Defining Sydney

Australia, Reviews, RTW: 2007-2008 — By on November 18, 2007 9:43 PM


Sydney is huge compared to San Francisco, and while I have not explored most of the city, I can describe Sydney as a mix of several cities. Sydney has the culture and street names of London, the diversity of San Francisco, the big city feel of New York City, the vibe of the Islands, and the weather of San Diego.

As described by The Hon Matt Brown, Minister for Tourism, “With its near-perfect climate, World famous buildings, stunning harbor and friendly people, there’s no place in the world like Sydney.” And after 5 days…we totally agree!

I am in love with all I have seen of Sydney so far. Sydney is one of the rare major cities in the world to have a wide variety of natural assets, including spectacular beaches, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, cultural performances, and amazing fashion, food and wine. What more could you want?

However, we have found that as always, nowhere is perfect. So you are wondering what it is that we don’t like about Sydney… any guesses? You are probably guessing dirty/stinky streets, a large homeless population, crime, etc., but neither exists here. What we hate are the flies! Flies are everywhere and they are driving us crazy! I did a Google search for “flies in Sydney”, to understand why such a perfect city has so many annoying flies! I learned that the high population of cattle in Australia is to blame. Bush flies blow in from the pasture-land breeding areas on hot westerly winds. This means the bush-fly population in Sydney is erratic, because the winds are. A local told us that the flies were really bad 2 months ago and then they went away for a month but now they are back again.

But once you lay eyes on the Sydney Opera house one forgets all about the flies…

I had a fabulous weekend! Saturday Lauren and I finally made it down to the Sydney Harbor and to the famous Sydney Opera House. The architecture was stunning and the harbor absolutely gorgeous. We walked along the harbor and stopped to have an oyster appetizer at Sydney Cove Oyster House.
The oysters were amazing! Then we made our way down to Darling Harbor to meet our new friend Regina for dinner at a fun restaurant surrounded by boats and water. We both ate burgers that reminded us more of meatloaf. Darling Harbor, as the name implies, is simply darling! This is where the Real World Sydney house is located.


Sunday was the Glebe Street Festival which reminded us so much of the Haight Street Fair in San Francisco. The distinct neighborhoods throughout Sydney are another reason the city reminds me of San Francisco. Glebe is similar to the Haight Ashbury District, and Newtown is very similar to the Mission District. We actually looked at a room in Newtown, but I decided that having lived 5 years in the Mission in San Francisco was enough for me, and I need a change! We both really like Morris, the guy renting the room in Newtown. We randomly ran into him at the festival today and will probably hang with him very soon. He reminds me of Hugh Grant and is so nice.

Sydney is the most Americanized city I have visited abroad. There is a Target, every major store you see in American malls, Subway, Starbucks, etc. It is very tempting to spend money here, especially on clothes as there is an abundance of amazing shops… but I have been good so far! Many people have asked me how I can afford this trip. My response is that I will have to work while I am here but I will also have to change my lifestyle and spending habits. For example…Lauren and I went to the grocery store Sunday and made a pasta dinner at the hostel that cost each of us $1.50 each. Once again…going back to college days!

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