Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Comparison Sydney / Perth

And I have come to the topic I have been asked ever since we came back...

How can I compare Sydney to Perth?

Simple, I can’t... 

Both cities are very different; in their lifestyles, flavours, weather, people and entertainment. On each city you will find opportunities, issues, pros and cons, but the key factor is what kind of person are you?

My mental image of Perth before going there...
Everything was built... no one was there.
Talking to some people in Sydney, we got the odd idea that ‘Perth was a mixture of city, isolated ghost town and Dubai... very small, undeveloped, with lots of money, nothing to do there... really...’ But we found something totally different; it was a nice place where anyone who wants to reside there will enjoy lots of different activities to those who likes Sydney (like me).

Perth is a young city, on its way to become something really great, while Sydney is a city with a bit of history, it has grown already and right now is trying to find its right spot into a bigger world.

So... asking a comparison between Sydney and Perth is like establishing a comparison between young wines (verdelho) versus one that has already matured (Cabernet-Merlot)... Different flavours, different palates, different tastes... just different.

How is the cost of living of Perth in relation to Sydney?

Food, services, petrol... is about the same with the exception of the property market; which is the big, big difference.

Our friends (almost all of them) have bought their homes in the first year (max two) which is a very nice record in deed. Sydney in average will be 50% or 60% more expensive than Perth (or any other city in Australia) which is a huge disadvantage to my favourite place... Sydney.

Was thinking to publish a different image...
But I bet some of my pals will feel id with this one =P
But if you compare the renting market, is again, about the same in term of price. The difference will be the size of it. Sydney will give you units for about 300, 350, 400 or more per week... And Perth will do the same but for houses...

Which city offers me more entertainment options?

Again, is not a matter of comparing both cities and specify which one will offer you more attractions and options. What is really important is to describe which city might be more related to your personality.
Sydney and Perth are cities in which you will be able to express yourself in outdoor activities... You will be able to walk or run to the closest park, enjoy the scenery and take a bit of sun and off to your next activity. The difference will be found in the number and frequency that each city prepares those events.

Sydney's food festival
Sydney is well known worldwide by their food and cultural events, but Perth also has great events and plenty of activities to do. Plus I got to tell you, it feels extraordinary to walk on the streets at 10PM and find yourself watching the stars in a quiet night.

So what I have been blabbing was, Sydney will give more events prepared by the city or the government while Perth will give you the opportunity to make your own arrangements to go and have fun in the wild, near small town or city.
Some of the sculptures at the sea
I had a great fun taking this picture.
Something I did notice... and it might be totally related to the fact that we were escorted all the time by our friends; Sydney gives you gastronomically more options than Perth and I think is also related to how busy the life on each place is, Sydney being more complex and busy and Perth being more relaxed and family oriented. 

Transport system and commuting times.

Most Aussie cities have a series of developed transport system in which you might be able to go from (almost) any suburb to the city or another suburb. The transport system will include trains, buses, ferries, light trains and trams with their different fare system, different rules and different schedules... but at the same time coordinated for the common good.

Sydney's lightrail
Sydney’s system is based mainly in the train, with some areas highly related to bus or ferry or both at the same time. And some minor routes that are covered by light train or monorail (but these last two are more ornamental than functional).

Perth’s system is based mainly in bus lines, covering the entire city and a bunch of train lines going from the north to the south and some lines covering the west coast (currently in development... so is highly possible that upcoming years will bring more similarities between Sydney and Perth).

So... where is the difference?

Sydney’s system is having delays (every now and then); it could be related to lack of maintenance, abuse of their boundaries or lack of commitment of their staff. Anyhow, Sydney’s system needs to improve a little bit, but is still comparable against any first world transport system.

Sydney's double deck trains.
Perth’s system is struggling as well... but against the city. The city is growing too fast and too frequent for its commuters, so is highly possible that your bus gets 5 minutes delayed because it got stuck in the middle of the city while some trucks moved blocks or concrete from one place to the other, or multiple lanes were closed because of the nearby construction, or the actual road is being expanded.

The basic difference is, Perth system is still growing, is a bit young and you will totally need a car to do basic stuff such as going to the market, movies or something like that. While Sydney is a bit more developed even though delays might strike in your schedule (nothing in comparison to delays in Caracas or New York... although I must be honest, I haven’t been in New York for ages... their subway could have improve tons ever since I was there).

Issues and problems on each city.

Each city has their issues and problems, and each city must find a way to solve it for its resident’s sake (even though most politicians don’t give a sheet... mistyped on purpose) and here I am going to try to show some which I don’t like (and I could notice).

I know that I could sit for days writing long descriptive specifications of the multiples issues Sydney and Perth have... And being totally honest with you, I did... in a second though (and reading again my post) I decided to remove it to avoid touchy topics. Instead I am going to give you a small list of things I think each city could improve a bit.

Sydney’s list.

  • The buses need to meet regular schedules.
    I have found myself several times waiting for a bus that never comes... More common though is the one that does appear... 20 minutes later.
  • People’s attitude towards bus drivers, or as the matter of fact, people’s attitude towards someone else that gives you a service... I know my building manager hates some of my neighbours because they treat him as their slave.
  • People’s tidiness.
    I don’t know what happen to people in Sydney... and believe me, is something you would not notice at first. But I have seen people throwing rubbish on the streets rather than hold it for two metres and dispose it appropriately. 
  • Respect to pedestrians traffic lights.
    I have seen lots of people crossing right at the middle of the street or when they shouldn’t do it. Apparently no one cares and it got to the point that I started doing it; Now (and thanks to my wife’s stare of death) I am on my way to remove this nasty behaviour in my day to day basis.

Perth’s list.
I will have very few items to post in here... you know, there are very few things you could catch in a week with lots of people being constantly taking care of you.

  • Transport coverage.
    I know Perth is growing and there are things missing... But at times I felt the only way to travel from one point to the other in Perth was by car... and being honest, I am not a huge fan of cars, in fact, I think a big chunk of our society depends insanely in cars to the point that some people have it as a need more than a commodity. Sydney might suffer issues on its coverage, but Perth low density yet wide residential areas to cover will be a huge challenge to solve leading to bigger traffic issues than any other city in Australia. Hopefully I will be wrong.
  • Little control over some sectors of society.
    Is highly probable this issue is bigger than just in Perth, but I did notice people take precautions when they are walking towards refugees or aborigines because they might act unexpectedly to your presence or even your behaviour. I have no idea if these sectors of society are as worrisome in Sydney as in Perth but a common comment in Perth is that residents feel these sectors are above the law.

Common list.

  • I have come to the simplistic approach to say... In Australia, to get to know a bit more than the city’s basics, you need a car. In Perth is closer to a must than a need.
  • Teenagers respect to others.
    Again, I have come to the simplistic approach to say... teenagers are not people... they are a proto-human being with a total lack of respect... I wish I could pack them all, and send them to Caracas, Venezuela so they gain a bit of appreciation to this country.

    Uhms... Given that a second thought... I shouldn’t send more socially unfit members to Venezuela... The country has enough and I really would like someday to look back and feel proud of the country I have come from. 
    Could I send them in a ship titled ‘Titanic II’?
    How awesome is this????
    Let them feel the kings/queens of the world while the ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean. BUHUHAHAHA
  • People’s respect to others.
    Especially in the train. Some people really struggle with the phrase ‘where your rights ends, mine rights starts’ and I have seen lots of people eating really disgusting things on the train without respect to others noses... And lots of people put their nasty shoes on the seat... 
    I mean, what’s wrong with you people?

But anyway, if you have anything else to add to these points, please point them in the comment section below and we could expand it later on.