All philosophy and no play makes The Modern Nomad a very dull blog. So let’s take a break from deep thoughts and explore Sydney, where I’ve lived for seven weeks.
I am trying a new format with this article: Infrequently Asked Questions. It was a snappier title than “stuff your guidebook won’t mention.” Enjoy!
What is the most bi-polar thing about Sydney?
The Sydney Opera House is pure gorgeousness. Never before has Scandinavian architecture shined so brightly. It represents Sydney in the same way that the Eiffel Tower represents Paris or the statue of liberty does New York. The beauty of its façade is rivalled only by the utter blandness of its interior. So instead of paying top Ozzy dollars for the guided tour of yawns and concrete, remain outside and watch the golden light of the sunset play across the ceramic walls and roofs of this landmark.
What will kill you over there?
Everything! Australia is literally crawling with little killing machines.
Spiders, snakes and scorpions are the obvious suspects. (Beware the letter ‘s’.) In Australia, the venom of these creatures is borderline sadistic. Why would a spider need poison so toxic that it can kill a whole garrison of grown men? It’s as if a human would claim the need to own a military-grade semi-automatic rifle for his ‘self-protection’. Utter nonsense!
Sydney isn’t as lethal as the outback, but it has its share of vicious creatures. I found this out first-hand when I went kayaking in the harbour. I was to climb out of the water and onto a boulder where a colony of rock oysters had settled down. I knew that they were sharp, but not how sharp. My hand barely touched the oysters, but the razor edges still cut through my flesh as if it had been butter. (If ever you need to break into a safe, just slice it open with a rock oyster.)
It gets worse. The oysters inject an anti-coagulant compound that keeps you bleeding, thus attracting sharks that will finish you off. (But I fought them off and saved princess Yasira.)
Oh, and another ‘s’ that will try to kill you in Sydney is the sun. USE SUNSCREEN!
What did you hate about Sydney?
Pedestrian crossings. They are annoying as hell. You wait forever for a signal to turn green. When it finally does, it remains green for half a heartbeat. Blink and you might miss it.
How sexy are the locals?
I take great care to judge the sex-appeal of the locals wherever I go. (You wouldn’t believe the depravity I endure to keep this blog informative.) After sampling enough data points, I rate the locals by the type of crime I’d commit for them.
For an Australian hunk, I wouldn’t go as far as commit murder, but I might help cover one up. This is the greatest rating I’ve ever given. In other words, the Australians are sexy as all hell! They are tall, tanned, muscled and confident. Oh, and they walk down the road with that care-free surfer-dude attitude wearing nothing but sandals and a pair of rugby shorts.
Don’t come to Sydney if you are in one of those monogamous relationships I keep hearing about because you’ll die of frustration! If you are single, however, party on! The Australians seem to get some perverse pleasure from slumming it with us mere mortals.
What kind of shoes do I need?
Depends. The sights of Sydney are all within easy walking distance.
But if you want to keep up with the locals, bring running shoes. Everybody in Sydney runs. You can’t take a piss in an alleyway without some sporty-spice wannabe running past.
Think Baywatch. Sydney is just like that.
Will I be robbed?
Certainly, contiguously and thoroughly.
Don’t worry about pickpockets and robbers. In fact, Sydney is one of the safest places I’ve been. You see no squalor, no bums ranting at the trees or lowlife making a living out of unguarded tourists. None of that. No, the people robbing you will look you in the eyes and smile as they do so.
Sydney is simply expensive. Unless you plan to live on sunshine and rainwater, and unless you have an awesome friend with a beachside apartment that you can live in for free (Thanks Ian!), pack a thick wallet.
Where are the hottest surfer dudes?
At the beach, of course!
You can’t go to Sydney and not explore the beaches. You can, but why would you? They are amazing!
Your first beach day should be Bondi and Bronte. Bondi is the most famous of Sydney’s beaches. It is beautiful, but a bit too well-known for its own good. Bronte is a nearby beach, and the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte is the most wonderful coastal landscape I’ve seen since Iceland.
Your second beach day should be Manly beach. Yes, the beach does live up to the name. Manly beach has a great walking path as well, starting on the south side of the beach.
What should I do that is not in the guidebooks?
Go kayaking in the harbour. Just watch out for rock oysters.
And if you are so inclined, go explore the many nude beaches in and out of the city.
What is the difference between Foie Gras and Mardi Gras?
Foie Gras means ‘fat liver’ and is a controversial food item made by force-feeding ducks to engorge their livers. Mardi Gras means ‘fat Tuesday’ and is the day Christians fatten themselves up before fasting for lent.
Combining the two gives us Mardi Foie Gras, the cannibalistic slaughtering of Christians and eating of their livers by militant animal-rights activists.
None of this has anything to do with Sydney’s Mardi Gras which is a big gay festival that I’ve covered previously.
I’m a celebrity; get me out of here!
(That is not technically a question. It is a declarative statement combined with a command. Do better.)
If you want to avoid the paparazzi, take a day trip to The Blue Mountains. A 2-hour train journey takes you to a landscape dominated by deep gorges and covered by eucalyptus trees. Highlights include a giant cable car and the view of the three sisters.
What is the best Australian invention?
Plastic money! Totally waterproof. Wear it in your beach shorts for an ocean swim, then still dripping wet, walk straight to the kiosk and buy yourself a Golden Gaytime. (Australia’s favourite ice cream, no joke.)
Oh, and of course, no more ruined $100 bills found in post-wash pockets.
What is the most overrated thing in Sydney?
Your chances of survival.
- One in five die from poisonous bites
- one in four turn to bacon on the beach
- one in two starve from not affording food and
- one in three snuffs it from overexposure to raw sex-appeal.
What is the funniest word in the local language?
Woolloomooloo. I smile just writing it.
Got a microphone? Send me your take on how to pronounce Woolloomooloo and I’ll post it here.
Can Sydney’s history be summarised in a few photos?
Do you have any photos that you love but that didn’t fit under a real heading?
Why, yes I do! Glad you asked!
Do you call this a travel guide?
No. If you want a Sydney travel guide, go buy a book. This article is simply meant to give you my impression of Sydney and be an example of what the nomadic life may bring.