Sydney, Australia (a.m.) / Port Villa, Vanuatu (p.m.)

  • Date
  • 4 July 2001
  • Lodging
  • Le Meridien
  • Distance
  • 3089 KM
  • Total
  • 173252 KM

Sydney is an engaging city with interesting neighborhoods to explore and fantastic spots, like the harbor, aquarium, Sydney Opera House and the Rocks, that attract both tourists and locals. In the neighborhoods are small boutiques, grocery stores and hardware shops, much like NYC on a diminished, lower-to-the-ground scale. The financial district, near the harbor and Central Sydney, lives in a high rise community of modern glass and chrome structures beside late-19th century Colonial architecture. The small stock exchange, with its Old World exterior, has a contemporary interior buzzing with electronic screens that entertain the faithful, mostly Asians, who come to watch the stocks rise and fall each weekday. The center of Sydney, with its jewel the Queen Victoria Building holding more than 400 shops on several levels, is bustling and home to hundreds of retail stores from Chanel to Just Jeans. Most of the larger shopping arcades are connected via above-ground walkways allowing shoppers to canvas shops, malls and department stores without clashing with the burdensome, heavy street traffic below.

A couple of days ago, a local told me, ‘Sydney is a vibrant city with a sense of humor’. I like that and he is right. Sydney is a metropolis of many cultures, talents, architectures and businesses, yet the intensity of New York or London doesn’t prevail and/or constrain here. Yes, plenty have a single minded focus on making money, but at the end of the day, even these guys and gals drink a pint together, share laughs and schedule barbecues for the weekend. Most we’ve met reason that life should be lived to the fullest, not just via profession. Pubs are crowded after work. Parks are packed with young families on the weekends. The harbors and beaches are filled to the brim with young and old. People enjoy living here.