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Accidental tourist ends up in the wrong Sydney
25 September 2008
A world of difference ... The Big Ceilidh Fiddle, left, in Sydney, Canada, and The Opera House, in Sydney, Australia
An Argentine tourist got the city name right, but the continent wrong when she booked a vacation to Australia, and found herself in easternmost Canada this week.
Monique Rozanes Torres Aguero of Buenos Aires had wanted to travel to Sydney, Australia, but ended up instead in the former coal and steel mill town of Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The mix-up, due to inattention while booking flights online, became evident when she boarded a small propeller plane in Halifax that would take her on the last leg of her journey.
"She was taking pictures out the airplane window and said to herself, 'Something is not right,' " resident Christiane Tanner, who befriended the accidental tourist, told the Cape Breton Post.
But rather than make a fuss, Ms Torres decided to stay and make the best of her trip.
"When things happen, you let them happen," she said through an interpreter.
Apparently, it is not the first time Canada has welcomed tourists intended for Australia.
In 2002, two Britons also mistakenly landed in Canada's sleepy Sydney, instead of Australia's bustling metropolis, a Cape Breton tourism spokeswoman said.
And Sidney, British Columbia, in westernmost Canada has reportedly received stray tourists too, from Germany and the Czech Republic.
In 2002, English couple Raoul Sebastian and Emma Nunn made news when they flew from London to Sydney, Nova Scotia, while seeking Sydney, Australia.
"It was quite a shock,'' Mr Sebastian told a local newspaper at the time.
"We thought we were somewhere for a stopover, getting on a bigger plane. We talked to a guy at Customs. Everyone was saying 'Sydney' so e thought things were going well.''
When Herald journalist John Huxley visited to "other'' Sydney last year, he found it more closely resembled our steel cities, Wollongong and Newcastle, than the famous Harbour City.
"Like them, Sydney NS is a community founded on coal, steel ... Whereas Mother Britain saw NSW as somewhere to park convicts, it regarded Cape Breton as a source of cheap, albeit dirty, coal,'' he wrote in the sydney magazine.
The industrial Sydney has not traditionally been a regular destination for tourists, despite a beautiful island coastline, Huxley wrote.
"Although they're working on it, the sad truth is that, unlike its sparkling Australian namesake, Sydney, NS doesn't attract many holidaymakers.
"The city is not on the regular tourist trail. Nor does it feature in guidebooks that extol the beauty of the Cape Breton Island coastline on which it sits.
"Even today, visitors arriving at Sydney's new passenger terminal tend to jump straight from their cruise ship onto a bus that will take them out of the city and onto the spectacular Cabot Trail, named after the explorer who made landfall hereabouts in the late 15th century.''
But with its steel industry fading, the city was undergoing a makeover to attract more tourists.
Much like The Emerald City, this was based on attractions on the waterfront, although while tourists visit Australia for The Opera House and The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the other Sydney hopes they will come to see The Big Ceilidh Fiddle - the world's largest fiddle, installed on the waterfront.
Unfortunately for the city, however, a search for ``Sydney'' on the Canadian tourism website leads to no information about the city's attractions.
Arjun Ramachandran and AFP - Courtesy of the Sydney
Morning Herald online