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Australia Wrap Up

One thing that Useless Airways offers is SkyPower on their Airbus planes. Thus I get a chance to do some writing in my four hour trip to Charlotte.

Australia is in the rear-view mirror now. I certainly enjoyed my visit there, though with the exception of the weekend I worked every day there. The beauty of the country was more of a tease than anything else. I had time to take pictures of some things, but not much else. I’d have loved to do more “bushwalking” (hiking), for instance, but duty called. I wasn’t sent there to have fun.

Though I really missed them, I’m glad that Kelly and the kids didn’t join me as they would have not seen much of me. I would have gotten off of work to find out they went to some really cool thing and I didn’t. The only way to do this would be to take three or four weeks and really plan things out. I got more than one offer to let us stay at someone’s house or hotel the next time we’re visiting, so there should be no shortage of places to stay. I warned everyone that I just may take them up on those deals, too! I understand my mates the Hibbles may be going down in November. Perhaps we could join them.

The information given on our return flight was a little confusing. The entertainment center’s “flight path” channel had New York as the destination, and listed both the distance and “current destination time” as such. Yet, the “remaining flight time” was calculated to Los Angeles. Then the pilot announced that, because we crossed the International Date Line, it was now Thursday morning. In fact, for us it was once again Friday morning. He then went on to say our plane wouldn’t be continuing on to New York but would return to Sydney. This spurred The flight attendants to repeatedly correct him.

I had wondered if our delay leaving Sydney might push the pilots over the limit of their regulated work hours. Maybe it should have.

A few things I learned about Australia:

  • The beer is bad. I never thought I’d long for American beer but I actually did. Fortunately, their wine is much better.
  • Sydney is an Asian city. Asians there are everywhere.
  • I could count on one hand the number of Aborigines I saw during my entire trip.
  • 220-volt irons and coffee makers heat up faster than 110-volt ones.
  • Most electronic gear from the States works just fine on Australian power.
  • Aussies choose tea over coffee. Tea itself can describe lunch, dinner, or the drink itself.
  • Except for some coffee I had in Melbourne, I can see why they like tea better.
  • Aussies can shorten any word, no matter how short. Freemantle is “Freo.” Football is “footie.” Breakfast is “brekkie.” Television, “telly.” Barbecue is …well, you know.
  • Grilled tomatoes make for a tasty brekkie. On the other hand, Australian bacon could crawl off the plate.
  • Surveillance cameras seemed to be everwhere I looked. From one spot in a food court I spied sixteen different cameras, mostly used to prevent employee theft I assume. Speed cameras dot the highways as well.
  • A drive from Sydney to Melbourne will take you nine hours. Don’t expect much excitement.
  • Sydney and Melbourne have world-class public transportation. Both have numerous taxis, efficient trains, and light rail systems. Sydney also has a monorail. You can get just about anywhere without a car, and a walk is also very pleasant. In spite of this, Melbourne purchased a fleet of a thousand Toyota Camrys specifically to shuttle visitors around for the Commonwealth Games.
  • Tipping is optional. Unless the service is outstanding, the only tippers are clueless tourists.
  • VoIP is all the rage. With some hotels charging $8 AUD per minute for calls to the States, its easy to see why.
  • Flights to and from Australia didn’t seem as long as expected.
  • Australia is a big country that’s full of small companies. America has much bigger businesses than Australia does.
  • One of the nicknames for Sydney’s Harbour Bridge is “the Coathanger.”
  • Australian TV shows parts of American movies that would earn hefty fines if shown on American TV.
  • Aussies don’t like the cold. Anything below 50 degrees Farenheit is cold.
  • For such a big country, real estate can be surprisingly expensive.
  • Aussies are incredibly social and generous people.
  • It really does rain in Australia.
  • Australians think everything is big in America.
  • Australians think Americans are big because we use drive-through windows for everything.
  • Australian newspapers are printed on very wide paper. They aren’t easy to handle.
  • The first kangaroo you’re likely to see may be listed on a menu or covered with tire tracks.

I’m sure I’ll add more once I catch up. Now its time to get unpacked.