Sydney Infrequently Asked Questions

25 January - 13 March 2013. Filed under category Travel.

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.

Stunning facade!

Stunning facade!

Disappointing inside.

Disappointing inside.

What will kill you over there?

Only image in this post I did not take myself.

Only image in this post I did not take myself.

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?

Park checklist: Dudes, beer, sofa. Check!

Park checklist: Dudes, beer, sofa. Check!

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.

A typical Aussie.

A typical Aussie.

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?

Mum and me practising pickpocketing.

Mum and me practising pickpocketing.

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?

Kayaking in the bay. (well, prepping)

Kayaking in the bay. (well, prepping)

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.

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains

What is the best Australian invention?

Plastic Money! Best Invention Ever!

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.

What is the funniest word in the local language?

Woolloomooloo, funniest word ever!

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?

From this...

From this…

... via this ...

… via this …

... to this.

… to this.

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.

Travel Updates

My parents are visiting me from Sweden. They arrived 7 March, 10 March we celebrated my birthday (I’m 32!) and 13 March we flew to New Zealand. Here we will explore the South Island until the end of March when I’ll return to Sydney. I haven’t decided what I’ll do during April (stay in Sydney or explore other parts of Oz), but in May I’ll slowly make my way back to Sweden via Long Beach, New York and London.


Extend this inFAQ with your own questions in the comments!

Skip to bottom
  1. DJ Yabis says:

    Sure the guys are hot. But are the gay guys equally as hot as the straight guys in the pics?

    1. MK says:

      @DJ Yabis – as a straight woman, I can safely say that the gay men in Sydney are about a thousand times hotter than the straight men. They’re like hot Aussie straight men on steroids. Often literally.

    1. Mmm, I have such a yummy memory related to that ice cream. But, that isn’t really appropriate here. 😉

  2. J. says:

    You did not mention Tamorama Beach, (aka- Glamourama). Definitely worth a look-see.

  3. ldf says:

    I believe this may be my favourite post on The Modern Nomad. Great read!

  4. Before visiting your Website on Sydney, I had never read any FAQ.
    I love to read your content, really very interesting and informative,
    The most obvious choices for adventure travel in Sydney are ocean sports, like diving, surfing, kitesurfing, sailing, and the like.

  5. Phil Stevens says:

    And as a mere mortal, I take it that you indulged them in their perverse pleasure! 🙂
    Great post and pics Gustav, looks and sounds gorgeous aside from the S’s.
    Ah, Theseus slaying the Minotaur, yep I love it as well, excellent photo.

  6. Craig Brown says:

    Very fun post, and I LOVE the picture of you and your Mum! The other pictures are fine as well…but have you gained, like a HUGE amount of weight there? You seem to be massive enough to actually bend the space around you; I recall Sydney Harbour bridge as Euclidean straight.
    I think the plastic money and hot bodies go together. They love to swim!!! Of course you need plastic money.

    1. May, that has nothing to do with my massive body. Sydney is simply so gay that not even the bridges are straight.

  7. Crys Klier-Hoffman says:

    Gustav, thank you for this light hearted post. Good to know Australian men are well represented by the Thunder Down Under lads.

  8. Lisa Siemion says:

    Hey Gustav! So that’s what Bondi looks like when the sun is shining and there are people on the beach 🙂 I did the coastal walk on a dreary day—still beautiful, but not as beautiful as your pic! Fabulous meeting you on the Nevis bus in Queenstown…when you make your way to Denver look me up. You have a place to stay anytime! Cheers…Lisa

  9. Daniel says:

    The money is mostly cotton not plastic also most of the deadly spiders and snakes are in the rural areas not the city’s also there is about as much chance of getting mugged as any other 1st world country and we put animal’s such as the kangaroo on our money because they are native there for important to our country’s agriculture also I’ve never seen or heard of a golden gaytime (supposed no1 choice in aus for an ice cream)
    Also vegimite is good don’t be a moron and eat a spoon full that would be bad
    Sincerely daniel an aus citizen! !!

Extend this inFAQ with your own questions in the comments!

Click to see allowed HTML.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> <ol> <ul> <li>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.