I sit on Manly Beach and watch three cocky young men play in the shark-infested water. It's cold in Sydney. Winter. But "winter" and "cold" mean fifteen degrees. The city is preparing for the first heat wave with bushfires. The smoke hangs in the air, and I can hardly believe that such a "healthy" city burns so many plants. I feel infinitely far away from Malaysia, and yet, I find aspects that remind me of it wherever I go. They burn garbage in Southeast Asia, not biomass. It's a thousand times worse, but the smoke is there as well. The beach seems clean, and yet large pipes lead into the sea, and signs suggest that in heavy rain the water would be polluted and unsafe for swimming.
The sidewalks are clean and the people mostly white. From time to time, you can see the face of an Aboriginal. The stark juxtaposition of the original way of life and its European counterpart I find striking. It clearly shows the situation and where loyalties lie. As in America (I imagine), you see election posters with slogans like "Australia first", trumpeted by an old, white man. Society distinguishes between immigrant, Aussi and Aboriginal. At least those are the distinctions that immediately catch my eye.
There are some things that I notice within me. I'm no longer used to seeing white homeless people, and for the first few days, I hardly know how to handle it. It seems unnecessary. It's juxtaposed by the healthy lifestyle promoted everywhere, and it's so revealing. The groups of people jogging around the harbour shock me. There is one leader for each group. That leader coordinates his route with the others. It consists of about twenty fit, young people from the workforce. The women are in tight sportswear, with whipping ponytails and the men are in coloured shorts, with T-shirts that are tight enough to accentuate the arm muscles, but wide enough to hide the belly. The aquarium they pass advertises with three pop divas: Adele, Pink and Taylor. Adele sticks to a wall leading into the aquarium, Pink sits on a trapeze in the entrance area, and Taylor sticks to the outside wall. All three have the same body mass indexes in their reproductions. One would not have been able to pick three ladies with more differing bodies. There's something wrong here. The posters in bus stops that catch my eye, always talk about health & fitness. It makes me want to barf.
Sydney is in your face with the lifestyle they think is right. However, I know from the few television series that spill over to us in Europe, that what looks black and white on the road, might find its greys in the real world. I'm curious how long I'll see all this and when I'll start keeping to my lane. In other words, when will my new life catch up with me and pull my into routine?
* If you like what you read, consider supporting me on patreon!*