Kings Cross is the first area of the city that most foreigners who arrive unwilling to pay more than a few tens of dollars per night's sleep come across.
Apart from the departure and the airy journey from the airport, it was also our inaugural and surreal vision of Australia.
During the afternoon, we walked backwards and forwards through the neighborhood under a sun that baked our skin and made us tired to bend but cheered the souls fed up with the freezing weather of Alone.
We compete with young people from all possible stops for the last vacancies in the humble inns of the neighborhood already equipped for another full summer. No sooner had twilight set in, than Kings Cross transvested into his night mode.
Drunkards, drug addicts, prostitutes and pimps, countless of Sydney's marginal characters, began to roam around it.
As happens in any and all cities, there they found their social niche between alternating bars, sex shops, peepshows, showgirls' houses, liquor stores and an opportunistic MacDonalds franchise that fed at low prices and scleroticized that artery by itself dysfunctional city.
The passersby we came across seemed so lunatic, improbable, and outlawed by life that we found ourselves yielding to the weight of British colonial history in an attempt to explain its unexpected presence and abundance.
We didn't want to be negative. Nor can we ignore the cultural importance of the neighborhood that hosted its music clubs and helped launch such landmark Australian bands as Go-Betweens and Nick Cave, among many others, to stardom.
But were there concentrated the genes of the most deviant English convicts who populated the enigmatic depths of the world?
Sydney Cove, Britain's Chosen Destination for Inmates
After the declaration of independence of USA., in 1776, Great Britain could no longer send its prisoners across the Atlantic.
Flooded with prisoners, the rulers decided to found a new penal post on the lands discovered by James Cook some sixteen years earlier.
The inaugural settlement took place at Sydney Cove. It was built on the basis of prison establishments built on lands of the Eora aboriginal tribe.
In 1792, there were only 4300 British prisoners exiled, but more than half of the native population of the area (4 to 8 indigenous people) had already been decimated by an epidemic of smallpox disseminated by the prisoners.
Those who visit Sydney today soon find themselves on the shores of its privileged Harbour, which, even in times of expansion, Captain Arthur Phillip and other seamen soon cataloged as one of the best estuaries they had ever seen.
Sydney Harbour, a Grand Sea-facing Estuary of Tasmania
We bought some generous sushi rolls at the subway station entrance and had lunch on the go, late and late.
We shared the double-decker carriage with a group of blond, chatty surfer friends. Them, on their way to Bondi Beach's bathing Eden. We exit between the near-skyscrapers of the Central Business District (CBD), a few hundred meters from the much calmer inland waters of Circular Quay.
An acrobat made his living by juggling flames on a huge unicycle that pedaled in the shadows generated by a metallic road structure.
Later on, a pair of aboriginals, almost naked and accurately painted, did the same, in her case, playing long hypnotic themes of digestoo wrapped in different house environments.
"Thank you friends. Get closer, we won't bite you!
Unless they look like a kangaroo, of course!” announces one of them with a strong ozzy accent in search of the audience and the dollars they exchanged for their music CDs.
From Aboriginal Presence to Australians of All Parties
From Aboriginal to Contemporary much has changed in Australia's ethnic landscape. Sydney, in particular, has become its cosmopolitan and multicultural city.
There are around 55.000 inhabitants of Aboriginal ancestry in the city, coming from the four corners of the large island.
Today, of its nearly five million citizens, more than 1.5 million were born in other non-Australian parts of the world, an immigration trend that was established after the end of World War II and continues to intensify with strong contributions from New Zealanders, Chinese, Indians , Vietnamese, Koreans and Filipinos, as well as the Lebanese, Italians and Greeks.
Sydney, speaks 250 languages. A third of the inhabitants are masters other than English.
As we walked along Pitt's shopping streets, York and George proved to be so predominant Asians that it felt like we were in Hong Kong.
The height of Sydney's clearance reached our ears when the beady-eyed owner of an establishment was indignant at our resistance to taking a fake change:
"That's lubish!” threw the newly arrived small businessman in his still precarious English.
The Historical Hedonism of the People of Sydney
In those parts or wherever we went, we enjoyed it like almost all sydneysiders they took advantage of the bounty of the area's climate.
CBD executives and bank employees matched short-sleeved shirts and even shorts with loose-fitting ties that enforced a modicum of professional ceremony.
After four or five in the afternoon – the very afternoon limit for working hours – instead of sneaking into the house, they joined the crowds drinking beer in pubs or outdoors.
Or they went for a run or a bike ride in their favorite, flowery and sunny parks and gardens, arranged around the many bays and peninsulas of that southern city.
As we had already seen on the subway, carefree teenagers wore flowery shirts or walked – on foot or by bus – bare-chested and flip-flops exchanging their rugby ball or australian footballo or with surfboards and bodyboards, depending on the sport that most captivates them.
We dare not contradict the notion that, due to its geographical isolation and obsession with sport, it is drunken by evasion to oceanic nature and the Outback, Australia will be a great desert, also cultural, with a hedonistic Anglophone population, averse to class stratification and poorly polished.
It is believed that this is due to the fact that he descended from both the inmates and the military who controlled colonial operations until the beginning of the XNUMXth century.
Paying for labor and local produce in rum and hence nicknamed the Rum Corps, these many soldiers challenged and supplanted the authority of three of the colony's first governors.
One of them was called William Bligh, made notorious by a no less famous “Bounty Revolt” which took place in the Tahiti.
But if there are places that seek to eradicate the nation's civilizational harshness, Sydney is one of them.
The Architectural Magnificence and Culture of the Sydney Opera House
The impressive Opera House remains at the forefront of this mission.
We found it ahead of us after passing the bustling wharves of Circular Quay and the centuries-old buildings of The Rocks that housed the first inmates and their guardians, now preserved as shops, art galleries, cafes and pubs.
In 1973, when it was inaugurated, the Opera House aroused enormous controversy, if not for having cost 109 million dollars when it had been budgeted at XNUMX million.
That was the price of its fearless architecture, interpreted as white sails in the wind, white turtle shells, sea shells and camel humps, in any case, soon promoted to the great symbol of Sydney.
It is the scene of exhaustive exploration of almost every visitor to the city and also of around 3000 annual events of various arts.
As we admire it, we notice that dozens of figures walk the heights of the Sydney Harbor Brigde, with breathtaking views of the Opera House and the endless estuary.
Unsurprisingly, despite the distance to the rest of the world Sydney is one of its fifteen cities most visited.
It receives around three million international visitors a year, almost half of those from Australia.
Of these, a good number realize the prosperity and unique quality of life offered by the growing megalopolis of the Oceania, return and install themselves once and for all.
We've landed there on two occasions. It never happened to us.