Monday, May 30, 2011

Aubree's Observations about Australia Part II

Other interesting tidbits, differences, things I've noticed about Australia lately:

1.  When an Australian soldier dies, it's a huge deal compared to in the United States.  I guess it's a numbers thing, because this was only their 24th soldier to die in Afghanistan, but when a "digger" got killed last week, every TV channel was talking about it, a head general guy gave a press conference explaining what happened and describing the guy's life, family, etc., and the Prime Minister even gave a speech.  It just seemed very different from back home where they would barely mention it in passing on the evening news.

2.  Trash cans and public restrooms are not nearly as plentiful here in Australia.  In the States, it feels like there are bathrooms and wastebaskets everywhere, but here, it's sometimes pretty difficult to find a "rubbish bin" or a "loo."  Street signs are also not always there; sometimes it takes awhile to figure out what street you're on!

3.  The racial makeup of this country is different from the United States, at least in the areas we've visited so far.  There are tons of Asians and not very many African Americans or Hispanics.  Basically everyone is Caucasian or Asian.  I saw a couple of Aboriginal people in the mall once, and I saw a school group get off a tram once, but that's it.  Also, there don't seem to be a whole lot of Americans.  I've only actually met a few.  However, we've only really explored the Melbourne area, so this may be an unrepresentative sample.

4.  Italian food is a lot more popular than I expected.  "Parma and a pot" is a normal meal offered on special at a restaurant; this means chicken parmesan and a small glass of beer.  Spaghetti bolognese is a favorite kid's and/or family meal.  Lygon Street, where we had dinner last night, is a lot like Little Italy in New York City with several authentic Italian restaurants.

5.  iTunes songs cost $1.29 here, versus $0.99 in the States.  I'm not complaining about prices; I'm just giving the facts!  They also don't have Hulu or Netflix, although there is some sort of Australian version of it.  Redbox-type movies are actually in a green box, and they cost $2.99 (versus $1) to rent per night.

6.  I can't find regular stick deodorant out here.  I know this seems stupid, but it's all sprays and gels.  Thankfully, my mom is sending us a box of some stuff soon, and she got me a two year's supply of Secret from Sam's Club.  Don't worry-I'm not out yet!  Oh yeah, and they call it a chemist instead of a pharmacy.

7.  Many toilets have two flush buttons-one for when you go #1 and one for when you go #2.  It's supposed to be a water-saving feature.

8.  Adidas is pronounced "AH-dee-das," aluminum is "al-you-MIN-ee-um," and you spell apologise, realise, centre, theatre, labour, etc. like that.  Australians shorten lots of words...breakfast is brekky, afternoon is arvo, and ambos are ambulance drivers.  Gas is called petrol, and trucks are called utes.  

9.  All students wear school uniforms, and they are fancy...sweater vests, jackets with crests on them, ties, skirts, etc.  They look very proper, and with their accents, the kids sound smarter too.

10.  We get several American TV shows over here.  Ellen is on at noon, and The View is on at 1pm.  They are a day later than in the U.S.  Zack is currently watching House as I finish up this blog entry, and we get Glee episodes a week or two later than the States.  They played the final three Oprah shows in the evenings last week, and Australians have their own versions of lots of our reality shows (Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser, Australia's Got Talent, etc.).    

That's all I can think of for now!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eating Down Under

We're still getting used to the differences in food-related things over here in Australia.  We are on a week-long, self-imposed hiatus from complaining about the higher prices, so I won't talk about that!  Most things are the same as in the United States.  You don't find as many Mexican restaurants, but there are lots of Asian ones, plenty of Italian ones, Greek places, pizza, etc.  But other things are pretty unique.  Lamb is huge here, and seafood is a lot more common than it was in Denver.

Also, you can buy kangaroo meat at the grocery store!  So yes, of course I got some and cooked it up for dinner the other day, because I had to try it.  It was pretty good; it kind of reminded me of venison.

