Australian Oddities, Part II: Everyday Life

I’ll admit, I have kind of slacked off in the blog posting, sorry about that.  There hasn’t been that much to post lately as the novelty of Adelaide has worn off and we’ve settled into life here.  Oscar, Matt, and I did, however, go to Melbourne this past weekend – where I took a lot of pictures so again, weeding through all those for the good ones to post has taken a while.  That post is coming soon, I promise, but in the meantime, here’s another update for the Australian Oddities!  This time with pictures!

One glance at this city and it kind of looks like any other city in the US, maybe somewhere in California or Florida because of the palm trees and the weather (which is now turning kind of chilly, believe it or not).  That’s until you actually start walking around and living.  Turns out, Australians have some weird stuff over here…

Hungry Jacks – it’s a fastfood place, but on further inspection of the menu, one discovers it is as if Burger King went on the Witness Protection Program in Australia.  Australia has as many of the American fastfood chains, including KFC (which they don’t know stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken…an Australian who knew I was American asked me if we had KFC in America), however you will not find a Burger King.  That is because Burger King is called Hungry Jacks.  It has the same logo, different colors, and serves all the same food.  What tipped us off to Burger King’s disguise was the Whopper on the menu.

Metric System, Celsius – Maybe not an Australian oddity since the rest of the world uses it, but it definitely is taking a while to get used to it, especially ordering meat at the market in grams.  Thank God there’s a conversion calculator on my phone.

Look right, then left – shhh, don’t tell them but the Australians drive on the wrong side of the road.  I once heard that the hospitals in Sydney saw an increase in emergencies during the Summer Olympics of 2000 because all the American tourists were looking left before crossing the street.  While that could be an urban legend, I can totally see how that’s possible because I have almost been run over multiple times doing the same thing.  The thing is, not just the cars are on the left side – you keep left when walking down the sidewalk and going up and down stairs, which means escalators are all catywonker – the down is where the up should be and the up is the down.  Trust me, it’s confusing.  It goes against everything I’ve been taught since preschool!

No pennies – they round everything here, eliminating the need for pennies.  Awesome.  Plus their money is so colorful!  Although instead of 1 and 2 dollar bills, they have 1 and 2 dollar gold coins (as opposed to the silver cent coins), and the 2 dollar coin is the smallest – bizarre, I know.  However, everything is outrageously expensive – which makes sense when their minimum wage is around $13 an hour and their dollar is worth the same as the US dollar.  New life plan: work for an Australian company making Australian wages and live in the US.

Update on language – I’ll probably have one of these every time I do an Australian Oddities page because I just keep finding weird things they say!  Number one right now would have to be how they pronounce oregano.  Here’s an attempt at a “phonetic” spelling: ore-eh-GAN-o.  So like the first syllables of origami but instead of -ami, say -ano: ore-eh-GAN-o.  A fun little side anecdote on the topic of bizarre pronunciations: we saw some stand-up while in Melbourne and one of the comedians was making a joke about how one of their politicians pronounced debris of TV.  The politician had said deh-BRIE, you know, like how we pronounce it in America, and the whole place started laughing.  The comedian makes a face about the pronunciation and says, “um, I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced DEB-ris” and again the whole crowd, except us three, was in hysterics, leaving us three still waiting for the punch line.  Kinda had to be there – but moral of the story is over here, debris is pronounced DEB-ris.


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