There's no better time than smack-bang in the middle of festival season and this I where I've found myself, despite being the beginning of a very cold winter. Praise must go to Events NSW for attempting to make something out of the nothingness that is Sydney winter. And praise, of course, to all those who managed to drag out the winter woollies and a companion or two to face the chill all in the name of the festival.
With both Vivid Sydney and the Sydney Film Festival coming to an end, it's a busy weekend of cramming. Following a riotous and trippy movie at the Art Gallery of New South Wales - with an unforgettable banquet scene of gorging, trashing and general anarchy - we find ourselves with a bit of our own city tripping while awaiting the festival-closing fire spectacle at The Rocks.
Insert here an awkwardly-timed meal, as is becoming my norm, at the cheap, cheerful and straightfowardly named Sushi Train. I adore the immediacy of a sushi train: enter, sit, eat. A succession of tasty morsels just parading their ingredients and colours for the hungry diner.
First plate to alight the train is a standard, fresh salmon and avocado roll, rolled inside-out with a sesame seed coating - simple comfort fare with soy and wasabi.
The friend's eel nigiri looks lusciously inviting, although I generally avoid it as I have issue with the skin and fatty bits of the slithery fish.
The takoyaki arrive piping hot in a DIY sauce manner; a packet of sauce to be distributed over the three balls and mayonnaise on the side. I prefer it pre-sauced - yes, I'm lazy but the bonito shavings usually take up some of the moisture so they're not dry and papery as they are here.
The scallops look stunning on their little wooden platform; charred, juicy and simply demanding to be devoured. They have a fresh and firm texture, but not quite the sweetness that I love of scallops.
And lastly it's a pretty spectacular-looking charred dish, appropriately named the volcano roll. Thin inside-out sushi rolls of crab meat form the mountain, topped at the summit with a rich and creamy mix of more crab, cubes of cream cheese and mayonnaise. A red sauce and a dabble of roe represent the lava and while it's an intimidating stack, it's surprisingly good enough to warrant a second serving.
Sushi-stuffed, it's time to head down to The Rocks for a final glimpse of the city's light extravaganza. I admit I didn't get through the entire Light Walk and I thought the Fire Water show was more about music and testing people's patience, but I love the ability of a festival to draw people out and together to celebrate something, anything.
The Opera House was seriously psychedelic. Everytime I looked at it there was a different, but still awesome, effect that was quite beautiful and inspiring. Perhaps something about constant change and how that can be a wonderful thing?
This pertly pretty floral piece looks very much a spring arrangement, so perhaps oddly out of place in the winter chill.
Kiddies and adults alike love a rainbow - this piece of work reflecting that simple, almost nostalgic, fondness for seven worldly colours.
The forecourt at Campbell's Cove was a hive of smokey activity, thanks to burning logs and firey trash cans. Warm but can't be good for the environment nor lungs really. Crowds swelled for the reenactment performance of a slowly emerging, then burning and sinking convict boat which was not quite as dramatic as marketed. My poor vantage spots means I'm not sure I got the storyline and no photos.
My last foray into Vivid Sydney's offerings is the remarkable light effect projected on the underside of the tunnel at the Argyle Cut. Lines, numbers and other slightly recognisable symbols covered the area in something reminiscent of John Nash's efforts in A Beautiful Mind. I'd love this on my bedroom ceiling.
It's the walk past The Argyle that cuts short any ambition to head towards more bright lights. All wooden warmth and half litre brewed beverages, it's a top-notch solution to winter troubles when tripping about many a venue is just not viable. Cheers to the festival!