All in all, I’ve lived in Australia for nearly ten years now so I’ve more or less known the cities’ characters more intimately. Admittedly, I know some better than the others so my level of personification will be much better, had I known all of them equally well.
When my friends overseas ask me about Australian cities, I often personify the cities to make them more ‘approachable’. The personification may be a gross generalisation and may be a tad bit inaccurate, especially to the purists, but it’s a fun exercise nevertheless.
SYDNEY – Sydney is like a thirty-something yuppie, armed with a Blackberry and the latest iPod. He is a metrosexual, who loves to dress up well and doesn’t mind a 30-minute facial session at a beauty spa. Despite all of these, he sometimes appears very blokey and brash. He still loves to go out and enjoy great night outs with his mates but he’s not so keen on the cultural stuff. Too stuffy, he feels.
MELBOURNE – Melbourne is like a respectful 50-year old businessman. He has travelled around the world and loves to dress impeccably with imported Italian suits. He loves culture and he loves spending time with his family as well. Some people may say that he is too stodgy and boring, but beneath the façade, he still loves to have fun. Does anybody notice a discrete diamond stud on his earlobe?
BRISBANE – Brisbane is like a 40-year old guy who has done well. He started humbly by having a small deli but has done well for himself and is now a proud owner of a neighbourhood supermarket. He’s loud and friendly but some people say that he doesn’t have the finesse and gracefulness of people of the same age from the south. He has no sense of style and still loves his loud shirts. He’s the kinda friend who livens up a party, who may not know how to pronounce sauvignon blanc correctly, but knows his beer inside out!
PERTH – Perth is like a cousin who lives far away who you don’t know too well. Apparently he’s in his late twenties. Some members of your family mentioned that he’s successful but he doesn’t write or call that often. Some people mention that he lives in the suburb, has a small family, and is just a normal, average kinda guy. He’s also reportedly some kind of adventurer in his younger days – camping in the outback, rock-climbing, that sort of stuff, but married life has toned him down.
HOBART – Hobart is like a shy and reclusive uncle who you used to visit when you were a kid. He leads such a lowkey life down at the farm that you don’t know much about him or his family well enough. You remember that you used to love to visit him and enjoy the rustic, friendly atmosphere down at the farm.
DARWIN – Darwin is another distant cousin who you rarely hear about. He’s a country bumpkin who appears not to know much about culture and finesse – but apparently he does, it’s just that he’s very laid-back! He loves to hang around his mates and drink themselves silly during the weekend. Don’t expect him to dress up in suits, he feels very much at home in his singlet, shorts and thongs.
CANBERRA – Canberra is in his late forties. Your family doesn’t like him that much. He’s snobbish and thinks that he’s better than anybody else. He’s quite similar to your other uncles – lives in the suburb, two kids, but somehow he thinks that you and the others are just uncivilised, uncouth bunch of riffraffs. His kids go to private schools but you don’t know much about them.
ADELAIDE – Adelaide is like your favourite auntie. She has frocks sewn before the beginning of time that she wears on her shopping trips “to the city”. She loves her easy-listening radio station and loves her theatre plays and operas that the rest of the family have no clues about. Occasionally, she’d listen to contemporary stuff like ABBA or Cliff Richard. Your mum says that Adelaide is a bit funny in the head sometimes, but everybody just loves her – she’s everybody’s favourite kooky aunt.
Don’t get me wrong – I love living here in Adelaide. I find it hard to single out great places of attractions around Adelaide that are of the same league as the Sydney Opera House or Uluru. Of course South Australia has Kangaroo Island and Flinders Ranges, or the Barossa – but if you’re not into wine, wildlife or not that adventurous, it may be a challenge to find something that will interest you in Adelaide.
A couple of years ago our church hosted a pastor and his wife from Malaysia. We wanted to showcase some attractions around Adelaide during their free time. We suggested that we could go to Hahndorf, to sample the local delicacies (German sausages, chocolate, strawberries) which they replied, “We don’t like chocolate”. Then we suggested that we could go to the Barossa and visit the wineries – “We don’t drink wine”. After a couple more suggested places, we ran out of ideas. We asked them what they wanted to do … they said, “Shopping”. We thought that we could go to a factory outlet near the airport, however the available brands there didn’t interest them all that much. They wanted Armani, Hugo Boss, and the likes. 🙄 So yeah, it’s hard to find “the” major attraction that would compel people to come to Adelaide.
After a while, I come to the conclusion that Sydney or Melbourne or the rest of the cities in Australia are akin to the outfit that you wear when you go out. They may be flashy, attractive or even stylish – but you wouldn’t wear them in your own private time. Adelaide is like your favourite tshirt – it may have passed its use-by date and many not look that presentable, but by golly, it’s comfortable and you love it to bits.