This morning, my cousin James and I headed to Manly (in the Northeast) to seek out waves to surf at a location where we could rent wetsuits and boards. Finding none, James decided it would be a good idea to take me on a short tour of the neighborhood his parents considered too 'dodgy' to see, but what he considered the real Sydney (and I suspect he was right even if the guidebooks say nothing about them.) These were neighborhoods in the so-called 'Inner West' which were further inland. While we barely got out of the car to wander around, they were clearly where the younger crowd that's more my age would live and include Glebe (near the University of Sydney), Surrey Hill (which has become the gay area), Paddington (which his parent's also showed me a bit of), and 'The Cross' or King's Cross (which has been Sydney's Red Light district.)
After all of that he dropped me of at his oldest brother Robert's office. (Robert moved out of his parents house at age 25 but his parents don't really understand why he would want to leave especially to live in the 'Inner East'.) I got lunch with Robert who I don't think I'd seen for at least five years and then we headed further West, stopping at a Wildlife park where we took in some Kangaroos (in 26 years of living in Australia Robert claims never to have seen one before), Wallabies, Dingos (which are essential dogs that can't bark but are known to be quite vicious nonetheless,) Koalas, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils, and all sorts of other strange Australian wildlife that you can't find anywhere else. We then headed even further West into the Blue Moutains to a town called Katoomba which had a great lookout point on some uniquely Australian scenery.
1) Smoothies. These have become really popular in Australia, but apparently are an American/California invention.
2) Australia has some really interesting animals, but for some reason much of it despite looking relatively tame is actually quite aggressive towards people. Maybe its because they didn't have much interaction with people until around 200 years ago.
3) Gay neighborhoods and real estate. My investment idea of buying real estate in gay neighborhoods because it will almost certainly increase in value as neighborhoods gentrify apparently also holds in the Southern Hemisphere.
4) Australian cars. A lot of the cars in Australia looked familiar to me, but I couldn't tell why. That's because Australia's big manufactuer, Holden, is actually owned by GM and basically sells GM cars with different names. Ford Australia, however, puts out an entirely different set of cars, none of which you can find in the US. In fact, the Fords in Australia seem like better cars than the ones you would find in the US. Maybe they should move their Australian engineers to Detroit or at least start putting out the same cars in the US?
5) Australia has a labor shortage. The government recently decided that it needs 20,000 new workers from overseas and is aggressively trying to convince people to immigrate to Australia.
6) Toilet issue. James and I could not seem to resolve whether or not toilet water actually swirls the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere than it does in the Northern Hemisphere, since most of the toilets in Australia seem to suck straight down rather than swirling. It would be great if anyone has any insight on this trival point.