I really love the Strawberry Hills Santa. That’s my name for the blow-up item currently atop the Strawberry Hills Hotel. And what I like most about it is the way it makes the blow-up Santa currently outside the “cheapie shop” near Taylor Square look positively traditionally festive. It’s like a giant snow-dome meets a giant beach ball. I snapped this photograph on the way home from work earlier, today.
Because stupidly I decided to work this week. Well actually, it’s not too bad, as it’s largely a supervisory role, and everyone at work is really keen and enthusiastic, and really happy to be there, despite the early start. This morning, it was a four-thirty start for me, which explains why I sounded awfully groggy when a mate called me a short while ago to see what I was doing, as I was having an afternoon nap.
And when I reflect on it, (aside from family) an afternoon nap was the only thing missing from my Christmas Day yesterday, which I spent with a friend and her family. Ordinarily, at home in Lismore, our Christmas Day tradition consists of getting up, opening presents, other family members arriving, lunch, a visit to the cemetery to wish mum and dad a Merry Christmas, and then back home for an afternoon nap. But that nap was absent from my Christmas yesterday.
Nonetheless, I really nice day along with my friend’s family and a few other friends. We had a great afternoon chatting, wining/dining, eating turkey, ham, duck, and a truly wicked chocolate mousse desert.
As I caught the bus to her parent’s place at Northbridge, I wandered through the city, with the only evidence of life being hordes of Irish and English backpackers (hunting in packs!), and Japanese tourists taking photographs of the large Christmas Tree in Martin Place, and looking for directions in a city which almost everyone else has abandoned.
I first noticed how quiet things were on Saturday afternoon, when the normally busy nearby Crown Street was almost deserted. Hardly any of the shops were open, and there were hardly any cars on the road. Even today, coming home from work, it was odd to see someone out and about. And I haven’t bothered to venture to the CBD where the totally odd Boxing Day shoppers have taken over. It seems it’s only “the slightly odd” who have remained in Sydney for the week between Christmas & New Years.
And one of the oddest sights I noticed was also on Saturday. At the back of the ABC there was a man doing a bit of disco dancing all by himself. It was amazing just how well it synced up to Donna Summer’s “Macarthur Park”, which I was listening to on my mp3 player. One of those wonderful moments of syncronicity that you know would make the basis for a great moment in an art house film.
So yeah, Christmas has been really nice this year, albeit a little quiet. And I imagine the quietness will continue for a couple of days yet, with the resident population of Surry Hills returning in time for New Years Eve. I reckon by Thursday, the restaurants, pubs and shops and will re-open. In the meantime, it’s the non-Christian shop owners, with their Indian, Lebanese and Turkish take-aways who are tradinng. And when I was looking for some take-away food for dinner last night, Christmas night, I thought to myself, “Thank goodness for multiculturalism”.