As I’ve been here in Sydney for a week, I’ve gotten a vague idea of Australia. Obviously, Australia is huge and I’ve only seen one city.
Similiarities with other cultures
Australia is, naturally, heavily influenced by England which manifests itself in such things as an abundance of fish’n’chips shops, driving on the left side of the road and cricket fields. However, Australia also has distinct cultural similarities with for example California in the US, like the laid back culture; the flip flops and the board wear.
The language is English but there are a many new words and expressions that I’ve never heard before. The overuse of the word “heaps” is one. It means “a lot” or “many”:
“There are heaps of people on the beach”.
Another fun little quirk of the Australian language is exchanging the end of a word (or name) with “o”:
Bottle-o (bottle shop), arvo (afternoon), servo (service center), David (dave-o).
You’ll see several different types here: You’ve got the German tourists out to lick some sun away from the cold winter back in Europe, you see the young surfers with their blond curly hair and billabong shorts and finally you see the ripped people running around topless (the boys, that is) who spend most of their time going to the gym and eating healthy. In all three situations, the goal is the same: to look good on the beach.
I went to two of the beaches in Sydney so far – Bondi and Bronte. Both extremely nice beaches with white sand and blue water.
There is a definitely a large culture evolving around the beach and life on the beach.
Biking in Sydney
One thing, I miss from Denmark, is the bicycle culture. With the amazing weather we’re currently having here in Sydney a bike would be just great. Needless to say I was super stoked when my friend David said that I could borrow his bike. The initial excitement went away though when I learned that bikes are not exactly common in Sydney and people don’t use them as much as a means of transportation but rather recreationally – on racing bikes rather than citybikes.
There are no bike lanes so you share the road with the cars – and some cars really don’t like that so they get super close to you. Still, there is a functioning train/bus system and actual sidewalks which is a nice change of pace from the craziness that is Saigon (and the rest of South East Asia).
I’ve heard Australians call themselves a very sporty nation many times. They obviously play rugby and cricket but they also play four (!) different types of football, with one of them being the normal style soccer. They have huge stadiums (100.000+ people) and, apparently, the atmosphere in those stadiums is through the roof. Even if I don’t like the sport, I should still go, just for that sensational feeling.
Australia Provides a lot of new and interesting things for me to explore. And I’ve only been in one city so far!