Vegemite is the classic must-try in Australia.  I already knew that I didn't like the salty brown paste because of a previous Australian roommate, but Zack hadn't ever had it.  So I picked some up from the store, and he gave it a whirl.  I guess if you spread it really thinly on toast, it isn't that bad.

Some other interesting facts related to food... a filet is pronounced FILL-it, baking soda is called bicarbonate soda, candy is called lollies, carryout is called takeaway, and taking home your leftovers from a restaurant is not a normal thing.  Dim sims are popular, but we haven't tried them yet.  These are large, Chinese-inspired, fried dumplings that became a hit at the South Melbourne Market and now are the rage all over town.  Restaurants don't always automatically bring you water to drink.  When they do or when you ask for it, it is always room temperature-no ice.  And if you ask for lemonade, you get Sprite!  When you go to a fish and chips place, you have to pay for a little container of tomato sauce (ketchup).  They don't just have the little packets out for free.  Oh yeah, and chips are fries.

I'll leave you with the transcript of a funny interaction that took place with a girl at the counter where we stopped for lunch on our way down to surf this past weekend.  I wasn't that hungry, so I saw a few things listed as kid's meals, including one that said "chicken nuggets, chips, and postmix."

Me:  What is postmix?
Girl:  It's a syrup (said in a very heavy accent).
Me:  A what?
Girl:  A syrup-like at McDonald's (vaguely gesturing to something behind her).
Me:  (not wanting to look stupid by asking more questions) Oh, okay.

So I ordered the kid's meal, still not really knowing what I was going to get.  We were thinking maybe it was some type of dessert or something.  It turns out, postmix is soda!  Like a fountain drink.  So I got a Coke, which by the way is sweeter over here, because they make it with real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.  

Anyway, we're finding the little differences pretty interesting, so we thought you might too.  Soon I'll devote an entire post to the chocolate over here, because it's good enough to deserve its own day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just Another Friday Night

When Zack got home from work on Friday night, we decided to go for a little bike ride along the shore.  We didn't know the sunset would be so great, because it had been a pretty cloudy day, but it was spectacular!  It just got better and better.  So we sat on the beach across the street from our place and enjoyed the views until the sun went down. Then we went out for a nice dinner on nearby Fitzroy Street and got some gelato for dessert.  We ate our cones while walking through the park near our place and came across some strange animals scampering about in the dark.  We asked some locals, and apparently they are called common brushtail possums.  They look really different from the possums in the United States-they're actually kind of cute.  They also don't hiss at you or bite; I even fed one a chip from my hand.  I'll take my good camera out some night and get some pictures.  Anyway, this sunset was the start to a good weekend including some surfing at Anglesea Beach, road biking for Zack, Meetup group meetings, etc.  We hope you had a nice weekend too!  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Afternoon at the Aquarium

Since we don't have a car, I purchased a comfy light blue cruiser bike off Gumtree (the Australian equivalent of Craigslist) earlier this week.  Yesterday, I rode it to the Melbourne Aquarium, and I spent a nice afternoon there looking at sea creatures and taking pictures.  Side note-does anybody know an EASY way to get your pictures to show up in a higher quality on Blogger?  Everything I've found online makes it sound like a pain, but my pictures look like crud on here!  

It's a pretty good aquarium.  I found a coupon to get in for the child's price, so I'd say it was worth $19.  They had one especially huge room where both full walls were tanks, and they also had two of those "tunnels" where you walk under the fish while they swim over you. Those are always neat.  There were several other decent displays as well...penguins, a Great Barrier Reef section, a billabong, etc.

The coolest part was getting to see all sorts of strange fish and sea creatures that are native to Australia.  It's hard to believe that some of the wild-looking things I saw are basically right out my back door.  I'm a little afraid of seeing one of these guys (a shark) while surfing, but I can't wait to go snorkeling up North!  

