Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sydney v. Melbourne

I spent last weekend in Sydney. My first time there so I had to stay in the CBD (Central Business District) which was like being near 5th ave in NYC. It was a lovely fall day the Saturday I was able to wander around. I watched a game of life sized chess in the park and went shopping in Paddington with Jen and her family. Note in the pictures the odd wooden deer/moose heads - one in Sydney, one in Melbourne, viewed 24 hours apart, very odd coincidence and no explanation to date. That Saturday night I walked up to the ticket booth at the Sydney Opera House an hour before the show and got tickets to Much Ado About Nothing. I am in love with the actor who played Benedic, oh, and the opera house was lovely. :-)

On my way to the Melbourne airport the cabie explained to me that Australians are obsessed with the British, although they don't like to admit it. He said their nickname is pomes which stands for "prisoners of mother England", a friendly nickname says Urban Dictionary. I bought a book called The Commonwealth of Thieves by Tom Keneally to learn more about Australia's history and discovered that more prisoners were shipped to the American colonies than Australia before the revolution. The only thing that makes us associate Aussies and criminals is because the first settlers were mostly from London prisons. And from what I read it seems they were a hearty stock to survive the prisons, then the journey and then settling the land. So here's to natural selection for producing very sporty people!

A Sydney cabie then told me that the famous Melbourne dish is Chicken Parmagiana, or Parma for short. The tradition is the put ham on top of the breaded chicken, then mozzarella and then lay it on a bed of fries. Apparently it also comes in "Mexican flavor" with nacho toppings instead. Since I've been back I noticed that most pubs and restaurants have a "Parma night" and I enjoyed one at Leo's Spaghetti Bar in St. Kilda. Clearly this is a delight for the right palate. Truly a rare event for me since that is a bit too much grease and salt for weekly consumption. It even motivated me back to the gym after a week off being sick.

So Sydney was a lovely excursion, especially since a cold front just hit Melbourne and it dropped to 3 degrees last night (that's just a bit above freezing for those of you using Fahrenheit). But I do think I like the more livable, less touristy feel here, even though the Sydney harbor is stunning and I certainly plan to climb it one day. Perhaps in the Spring when the wind doesn't cut through the silly overalls you get to wear.

I am happy to report that I have 2 applications in for apartments. So it looks like I'll have a proper place to live soon. Ta god for that!


  1. "In a Sunburned Country" by Bill Bryson is worth reading, too. :-)

  2. Read it twice, loved it! It goes by the title Down Under here. Not sure why the sunburnt title doesn't sell in Oz. :-)