December 25, 2016
I went to Sydney again recently. It was only for a few days, but it was fun. Lots of friends who I hadn’t seen for a long time. The downside of it all is that there’s a lot less money in the bank now. Sydney is really crazily expensive. Of course, just to get there you already have to fork out quite a sum – budget flight or no budget flight. Australia is after all “Down Under,” somewhere between planet earth and another galaxy. It takes for-ever to get there.
The financial pain started right away. (I’m using big words, I know.) Upon arrival at Kingsford Smith International Airport, feeling jetlagged and dehydrated, I bought a small bottle of water for Aus$ 4 (US$ 2.85). “$4? For a water? For real?” I asked, but I bought it anyway. Not sure if it was the most expensively priced water ever, probably not, but still. Of course I should’ve taken a sip from a public water dispenser somewhere, but this oftentimes leaves a nasty chlorine taste in the mouth – and a headache.
The price of my hotel room wasn’t much better. You don’t get three-star accommodation in downtown Sydney for anything less than Aus$ 100 (US$ 73). Maybe these prices are common for most or a handful of major metropolitans around the world. I’m not entirely sure. But, my wallet isn’t used to it; that I do know. But as with so many things in life, it is what it is. It’s take it or … leave it and sleep under a bridge or at a deserted construction site. (I’m a bit dramatic I know.)
One way to explain these steep hotel prices is Australia’s overheated property market. Real estate is just not as affordable as it used to be. One of my friends who bought a place in Eastwood, Sydney said that they had bought it for Aus$ 650,000 in 2002 and that currently the price stands at a whopping million and a half. And we all know the connection between property and rental prices. If the first goes up, the latter does too. (For the record, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The price dropped to Aus$ 440,000 in 2004, which created some hard times at the bank.)
I was lucky that my friends paid most of my meals, because food, (except for yogurt, bread, and oatmeal), is not cheap either. You can’t buy a decent lunch for under Aus$ 20 basically. Of course, it could very well be that it’s just me. Maybe I’m just not … selling enough books. LOL.
Anyhow, I was surprised to see all these overpriced souvenirs in and around the city. Lots of what seemed like imported chocolate, for instance, stuffed into Australian-themed, (but presumably made in China), boxes. I looked hard, thought hard, but in the end I was like … how can I spend Aus$ 20 or 30 on something that’s only a fraction of that price back in Europe. It goes against everything I stand for. I can’t waste it like that.
So call me a cheapskate, (I can take it), but … in my defense, I did spend Aus$ 3 on a postcard stamp (and Aus$ 1 on the postcard) for my parents back in Europe. It is the holiday season after all 🙂
Merry Xmas + a wonderful 2017! 🙂
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