Anyway, it was a nice afternoon at the aquarium.  I biked home, picking up a bottle of wine on the way back, and made baked potato soup and peanut butter cookies for dinner.  The hubby got home, and we ate and then watched Master Chef Australia (more about that in another post).  And that is your update for today!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prepare for Planking

You heard it here first folks.  "Planking" will become the next big thing in the United States.  It started over here in Australia, but it's sure to spread soon.  Wikipedia defines planking as "the action of lying face down with arms to the sides of the body in unusual public spaces and photographing it."  There are websites and Facebook pages dedicated to this craziness, and some people are getting pretty creative (and in trouble) with where they plank...on top of police cars, restaurant signs, etc.  The sad thing is that one guy from Brisbane died last week when he was planking on his seventh story balcony and fell off of it.  So if you're going to plank, be careful!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Footy Fun

If you're going to live in Melbourne, you have to learn about the game of footy.  This is also known as Australian Rules Football or "Aussie Rules," and it's a big deal around here.  Nearly every area/suburb of town has its own team, and they play other teams on the weekends (there's even Monday night footy) throughout the Fall leading up to the AFL (Australian Football League) championship.  The best place to watch a game is at the MCG, which is the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  This stadium holds nearly 100,000 people, and it's huge.  We went to a game there this afternoon with our friends Heath and Isabelle (Heath is the one who has helped Zack start road biking), and we cheered on our St. Kilda Saints.

I'm not going to go into all of the details of the game, but think of a combination of American football (without pads!) and rugby and soccer played on a circle/oval field with special rules.  You get six points for getting the ball through the tall center posts, and one for getting it through the outer ones.  It's a pretty rough and high-scoring game, and it's lots of fun to watch.  St. Kilda's colors are red, white, and black, and the Saints don't win very often.  They are kind of like the Chicago Cubs-people love them, but they don't always do so well.  Scarves with your team colors are the popular things to wear.  We'll need to update our wardrobe soon!

One of the highlights of the game for me was finally getting to try a meat pie.  Nachos are not the norm here...people order meat pies and sausage rolls and chips (fries) as game-time snacks!  Meat pies are especially popular at footy games.  I know it sounds disgusting, but it was actually really good.  It's kind of like a pot pie with gravy and meat inside.  And it was warm, which was nice, because the Autumn weather is a bit chilly.  Especially as we were walking into the stadium, it really felt like we were going into a Denver Broncos game with the fans all bundled up in their gear, the public transportation all full, and everyone headed to the same place on a Fall day.

I also liked the colorful phrases that Aussies would shout to express their feelings during the game, including, but not limited to:  "It's bloody hopeless!"-in reference to St. Kilda's chances of winning; "Go back to Sydney!"-toward a certain player I guess; "Lose the rubber guts!"-meaning don't be a chicken I suppose; "Rubbish!"-directed at the referees; and "You're alright boys!"-after a goal.  I had a good chuckle at some of these.

St. Kilda had a great first quarter, but they ended up losing to the Hawthorn Hawks 69-99.  As the game neared the finish, more and more seagulls gathered above the stands and even down near (and on) the field.  It was like they knew that once the game ended, they would have plenty of snacks leftover in the seats!  We were sad to see the Saints lose, but our first footy game at the MCG was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Driving Us Crazy

Thank goodness for signs like this-we Americans need them!  Driving is definitely the most difficult and scariest thing we've encountered in Australia so far.  Trying to find our way around an unknown country is hard enough (Zack and I used to get lost just in Denver!), but it's infinitely more freaky when you're trying to remember to stay on the left side of the road when every fiber of your being wants to pull over to the right.  Then you have to make a right turn-ack!  I've only dared to get in the driver's seat once-when all I had to do was go straight down the Great Ocean Road-no turns.  Thankfully, Zack is willing to "give it a go" and I play navigator (not a very good one though).

