More Notes from the Road

From Bill Bonner, in Sydney Australia:

We don’t know which city we like better – Melbourne or Sydney. Melbourne is a little reserved; Sydney has a free spirit. Melbourne reminds us of Vancouver…without the mountains or the ocean; Sydney reminds us of San Diego.

We went over to Manley Beach yesterday. It is a marvelous old part of town, with an open beach on one side and a harbor – with remarkably clear water – on the other. For $5 (U.S.) we took the ferry from Manley Beach over to the downtown area. Around the bay…and on the oceanfront too, for that matter…we saw houses built on the hillsides. Some old. Some new. With semi-tropical vegetation around them. The views must be spectacular. There are also plenty of restaurants…with quiet, small town conveniences in the neighborhoods that surround the downtown area. It seemed like a very pleasant place to live.

Australians tend to be informal and polite. This morning, we got in an elevator and a man said:

“Got a big dye ahid of you, maiht?”

It took a while to realize that he was talking to us. In Paris, no one speaks, except to say ‘Bonjour Monsieur,’ without smiling. But here was a man not only speaking to us…but when we finally figured out what he was saying, we realized he was inquiring into our work schedule.

We didn’t know how to answer. “Well, at 9AM I have a meeting with…” We were just about to give him a full report when the elevator got to the ground floor.

“G’dye,” he said…and he was off.

Yesterday, we took time off from our work to visit with our daughter, Maria, who just happened to be in Sydney with a school friend.

“Oh daddy, it’s so much fun. Everybody is so relaxed. And this is a double holiday season here. It’s Christmas season…but it’s also their summer vacation. So there are a lot of parties and socializing. We’ve got a big weekend coming up.”

Maria went into the post office at Manley Beach to buy stamps. There was a long line. We couldn’t wait, because we were going to catch the ferry, so she entered a small, deserted nearby shop…and found an exception to the friendly Australian stereotype.

“Excuse me, but do you sell stamps,” she asked.

A disagreeable woman was sitting behind the counter eating a candy bar. She chewed for a moment, and then replied sourly:

“Do you think there would be such a long line at the Post Office if I sold stamps?”

Tired, jet-lagged…we couldn’t resist: “Well, if you’d bothered to buy some stamps this morning, maybe you’d have some customers.”

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.

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I just read your article – very interesting, but you have made a spelling error that would jar on all Australian readers. It is Manly (not Manley). Manly is of historical significance here – why not look it up?

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