U – Underground Railway

My all time favorite thing about traveling is finding my way around new cities.  I prefer to walk around and get lost and then find my way back again.  It is the best way to get to know a city.  Another great way to see the city and to cover more ground is by utilizing the public transportation system.

All of my favorite cities have great PTS. The street car in New Orleans, the subway in New York, the tube in London, the metro in Tokyo and Hong Kong and now the Underground Railway in Sydney.

We had one day with nothing planned so we decided to jump on the train and see where it took us. We got on at Central and took the train 4 stops to Bondi Junction.

Bondi Junction is a great shopping area of Sydney.  It has several stores that line the streets and then a huge mall.  I have to give you a little back story so you understand why this was such an exciting site for me.

In China, there are a lot of high end malls.  Lots of name brands.  You can find any and everything you need in China.  Except for a shoe in a size 9.5.  In the six years I have lived here, I have never been able to purchase a pair of shoes.  It is really sad because, I love shoes.  I mean, I really love shoes.

I have been wearing the same 3 freakin pairs of shoes for 18 months now (last time I was in USA). I needed new shoes.

In Sydney Australia, I found shoes.  In fact, I found several shoes stores in Bondi Junction and every single store I went to and every shoe I asked to see had a size 9.5.  I was in 9.5 shoe heaven.  I was such a great feeling.  I brought 4 pairs.

So, I send thanks out to you all.  To Sydney for loving big feet people, to Bondi Junction for housing some great shoes stores and especially to the Underground Railway.  If it was not for you and your easy access all over Sydney, I might still be wearing the same 3 freakin pairs of shoes.

R – the Rocks

I have decided that if (when) I move to Sydney Australia, I will have to live in the area known as The Rocks (TR).

The Rocks is a small, eclectic, fashionable, mysterious, touristy, but charming little neighbored just next to the City (what they call Downtown Sydney).

It reminds me of The French Quarter (FQ) in New Orleans and Georgetown (GT) in Washington, DC . I went to college in New Orleans and although I wanted to, my parents were not about to let a young impressional 18 year old live in the Quarter.  What could I do, they were paying the bills.  For law school, I lived in DC, but for practical and cost reasons again I didn’t get the chance to live in my dream neighborhood.

I just love these small eclectic areas of town that although they are frequented by tourist, they don’t loose their charm.

All these areas have the following in common (FQ, GT, TR):

  • 1st floor old and new retail/restaurants and bars (Ralph Lauren next to an art gallery that has been there for 100 years)
  • 2nd floor apartments/condos w/balconies (in the quarter, they are still reasonable, in GT and TR, pretty expensive)
  • alley ways that have the coolest shops (Alley Cat Jazz, Blue Note Club, I will find out tonight)
  • Wine bars/coffee shops (not Starbucks)/brewhouses
  • tourist shops
  • One great breakfast spot – (Clover Street Grill, Peacock Cafe, Pancakes on the Rocks)

Allow me the pause here parenthetical to extol the greatness of Pancakes on the Rocks.  Any place that serves ice cream with pancakes is greatness in my book.  Please don’t drool on your keyboard.

What is your dream neighborhood and what makes it so special? 



Q – Quay

As in Circular Quay. 

Very cool area of Sydney adjacent to the CBD where all the boats dock.  You see ferries size boats taking people to Manly and Watson Wharf and cruise ship size boats taking people all over the world.  There are several great restaurants in this area and quite a few characters such as this aboriginal  performer you see here.  No exactly authentic, but entertaining.

Her are a couple more photos of this beautiful area of Circular Quay in the Sydney Harbor.


What I really want to discuss is this word quay.

Why have I never heard of this word before? I had to look it up to see if it meant what I thought it meant.  And, it does.  It is a pier, wharf, or dock – platform built out into water where boats and ships dock.

The pronunciation of the the word is even more of a mystery.  I naturally pronounce it how it sounds, with a “kewa” sound.  It is actually pronounced “ki or key”. Or is it?  I did more research (love the internet) and apparent there is more debate as to how to say this world then you might think.  And, a bit of a surprise considering I have never heard of this word until I arrived in Sydney.

Click here for the great quay pronunciation debate.

Have you heard of the word quay and if so, how do you pronounce it? Are their quays that are called quays in the US? 

P – Population

I am always curious about the population of cities I visit.  Mainly because when I moved to China, I was fascinated and shocked about the fact that within a 150 mile radius of where I live is the entire population of the United States. Let me spell that out for you.  Within a 150 mile radius there are more than 300 million people.

That is just amazing to me.

There are 10 million people in the city of Shenzhen, where I live; 25 million in Shanghai, my favorite city in China, 19 million in Beijing and 8 million in Dongguan where I work.  In all there is a total of 1.3 billion people in China.  That is a hell of a lot of people.

So, when I heard about the population in Australia, this time I was shocked and fascinated.

There are only 22 million people in all of Australia; 22 million.  In a place that has a land mass bigger then the United States there are only 22 million people.

300 million in the US and 22 million in Australia.

The US doesn’t feel overcrowded.  At least not where I am from.  I figured that Australia would be even more spares.  Although 85% of the population live within 50 km of the coast line.  In a way it just doesn’t feel like there is a lot of people in this city.  We went to play golf today at The Australian yesterday.  A private club that was established over 130 years ago.  Even though it was raining, we were the only people at the course that day. Even in the rain, you would never find an empty golf course in China or the US for that matter.

Having dinner at any major restaurant in any major city in the world and you would need to make reservations at least a day in advance.  For some restaurants you need to make reservations weeks in advance.  We had dinner at one of the best seafood restaurants in Sydney.  It is called Manta.  There was no one at the restaurant.  We got right in.

In general, it feels like fewer people are in this city and that is a strange felling for me after living in congested Southern China.

But, there is one other population fact the I believe Australia has every other nation beat.  There are more sheep in China then people.  I am talking 4x more sheep in Australia then there are people.  If the sheep every got together and wanted to take over, they would have no problem.

Moral to this story, keep the sheep happy.

L – Lord Dudley

I love pubs.  There is nothing I like better then going to a local pub and having a pint.

Some of my favorite memories occurred with a pint of cider in my hand.  And, I will never forget telling my English friends how much I don’t like Guinness only to discover the miracle concoction known as the “Poor Man’s Black Velvet” (Guinness mixed with Strongbow Cider ).  So, good.

Pubs and Pints reminds me of the time that I lived in London and how I was “100% completely happy with life” .  Really, I was.  I actually wrote that in the journal I kept while I was living there.  I was a college student with no stress and hadn’t had to deal with the real world, yet. Oh, the memories.

When I told the same friends who introduced me to the Black Velvet that I was heading to Sydney, he insisted that I experience The Lord Dudley Hotel. They were right before, no reason to doubt their word now.

The Lord Dudley Hotel is a famous pub in Sydney.  This is how they describe The Lord Dudley and its patrons on their website.

 The Lord Dudley is an enigma in that it does not have a defined clientele. The regulars come from all walks of life. Trades people and office workers rub shoulders with barristers, stockbrokers and politicians. The rich and the famous also find it a great place to unwind. Don’t be surprised to find Hollywood Actors having dinner in the restaurant while prominate sports heroes are enjoying a drink in the front bar. Publican James (Jamie) Couche has created a feel good environment which appeals to everyone who calls in.


It sounds like a place were I can be “100% completely happy with life”.  If only for one night.

*I will be updating this post at a later date once I have experienced The Lord Dudley.