When I left Japan, it was below freezing. When I arrived in Sydney, it was a comfortable 80 degrees. I appreciated the temperature change and being able to feel my extremities again. I wasn’t in the best of moods when I arrived at the Sydney airport after 14 hours of travel time, but once I was in the sunshine, things got better. Here are some of my initial observations about Sydney:
1) Australia is expensive. I had serious sticker shock when I arrived, especially with the cost of food. I read online that it was expensive, but it didn’t quite sink in until I paid $4 for a bottle of Coke and $18 for a salad. It’s like paying concert or sporting event prices on everyday purchases. I had to laugh at this post that talks about “cheap eats” under $30. Since I’ve been in Australia for a little while now, I’m finding it is not as expensive as initially thought, and I’ll share some more about this on a future post.
2) Sydney is an active and fit city. Perhaps it is the beautiful weather and abundance of outdoor activities. Perhaps people just can’t afford to eat (joking…I think). Whatever it is, Sydney is one of the fittest cities I’ve ever been in. I’ve never seen so many six-pack abs and ripped physiques. Good for Sydney.
3) Australian history is truly bizarre and hilarious. I took a few tours around Sydney, and I had to laugh at the history. Since the first colonists here were primarily prisoners from England, a lot of their key historical figures were also convicts. One story talked about how some prisoners helped build a bank, and then they were later able to rob it because they were intimately familiar with the blueprints. Another humorous story was that of Francis Greenway. He was sent to Australia for forgery, but became one of the main architects in Sydney. He was originally on their $10 bill until they decided it was probably not smart to put a criminal who committed forgery on their money.
4) Australians are very nice. Everyone I have met since I’ve been here has been very nice. Australians are usually interested in my accent and where I’m from, and they’ve been patient with me when I’m trying to figure things out, like how to use their credit card machines.
5) Foster’s and Subarus are pretty much non-existent. I haven’t seen a single Foster’s beer anywhere, and I’ve only seen a handful of Suburus. The main car brands I have seen are Toyota, Ford, Mercedes, and Suzuki. It seems like the most common beer I see here is Carlton brand, and I’m particularly fond of the XXXX Gold beer.
6) Coffee is king. This is a country that seems to be obsessed with coffee. Don’t expect to order coffee and get an American style coffee, though. You will need to specify if you want a cappuccino, latte, mocha, etc. Coffee is everywhere, and seemingly everyone knows how to make it. Even gas station attendants will froth the milk for your cappuccino and pour you a double shot of espresso.
Overall I’m really enjoying my time here and look forward to writing some more about Australia.