My new life...
25 days no high heels
25 days no make up
25 days no alcohol
25 days no white sugar (Well, maybe a little. I did have an iced coffee in Sydney!)
24 days in flip flops or bare feet (actually 90% of the time in bare feet - lol!)
24 days in shorts
24 days of 1-3 yoga classes a day
24 days of organic food
25 days no gun violence
So my day to day life is pretty wonderful, and this young country (founded in 1901) of 25 million people is pretty special. I had a chance to spend a day with a couple of Aussie’s and discovered some interesting things...
One afternoon after teaching a yoga class here at the retreat center, one of the students (Rita) approached me as she had overheard me talking about wanting to explore Sydney (a city of 6 million) and offered to be my tour guide. I quickly said yes! The day came for the outing, and she met me at the train station by the Opera House in front of Hungry Jacks (yes they have funky chain restaurants too!) along with her 22 year old daughter who was in her last year of law school. Charming and smart! We spent the day roaming the harbor, opera house, botanical gardens, museum of modern art, Hyde park, found a lovely outdoor market - traditional touristy stuff. And yes, it is as picturesque as you imagine!
My impressions of Sydney:
It’s a well kept City
There were lots of entertaining buskers in the touristy areas
Nice public art
Good looking young policemen in shorts
Fun pop up public spaces
I only saw one group of homeless people in the park
Very contemporary architecture
Diversity - the word doesn’t do it justice. So many ethnicities living peacefully together...
And it felt incredibly safe
The true enjoyment came from just hanging with RIta and Clem (short for Clementine). Rita has been in Australia since she was 17 and came with her family from the Philippines; she never left. We spent our time asking each other questions over iced coffee at various cafes around the city about our home countries, and one of the first questions they asked was if I had voted. My answer was a quick and firm yes. Actually I think it was a hell yes. The follow up question they asked was why more people don’t vote in the US. I tried to explain our messy politics and why there was so much apathy. I then turned the question on them.
How many people vote in Australia?
They looked a little stunned as they answered, “All of us.” Now it was my turn to be a little dumbstruck and asked the question again. They said it was a requirement and they were fined if they didn’t vote. Whoa! Can you imagine how that would go over in the states. They were really proud of their civil involvement and how they are governed.
I then asked them about gun control in Australia.
They told me the story of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre where a gunman opened fire in the small tourist town and killed 35 and wounded 23 more. They told me there was a huge public outcry, and within 12 days all six states, local and Federal Governments had agreed on the same bipartisan gun legislation which bought back over 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles. People can still own guns but they have to have a “genuine reason” for owning a gun, and self defense doesn’t count. Public support exceeded 90% for the gun control legislation. I find this fascinating coming from such a Wild West Country... Whew.
I just learned we had another shooting in the states.
They haven’t had another mass shooting here in Australia since 1996.