We are spending Christmas in Sydney, Australia. We are staying at a friend’s apartment in Chatswood, an affluent suburb on the north shore of Sydney, about 10 kilometers from downtown.
On our first day in Sydney, we visited the the iconic Sydney Opera House and walked around downtown. Seeing the opera house is like seeing the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, it is one of the world buildings that is instantly recognizable. The opera house is unique, although it is in need of a face lift as the roof has yellowed a bit and the dark wood beams scream 1980s. There were heaps of people outside the opera house and hanging out along the docks. The atmosphere is quite nice with outdoor restaurants, bars, and cafes. We escaped the crowds and spent the afternoon at the Sydney Botanic Gardens. The open lawns with a skyscraper backdrop reminded me of Central Park in New York. We had a fantastic, relaxing, and fun day with each other. We had running races, sumo wrestling matches, and I especially was interested in the trees and plants that were identified in the gardens. As I always say, it really doesn’t matter where I spend my holidays, as long as I am with my family, I’ll have a wonderful time.
Nadia is happy to be reminiscing about her childhood. She grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne and left when she was 14 years old. It was funny that we couldn’t find a meat pie yesterday for lunch. There are lots of Asian restaurants but not Aussie meat pie shops. It may be a reflection of Australia being in Asia or the impact of immigration. We did get some fish and chips for dinner and a stop at the Woolworth’s super market resulted in a descriptions by Nadia of every product she remembers. :)
We finished the evening enjoying some Australian wine. Nadia and I had a glass of botrytis semillon produced by the Nugan Estate here in NSW. I forgot how good Aussie wines were! We used to live in Perth 13 years ago (has it been that long since we left?) and we learned about wine through courses at Western Australia University and trips to the Margaret River wine region.
Some of my initial impression of Australia:
- Osaka Japan is cheaper than Sydney. Things are really expensive here. I always thought Japan, Norway, and Switzerland were the most expensive places, but I would put Sydney on that list. I wonder if the economic statistics bear that out?
- Owen nailed it on the head by saying he was reminded of Spain while were were walking to the train station. The sunlight here is like the Mediterranean and I would say Australia is a mix between California and Spain. I can see why people want to come here as it is so beautiful with perfect weather.
- Sydney is much busier and cosmopolitan than Perth. We lived in Perth from 2000 to 2002 before moving to Venezuela.
- Topics in the Sydney Morning Herald were breaking down the recent attack on the Sydney cafe by the Iranian immigrant and a horrific story of 7 siblings aged 15 months to 17 years old were found dead in a Cairns home. The mom was also stabbed but was alive and taken to the hospital. There was also an article about real estate, which continues to increase in value like in the USA before the bubble burst. I foresee a real estate bubble bursting here also. Incomes are not rising as fast as real estate prices are rising.
Well, that is it for this morning. We are headed off to the famed Bondi Beach today to give the kids a taste of Aussie lifeguard and beach culture.