Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Impressions

I arrived in Sydney yesterday morning, and none of my luggage was lost. Here are a few initial highlights I've drawn in very little time on very little sleep:

  • An hour in the LA airport supports stereotypes of LA

  • Sydney is a tiny London set in Northern California

  • Sex sells in Australia, too

  • I have not seen a kangaroo yet

I've never actually been to LA, but now I can say that I've been through LA. You know how when you view a city from above and all the cars look like ants crawling slowly along the road. LA is not like that. The cars are still ants, but they are flying along, not crawling. And they all seemed to be moving in the same direction, an entire side of the highway was empty. Also, I was tickled to discover that that lights on the runway at LAX blink like a marquis.

I spent yesterday walking around Sydney and trying to get a feel for the city. Sydney doesn't feel like any other city I've been to. The presence of London landmarks like Hyde Park make it feel European, but it's distinctly not European. Perhaps, like everything else in Australia, evolving in isolation has given it some very familiar and some very unique traits to the rest of the world.

The skyline has a 1970s aesthetic with the exception of a few highrises that dot it with modern appeal. It's winter here much like a Northern California winter - it's 50 degrees and people are sporting coats and scarves. But unlike American winter, it's surprisingly green. There are few deciduous trees in Sydney, just leafy evergreens.

I wandered through the Royal Botanical Gardens and into the Tropical House yesterday where they were advertising "Sex and Death". By which they meant a room of orchids and a venus fly trap. They were so excited about this exhibit they spelled out "Sex + Death" in topiary bushes outside the Tropical House which is legible from the BCG office here.


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