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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sydney: Vancouver's much much sexier cousin

I find myself comparing things I see here in Sydney to things in Vancouver or Canada in general. Sydney and Vancouver share many parallels: they are both coastal, cosmopolitan, have both hosted Olympic Games, and have a young but rich history. Don't be fooled; my reminiscing about Vancouver does not mean that I am already home-sick... quite the contrary! I am discovering a beautiful new city at the other end of the world... that was also colonized by Brits and really isn't all that different. The main differences are obvious: driving on the left side of the road, the accent, the different coloured money and different shaped coins. I thought I should point out a couple of the subtle differences I have noticed.

The fashion: The shorts are shorter, the tops are lower and the heels are much much higher. I noticed that the way women generally dressed themselves on a hot summer day, or evening out, was basically an exaggeration of what you would see on a similar day or evening in Canada. Several graduation parties I crossed paths with pointed this out to me in an even more exaggerated way. There were many fashionable "schoolies" on display. During the middle of the day I also noticed this trend with professional women who work in industries like finance, or marketing, or whatever other sector that calls for sexy boardroom attire. Sometimes it really isn't that hard to adapt to the culture shock of being in a new place.

Transit: Since I've arrived in Sydney I have taken transit a few times instead of cycling. I find that the transit system is excellent here. I've gotten to where I have wanted to be on time. The air conditioning has always worked. I never felt like I was about to get stabbed or beaten and robbed of my shoes. What really tickled me was when I took my very first bus ride in Sydney. I was mildly annoyed that I would have to pay $5 for a bus fare because it was the lowest currency I had on me at the time. I got on the bus and told the driver where I was going. In a droned Australian accent he replied: "Ticket's three twenny mate". I displayed my five dollar bill and explained that it was all I had. Silently he took it from me, punched a few keys on a machine next to his steering wheel to print my ticket and then... this blew my mind... he gave me change! Yes! Change! In Sydney, you can buy a bus fare on the bus, and, as long as you don't pay with a fifty or one hundred, you don't need to worry about having exact change! Although, I suppose the driver's do have to worry about getting robbed by a starving tourist.

Anyhoo, if your attention span is like mine, you are probably struggling to read this entire post without being distracted. To accommodate for this I will stop forcing you to decipher my notes about Sydney and instead show you neat pictures! Read the caption to find out what you're looking at...

The view from where I am staying, thanks to the hospitality of friends Cath and Pat, in Coogee. This is Camille, who I sat beside on the flight from Vancouver:
View from Cath and Pat's place in Coogee

We went for a dip at Coogee Beach and it was just what we needed after being stuffed in an airplane for 15 hours.
Yup! The water is perfect!

Coogee Beach. I was pretty excited to be here after leaving -4 weather in Vancouver.
Coogee Beach

Sweet!
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We then decided to stretch our legs by doing the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi:
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Check out the lawn bowling!
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This guy wanted me to take a video of him doing backflips off of a hand rail. I took some pictures for myself too:
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Skate Park at Bondi:
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Wildlife in the Botanic Garden:
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Camille had decided to meet acquaintances of her's Julie and Nicholas and invited me along. We met up at Darling Harbour for dinner and drinks. I haven't spoken as much French as I have in the last few days in quite a long time!
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I went for a bike ride the next day and check out the "must-see's":
Opera House:Brodie Elan at the Opera House.

The 100% suicide proof, no-stopping-allowed, bike lane side of the Harbour Bridge:
West side (the bike side) of the Harbour Bridge. Suicide proof, security guards included.

And then on a beautiful hot and sunny Saturday I trekked from Coogee to The Spit and hiked to Manly and then returned by ferry to Circular Quay (and saw more wildlife along the way):
More lizards!
Some amazing views along the trail.
Some sweet surf at Manly Beach!
Hot Saturday afternoon at Manly Beach
Sail boat racing!
Yacht with the Opera House
Downtown Sydney
Bridge walkers.

That was a very long post, but I had a few days of not posting to make up for. Speaking of long things, day 1 of my bike ride in Australia begins tomorrow. The first leg will be from Coogee to Wollongong via a pretty special looking route. Let's hope it's a fun as the map makes it look to be. Until next time, stay classy.

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