Needless to say, we've had a few tense moments and frighteningly close calls.  The worst was actually on foot.  We were walking around in the CBD last week and trying to catch a tram that was going to pull away soon.  Darting down the sidewalk, Zack stepped into the road, looked to the LEFT, and got honked at by a car coming from the right while I shrieked "ZAAAAAAAACK" in horror.  He stepped back onto the curb just in time for a car in the lane closest to the sidewalk to zoom by without so much as a pause.  My brother Justin and his wife Cindy have a bet as to how soon it will be before Zack ends up in the emergency room, as we've spent plenty of time there within our few years of marriage.  They think it will be two months.  He almost didn't make it to two weeks!  But all is well, and we've resorted to looking BOTH ways TWICE before crossing anything around here.  

Ford Territory
Toyota Kluger
Hyundai Getz
There seem to be some of the same cars in this country; they are just known by different names.  We see a lot of BMWs around too, but I have no idea how people afford those.  At this point, we don't plan on buying a car.  With the discount Zack can get through Avis, it seems to make more sense to rent a car on the weekends when we need it.  The public transportation options are plentiful and easy; they just don't go to the ocean for surfing!

These are a few of the fun signs we've seen so far.  One is out by the pier in St. Kilda-maybe the bridge gets slippery when it's wet?  The other was along the Great Ocean Road drive; I'm still waiting to see a real kangaroo in the wild!  Anyway, it's raining/hailing right now and cold outside, so I'm glad I'm not out there driving and instead am curled up in my housecoat catching up on e-mails and reading a good book.  This is the life!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We've had a request to show you our current living quarters, and since we try to please our readers, that's what this entry is about!  Right now we're in a small second floor studio apartment in St. Kilda, which is literally right across the street from the bay.  The location is awesome-we can walk to several tram stops, fun restaurants on nearby Fitzroy and Acland Streets, and the pier for fabulous sunsets over the water.

The place is furnished, so we have all of the basics...a bed, couch, a few dishes, the necessary cooking appliances and utensils, etc.  We have some shelves in the closet, but no dressers or storage areas, so we're sort of still living out of boxes for the things we use less often.  We use one of our packing boxes as a trash bin (or rubbish bin as they would say here) and another one as a laundry hamper.  We keep several empty ones out on the balcony so they're out of our way.  Is this exciting stuff, or what?  You can see some palm trees and a sliver of the bay from our balcony, so that's pretty nice.  

Once Zack knows where his work project is located (which will most likely be somewhere in Melbourne but might be in some other Australian city), then we will find a longer term rental and start gathering the basics for furnishing it.  They have places called op shops, which are like Goodwill stores, so we'll be able to get some cheap stuff to use for a few years.  But for now, this is our little (emphasis on the word little!) home.  It works for us!

Looking Toward Balcony
Kitchen, Dining Table, Keyboard
Bed, Bathroom, Edge of Kitchen

Keyboard, Couch, Zack's Bike

Closet, Bed, Lasagna for Dinner!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Acland Street Treats

Last week, while bringing Zack's mountain bike into the shop for a tuning, I discovered Acland Street.  It's a fun street within walking distance of our place full of various restaurants, boutiques, and best of all, cake shops!  I had read/heard about the delicious cakes and pastries available here, and they weren't kidding!

This picture doesn't quite capture the yumminess, but imagine several shops like this one right after the other with windows full of delectable desserts.  Heaven on earth!

So I of course had to get myself a treat, especially since I hadn't eaten lunch and it was mid-afternoon!  I had a hard time deciding which one would be best (they all looked so good!), but I finally picked a piece of chocolate nougat cake.  It was awesome, and I ate it with my hands and made a lovely chocolate mess of myself on my walk back to our apartment. Totally worth the $5 it cost.  I'll have to head back there soon to try another treat!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Choppy Waves

We headed down to Ocean Grove Beach today with a couple of other surfers, Sebastian (from the Netherlands) and Eric (from California). I decided to brave the left side of the road again and rented a Holden Commodore station wagon. It was bright blue, big, and fast. Holden Commodore is like the Chevy of Australia. We piled in the car around 10am and arrived at the Ocean Grove Town Center at 11:30am without incident.

