Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aussie Observations

We've been in Cairns (pronounced CANS) for a week now, and start the long journey home tomorrow.  Very long, but that's another blog post entirely.

While we've been here, I've noticed some interesting things that Americans may not be aware of.  In no particular order, here they are.

1.  There are giant bats that fly around here, and they all live in the trees by the library.  They're knows as "Flying Foxes," because...they kind of are.  They're beautiful and eerie, and one of them pooped on our friend Eric the other day.

2.  There is a lot of instant coffee here.  Tons of it.  In the two times I've come here, I've not seen a coffee maker in a hotel, but I've seen lots of hot water pots for...instant coffee.  Also, people here will drink hot coffee or hot tea in the middle of a very hot day.  Walking along the Esplanade earlier, I saw many, many people enjoying a relaxing picnic with a hot mug of tea in their hands.  And it's 80ºF here.

3.  Bacon is different, more like country ham.  Not as crispy, but wider, and lots of it when you order it.

4.  There is no ketchup, but there is "tomato sauce," which is LIKE ketchup, but nothing like our tomato sauce.  It's more BBQ-y than ketchup.  But there is also BBQ sauce, so that's confusing.

5.  People refer to their significant others as their "partners," regardless of their sexual orientation.  In the US, I hear this a lot with gay and lesbian couples, but here, everyone uses it.  Pair this with the fact that few men wear wedding rings and it makes things confusing.

6.  Passengers ride in the front seat of taxis.  I took one last night, and as the guy who runs the taxi stand was loading people into cars, he always opened the front passenger door, rather than the back door.

7.  In addition to driving on the left side of the road, people WALK on the left side of the sidewalk.  This proves my theory that the people in NYC who don't keep right on the sidewalks are people who come from countries where they drive on the opposite side of the road.  In Australia, I am that annoying, walking tourist.

8.  There is virtually no free WiFi in Cairns.  It is pay-as-you-go, and slow if you're using a connection at a cafe or hotel, where you've got access to their password.

9.  There are no gummi bears, only jelly men.

10.  A surprising number of people walk around barefoot here.

11.  There is art everywhere.  Painted on the sidewalks, tiled onto buildings, mounted in's all over the place.  And Cairns is very kid-friendly, and wheelchair accessible, which is nice.  There's even a playground and a face painter at the local version of Home Depot, to keep kids occupied.

That's all for now.  I'll think of more to share...likely during our 14 hour layover in Sydney tomorrow.  Yes, you read that correctly.

But I won't be posting if I have to pay for WiFi.


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