When you think about summer you think about all the wonderful things about summer: heading to Manly to have leisurely drinks in the sun with friends for the afternoon, a quick dip at the local’s hangout Clovelly beach, getting to wear your thongs all day on the weekend, and outdoor entertaining with family and friends around your new barbeque.
What you don’t often think about in the lead up to summer are all the sticky points about summer in Sydney. And sticky and sweaty they are. If your air conditioner suddenly decides to have a meltdown in the office you have no option but to either stick it out or head home for the day. How about feeling like you need to shower 3 times a day because your clothes are sticky and you’ve sweat buckets? There are times when you spend way longer at the beach than you intended (without any sunscreen) and end up a bright red lobster.
Perhaps my most hated summertime activity is catching a ride on Sydney’s public transport. The air conditioning systems on older trains and buses leave a whole lot to be desired, and even the newer ones, in summertime peak times, simply don’t stand up to the pressures of having a million other Sydneysiders jammed in alongside you on their daily commute.
I kid you not, public transport in summertime, really anyway in Australia, is an absolute nightmare. And here’s why. You slip in the train carriage, feeling relieved that you’ll be home in time to make dinner and relax, only to realise you’re smooshed up against two other people whose skin is slick with sweat because they were also rushing to make that very same train, to be home in time for their respective dinners. As the train jolts and jutters about over the tracks you and your fellow compadre sardines in your homeward bound tin slip and slide against each other, bringing a grimace to your face and an overwhelming urge to empty the content of your stomach over the sliding doors you’re desperately peering out of, trying to concentrate on the loveliness of the passing landscapes of Sydney. It’s enough to make you want to move to Adelaide. And that’s not even the worst of it.
When you finally get to your stop, it’s time for another jam-packed ride on your connecting bus. You grip tightly to the overhead hanger your face accidentally buried in the man next to you’s armpit. He smells like he has been running an ultramarathon and/or been eating grease filled KFC for every meal of his natural life. You can’t take it anymore, press the bell and escape to sweet, fresh air – but you’re still 4 stops away from your house. As you trudge home, you think to yourself, well I least I got out of there.
Sound like a familiar tale? Well, you’re not alone. And I have done everything in my power to avoid sweaty Sydney summertime public transport since one too many incidents like these, so I’m going to give you my top tips for avoiding all that disgustingness.
Buy a car
If you don’t have a car because you don’t think you can afford one, then set yourself a goal. It’s not hard to save up a few thousand dollars for a runabout.
Ask to work different hours
Avoid peak times like the plague. My old office got used to me working from 11 am until 7 pm without any dramas, whisking me away from any peak hour grossness.
Work from home more often
If your work permits, try and work from home more days a week. You may even find that you are more productive in the right home environment, or in a beachside pub…
Use a park and fly service for airport commutes
If you have flights to catch, park your car at the airport and drive home when you return. It is important to find a fully gated, access restricted secure parking facility. This skips running the airport line gauntlet.
Share rides with friends and colleagues
Ride share with a colleague to work. Get your friends to pick you up for social occasions. Lifts are often easy to come by if you just ask politely.
Choose social activities within walking distance
Don’t go across the city just to go out for social activities (unless it’s the cooling ferry, of course). Check out the local happenings in your area, from new restaurants and bars to fairs and fetes, fitness classes and hobby activities, music events to art exhibitions, as well as everything in between.
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