"Leave those flies alone!" © Getty Images

There are fewer flies in Sydney than there are in Melbourne. And in Melbourne there are more flies than I care to acquaint myself with. The subcontinent clearly isn’t fly-less. But Australian flies are what we in Urdu call dheet: they are stubborn and persistent and they know it, which makes it worse. On the many walks in that city, my companions were mostly flies, having a word in my ear, giving me a kiss, counting the number of eyelashes I have left.

Lesser men than I have had similarly famous troubles of course. Some Englishman called Douglas Jardine spent most of a trip to this country in 1932-33 swatting away flies in some little ground somewhere in the back of beyond. A watching spectator, an enlightened by the name of Yabba, politely told him to stop annoying the flies. “Leave those flies alone, they’re the only friends you have here.”

These kinds of friends I can do without. Sydney, more humid as it is, should have more, but this being such a big city perhaps, they are busy doing the other things that you do in a big city, like working 9 to 5 and, to quote a local, pilates and yoga and coffee and things.

Sydney is a far greater proposition than Melbourne. You can get lost here far quicker, amid the skyscrapers, the many side streets and old terraced houses. The pace of life is quicker for sure, and the city is home to many more cultures. It might be worth delving its dynamic with smaller, sedate Melbourne; such city rivalries, like Karachi-Lahore, are as fascinating as they are revealing about a nation and people.

Osman Samiuddin is the former Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo