Australia: Sydney - where all you need is flip-flops

When I was little I always wondered if people in Australia were walking upside down and never ever had I thought that I will find out the truth one day myself. Nevertheless, it is for everyone to go and find their own truth there. And that's what people do. There is hardly any more distant point to go to, but yet some magnetic force draws people there and they go there to stay.

This special magnetic force did not spare my brother and his girlfriend either. They packed a suitcase and boarded a plane to go live in Sydney. Obviously, I HAD to pack a suitcase and go figure what is it that happens to these people when they start walking upside down.

Buildings buildings buildings - old, modern...fruit-shaped

At first Sydney is overwhelming for me. It reminds me a little of New York with a few major differences - people walk around in shorts and flip flops, and this poor, peculiarly ugly bird Ibis happily inhabits all streets and public areas (not astonishingly called "a bin rat"). This ridiculous song is offered to celebrate it! 

The Opera house is the symbol of Sydney and brings millions of Chinese (and not only) tourists to get photographed with this architectural masterpiece in a shape of a sliced orange (no, it is actually not a boat!). My first encounter with the gigantic piece of fruit at the harbor evokes my feeling of inferiority (I live in Brussels, whose symbol is a 60-centimeter peeing boy) and I tell my brother "Wow this opera is quite small, looked much larger on the pictures". What I admire more is the whole story behind its building, the courage and forward-thinking that it has taken its creators to come up with this brave solution, and the unique spirit it brings to the city (having said that - to turn a statue of a little peeing boy into a symbol of a capital city like Brussels is quite a courageous act, too).

In the midst of plants in the midst of the buildings

I am only able to start connecting with Sydney once I start discovering how diverse the landscape is. My brother and his girlfriend take me around all possible parks and one of them truly finds a space in my Love-for-Sydney library - the Secret Garden. A rebel lady has illegally created the garden many years ago, and today it is home to the most wondrous flowers, trees, birds, and unexpected objects - just like that erupting in the middle of the city, giving opportunity to people to get lost in secret and quietness for awhile.

All you need is...flip-flops

The next step of my Falling-in-Love-with-Sydney journey happens when I get to explore a few of its ever-appearing beaches. Coastal cities are blessed, but Sydney has blessed itself big time. The image that stays with me is of how integrated the beach is in people's daily lives. I am not sure what do people in Sydney do for a living, but you can see them chilling on the beach at every possible occasion in their navy-striped clothes - before work, at lunch break, after work, in the evening, during Christmas celebrations... I figure that this permanent proximity to the beach and the ocean has a great impact on local people's lifestyle. After all, life can't be too difficult when you are in your flip-flops.

Animals around Sydney - the closest one can get to alien life

I will see many animals never seen before in Australia. I get to feed some of them, I get to see endangered species, and of course... to catch a Koala in "motion".

Water Dragon - an endangered species who is spotted very rarely and can cost up to 11,000 AUD if touched.

Platypus - the weirdest hairy bird living under water...

Echidna - something like an Australian version of a hedgehog

A koala getting high on eucalyptus

Cassowary - a gigantic dinosaur bird with a horn, who can ...kill people, and lives in the wild

Possums live in the trees in the parks around Sydney ...and are very much into carrots 

More about Christmas and New Years in Sydney in my next blog here: Sydney - where Santa works as a Surf rescue :)

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