Monday, August 31, 2009
Okay, we’ve been in Sydney for three full days now, and we’re having a great time! What keeps striking me, though, is how similar this place seems to home. No, I’m not saying the two cities are long-lost twins or anything, but Sydney seems to have more similarities to Seattle than any other city I’ve ever traveled to. The people are laid-back, there are signs about caring for the environment, everybody is out doing active things in the outdoors, and the downtown areas have the same sort of mix of small businesses, office buildings, department stores, and even similar architecture styles. People drive Subarus, and we haven’t found a restaurant yet that looks at people askance because they’re not dressed formally enough. Both cities love their street markets. Both have one main road that’s the center of the “alternative” cultural scene and can surprise you with its sometimes-unexpected gems (here, Oxford Street; home, Broadway). Both have beach areas (Bondi here; Alki at home) that have the same kind of quiet-neighborhood-plus-beachside-cafes feel. Both are large, world-class cities that simultaneously have a bit of a small-town feel, and both have a sort of frontier, withstand-it-all mentality that is a holdover from earlier days.
Yes, I’m having a grand time. We’ve been eating beef, and walking on real sidewalks (without even having to watch our feet the whole time for fear we’ll step into a hole or trip over someone sleeping or step in something nasty), and when we cross streets the cars actually stop for us, and we can drink the tapwater without fear of dying from it, and there are shops that carry clothes that I can actually fit in, and restaurants that have menus that I can order from without wondering whether I’m going to be able to eat the food. Ahhhh, the good life.