Or should that be Sydney-tude. Because, frankly, I’m not exactly alone.

Well, inspired by your post from last week about Solitude and getting away from home and supported by a generous husband, who threw all his Hilton hotel points my way, I am writing to you from the 24th floor of Hilton Sydney, overlooking a pretty raucous Chinese New Year street festival. Yee-ha! Matt called it a Valentine’s present, so that I would use it and not feel guilty (he knows me too well) and I have to say – I am loving it. In fact, I am buzzing! I feel so caught up in the excitement of it all I think I, like you the other week, will not sleep tonight. Even though that is kind of the point – to give me an opportunity to be babes-free and enjoy some slumber. Still, I look pretty happy, hey?


I’ve had the best day. I am trying to find a way to tie it into writing but I’m struggling to avoid shameless gushing. Do you mind if I get self-indulgent on this one? There will be food! I promise you that! Like, my lunch: Wagamama’s crispy pork salad. Get outta town! Or, as I have done, get into town. This was yummy and I didn’t mind sitting alone one bit (No-one tugged at my top or pressed mashed banana into my clothes. Sigh, bliss). I counted two other women sitting alone, so I was in good company, ex. Matt and I went to Wagamama’s on one of our first dates. We held hands under the table.


I dawdled over to The Strand Arcade and peered down at everyone sipping their lattes. I imagined the conversations and gossip and arguments. I watched a toddler throw her bottle out of the stroller on purpose, just like B2 does, and laughed.


I bought chocolate from Haigh’s for Matt and babes. Have you heard of “freckles”? Milk chocolate buttons covered in sprinkles. They’re a family favourite of ours. Then I lost the chocolate in a shop somewhere. Dang it. I wonder what time they open tomorrow…


I wandered down to Darling Harbour for dinner. Darling Harbour is a little touristy but the weather was darling. Pure, white, late afternoon light. Lovely. Made me want to own a yacht. Scratch that. Made me want to know someone who owns a yacht and hosts parties on it regularly that I’m invited to. Started imagining myself in a maxi-dress and pretty sandals (Ralph Lauren commercial styles).


Had Moreton Bay Bugs for dinner. I haven’t included a photo because it was just…well….ridiculously flamboyant of me. Clearly I was letting the “free” room get the better of me. I was also nostalgic – Matt and I shared Moreton Bay bugs from the Sydney Fish markets when we were younger and considerably more fancy-free. We ate them cold with seafood sauce as a picnic in a park near his house. Instead I photographed the panna cotta I had for dessert. I love panna cotta. I must try and make it one day. But till then…


I came “home” to these white sheets. What is it about hotel sheets? Don’t you think they are divine? I have white sheets at home and they don’t look like this. I’ve been sleeping on a foam mattress in B1’s room for the last few months. Do you think my body will cope with the sheer and utter bliss??


The moon rose over the Queen Victoria Building and Chinese New Year parade commenced. It’s such a spectacular event, you have to give it to Sydney for throwing one damn fine party. It’s transporting me right back to our days in Macau; there’s been fireworks and projections and marching bands and fire cannons! I thought about getting amongst it but when I went down to check it out, before the parade had even began, the crowd was about ten people deep and I couldn’t see a thing. I figured it was better to enjoy this view.


But soon enough it will be over and then in the morning I am going back to my real life. It’s been a wonderful fantasy, even if just for one night. Fast-paced and fabulous. I’ve seen so many people that would make wonderful characters, I’ve watched them walk and eat, listened in to their conversations, imagined their stories. What great writing fuel! I know I wasn’t alone or amongst nature, but I do feel refreshed. I love the energy of a big city and Sydney sure is that. It has reminded me of all the things I love about cities and reminded me of times I hadn’t thought about for a while. Picnics, watching fireworks from our apartment window, holding hands under the table. Perhaps it might not seem romantic because Matt’s not with me to share it. But somehow I think it is very  romantic. I think it might be the best Valentine’s Day present ever.

Thank you Matt, and the city, for my Sydney-tude. And you, my friend, for the inspiration.

HUGS, Hannah x