After spending the last five months in the sunny part of the world, I’ve noticed a few things here and there that I thought were funny, weird or just interesting and so wanted to share my Sydney observations for your amusement…
– If you think Australia is just white people and aboriginals you’d be wrong. Sydney has a huge Asian population in particular so China Town (in the Haymarket suburb) is a pretty big deal and well worth a look around; not to mention the neighbouring Thai town!
– People walk around with no shoes on and I’m not just talking about at the beach but in the middle of the city business district…with no surfboard under their arms!
– People seem to follow the rules in random places; on a train platform, you’ll find that people won’t even stand over the blue line, never mind the yellow line even if the platform is busy. In London, for example, every inch of the platform is taken up with people!
– The other rule followed is waiting for the ‘green man’ to flash before you cross the road but that’s because, surprisingly, jay-walking is quite a common offence to get fined for! And whilst we’re talking about the ‘green man’; as soon as you start crossing the road, he changes to red so don’t think you can take your time crossing the road!
– If you live in the city or Eastern Suburbs, you’re unlikely to see any overweight people or, less than well-off people because these areas tend to have rich and body beautiful people in them. If you go West or in the ‘outback’ it’s a different story weirdly; there’s a reason why Australia was the world’s fattest country in the world in 2008!
– Sydney is the ‘body beautiful’ city meaning that everyone walks around in fitness clothing, whether they’ve just come from (or going to) a work out or not; this is particularly accurate for the ‘yummy mummy’ groups who power walk with other mums and their prams. I was once in Manly and saw mother roller-blading her daughter in a pram!
– Speaking of fitness, if you want to get fitter and healthier then this is the city for you. With everything from yoga to martial arts and gyms purely to build athletes, you are confronted with being a ‘better you’ on a daily basis. Though there appears to be 3 leaders when it comes to fitness; surfing, running and yoga so take your pick and you’ll make friends quickly.
– One of the things I love about Sydney is that there is no uniform to the architecture of buildings. You can have a house that looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in old Tuscany next to an ultra-modern town house with glass roof. And apart from the very small business district with tall buildings (and Westfield malls), most other commercial and residential buildings aren’t that tall.
– Road rage is ridiculous despite Australians supposedly being very relaxed – they love the sound of their horns.
– There is always something happening. Whether it’s a concert at the Opera House, a famous singer putting on a concert, a poetry festival or a sporting event; there is always something happening in the city or the surrounding suburbs; you never have to be bored for long.
– And speaking of rage – they’re pretty vocal when they’re angry in a shop etc too.
– Everyone goes the beach. Whether it’s to sunbathe, surf from or just hang out with your friends, if you’re not a beach person, you’re not a Sydney person.
– Just because it’s Australia, it doesn’t meant that the sun will always shine. Just before I left we had almost 2.5 weeks straight of cloud and poorer weather conditions.
– Melbourne may have a cafe culture but Sydney has a dining out culture. In some suburbs such as Bondi you can go out to eat on a Monday night and still find every restaurant and bar busy.
– The city is actually pretty flat on the grand scheme of things.
– Parakeets, cockatoos, lizards, Ibis birds and cockroaches are your new garden wildlife. Oh and bats are the size of crows!
– Everyone has a barbie (BBQ) for either a standard dinner or just an excuse to get everyone around to yours at the weekend.
– The Opera House, given that it’s only 40 years old, is pretty damn ugly up close – despite it only being 40 years old, it already looks very dated. It’s also not one building but 3 small ones!
– You’ll see a lot of people in blue shorts and trousers and either a neon yellow or orange top – they’re city/construction workers and it’s great that no matter what company they work for, they still have some kind of uniform!
– Speaking of these kind of ‘neon workers’, a LOT of them are women!
– Most restaurants and cafes etc have a large selection of vegetarian foods even if they don’t promote themselves as a veggie place because it’s seen as healthy food.
– Speaking of healthy food; you’ll struggle to ever find a simple salad. Instead you’ll have ingredients such a quinoa, pine nuts, pumpkin, the list is endless.
– Beetroot in burgers – it’s an obsession! So much so that there is an entire McDonald’s advertising campaign dedicated to their love of it!
– Sydney is a ‘fresh’ city meaning that everything from fruit to meat tends to be bought fresh rather than packaged from the supermarket. It’s all about the ‘healthy meals’ here.
So there you have it folks; my very small run down on just some of the obvious little quirks I’ve noticed in the city.
Have you been to Sydney? What observations did you make??