England vs Australia
The Ashes are decided - England has won. This time. But let's take cricket out of the equation and investigate the pros and cons of each country - which one wins overall? With so many English lining the shores of Australia and identical numbers of Aussies chucking in the beach towel in favour of a rock 'n' roll London lifestyle, it's clear that even the native populations can't decide which one tops the other.
The Lonely Planet offices in London and in Melbourne are reflective of these migrant and transient populations. I am English but have been in Australia for six years now and perhaps like most people who identify with both hemispheres, when asked which I prefer, I simply can’t answer the question without hours of deliberation, trying hard to get to the guts of what makes each country so great.
In England, the rolling green hills, the hedgerows and the damp, fresh air stand in stark contrast to the fierce heat, bushfires, parched interior and tinder-dry forests of southeastern Australia. And when it comes to culture, the Guardian newspaper feeds the soul. The Australian press is always behind the English eight-ball in international news coverage and cutting-edge editorial in comparison. And TV is lame, lame, lame - home-grown off-beat comedies are ten-a-penny in England, whereas in Australia they come but once a millennium. But is this just reflective of the fact that Aussies are too busy interacting with the outside world, or cultivating their own communities of culture (independent films, music and festivals are teaming under the surface here - far more than in England) to bother with such a time-wasting medium? And the beaches, oh the beaches - the visual feast that the landscape provides in Australia is surely enough food for the soul: who needs cutting-edge editorial?
There's so much to love about each country, and so much that frustrates too, that we'd love to hear what you think. Does the Green and Pleasant Land take the trophy, or does the Sunburnt Country trump being rained off?
Oh, and you have to have been to both to comment or else it's just not cricket!
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