Friday, April 20, 2012

Aubree's Observations About Australia Part V

Not much going on around here lately, so I thought I'd do one of these posts since they seem to be popular and it's been a few months since my last one. So without further ado, here are some differences I've noticed recently between America and Australia.

1. Reckless, speedy drivers are called "hoons." Police are always trying to crack down on "hooning."

2. When people ask where I am from, I answer "America" or "the States" or "the US." Nobody says the full "United States." In the US, saying you were "American" was sort of un-politically correct, because you were leaving out other North Americans (like Canadians) or you've got the whole Central and South America thing to consider. Not the case here. America=United States.

3. Australians shorten lots of words to end in the letter "o." Document=doco, reservation=reso, chocolate=choco, etc. And a chicken is a "chook." I don't know why.

4. Shootings are rare, because guns are just not that common here. If there is a shooting anywhere in the country, you'll hear about it on the news. For example, four motorcycle gang-related shootings in Sydney were all over the news here yesterday. This would be like living in Denver and hearing about some random shootings in Dallas.

5. Zack says that some men's restrooms have "troughs" instead of urinals. I obviously can't elaborate on this due to lack of experience, but you can use your imagination.

6. We haven't really seen any buffet restaurants. Those must only exist for us fat Americans!

7. Gas nozzles do not have the automatic lever that clicks off when your tank is full. Instead, you have to stand there and hold it the whole time. You also rarely find gas (petrol) stations with the option to pay with a card outside; you always have to go inside. Americans are so lazy (and lucky!).

8. The letter "h" is pronounced "haych" instead of "aych." This one bothers me. As does saying "zed" instead of "z."

9. The Prime Minister can change at almost any time. Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister when she contested Kevin Rudd's position a few years ago. A few months ago, he tried to take it back, but Gillard won. They are both part of the Labor Party, and the members of this majority party in Parliament basically get to decide who they want to be in charge. Rudd thought he'd have more members backing him.

10. The drinking age is 18. Maybe I'm oblivious, but you just don't seem to hear about many crazy teenage drunken parties or drunk driving accidents (called drink driving here). When the police set up a major breathalyzer checkpoint along a road, it is called a "booze bus." The legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.05%, whereas I think it's usually 0.08% or 0.10% in most US states. No, I do not know any of this from personal experience!

11. When you ask Americans about a dream place they'd like to visit, you get all sorts of responses: Paris, Greece, Africa, China, Rome, etc. When you ask an Australian, at the top of nearly everyone's list is the United States. And if/when they go there, they usually list California, Las Vegas, and New York City as their top priorities.

12. Bali=Mexico for Australians. It's fairly cheap to get there and stay there, it's a little bit sketchy in some areas, and the beaches are nice. All the schoolies (spring breakers) go there on holiday (vacation).

13. Australia is not a religious country at all. Yes, there are churches, and some private schools are affiliated with various denominations, but on the whole, religion is not a part of the culture and society like it is in the US.

14. When you support a team, you say that you "go for" or "barrack for" them. You don't say that you "root" for them, because root has an entirely different meaning here! And you wouldn't say "Go Irish" here. Instead, it'd be "Go the Irish!"

15. A fanny pack is called a "bum bag." I guess "fanny" has a different meaning here too!

16. A popular tattoo that you see on lots of guys' upper backs is the Southern Cross constellation, which is found on the Australian flag. Some say that only bogans get this tattoo.

17. Australians view America as kind of a crazy place. For example, we get snippets of news stories from the States such as the invention of "dog TV." I guess these are television shows for dogs which include colors that dogs see best and no noises that will startle them? Anyway, the news reporters ended the story with saying that this takes place in "Where else? America." That kind of sums up how they view our country (perhaps with good reason!).

18. A lot of places have a $10 minimum in order to use a card to pay. It can be rather annoying if you're not carrying cash and you need something small.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I'm sure it'll be another few months before I store up enough of these to do Part VI. Upcoming posts will probably be about Anzac Day, knitting, and being here for one year. Have a good weekend!


  1. #7 - Oh my word. Such a little thing to have to stand there and pump gas but I'll admit I get annoyed. As you say, lazy and lucky...and spoiled :)

  2. 1. Love that word!
    3. Odd
    4. That's a good thing.
    6. So true.
    7. Bothersome
    8. That would annoy me too.
    12. Future vacation?
    13. Heathens!
    16. Souvenir for Zack?
    17. Agreed
    18. Becoming common here too.

  3. I remember when you used to go inside to pay for gas. I would always get a little mad if I let the pump go over an even dollar amount because then I would have to search around the car for 3 cents.

    We are very spoiled with pay at the pump these days.

    1. Yes, I always played a game of trying to hit it on the dollar exactly! Actually I still do try to make it end on a nice even number.

    2. I think we all still do that - EXCEPT your brother. At Eric and Andrea's wedding last summer we were discussing this and Justin looked at us all like we were crazy for trying to hit the dollar. He doesn't know what he's missing.

  4. Hey Aubree, I'm an Aussie who reads your blog - it's fun to hear about your home from a different perspective!

    Just wanted to add: only bogans say 'haych' :)