IF YOU are visiting Sydney during the Mardi Gras parade, don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes.
Oh, and glitter. Plenty of glitter.
I am always surprised by the number of tourists who are caught by surprise at the endless road closures and sheer numbers of revellers keen to catch a glimpse of the annual parade.
I’m a casual driver for a ride-share operator and so events like Mardi Gras arrive with lots of bells and whistles in the lead-up to the date on the calendar – weeks in advance – to make sure everyone is prepared for the sharp incline in demand.
Yet still this little black duck was a little bit lost on the big night.
Particularly when a group of burly Texan backpackers folded themselves into my tiny “toy car” and begged for a shortcut across the parade’s main route on Oxford Street to Riley Street.
The positive thing was that yes, we could get across the infamous Oxford Street, but sadly, no, it was not going to be a ‘short’ cut.
It was a long cut. And in fact, they opted to hop out and leg the remainder of the journey because clearly the car was incapable of flying over the parade.
Anyway, the lesson hopefully learned was to research, research, research (and then do some more research) before selecting one’s hotel location in a city such as Sydney on the dates of a major event such as Mardi Gras.
The Sydney Mardi Gras began unofficially in June 1978 when a group of gay and lesbian protesters bravely marched in a show of unity and pride despite adversity.
These days, more than 170 bright and glamorously decorated floats with 12,500 participants continue the tradition each year along Oxford Street between Taylor Square and Hyde Park.