I’ve got some friends who came to Sydney and have fallen in love with the city. They weren’t one or two, but a number of them who lived in Sydney or just spent holidays there and came back telling that the city is amazing. I can not say that I think differently than any of them. Sydney is really wonderful.
The four days that we spent in Sydney were a change of views and thoughts all the time, it was funny to see how since the first minute we were trying to form our concepts about the city, but in the following minutes that concept used to be replaced by another and it was like this until the end of the fourth day. Perhaps because Sydney is not only one city, but several cities in one.
At the first moment we thought it was quite similar to New Zealand, the streets, the shops, lifestyle and culture of the people and didn’t understand the amazement of our friends. After the first “day-tripper” day we realized that yes, the Australians are really New Zealander’s brothers, but Sydney is the oldest sister, successful, dizzyingly beautiful, the kind of sister that the smaller sisters want to be when they grow up.
If Sydney can be a four times amplified Auckland, as I said in the previous post, it is if only when it is seen from above. Looking from the inside the two cities are very different. Sydney is immense. There are points of the city centre that reminded us of Sao Paulo. But it is clean, organized and secure.
It’s got the sea all around, as Auckland does, but it’s got water inside it too, it’s got water everywhere, what makes it even more beautiful and that also allows each suburb to seem like a small town with its markets, its beaches and its inhabitants. And I think it is precisely these people who distinguish Sydney from Auckland, although much larger in size and importance, people are on the streets of Sydney, in boats, buses, trains… Both the centre and the suburbs we saw many people walking on the streets, going to work, to school, or exercising, the streets are always full of people. The city is not made for cars. I was very impressed with the public transport system, you can go from anywhere to anywhere by using the ferries, trains and buses of the city, it’s impossible to get lost there, and walking around is a delight.
The beaches have thin sand, cold water and are far behind New Zealand when we talk about their beauty. They are beautiful, of course, the sea is blue and green, but the beaches are like any other. Okay, maybe I’ve got used to the jaw-dropping landscapes of New Zealand. And on the other hand, the people use the beaches here, a lot, probably because the climate allows a “beach-life” here, score to Australia.
Going to the Australian Museum put a knot in my head. The exhibition about the history of the Indigenous Australians, their beliefs, culture, the link with the land and “recent” history about what the white man did to them, let my eyes full of tears.
I already knew the a bit of its history, by reading stories in newspapers and hearing people comments, but seeing everything in detail, listening to the testimony of the Aboriginal People so called the “stolen generation” and read, there on the wall of the museum, quotes from people saying that despite the last year apology racism is still alive in Australia, made me see the real dimension of a problem that is not shown on the streets of the city, much less in conversations among friends.
In the museum we also saw many things about the Australian fauna that was really cool, the museum is great! Since I arrived in Australia I wanted to see koalas and kangaroos, live and alive, but after going to the museum this desire disappeared.
I got home reflecting on the matter. I thought about the first time I went to Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand in Wellington, and how the colonization and the Maoris history there is different.
And I thought of us, Brazilians, what we did and how we treat our indigenous people. We are not that different from them. Well… maybe we are… the government of Brazil has not apologized yet.
Of course, the stories of Brazil and Australia are very different and perhaps I can not compare them. And it is clear that only a few days in the country can not form my opinion about this, I would have to live here for years to understand… and therefore I prefer not to get into details. Even though I thought it would be important to register this first impression, because it might change in the future when I get a better understanding and when all the efforts they are doing to change the situation make a real effect in the society.
Sydney remains in my mind as that wonderful amazing city, I am already missing Fer and the daily basis good vibe that exists over there… I’m still enchanted with the city, the sun, the sea, the organized movement, with the multi-culturalism and thinking that it might be really nice to live there. Who knows.. maybe one day we’ll go.