its very romantic nature can change even that.
I did arrive in Sydney in the dead of winter after a two-hour flight from more tropical and sunny Townsville. The avro was cloudy and grey, hardly the time for going around town. The night was even worse, freezing cold and windy. But all that can be changed. My Sydneysider Filipino friends introduced me to her. She attends Sydney Uni. and sings heartbreaking Tagalog songs for homesick Pinoys. We went out for tea.
A cup of tea at the Circular Quay isn’t my idea of a romantic starter but in winter anything warm is romantic. We hopped on the ferry to the zoo. I had this consuming interest in seeing a real live Tassie devil. I told her I had wanted to find out the devils really acted out like that Warner Brothers character. She relented and off we went. Funny, the devils do but they don’t wheeze around like a tornado.
She was into plants that most men and the boys in them find totally a bore. I relented and off we hopped on a ferry across the harbour. By then the sun showed its face and we had a grand time. The cold air was being lifted from about us. The Botanical garden had Australia’s rare plants. For the first time I saw a Banksia in bloom.
Once more on a ferry to Wockman’s for a plate of seafood, one of the pleasures of this harbour city by the sea.
The sun was about to go down, we stayed on the quay, walked to the Rocks and waited for the cold night about to turn hot.
You need not a million girls here just one in a million.
Sydney to Brisbane, August 1997