I’ve made many observations and been asked many questions about my trip, so I thought I’d share my knowledge.
1. How was the flight? Long, but not too bad. It was a 5 hour flight from D.C. to L.A., and then a scheduled 15 hour flight from L.A. to Sydney (a tail-wind brought ours down to 14.) For some reason, it was only 12 and a half back to L.A., but whatever. Quantas flights are comfy, with decent food. There are movies and games on the console. On the way out, I say sleep if you can. Also, see if you can get a bulkhead seat.
2. Is it expensive? Yes, Australia is an expensive country. I’d say budget $50 a day at least for food and bottled water. (Though the American dollar is strong as of now to the Aussie dollar). Also, count on a levy or a surcharge for everything. Restaurants charge a surcharge if they're open on a holiday. Fuel surcharges, aviation surcharges, etc. etc. Well, the Australians do pay nearly half their salary in taxes.
3. Are the men hot? Yes, they are for the most part. However, Sydney has a very high gay population, and the ratio of straight men to straight women is in the men’s favor by quite a bit. Sigh.
4. Are the people nice? The nicest I’ve encountered. They feel very friendly towards Americans (saying we saved them in WW2), and they’re just friendly by nature.
5. How do you speak Australian? Shorten everything and add an “ie”, it’s a lazy language. Footie is football, cossie is costume (bathing suit), Aussie is Australian, etc. Don’t pronounce “l”s at the end of words (people, novel, etc.). If someone said something that you’d say “no way!” too, your response would be “Fair dinkum?” and if it was true the response back would be “Fair dinkum!”
6. What’s the weather like? Summer is December – February, and January is their “rainy” season, though they are in a 30-year drought. Supposedly, it never rains in the Outback, but it was cloudy and rainy the whole three days we were there. It was still hot in the Outback – 110 degrees F. (Take their Celsius forecast, multiply that by two and add 30). Sydney on New Year’s Day was 44 degrees Celsius, the hottest on record.
7. Is it dangerous? You do have to take precautions. Wear sunscreen – the ozone is thinner down under. Don’t swim where it tells you not to. When you’re swimming in marked areas, be aware. I was stung by a blue bottle jellie (jellyfish) and didn’t even see it. Spray vinegar on it right away and put ice on it. (I’m ok, btw.) Don’t swim in murky water or where there are a lot of bait fish. Every day I was there, there was a FATAL headline. FATAL JELLYFISH. FATAL SHARK ATTACK. FATAL PLUNGE (someone fell off a crane.) Just use common sense.
A. There are two buttons to flush a toilet, one for “light” flush and one for “full” flush.
B. Many places you order at the counter where you pay, and then find a table.
C. Meat pies are great
D. Barramundi is the fish to eat
E. Ketchup is called tomato sauce
F. Lemonade is the Aussie equivalent to Sprite in the U.S.
G. An Aussie buscuit is an Anzac cookie
H. Aboriginals don't like their picture taken. When one dies, they don't look at images or speak the name of the dead.
I. Aboriginals are a matriarchial society. Women rule!
J. When the first ship came from England, not one person aboard was a builder or farmer!
1. When the white man first asked the aborigine what the animal he saw was standing there hopping around, the aborigine said "kangaroo" - which meant "what did you say?" The aborigines called it a maloo, and there's a town just outside of Sydney called Wooloomaloo. :)