I just got back from what was technically a 2-week work visit to Sydney. Was it work? Was it a vacation? I really couldn't tell the difference! All I know was that I was consumed by a liberating mum-on-the-run kind of experience! So what if I had to work as well – I knew my boys were in good hands at home and I was free from responsibility of all sorts!
Experiencing the sights, sounds and flavours of Sydney, as well as its work culture, was simply brilliant. But, experiencing Sydney on my own terms, without my perfectly adorable, yet self-centred and perpetually hungry minions, who believe their legs weren't meant for walking, was something else altogether!
Just when I thought my working vacation couldn't get any better, a close friend of mine who lives in Melbourne, confirmed that she would visit me in Sydney over my last weekend there! And, her agenda was no different from mine… indulge in a little me-time, eat a meal without interruptions and enjoy a great night out on Sydney Harbour!
After a Saturday morning well spent at Bondi and an exhilarating walk along Sydney's rugged coast, we decided our evening would be spent on Darling Harbour doing something we wouldn't do with kids in tow. Sydney Showboats was the most inviting option and the obvious winner. What fun it was to dress up, put on make-up at leisure, do our hair and step into heels, in anticipation of reliving some of those super fun Saturday nights we enjoyed almost a lifetime ago!
Waiting at Kings Street Wharf to board this authentic New Orleans type of paddlewheeler, the lyrics of the old CCR song Proud Mary kept playing in my head like a stuck record… Big wheel keep on turnin', Proud Mary keep on burnin'; Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river!
Only, this wasn't the Proud Mary with her paddlewheels churning the Mississippi River, this was the Sydney Showboat primed for a spectacular Sydney Harbour dinner cruise with a live cabaret show to boot! Welcomed aboard by two glamorous showgirls, dolled up in feathers and frills, we couldn't wait for the rest of the evening to unfold.
The Showboat interiors had a different story to tell… with oodles of old-world charm, this glamorous paddlewheeler had all the trimmings of a five-star waterfront restaurant. The tables were dressed in crisp white linen, silver cutlery and sparkling glassware and lined in such a way that all guests had a good view of the stage.
Seated by the window, at a table set exclusively for two, we were mistaken for a couple celebrating a special occasion, and we just smilingly played along enjoying the fun! Our Showboat dinner cruise was finally on the move and in no time, the entrée platter for two was served.
As the dazzling harbour lights passed us by, we enjoyed the smoked salmon rolls, tandoori spiced chicken drumettes and chilli garlic prawns, savouring every moment of our interruption-free evening. We then took a leisurely evening stroll along the wrap-around balconies of the Showboat. Feasting our eyes on the magnificence of the Harbour Bridge, the subtle glow of the stunning Opera House and the glittering Luna Park, we were simply lost in the surrealistic experience!
Back inside, our mains were served – the most succulent veal cutlet with roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes sugar snap peas on the side. We were also treated to a little table magic, with the resident magician baffling us with the simplest of tricks!
After anniversaries and birthdays of guests were celebrated on stage with the Showboat follies, along came the absolutely divine dessert platter! What a way to finish off a delightful three-course meal – with a deliciously light panacotta, sinful chocolate cake and heavenly tiramisu!
And then came the moment the whole boat was waiting for… the beginning of a cabaret journey with the scintillating Showboat dancers and songstress! Before we knew it, we were hit with sprightly music and long-limbed, nimble-footed and able-bodied dancers traversing the scarlet windmills of Paris, blues dens of New York, the flamenco floors of Spain and many other countries! What we wouldn't give for those toned bodies, lanky, cellulite-free legs and the ability to move them with unequivocal grace!
The whole boat came alive with interactive dances and cheering audiences. And, with our brains abuzz with sixty minutes energetic jaw-dropping dances, songs and the most vibrant colours and costumes – I'd have to say the show was nothing short of brilliant!
Our spectacular Sydney dinner cruise came to an end… but that certainly was not the end of the night for us! That's a story I'll save for another time!