I feel like the luckiest girl on earth. As I write this I am sipping coffee in a coffee shop in Sydney, Australia!
And despite weather predictions of rain, it is sunny and cool outside. Yesterday was even better — sunny and hot. So I spent a lazy Saturday roaming the streets, parks and monuments of this beautiful city. I learned about the ferns — who knew there were so many?, the aboriginal history and edginess of Aussi clothing designers along the way. It was absolutely wonderful! Best of all? I’m here for business so I get an automatic set of guides and friends from work. I feel like such a dork walking around with a grin from ear to ear as I conduct the most mundane of activities, like buying a coffee.
Something struck right away that made me realize that all is not totally beautiful in my eyes: the sea of whiteness. I’m not saying the women and men aren’t beautiful. Just the opposite. But what I felt was sorely missing was the range of skin hues.
There’s definitely an obvious Chinese population. In fact I got a manicure my first day in Sydney from a Chinese-Aussi woman :). But when you enter the restaurants or bars, i.e., the places where people socialize, all you see is white skin. Coming from NYC, the uniformity hits you in the face. It’s actually disconcerting. Maybe I’m just homesick. Maybe I just like what I’m used to. Or maybe I feel a moral or political tug for diversity given my politics?
Evolutionarily speaking, we need diversity. It’s through a mixing of unlike genes that we produce not just gorgeous children, but healthier ones too. Net net, we are naturally attracted to diversity, just like we are attracted to other things of beauty.
Part of the beauty of travel is to witness the beauty of different places and people. And sometimes that includes the realities of that culture. I am by no means criticizing or diminishing the beauty of Sydney. But I am that much aware of the beauty back home :).