Putanga – Life on the Road

Stories from my journeys around the world…

Leaving the Emerald City

Posted by Monica Johansen on December 3, 2008

I have spent the last 12 days in beautiful Sydney, and it has been awesome to be back in my old home town for a while. My company sent me here for a project, so during the weekdays I have been working on site for a customer, but in the evenings and on the weekends I have been catching up with old friends and just enjoying the westernized culture for a little while. Although Southeast Asia is a very interesting place I cannot deny that I am a Caucasian person who has grown up in northern Europe.

The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House

I have discovered that Sydney is a place you either love or hate. When I moved to Sydney a couple of years ago I had no idea what to expect, and I quickly realized that the tourist capital of Australia was in fact not as relaxed as I had been told. It is no doubt that Sydney is a beautiful city with its great harbor and many tourist attractions, but I think that most people who come to Sydney on holiday get a rather skewed impression of the place. For most Australians, Sydney is first of all a business capital, and many people say that Sydney is not really like the rest of Australia. I tend to agree, and I find that once you get out of the city people seem to be more laid back and social. I guess Sydney simply is suffering from the big city syndrome, like most other large cities around the word.

A funny thing about Sydney is that there are so many foreigners living there that you can have a huge group of friends where none of them are Australians. I think Aussies who grow up in Sydney and go to school and University here tend to stick together and stay friends for a very long time, but it is sometimes difficult for outsiders to get into these groups and be a part of the local community. In fact, I think pretty much all of my friends in Oz are either from smaller country towns or from overseas, and I know that many Aussies think Sydney is too stressful and unfriendly. My personal opinion is that most people here are quite nice, and as long as you don’t have to deal with the many notorious taxi drivers in this city you will have a very nice time here. If you move here from another city or country you may find it difficult to make new friends in the beginning, but once you get into a group you will be just fine.

Inside the Queen Victoria Building

Inside the Queen Victoria Building

I think that the best thing about Sydney is not the city itself, but rather its fantastic surroundings. In the east you have an amazing coastline with great beaches everywhere, and in the west you find the Blue Mountains which is great for hiking, mud biking, horse riding etc. So if you love outdoor activities there are so many things to do here. However, if you are not a child of nature you can have a great time just enjoying the many nice restaurants, interesting architecture and museums, or you can visit tourist attractions such as the Centrepoint tower or Sydney Aquarium or Wildlife Park. There is enough to see and do to keep your self occupied for quite a while.

In fact, after I arrived 12 days ago the only thing that I have been lacking here in Sydney is enough sleep. I have had so many things to do outside of work that there has simply not been enough hours in the days, and I have had to cut back on sleep to be able to fully enjoy and utilize my limited time here. I think I will need to sleep for an entire weekend when I get back to Singapore.

But today I am flying to Perth for a 2-days project, so I still have a few more days in Oz before I have to go back to Southeast Asia. 😀


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