Talking about anecdotes... I stayed in four different hotels in Melbourne and Sydney this month: Common features, lousy cable TV selection and absolutely obscene internet charges. Right back at the airport hotel in Toronto, back to normal, no internet charges, pleasant staff. Anecdotes, I know, but: You read it here first :-).
Also, having left Australia some 15 years ago, I was shocked about the level of racism that is standard political operating procedure in that country today. Much of what leading politicians and newspaper columnists spouted there on a daily basis in that regard would be a career-killer in Canada, thankfully. Truly mind-boggling stuff.
Well, I was also able to fly in Qantas' long-haul business class in its Airbus 380 fleet. I love the A380. It's such a more quiet, overall smoother ride than any other plane on the market. The seats are comfy, even though the recline doesn't seem to be completely vertical. One big issue: For some reason the aisles don't seem to be cushioned properly. As a result, each time a passenger or flight attendant passes by at your seat you'll be awoken by the feel of an elephant passing by. Clearly a design problem. Compared to what American Airlines calls 'business class', well, it's a no brainer. Qantas' premium economy is superior to American's business class product, let alone Qantas' stellar business class. Even the business class lounges were remarkably different. Qantas offered decent food and drinks, while American tried hard to sell even that to you in its lounges. Makes you wonder why anyone would fork out money for a business class fare on American Airlines.
Other than that, I cannot believe how much Melbourne and Sydney have changed since I left. The mining boom brought obviously tons of money and people into the country. New gleaming everythings have transformed the city scapes, and not necessarily for the better.
I gave talks both in Melbourne and Sydney on assisted dying and managed to catch up with old friends and colleagues in both cities. Overall it has been a delightful trip. Oh, did I mention the weather? No point in that, it's been fabulous, in Sydney more so than in Melbourne.