Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Clean and Tidy Sydney

After 4 months in India, I finally left this mind-boggling country at the beginning of February. In the car to the airport, as we were driving one last time through the streets of Delhi, I felt weird. I had gotten used to the noise, to the pungent smell in the streets, to the constant flow of people, to the cows chewing on plastic bags, to rikshaw drivers harassing me, the tchai vendors, the sound of the women’s bangles or anklets... And so my arrival in clean and tidy Sydney was a bit anti-climatic.

As soon as I got out of the airport, I was pressed by the heavy heat- February, in the southern hemisphere, it was the middle of summer. All the girls went about wearing their tank-tops, mini skirts or shorts- their Abercrombie type of attire. It’s weird to say, but it shocked me. I should have been more comfortable in this culture, which is much more like mine, I should have been relieved to finally be able to wear a tank-top without having all the men stare at me; but after 4 months in India, where I did not dare to wear a tight shirt without a scarf on top of it to cover my breasts, I felt out of place.

Famous Bondi Beach

The Opera House and Harbor Bridge

It took me a good deal of time to get re-used to our Western culture. For a few days, so many details surprised me: people kissing in the streets, large cars and their tame driving, the presence of toilet paper in all public bathrooms, the lack of buzzing life in the streets, the smell of nothingness in those same lifeless streets, the drunk girls at night... There was both relief and nostalgia, as people no longer came up to me to ask my name and the place I come from or even asked me to tell them about my culture. So my first impression of Sydney was not great- I found the atmosphere to be snob and superficial. Though, I have to say, it is a beautiful city where the quality of life is probably the highest of all the places I have been to.

Sydney's Skyline

The Royal Botanical Garden bordering the amazing harbour, is just a few steps away from the city center. And so, at noon, it is flooded with businessmen and women jogging just a few strolls from the famous Opera House. I enjoyed people-watching on the famous surfers’ beaches of Bondi and Manly, admired aboriginal art at the New South Wales Art Gallery, got enchanted by a modern staging of Mozart’s "Magic Flute" at the Opera, and indulged myself on the city’s delicious sushis- because at that time, I was completely fed up

The Opera House


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