In case anyone wondered, while the country is full of Kangaroos, to the point that they can become a pest if you drive inland and some cars have really big fenders in front of their cars for protection in case they hit one), they do not go and walk around in big cities like Sydney .
As far as driving is concerned, they do drive on the left side of the road (what, you're never see Mad Max?), not quite sure if they picked that up from the British or just independently picked that side, like some other countries in Asia. Apart from that "detail" (which can get you killed if you forget it while crossing the street ), I was actually amazed at how similar it was from California. I saw a boatload of Miatas (Mazda MX-5), boxters, and a fair share of riceboy cars (typically hondas too).
That said, you can get around Sydney and its suburbs quite nicely with busses (there isn't really a subway/metro system, but trains will take you quite far). While it may not be as good as the public transport systems in let's say London or Paris, it was good enough, and if you knew how to find them, busses were plentiful and quite frequent (many also run all night at half hour intervals so that you can lug yourself back to your hotel after leaving the night club or pub at 03:00 or 04:00 (yep, you do find places opened until 06:00 or so)
The other refreshing thing for me was that they did switch to the metric system a little more than 25 years ago, not like some other country I know and which never bothered (they're probably the last ones in the world to still use the imperial system, and manage to lose multimillion dollar satellites and NASA equipment thanks to that) . Eh, they even use 240V, like most civilized countries
With regards to Australian itself, while everyone could understand me just fine, trying to forget my Americanized English and going back to the British English I used to know, helped a bit. The upshot is that they got some things right like "Entree" in a restaurant means "appetizer", not "main course" (don't blame the Americans for making the confusion, after all they don't speak French ). On the other hand I had to remember that "french fries" was really "chips" and that "chips" were "crips"
All in all, I now understand why Raster has no intention to immigrate in the US and will move back to Australia some time before his visa runs out.
Anyway, going back to tourism and pictures, I'd first like to say that he Australians I got to meet and converse with during my stay were always nice and eager to help, often before I had the chance to ask. Many even continued to talk to me after learning that I was French .
So, before the conference, a few of us did some visiting and tourist attractions. We first went to enjoy the Coogee beach and Ocean (picts here)
After that, we went to Sydney for some visiting (picts here)
Went to Waratah Park, to see Kangaroos, Koalas, Emus, Wombats, and more (picts here)
After a long bus ride, we decided to come back by Manly Beach and cross the bay by ferry (picts here)
Sydney by night is nice too (picts here)
And of course, you can't go to Sydney without visiting Bondi beach (picts here)
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2001/01/28 (18:48): Version 1.0
2001/01/29 (00:12): Version 1.1. Fixed couple of typos
2001/01/29 (21:53): Version 1.2. I saw Emus, not Ostriches (thanks Arthur Marsh)