I often think about that trip, now, nearly 4 years ago. Going back to those days in Australia, I find myself in a light that is gone, lost in the years to come because life often rips the smile from the heart. On the other side of the world, I wrote impalpable emails to my closest friends. I feel a profound horror if I think that some of them are no longer here with us.
Due to the jetlag, I found myself walking around a semi-deserted Sydney at dawn. I saw the sunrise in the Botanical Gardens where, for the first time, I met many of the animals that would be with me during my month “down under “. Chubby ibises and bats as big as hams hanging upside down (called flying foxes) welcomed me into a world that felt incredibly fantastic. I boarded a ship on a mini-cruise around Port Jackson: thinking about those three hours around the largest natural harbor in the world, I can still feel the wind on my face now. From there, I remember standing on the mythical Harbour Bridge: some people would walk on it; some others would jump from it. With compromised Eustachian tubes, I preferred to cross it towards the other side.
We tend towards the Other. We tend to a further shore. Bridges, therefore, have always been one of my favorite civil constructions.
Below me, the Opera House. It looked like it was made of mother pearl. Thousands of tiles covering its sails vary in color depending on where you admire them. They create impalpable waves, if you look carefully. If I close my eyes, I cannot clearly recall every detail of this building, but I perceive a sense of softness on my skin. Of its inner rooms, I remember geometric lines and bright colors, and red and purple carpets.
Then, I recall a special moment when I entered the orchestra’s rehearsal room. All the musicians were there: they run on the pentagram and it was too complex to keep up with their magic. It was easier to let myself go. I let my heart wander among those clear and bright notes. Across the bridge, there was a funfair to welcome me. I felt like I was in a movie. A giant clown’s mouth said to me: “Come in, let me eat you”. I remember thinking how that buffoon reminded me of the faces of many European politicians. I lost myself among distorting mirrors, children on the verge of a nervous breakdown, parents now being treated by good psychiatrists, and plastic ducks.
When I think of Sydney another thing comes back to life in my mind: those wonderful breakfasts in Lindsfield at my friend’s dad Kangaroo’s place. Lime jam. Fresh mango carved like a mosaic. Crusty bread. Everything was served with simplicity in a garden full of geometric flowers and turtles as small as a pacifier. Sometimes, fragrances are much stronger than the photographs in the long term. I close my eyes. I am still there for a moment. Of that part of Australia I also recall the Blue Mountains: Dad Kangaroo stoically drove 300km to get me to see this wonder. The Mountains there are blue because the eucalyptus trees that release gases which in contact with the solar rays turn to cobalt. Precious stones, such as sapphires. Of that day, I carry with me the vastness of Australia. I breathe.
Then I saw Bondi Beach. I finally watched the surfers for hours. Raging hormones. Mine, not theirs.
It was difficult to swim to calm the spirits. I can swim, but do not know how to communicate with sharks: they populate that shore and the beach is filled with nets to protect idiotic swimmers like me from their blood-driven attacks. I remember something else of that day: a sign placed on one of the stones along the coast that tells a legend about the beginnings of the world. I include it here on this page. Bondi, the color of the rocks coloured my soul forever.
Of that part of Australia, I take with me another souvenir. Doyle’s. There, in front of an indigo ocean, I spent my last day in New South Wales. From there, that morning, a young girl left on a solo trip around the world on a tiny ship. I watched her boat moving away from the coast: I was with Dad and Aunt Kangaroo and I remember wondering if she was already feeling lonely, that little girl? Standing in front of the ocean for me was like being above the clouds: I felt at the same time part of the whole, and outside of it all.