AUSTRALIA, THE LAND DOWN UNDER. I never plan any vacations, I wait for a friend to come up with a do-able plan, and an invitation, and that is how I get to see the world without doing much research or planning. Thank-you Yvonne for the trip to Surinam and thank-you Jodi for the trip to Morocco; I can go on and on, because I’ve been around the globe with friends, and they did most of the planning. So when in May, Mariza Garcia suggested Australia, since we’ve never been, we put a savings plan in action, and got tickets via Argentina to Australia and Samoa. Which was a fresh idea, traveling in the Southern Hemisphere. Then why Samoa? Because it is the last of the Polynesian islands to still fully embrace the old way of life, the authentic and original Bida Dushi which here is referred to here as Fa’a. But first things first. We landed in Australia having flown via Panama to Argentina, then across the Antaractic to Sidney.
JET LAG. A serious issue. With 15 hours of time difference, I could think of nothing but my bed. It took me days to adjust, I was ready to fold, every day at 5pm, then get up at 3am, when the rest of the world was still sleeping.
SIDNEY. A wow of a city, a truly amazing cosmopolitan hub, with a deep picturesque harbor, one thousand times the size of ours and lots of waterfront parks and attractions, you will never get tired of the sights and the buildings, ooh-aah, the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, The Sydney Tower, they are all bigger than life and look great in pictures. It is very easy to be a tourist in Sydney, mass transit of trains, ferries, and hop-on/hop off double-decker sightseeing buses make it very convenient to move around. The city is filled with modern and classic artwork, statues, and monuments, breathing life into its history when 200 years ago this was a British penal colony. The old Victorian architecture is well preserved and blends in with the futuristic skyline. There are many wild, white, yellow-crested cockatoos flying FREE above the city, yes, a native bird screeching just like the prickichi, I couldn’t t believe it. I have never seen this bird in the wild.
THE AUSSIES. They are great looking people, all chicks are blonde with straight lovely hair, and crazy platform shoes, and all the guys broad-shouldered, tall, really tall, we’re talking Hugh Jackman, and they all have amazing legs. The gorgeous Crocodile Dundees wear short shorts everywhere and show off very well developed calf muscles thanks to the Rugby they play on every field in the city. According to me, the Aussies living in Sydney, don’t work, they play all day, they jog, they run up and down park-stairs, they exercise with their bare chest muscles showing, the run along the waterside, in small group, talking funny, sounding even funnier, and when they finish their exercise routines, they go to the pubs and drink beer, a lot of beer. If truth be said we met more foreigners than Australian, a Pakistan taxi driver, a French waiter, a Greek barista, backpackers from all over and an Argentinean bus driver. All happy. All friendly.
COMMON SENSE. As tourists, we loved the common sense of the Australian tourist product, you don’t have to make reservations, just walk in, buy a ticket, it’s immediate, customer friendly and uncomplicated. Examples can be found everywhere, in restaurants, on trains, and spas. They take your credit card without looking at your ID and let you check out your own groceries in the supermarket with no cashiers. We had two massages, two days in a row, because it is so easy to get one. You walk in from the street, no mystique, no candles, you don’t even take of your clothes, in and out, feels great at $1 a minute.
RULES AND REGULATIONS. They have rules hanging from every street light and wall. No fishing. No diving. No loitering. No noise. No alcohol zone. Keep dogs leashed. Pick up poop. Visitors and Australians must just be able to read to know exactly what is expected of them. Sidney is highly regulated and looks great. In the Botanical Park we found signs: You may hug any tree, talk to the flowers, and walk on the grass as long as you don’t feed the birds!
IT’S A DOG’S LIFE. If it is indeed true what Gandhi said about the perception of a nation, judged by the way it treats animals, I recommend you all to move to Australia. We saw a dog weight-loss salon and a place advertising dog sitters and dog communicators. There are no stray dogs in Australia, none, all the pooches we saw were gordo-diki-dushi, walking good looking humans. We visited many dog parks and every one of those had a low-lying, filled water fountain for dogs! Gotta love Sidney!
FOOD. We were super impressed with how fresh everything is. You can taste the field in the arugula, which they call roket here. The kiwi, strawberry and tomato, wow, juicy and tasty. From fish to lamb it’s all so good. We even liked the steak and kidney pie, served with mashed potatoes and green peas looking as if someone just threw it up in the back of the kitchen. The Aussies have a sterling coffee tradition and all cappuccinos are perfection, served sprinkled with chocolate. The coffee beans from the island of Timor are amazing. Besides that, ethnic fast food is everywhere and delicious, attesting to the fact that this is a true immigrant nation.
DIFFERENT .They drive on the left side of the street. We almost got killed everyday. They say Ring instead of Call, Bin instead of Can as in garbage bin, they use Rubbish, Glorious, Superb, and call their little streets, Laneways. We saw the entire city in 4 days, and will recommend to anyone, go in the spring, which is October!