Happy New Year!!!!
Honor SystemThere is an honor system that exists in Australia that I've not noticed elsewhere in our travels, specifically in the area of public transportation. The only thing that I can compare it to is the Light Rail system in Jersey City, NJ. Essentially, riders are trusted with properly paying their fare with the touch of the Opal card. Simply touch the card to the reader at the beginning of your journey and ensure to tap off where you arrive.
In the CBD (Central Business District), it's more difficult to cheat the system and most of the stations have barriers at the entry and exit points with the card readers. However, in the more suburban areas outside of the CBD the honor system is relied upon as there are no turnstyles or barriers to prevent anyone from just walking onto the train.
This honor system speaks to the trust that the government has in its people and the hope that people will do the right thing. It also alludes to the idea that money is not the most important thing in the world. In fact, this notion is further reinforced by the caps on the transportation spending. For example, you will never spend more than $15 on any given day. So should you use the Opal card numerous times in a single day, you will be capped at $15. And it's even more advantageous for longer durations, like $60 is the max weekly. And each and every Sunday is capped at $2.50. Amazing! With the benefits donned on the customers, it's a wonder how the entire transportation system (train, ferry, bus, light rail) is so well maintained. But somehow it works. And I like that it works so well.
LanguageI've been picking up on the colloquial language used here in Australia and becoming more used to it as we hear it on a daily basis now. Here's a few terms that are very commonplace in daily conversation:
- "Brekky" = Breakfast
- "No worries" or "No dramas" - meaning, don't worry about it. It's ok. It's all good.
- "Fair" - often used in describing comparative situations as in, "To be fair, I should analyze the situation this way as well." Or, "To be fair, I should check the alternative."
- "Reckon" - to recall a situation; to remember; to think about in a particular way; to believe; to have an opinion of - as in, "I reckon that the train is the best mode of transportation in Sydney."
- "Proper" - everything has a correct way of being done; for example, "Instead of having a shave at home, you should have a proper shave at the barbershop."
- "Heaps" - to have plenty of; ie. "There were heaps on chips served with his hamburger."
- "Maths" - short form of "mathematics" as there is no singular form of the word, hence the "s" should be included with "math" to become "maths"
- "Keen" - eager; showing interest - "Are you keen to watching a cricket match?"
Three days in Sydney alone have convinced us that this city is wonderful and beautiful. I think what I love most about this Harbor-centric city is the magnificent things they have done with the waterfront properties. It's well done with proper manicuring. It seems that plenty of thought into the design, function, and convenience has gone into the planning of the cityscapes. And I admire that. It's truly well done.
|Boats, Ships, Yachts, Sails in Sydney Harbor|
|Sydney Harbor Bridge and one of the numerous ferries to shuttle people around the harbor and neighboring towns|
|Camping out at the Sydney Opera House at 11AM waiting for NYE fireworks.|
|There are 2 fireworks shows in Sydney (and Australia in general). One at 9PM, which many families watch to allow the children to get home at a reasonable time. And the normal midnight fireworks is the second.|
|Opera House steps|
|Our view of Darling Harbor for the NYE festivities from The Watershed|
|Lookout point from Watson's Bay with the Sydney skyline in view|
|View from Gap Bluff. To the left is the South Pacific Ocean / Tasman Sea. To the right is Watson's Bay and the Sydney skyline. The view is in the Southerly direction.|
|Sydney Harbor Bridge at night|
|Sydney skyline at night|
|Panorama of Sydney at night from Kirribilli|
|Kangaroo steak. Cooked medium rare is the best way to have it, otherwise the meat becomes a bit tough to eat. It was delicious!|
One month down, five months to go. Can you believe we've been on vacation for 32 days already?