An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
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A Beginner’s Guide to Oz: Part I


Australia… you can’t even say the name without saying “Ahhh”. White sandy beaches, the crisp smell of Eucalyptus, sunshine and a coral reef that stretches over 2000 kilometers… it’s an enchanting land, unlike anywhere else. Which is probably why it tops so many people’s places to visit list. So for those of you who haven’t yet been able to fulfill that dream, I have compiled the following list of 10 random facts you might find useful for your future trip:
(*Note: Due to the witty nature (aka-long windedness) of the following post I have decided to split this entry into two parts: Part I and Part II.)

1.    Plastic money. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant! I would kiss the man that figured this no-brainer out. If there is anything you don’t ever want to decompose, it’s your currency. Furthermore, it doesn’t rip (honestly, I’ve really tried). Finally, and most practically, when your country is an island filled with beach and surf, why not have a currency that doesn’t get soggy when you swim. Bravo, Australia.
2.    Meat pies. I’m still trying to figure why this hasn’t made it across the pond yet. Finally, someone figured out a legit way to eat pie for dinner: take the fruit out and stuff that delicious pastry with steak, chicken, peas, potato, or anything else you can dream of. Again…Bravo!
3.    Australianese. In passing, it can be mistaken for English, and while the language of Oz does share similar phrases, Australia has definitely developed it’s own tongue. At least 73% of sentences end with the phonetic emphasis of a question, where the tailing syllable raises significantly causing an English speaker to pause, review, and wonder just what the Aussie is asking. If that weren’t confusing enough they also have their own special code-talk where in every long word must be shortened, then once shortened extended with something like an “o” or “y”. There will be more lessons to follow on this subject.
4.    Travel pox. Here’s something you should be ready for: Within days of arriving on the island, you will most definitely notice a difference in your complexion. Flashbacks of puberty may rush your mind before realizing it’s not just your face… it’s everywhere. Don’t worry, it’s not an outbreak, it’s a bug—or lot’s of them. Mosquito, gnat, no-see-em, sand fly- it could be anything really and half the time you don’t notice it until you look in the mirror or something brushes against your calf and makes you want to scratch your leg off.
5.    Cockatoodle-doo. The rooster has long been labeled the animal kingdom’s alarm clock, faithfully declaring the approaching day at obnoxiously early hours. Well Australia’s got it’s own cock, who though a bit more rare, is every bit as annoying when screeching the sun up: the magnificent cockatoo. However, I will admit, once you have grumbled out of bed, to see just what might dying outside your window in the morning, it’s hard to not to appreciate such a beautiful bird as the white or black cockatoo. Also cool and obnoxious are the parrots that squawk by the hundreds as the sun sets.

…to be continued.


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