Sydney, as much as I’m loathe to say it, rather reminds me of Los Angeles: large, spread-out, populous. The people are fashionable, the politics liberal, the public transit…
Well, I can definitely say that the public transit is better.
Weather can play a role, I think, in how one views a city. To wit: it rained. The entire time that I was in Sydney. Well, maybe not the entire time. Sometimes it was just cloudy and misting. Other times it was positively pouring. What it most definitively wasn’t was blue-skied and sunny. And it appeared that the luck I had run into last fall in New England (which suffered from record rainfall amounts and flooding in those eastern states) continued in New South Wales (with record rainfall amounts and flooding in the western part of that state).
Still, I did manage to walk around The Rocks (the oldest part of the city), and tour the famous Opera House, even if it did tend to rather blend into the gray and cloudy sky. Did you know the Opera House has no gutters around the edge? Nope, not a one. The water just pours off the slanted white roofs and rains down on those visitors who didn’t notice the underground entrances.
No, I wasn’t one of them.
After much hemming and hawing, I decided to drop the big bucks and do the Sydney Bridge Climb on a relatively calm morning. Although its not something that I would probably do twice in my lifetime, I’m glad I did do it, and think that I would have really regretted not having done it. Yes, its a bit cheezy and no, after climbing the likes of Half Dome and peered over the edge, the height wasn’t anything to be afraid of. But the view of Sydney was nice, and the Harbor Bridge is one of those rare structures that is, in fact, larger in person than you think it’s going to be. The damn thing is huge.
There were some unexpected surprises as well, such as when I emerged from the train one day and walked right into the parade of Sydney Police marking their 150th anniversary. I’d stumbled on the parade start, giving me the opportunity for a few good photographs.
Socially, I tried my best. I spent some time with a couple of college girls from Austria who were, for whatever reason, absolutely enamored with the fact that I was from Los Angeles. I’m sure I disappointed them with my decidedly geeky, un-cool ways, particularly when we went out to a bar/club filled with other twenty-somethings and I felt so, so old. A club man, I am not. Send me to the nearest pub instead.
My last day in the city, while the Austrians went off with a couple of young Italian guys (who, much as I am loathe to stereotype, were everything you might imagine young, lothario Italian guys to be), I met up with a PhD student from England, and we decided to tool around together for the day. We went to the Aquarium, dinner with other travelers, and finally stood in the rain (naturally) to watch the Sydney Mardi Gras parade which, as it turns out, is the Pride festival for the city. I’m not much to speak of politics on this blog, but I had to tip my hat at the number of public service vehicles (police, fire, transportation, etc) touting their love of diversity in their workforces.
She and I ended up having drinks until 3:00 in the morning, making my early morning flight to Cairns a challenge to say the least.
Up next: Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef