By Mike Attersall

How you going?"

Not "how’s it going?" Not "where you going?" Not even "how are you?" No, "how you going?"

An expression used by all in Australia, it may sound weird and confusing but they all use it. Since I’ve been in Sydney, I’ve picked up on a lot of things which make this country just as unique as that expression.

There are light switches that turn on by flicking them down instead of up, dual flush toilets that empty the other way, driving on the other side with no right of way for pedestrians and a whack load of expressions that will blow you away.

He’s your "mate" not your buddy or pal, and she’s a "sheila" or a "bird." They are not road pops but "travelers." It’s not a rye and coke but a "cc/jd and cola." It’s not "thanks" it’s "ta." You don’t buy a round you take a "shout." And forget any drink you’ve had with vodka cause the only thing you will have here is a Red Bull-vodka. It’s not called drunk driving its "drink driving." No hood or trunk but a "bonnet and boot." When things are good everything is "sweet ass." And if you can master the use of the word "fair-dinkum" and hardly say "crikey" then you are half way to being an Aussie.

Sydney is an amazing city, with a population just over four million and enough going on to keep everyone entertained. I was lucky enough to see firsthand how this city likes to party. Whether it was Rugby World Cup, Australian Idol finals at the Opera House, Carols in the Domain over Christmas, New Year’s on Sydney Harbour, St. Patrick’s Day in the Rocks or Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in the Red Light District, the people of Sydney came out in numbers. I don’t ever recall going to any of these festivities without at least 100,000 people being out and having the time of their lives.

The lifestyle in Sydney varies depending on where you are. Starting from downtown or the cbd (central business district) and working your way out toward the beaches, the stress level drops and so does the stuck-up attitude. From the southern beaches of Coogee and Bondi up to the northern beaches of Manly and Palm you will find some of the friendliest people. You will also find a large majority of travelers who come to this great country. Though the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are must-sees as are the Chinese gardens and Darling Harbour, it is the beach life one needs to truly experience.

After a hard day of beaching it up and getting pounded by the waves as you try to master the art of surfing, you might need to unwind, and Sydney provides a great variety for nightlife antics. From posh clubs along George St. in the cbd to the fun, laid-back feel of the Coogee Bay Hotel to a friendly pint with a local down at the Rocks under the Harbour bridge to a free movie at the open air cinemas held in one of the many parks across the city, one can always find something to fulfill their desires.

And if you’re not into going out at night-God help you-and you’re not into the beach life, why are you here? Maybe it’s for the vast array of restaurants Sydney has to offer. I have never been anywhere in the world where there are so many places to eat. Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, French, Italian, German, Greek, African, Mexican and plain old British fish’n’chips, the city is as diverse in its food as the people who live here.

As for the cost of living, you can expect prices seen in cities like Vancouver or Toronto, but well worth it for the experience. Keep an eye out for cabs that are always trying to rip you off, the price of cell phones and local calls is retarded, but a call home when you’re missing your mates is only about one cent a minute. Food is a bit pricey, but hey, you don’t have to tip!

All in all Australia is a great place to live or visit. If you’re worried about snakes, spiders or sharks don’t be, because one thing the locals will warn you about more than anything are the jellyfish.

So come Down Under and see it for yourself to get a real feel of what life is like with no snow shovels, brushes for your car or people hidden in layer after layer of clothing. And thank God for whoever invented the thong-I hate wearing shoes.

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