My view of Australia

Trip Start Jul 30, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

First off, Hello to the 2,700+ people that checked the blog last month. (Wow!)

I keep saying to myself how life here in Brisbane is very similar to life back home in the USofA. I don't know if it is due to the similarity of our histories (populated mostly by the same people with the same beliefs and backgrounds- the English, both countries are about the same age -just over 200 years old.) It is about the farthest distance you can get from home, but so far on this trip, this has been the place that feels most like home. The scenery, the people, everything from McDonalds and KFC.
But at times it is a bit like being in the 'Twilight Zone'. So similar, yet so foreign. Many things are in fact opposite. From driving on the opposite side of the street, to sitting here in February... in the middle of the summer! Even the stars are opposite -southern hemisphere. Last night we could see the constellation known as the Southern Cross. The longest day of the year in Aus is Dec 21 (which is the shortest day in the U.S.) Here you go to Woolworths to buy groceries/at home it is only a dime store. They even have this place that looks, smells and tastes like Burger King, even the logo is the same, except the words inside the bun spell out Hungry Jacks.

The cars look similar to in the U.S, but here the most popular brand seems to be Holden ( ). I have never heard of this car, but I am told it is actually made by GM (?). I have seen many Fords... but here the popular ones are the Falcon and the Fairlane (Don't think they make these in the US any longer) click on showroom. And check out the 'UTE's or utility vehicles, we see them everywhere here.
The language is the same for the most part. We have been here long enough that I don't even notice the accent as much. But sometimes a word or phrase comes out of left field. ie. I had received instructions and the person finished by saying "and Bobs your uncle!" I had no idea and had to ask what they were talking about. Apparently this means "you are good to go!" There are many translations and I started to make a list but have found a pretty comprehensive 'dictionary' on-line...
A couple of confusing ones... in Australian the word entree means appetizer instead of main coarse. Another confusing one is lemonade. Here that means lemon/lime soda (Sprite/7up). The drink made from the juice of lemons is 'lemon squash'. Also, instead of powdered drinks they have cordial (pronounce every letter, do not say 'corjal') This is a SUPER concentrated fruit juice where you pour a few teaspoons into a glass of water. Lyn did not know this and poured herself a glass raspberry cordial. She took a swig and her body started going into convulsions! Her face puckered up so tight she could only cursed a few times like she had turrets syndrome and finally stuttered "What the heck is that stuff!!" (it was pretty funny for the rest of us).

As you already know, the animals here are different. They have Kangaroo/we have deer. They have Koala/we have (?) squirrels. They have Crocs/we have Alligators. The birds are beautiful. The Lorikeets have the best color and are everywhere. BUT, when the sun comes up (about 4:30-5:00 am) all the birds go crazy!! The first few mornings I woke up having nightmares that I was stuck on Jurassic Park! The cry of the Kookaburra seems to be the sound from the movies when people are lost in the jungle! I don't know how else to describe it.

The Possum here are little pet-like creatures.

Back home they are hideous, nasty animals.

Overall, I will have to say the people of Australia are defiantly one of the countries assets. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. It seems we can walk up to any stranger and ask just about any question and they will go out of their way to answer and help out. Everyones hospitality has by far exceeded our expectations.


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