This is the 3rd and final installment of my posts on Spectacular Sydney, Australia!
I have been back from Sydney, Australia for a little over a month, and like with so many things, the impact of that experience continues to unfold. Most notably, the main thing that will always be at the forefront of my mind are the friendly people that I encountered and how open Sydneysiders were to converse, ask and answer questions.
Photo: The Famed Sydney Opera House
Take Mayleen, who I met while eating breakfast at The Queen Victoria Building (QVB). Noticing that I was obviously not from Sydney (maybe looking more African American than Aboriginal was a dead give away) nor from England (my American accent often mistaken for being from the southern states versus the south side of Chicago),
Mayleen had just sat down across from me to enjoy a pastry and a cup of coffee before she reported to work at a boutique in the building. She immediately asked where I was from, and when I responded “Chicago,” she wanted to know more about me and specifically more about the churches in my city. She explained that she was a member of the Pentacostal faith, and she truly hoped to visit the churches led by Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyers and Joel Osteen someday.
We discussed and even lightly laughed and joked about some of the craziness going on in the world and how we must pray for its healing. We exchanged information so that once either I returned to Sydney or she traveled to Chicago, we could connect. We said our goodbyes. I remember thinking how pleasant the experience was and really feeling good about taking this trip.
Then there was a young (in her early 20s) woman named Tanta, who was of Balinese descent but had grown up in Sydney. She was passing out chocolate samples outside of Haigh’s, a premium chocolatier. Once I detected that she was friendly and would be open to questions, I said, “I’m just going to come out and ask you, why does Sydney have so many Asian citizens.” It’s important to note that from the time I step off of my flight in the airport, I noticed that it seemed that every seven in ten people I saw were of Asian heritage.
Photo: Inside The Sydney Opera House
Tanta chuckled and explained that 44% of the people in Sydney were not from there and that many of that 44% were primarily Chinese. Tanta attributed it to the development of new economic markets. She, too, wanted to know where I was from and what I was doing in Sydney. She told me about her desire to visit the U.S., and maybe even experience living in either NYC or San Francisco. She seemed so excited while chatting with me that another layer of Sydney was embedded in my heart and consciousness.
She wished me an enjoyable experience and urged me to do The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Needless to say, I had no intention of doing that climb, so I smiled and thanked her for her kindness but not before I went into Haigh’s to purchase some salted caramel chocolates.
Photo: In The Rocks Section of Sydney
Photo: Life is Good in Sydney!
In the midst of meeting friendly Australians, I encountered some very friendly North Americans — Ryan from San Diego, Savannah from Montreal, both of whom I spent an entire afternoon with on a city tour and a group of three lively young men from Hawaii and Los Angeles.
When I spotted them, I went right over and struck up a conversation with them at the QVB. I also met a super friendly couple from Seattle at The Sydney Wildlife Center. In each encounter, we were all happy to meet each other and readily shared some of our awesome Down Under experiences.
Photo: At the Sydney Wildlife Center with New Friends Visiting From Seattle
So, if you have been hesitant about traveling to Australia, because its just too far away, the flight is too long, you don’t know anyone interested in traveling there with you, or a whole host of other excuses, no worries, mates. You will be amongst some of the friendliest people in the world, and there is plenty to see and fun to be had. When you go you must explore:
- The Sydney Opera House — I saw a ballet performed by the Australian National Ballet Company. Be sure to take the tour of the Opera House — you won’t regret it;
- Bondi Beach — just gorgeous;
- Manley Beach — access by ferry;
- The Taronga Zoo — access by ferry;
- The Sydney Wildlife Center — get to know Erica and other Koalas
- The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb — This I Did Not Do!
- Darling Harbour and its many restaurants, stores and boutiques;
- Sydney Harbour — sit, sip, eat and enjoy music along The Opera House Promenade; take a cruise along the Harbour;
- The Rocks;
- The Central Business District (CBD);
- The Queen Victoria Building (shop, chat with the locals and admire the beautiful architecture;
- Visit Chef Jaime Oliver’s Restaurant — you must try the Polenta Fries
Photo: Beautiful Christmas Tree Laden With Swarovski Crystals at The QVB
Photo: Train Stop in The Central Business District
Photo: A Trainer at The Sydney Wildlife Center
Photo: “It’s Your Shout” (An Aussie Phrase Meaning This Round of Drinks Are On You). In This Case, It’s A Pimms Cup!
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, I LOVE YOU, AND I WILL BE BACK SOON!