Once at Ocean Grove Town Center, we rented our boards and bought Aubree a wetsuit. We weren't expecting to have to buy one today, but there weren't any 'for hire' and Aubree was going to need one eventually. We were a bit rushed as the guys were waiting, but we ended up getting a good deal on a nice suit. I decided to put off buying a board for another day.

We got to the beach around 12pm and the guys we were with said the surf was really really bad due to choppy waves - the worst conditions they've seen in Australia. It looked fine to me! There were lots of really big waves rolling in again and again due to the strong onshore winds. We paddled out, and I soon discovered that choppy waves are bad. What you want is the long breaking waves and the steady sets. So the other guys quit about five minutes into it as Eric broke his board against his back and Sebastian didn't want to chance breaking his. But being the adventurers we are, Aubree and I kept on surfing. We took a good beating from the constant assault of wave after wave for two hours but managed to catch a few good rides and had lots of fun.

Oh yeah, and this place is known for sharks! I looked up reviews of Ocean Grove and one said: "It's crazy... surfing here is like a death wish." The guys we were with confirmed sharks congregate there, especially in summer (due to the fishermen). Sebastian actually saw two sharks there last weekend. When the sharks were spotted, all the surfers were supposed to get out but instead they huddled together in the water, thinking they stood a better chance together. Not to worry folks, we didn't see any sharks this weekend. But if we did, our comrades said we'd be okay because you can spot their fins fifty meters off :)

After the surfing, we stopped in for fish and chips, and discussed starting a fish and chips blog where we review fish and chips places in Australia. Don't think that idea will take hold, as all the fish and chip places seem to taste the same, but it is delicious nonetheless. We made it home and watched the kite surfers for a bit until the sun went away. Tomorrow I start my first day on the bench at work. I suspect I will get staffed this week and am very excited to start working again, as it's been a while. I'm also anxiously awaiting the location of the project, as there is a chance we could move to where the project is for a temporary period of time.

Brighton Beach Houses

Yesterday afternoon we Rollerbladed/biked down to Brighton Beach.  It's famous for the Beach Houses.  Apparently these things cost around $250,000, and you don't even officially own them (the city does).  I guess it's a status symbol.  As you can see, they are painted in lots of fun colors.  I didn't realize there were so many of them...about 75.  I guess people use them for changing clothes and such during the summer.  Last night, a few groups were having picnics or getting photographs taken in front of them.  They are pretty!

It's getting rather chilly around here-only up near 60 degrees (I haven't learned Celsius yet!) during the day.  It's very strange seeing palm trees combined with cold weather and Autumn leaves on the ground.  We even had to turn on the heat in our apartment because the nights were getting too cold.  I hear Denver is in the 80s-I'm kind of jealous!  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Surfing Safari

One of the things that Zack's been most excited about with moving to Australia is the surfing.  So on Tuesday we rented a car and drove down to Torquay Beach (1 1/2 hours away) for some surfing lessons.  St. Kilda is on the bay, so to get to the actual ocean with decent waves, you have to drive a bit.  The water isn't super warm, so you do have to wear a wetsuit in this part of the country.

Our instructor looked like Sean Penn, and we pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves.  Unlike when we took a lesson in San Juan and the girl held our board and pretty much did everything for us besides stand up and ride the waves, this guy taught us all the steps so we can now go out and practice ourselves on the weekend.  All of the paddling and getting pounded by the waves was quite exhausting (we're pretty sore), but we had fun and are anxious to try it again this coming weekend.

After our two hour lesson, we continued our drive down the famous Great Ocean Road.  We didn't go super far (we wanted to save some for another day), but it was unbelievably gorgeous.  There were cliffs and rocks and sandy beaches and a lighthouse and amazing views up and down the shore.  We stopped at various points to get out and take pictures.  One place was Bells Beach, which is famous for international surfing competitions.  It was pretty fun to drive fast on the windy road along the ocean in our speedy rental car.  I even dared to drive for a little while-it's SO strange to be on the left side of the road.  The Great Ocean Road is one place we'll take visitors for sure!


