<em>Illustration: Caroline Adaszynski</em>

Illustration: Caroline Adaszynski

Sydney, we love you, but if you keep on pushing your prices up, I'm afraid it will all be over.

Some recent examples: One portion of fish and chips at Circular Quay - $42. Same place, one medium-sized bottle of fizzy water - $10.50.

Carmen on the harbour is amazing, but four beef pasties and four soft drinks coming in at almost $100? You have to be joking! One beef pastie (you can call it an empanada, but it's still a pastie) - $18. And half a day's parking in George Street - $75 - you've gone stark raving mad.

Wait until I start about the monopoly airport car park. Oh, OK, I won't. We all know about that little outrage. It's just that the rest of the city seems to be following suit.

I've been looking after some overseas visitors. They've been to Sydney before. They are regulars to London and Paris and Rome. But they've never, never come across prices like they have experienced this week in Sydney.

Sydney, when you start making Paris look cheap, you have a problem.

And it's not just the strong Aussie dollar. I earn Australian dollars and I'm utterly gobsmacked by how expensive this city has become. There's no such thing as a $10 cab ride any more - $10 in the CBD would get you as far as the next set of lights.

I don't really care whether it's ''the high cost of doing business'' in Australia. No matter how you dress it up, $42 for a portion of fish and chips is just ridiculous. Oh, they were very nice fish and chips, but so they should be. And yes, there was a menu on display at the door, but when you're entertaining visitors it's not always something you check out first. And once you're seated, it would spoil the day to walk out.

It was the same with the water - it was very nice fizzy water. But more than $10? For water? What sort of mark-up is that? Foolishly we had three, and only saw the price when the bill came.

Even locals want to hang out at Circular Quay, go to events, enjoy the iconic parts of our city. But with prices like those, we'll be staying in our home suburbs from now on.

Alison Black