Beach culture is as foreign to me as Antarctica’s penguin population. Even in California, I opt to stay inland and love my road trips to gay-tastic Palm Springs. However, there is one part of the world where the city meshes with the ocean beautifully. Sydney has the beach, but it has a splash of Midtown Manhattan for the urbanite’s soul.

As a proper visitor, I gave the turquoise waters and white sands of Sydney a try. The largest Australian city has a spectacular public transportation that revolves around ferryboats. They take both visitors and Sydneysiders to the beach, work and home. It’s almost like taking a train, but on the water. Unlike the subway, the ferryboat is like an affordable cruise. The Sydney skyline on one side, on the other is a cliff complimenting the immensely blue waters.

Unlike most urban shorefronts, Sydney has desolate beach towns. Manly Beach is my favorite. The actual town retains a California in the 50’s vibe. It’s doesn’t feel corporate with it’s small restaurants and independent shops. Since, I went in winter, I could wear my black hoodies and feel euphoric.

As a non-beach enthusiast, I started to fall in love with Sydney. Soon, I took the ferryboats everywhere. I traveled to the zoo and saw real kangaroos. In Bondi, there are many men who shouldn’t be wearing speedos sunbathing. However, I do give them kudos for strutting their stuff.

My favorite memory revolves around Doyle’s. It’s on a sea cliff overlooking the ocean. I took my dad there and we ate fish n’ chips. They have a monopoly in that slice of the city. Never mind being hungry for Japanese, Thai or Indian, it’s always fish n’ chips madness there.

I miss Sydney’s idea of public transportation, the ferryboat. The panoramic views will always remain riveting in my memory book. I took it from the city’s world famous beaches to the zoo. While I’ll always prefer New York to Southern California, Sydney made me appreciate the quiet and hustle.

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