I arrived to the most beautiful spring weather in Sydney, and I am sure this is coloring my experience of this place, because after one short day of walking around, I love it. I arrived at the Sydney airport this morning at about 8am, after my 10 hour flight from Seoul. One side note about that here: first class, business class or economy, I seem fated by the universe to have a screaming infant near me. Although this one may have had something especially wrong with him. Throughout the flight, his mother kept putting him on her back, and then her mother/helper who came along would wrap the kid up, and then cover him entirely with a plastic raincoat. I am not at all sure he could breath, and they seem to have this weird ritual down to a science. Besides depriving him of oxygen and possibly contributing to brain damage, I am not sure how or why they developed this odd positioning game and it made it impossible for the mother to take her seat of course. It did seem to calm him down a bit, but imagine having to do this every time your kid cried, I would kill myself. And of course the dad, who was in the seat in front of them, only turned around occasionally to make sure the women were taking care of the situation, and then went back to reading his paper. It could have been worse, the kid only woke up the cabin 2 times during the night.
Anyway, back to Sydney. It seems a strange mashup of familiar things that have been put together in unfamiliar ways. The trains are somewhat like England’s but somewhat not. The architecture feels quite American in places. And there is an old house type in Darlinghurst that reminds me exactly of the colonial house type I saw in Melaka (Malaysia). It is springtime as I said, and there are beautiful smells from jasmine and other flowering plants all over the city (well, at least where I walked down through the botanical gardens on my way to the opera house). And speaking of flowering things, there are Jacaranda trees everywhere and they are in full bloom (I haven’t seen those since I lived in Mexico City). I have seen species of birds I did not recognize, and the coffee here is really top notch. The people seem very American to me in dress and the way they carry themselves, and like Americans they are either ruthlessly fit or very much overweight. The city most reminds me of San Francisco, in its scale and charm and attitude of the people.