Melbourne Zoo and Celebrity #2

On Monday, Zack and I headed out to the Melbourne Zoo.  We're getting pretty good at the whole public transportation thing (driving ourselves is a different story!) so we rode a tram and then a train to get there. It was a beautiful day, and it's a lovely zoo.  The animals they have aren't extremely different from other zoos, but it has a gorgeous layout with palm trees, bamboo, and tons of greenery.  We enjoyed a seal show, walking through their "Australian bush" area with native animals, and hearing the lions roar.  There are a lot more zoo pictures on my Shutterfly site (I've put the link on the side of the blog).

The highlight came when we were watching the tigers.  We were standing there and heard growling.  One of the tigers was really mad, and he started leaping on another one.  So as we're watching the tigers fight, one guy next to us starts saying, "It's Justin Bieber."  I thought he was just joking about how some kid next to us looked like him or something, but he kept saying it.  So I looked over and it really WAS Justin Bieber!  He had an entourage of about ten people around him, including two really big security guard guys who wouldn't let me take pictures.  Trust me-I tried.  But one came over and said something like, "We're just trying to have a nice day at the zoo.  Trying to keep it low-key."  I wasn't screaming or making a scene-I just wanted a little picture to put on my blog for all you lovely readers!  So we could only stand there and act like we were still watching the tigers while sneaking glances at the Biebs.  He's pretty short, and I heard his squeaky voice (I forget what he said-something about the tigers).  Anyway, how crazy is that?  First Katy Perry, now Justin Bieber.  It's so strange that we come to the other side of the world and see two American stars in one weekend!

Totally switching subjects, we've quickly learned to not say certain things because people will have no clue what we're talking about.  Some interesting translations of commonly used words/phrases we hear daily:

How you going?=How are you?
No worries=No problem
Good on you=Good for you/Congrats
Tomato sauce=Ketchup

I'm sure I've forgotten some, but those are the ones that stand out right now.  Sorry for the lag between posts-we've been too busy having fun-more to come soon!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aubree's Observations about Australia

Here are some random things I've noticed/thought were interesting about Australia so far:

-You read books about Aussie sayings, but you don't really believe people say them.  They do.  Seriously.  Sometimes it seems like another language.  Zack has even already been called a "wanker" by a psycho bicyclist.
-The price you see on things is really the price.  There are no extra taxes, you don't really have to tip, etc.
-It's expensive.  It doesn't seem uncommon to pay near $20 for one meal at a normal restaurant (one that would cost $10 back home).  A six pack of Budweiser is $18.  Wine is the only thing that seems cheap-Yellow Tail is $10 a bottle.
-The water really does go the other way down the drain.
-The Aussies have their own version of the Academy Awards-it's actually on tonight.  It's called the Logie Awards.  Red carpet, fancy outfits, the whole works.
-Produce is different.  Avocados ($3 each) and raspberries ($8 a box) are huge in size.  Bananas and apples are small.  I'm not sure why.  Also, cheddar cheese is white here-not orange.
-There definitely aren't as many choices at the grocery store.  Cereal takes up about 1/3 of one aisle.  
-Burger King is called Hungry Jack's.  I've seen a McDonald's, a Target, and a Starbucks.  Apparently Starbucks hasn't really taken off here because Australians don't like bitter American coffee.  There are a lot of other little coffee shops.
-Australian people are super nice.  Zack's already talked about some of the help we've received, but just today as I was walking home from the grocery store with several bags, an Aussie walking by on the sidewalk noticed me struggling and helped me carry some bags several blocks back to our apartment!
-Public restrooms and trash cans are not nearly as readily available as they are in the States.
-Road biking is huge, especially in St. Kilda.  
-They have similar TV shows.  In the morning they have The Today Show.  But the people on their The Biggest Loser don't seem nearly as fat as ours.
-We're still trying to figure out if you are supposed to walk on the left side of the sidewalk since that's how you drive.  
-I've only seen the sunset on one night so far, but the sun looked really huge and orange.

