I took this photo after an ANZAC Day march on a particularly wet April's day in Sydney one year and in many ways it represents how I feel about what's become of the rest of world while I sit here in front of my computer.
The change of government in the United States only took place around 10 days ago but already, laws enacted by the new president have already cast long shadows and grey skies all over not only the American people but the world at large. The only place that looks and sounds safe and 'real' at the moment is Australia. But it's only going to be matter of time before we get swept up in the consequences of decisions made by the Trump administration.
The basic rights of women in the decisions they make about their bodies have been violated. People who are citizens of a 'select' (read those in whichTrump business interests do not reside) group of predominantly Muslim countries are to be barred from entering the US indefinitely. And then there's the wall to keep Mexicans out of the country. Though, it has to be said, there aren't that many Mexicans living within China's Great Wall....
It's hard not to draw those frightening parallels with the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany. It's hard to not find some kind of prophetic truth in George Orwell's novel 1984 which sold out on Amazon recently. And you can't help but feel that there will be repercussions. Both from outside of the US but also within.
So it has't been the most life affirming context upon which we've been celebrating various things here in Sydney. I am definitely not an expert or as well read as I should be on world politics but it seemed a bit callous to not at least acknowledge these new tensions in a country that fascinates me, that I enjoy visiting and that has always been so welcoming from the moment I've passed through immigration and onward to the taxi ranks outside its airports (immigration in US airports is tense and intimidating at the best of times but it has always been polite).
I spent Australia Day working from home so unfortunately, an afternoon outside waiting for the fireworks wasn't on the cards. I did, however, manage to get to Woolworths first thing for one of the last packets of jam filled lamingtons they had left.
Coles released a lamington flavoured ice cream one year and it wasn't all that great.
The DIY version of a sliced lamington topped with some top shelf vanilla ice cream was all that and more.
Chinese New Years Day (Saturday) saw Preschooler SSG and I both with clear schedules so we made the most of it and went to Circular Quay to see what we could sea. What a delightful pun that was.
We saw 8 rabbits in a circle practicing their tai chi under the bridge.
A lone pig basking in the sun, and looking just a little sunburnt if truth be told.
A monkey seeing no evil.
A tiger holding balloons and pinwheels, obviously having lots of fun in the sun.
A mah jong tile ox looking wistfully at a cruise ship docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
A panda looking somewhere between 'a bit stuck' and 'just having a stretch' over the top of a cruise ship. She wasn't strictly part of the New Year animal lantern display but I couldn't resist sharing this photo. You know, the more cruise ships I see, the more the idea of taking a cruise grows on me. Watch this space.
This restaurant new the animal lanterns obviously goes by preschooler time. I think the sign is meant to indicate the time by which the diners need to vacate their table.
Time was marching on but we did have time to quickly look around Martin Place.
Where we stopped admire the canopy of red lanterns and golden roosters above a selection of food trucks and stalls that weren't scheduled to be in business until 5pm.
So we ended up at Maccas for an afternoon snack. It's thirsty and hungry work doing all that walking.
Don't worry, we did have noodles (and our vegetables) for lunch before we set out for the afternoon. This is as fancy as my Chinese cooking gets. It was delicious though.
We had one last chance to look at the animals of the Chinese zodiac courtesy of these puppets outside Gateway near Circular Quay. The Gateway redevelopment has really taken off. It's a much needed collection of food and beverage options that provide a bit of variety from the cheapish and or touristy stuff across the road as well as the more spendy stuff at Customs House. With lots of outdoor seating (including deck chairs!!), it's a lovely spot to be on a summer's afternoon.
Edited to add this photo. I forgot to upload it earlier. It was from a massive series of photo messages that dad sent from the CNY dinner in Perth that he and mum hosted. Thanks for the dragon dance photos, dad. We missed seeing them in Sydney this year.
Did you celebrate Chinese New Year? How was your Australia Day?
Tell me Trumpalot is a very bad joke or a news satire website come to life....