Monday, May 30, 2011
Aubree's Observations about Australia Part II
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!