Yesterday was my 62nd birthday, and Linda organized a great day for me. It started with 11am mass at St Patrick’s Church in the city. Dedicated in 1844, it is beautifully decorated inside and had a great choir for the service. Afterwards we enjoyed a light meal in the church café next door and then headed over to Macquarie Street near the Opera House where Linda had booked a room at the Sir Stamford Hotel. It was too early to check in, so we left our luggage and walked down to the Opera Bar. To my great surprise and pleasure, there was a four-piece jazz band there led by one of my favourite ABC radio personalities, James Valentine. I knew he was a musician in a former life, but had never seen him playing his favourite instrument, the saxophone. I then knew why Linda had suggested the bar!
Kitinn dropped by to listen for a while and then headed off to watch a movie while we went back to the hotel to check in. Another surprise – Linda had booked a top-floor room with a sweeping view across the Botanical Gardens and up the harbour. A beautiful room with spectacular view!
The Dendy cinema was nearby, so that’s where we went to watch a movie we had heard a lot about: Slumdog Millionaire. There were some dreadful scenes of poverty on a large scale during the movie, but they were balanced by a great rags-to-riches storey that left us feeling uplifted. (It’s since won eight Oscars!)
We finished off the night with another trip back to the Opera Bar, but by then it had turned into a gay dance scene. Although interesting, we left after watching for a while and stopped for a chocolate fix at Guylian’s Belgian Chocolate Cafe before heading back to the hotel.