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Sunday, 15 November 2009

Now that's something to see ...

I'm hardly an innocent abroad but here was something to see. We - me, John and Neil Patton - a Canadian friend of John's from Vancouver with an expert's interest in the negotiation at the heart of our seminars who'd also joined us at Melbourne, flew into Sydney around 2.00 this afternoon; checked into our hotel overlooking Botany Bay, and travelled by bus and train to Martin Square, from where John led me through the magnificent Palace Gardens where I saw a memorial to Charles Darwin amid trees of unsurpassing grandeur.
'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change' Charles Darwin
At the foot of the Domain we strolled along the harbour front until, rounding a corner, I came all of a sudden across the Sydney Opera House, a building in my imagination since its completion when I was just 30. Sunday afternoon and the world of human variety - age, nationality and ethnicity - seemed to revolve gently about us in every direction, walking, sitting, reclining and, like me, gazing - in joyful wonderment - at a panorama too wide for the camera and an acoustic landscape of waves, the rumbling and plashing of boats - large and small - and conversation in every register. We sucked choc-ices and stared up and down the harbour like eager children, then strolled on to a quayside restaurant for a late lunch, revelling, with a thousand others, in the grandeur and jollity all around. Not since I've been to Cairo or walked around the Parthenon or the Taj Mahal do I recall such pleasure at being an unabashed tourist - and in such kind company.
After eating we took a ferry to the end of the harbour passing below Sydney Harbour Bridge, seeing the Opera House across the water, the high rises of the city centre and the busy shores from Lunar Park to the Maritime Museum where we alighted to continue our stroll through a city made by people from across the world.

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Simon Baddeley