Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The United States vs. Australia

Some more differences that I've noticed while working hard at my new job of "Professional Tourist".

1. All the outlets here have an on/off switch that you have to push before anything that is plugged in will work. Phil says it has to do with the I don't know, 200 and something volts waiting to be used. Something about an electric shock that you wouldn't wake up from...

2. When waiting to cross the city streets, you hear a clicking sound that as soon as the WALK symbol appears turns into...the best way to desribe it is the sound of an old Atari game space ship sound that beeps very quickly. You don't even have to look for the walk/do not walk symbols...just listen for the space ship sound.

3. When meeting people they ask you, "How are you going?" They don't really mean how you are going, such as by car or bus. They mean, "How are you doing?" Luckily, no embarrassing moments to report there. Although did hear a funny story when the Chinese husband of one of the tax people that Phil works with mentioned that when he first came here he always responded "by bus" until he learned what they were actually asking him.

4. When you see "capsicum" on a menu, that means red or green bell peppers. Where in the world did they find the word, capsicum?

5. Restaurants do not put ice in drinks here. For those who know me...this is a grave matter. I like my glasses practically filled to the top with ice. I've had to learn to suffer through luke warm glasses of water. (I cannot drink my Diet Coke with no ice. It's just not the same. Sigh.)

6. Only in Australia will you find people walking down the city sidewalk with a surfboard under their arm.

7. Not only do people drive on the left side of the road, they also walk on the left side of the sidewalk and stair cases. I never noticed before that we tend to walk on the right until now, when I constantly find myself suddenly veering to the left in order to avoid a head-on collision.

8. Only in Australia will you find people on a bicycle peddaling furiously in full cycling gear right next to a busy highway.

9. At a restaurant, they don't have "to go". It's called "take away".

10. I would say after much time of people watching...after all, a professional tourist has plenty of time to do that...that when you see a young family walking past, 8 out of 10 times you will see the man with the diaper bag (or nappie bag) slung on his shoulder pushing the stroller (or pram as they're called here). I'm not sure why that struck me, but I guess back home I usually see it the other way around.

Finally, a most Happy Birthday goes out to Mom! It's the 13th here but the 12th there. Happy Birthday! Wish we were there, but see you in March! Love you.


Beavis said...

Hey Sis! I just love readin about your days! What an incredible experience you are having!! Wish I was there! Can't wait to visit!...note to self...stay to the left and give Eric the stroller?! No problem! Sounds like you are meeting amazing people! Good for you for trying Vietnamese! The boys are good! Miss you and love you!!

Diana said...

Hi Sandra! I just got caught up on all your Australian adventures! It looks like you are seeing lots of great stuff...I'm jealous! Hello from all of the DAGS...We miss you here at Bethanna! Of course it is not the same without you :( Glad you are linked in to Mary and Jason's site and got to see baby Elijah. He's a little sweetie. Kelly and I got to see him and hold him on Friday night! Ok, lunch is over...back to the grind of trac sheets..I know how you must miss all this..haha! Talk to you soon!

Mark M said...

Hey guys! Sandra, you're stories are quite humorous! The ice thing reminds me of my trip to Paraguay because Latin Americans don't believe in ice either. Luckily the coke usually came out of the frig nice and cold, but sometimes it would be just lukewarm. Of course I didn't want the ice that some places had because that used tap water which we stayed away from for health reasons. Fun stuff!

Bob & Claire said...

Very interesting! I would also hate not having ice in my drinks. They wouldn't even be able to give you any if you asked specifically for it? Weird! Aside from that, all the left-side stuff sounds great to this lefty! : )

"Capsicum" sure sounds Latin, but I didn't see it in my Latin dictionary--it's definitely not "pepper".