Sydney is growing on me, and I'm sure the sparkling blue water of the harbour has got a lot to do with it.
I grew up in a rather land locked part of the country, but ever since I moved out of home I've been ending up in places that are either on the coast or very close to it. Which is ironic given that I'm hydrophobic (I love the sea but I don't like getting in). Maybe it's the Piscean in me that seeks out places close to the sea? My favorite cities in the world (amongst the ones I've been to/lived in) are all near a water body - Bombay, Chicago & San Francisco. It's to be seen whether Sydney makes it to that hallowed list but what I can say right away is that it's one of the most livable cities in the world.
For one, it's clean and green and all those things that seem to occur so effortlessly in developed countries.
Secondly, the people are extremely friendly and helpful. They smile at you in elevators, they'll happily help you with directions and will ask you to walk with them if they're going in the same direction, they'll stop and ask if you want them to take a picture of you/your group. The only other friendlier people I've met are the Americans but it depends on which part of America you're in!
Getting around in Sydney is really convenient thanks to the excellent public transport the city has. It's very well connected by buses, trains and ferries, all of which are clean, comfortable and run on schedule.
Sydney really takes care of its people. There are plenty of free attractions for citizens such as the Vivid Light Festival (that I wrote about in my previous post), and weekend fireworks & street performances at Darling Harbour.
And then there's the water front! The Sydney harbour is beautiful and they've done the most of using their water front to enhance the appeal of the city. Two of the most happening places in Sydney - The Rocks, home to the iconic Sydney Opera House, and Darling Harbour, a strip of restaurants, cafes & pubs - are situated along the water front.
Darling Harbour is home to some of the best restaurants in Sydney and has a number of cultural events going on at any given point of time. You can even catch free street performances if you're not in the mood to shell out dough for entertainment on a Saturday evening, and don't want to spend it cooped inside your home either. Twice a month, on Saturdays, there are fireworks!
And if you're from India, you can find comfort in brands. Many food and personal care brands available in India are available here as well - Lux, Dove, Nivea, Palmolive, Sunsilk, L'Oreal, Garnier, Olay, Nescafe, Tetley, Lipton are the ones I've seen till now. They even have Maggi here though they pronounce it differently (maji) and they don't have Maggi Masala noodles here of course!
The downside of living in Sydney is the ridiculously high cost of living.
Sydney is prohibitively expensive. Everything from real estate to groceries to clothes are e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e. The cost of living in this city is 1.5-2 times that of living in a similar city in America, and that's one of the reasons why I miss the US so much. People here can't go out for movies/dinner/drinks every weekend and end up spending most of their Friday/Saturday nights watching TV at home! Ask any Sydneysider what's the one thing he/she doesn't like about the city and you won't need to wait for an answer.
Having said that, I'm starting to enjoy living in Sydney. I guess it's about finding your groove. It's about finding like-minded people to hang out with. It takes time but you do end up finding your place in the city.
Do I see myself settling down in Sydney? I would have to say 'no', as of now anyway. Once you've explored all there is to Sydney it can become quite a boring city to live in (SWB, are you listening? :P) But I can definitely see myself spending a couple of years here enjoying the spirit of the Aussies and soaking in the sun at the city's water front.
Oh, and did I mention the here food is awesome?