That's all I can think of right now...time for bed!

Zack is an Entertaining American

Well, it's finally my turn to take a crack at this blogging thing.  You can still go to to see more pictures that won't fit on here, but this is the best place to hear what we're up to and what's going on Down Under!

Anyway, I thought I would entertain you with several of the amusing things one of our favorite Americans, Zachary Keys, has done since we got here.  Keep in mind-we've only been here two and a half days-there's bound to be more fun to come!

1.  Immediately after over thirty hours in airports and on planes, Zack drove a huge white cargo van in a country he had never visited to a place for which we had only vague Mapquest directions.  And this was driving on the left side of the road folks.  Just imagine him muttering "left side, left side" under his breath for about an hour (which would have only been thirty minutes if we hadn't gotten lost).  Just picture the hilarity.

2.  Trying to be cool, Zack thought he'd order a local Australian beer at a little pub after dinner the other night.  The bartender seemed confused when he ordered a "Virginia Bitter."  Hmmm...maybe because it's a VICTORIA Bitter dear.  You know, like the name of the state in Australia in which we now live.  Not like the state in United States!  Hilarious.  Then he pestered the poor girl about how many ounces the beer was.  Like she knows!  She has as much clue about that as I do about how warm it is when they say it's 20 degrees Celsius outside.

3.  There's nothing quite like walking down the middle of Chinatown in downtown Melbourne and have your husband ask a nice Chinese lady standing outside her restaurant if they have sushi.  Um, no hon, sushi is Japanese.  We happen to be in CHINAtown.  :)

4.  This morning Zack woke up (at 4am I might add-he was a bit excited) to go on a morning bike ride with a friend we met.  As this was going to be a road bike ride, and not his usual mountain biking experience, he was hoping to look the part.  So he decided to wear his biking shorts without the top layer...meaning he was wearing just the spandex.  Now, I have to admit he is quite skinny at the moment and looks darn good in them, but he wondered why there was so much padding in the front and not so much in the back where it was needed.  Upon closer examination, he discovered they were on backwards.  He has been wearing them this way for years.  Ouch. 

5.  Tonight we were cleaning up around our apartment.  Zack decided to hook up his Xbox, and right before he plugged it in, he commented, "I might blow this up."  Sure enough, about thirty seconds later, I hear a huge pop and the TV goes black.  He didn't use a transformer (in his defense, the people at Best Buy said it would be okay because of the big power cord), so he blew the entire fuse and ruined the whole cord.  I guess there won't be Call of Duty anytime soon...other than the call of duty to go buy a new one.

Well folks, that's all I've got for now.  I'm sure Zack could write a similar post about my stupidity in this country...especially when it comes to the metric system, directing us in the opposite way we should be going, not even daring to drive, etc.  I'll try to be better about blogging now that we have some semi-decent internet access!    

CBD and Katy Perry

Yesterday, we went downtown to the Central Business District (CBD) to get a new iPhone, a wireless internet device, and a bank account. Not as easy as it sounds, but 8 hours later we completed the tasks. We also managed to meet Katy Perry along the way. She was promoting her new perfume line in Melbourne, and her fans were out to meet her. I of course was in the front lines. We got a pic of Katy and Aubree together, which I will email to you for $50, because Aubree doesn't like it as we were pretty exhausted and unkempt.

The CBD is amazing. It's like New York. Tourists everywhere.Tons of shops and restaurants. Hard to walk through the sea of people on the streets. It even has a Chinatown, which is a long street with expensive food - and it doesn't serve sushi as that is apparently Japanese, not Chinese.

Australians really do say things like "G'day mate" and "No worries" - all the time. They like American music and culture as a general rule (not too many fans of Fast and Furious 5 here).

We are really liking Melbourne, and I'm having too much fun to have to go to work next week.