While I’ve only been to three states (Victoria, NSW and Queensland), I’ve noticed some interesting quirks to Australia:
McDonald’s is a Classy Joint
The McCafe thing is big here, and I walked by several Macca’s, as they’re called (wonder if McCartney is cool with that) which looked like upscale bakeries until I saw the golden arches hidden in the corner. Who knew.
Chips vs. Fries
Used interchangeably, I have no idea what the difference is between these. I tried ordering both (not simultaneously) and ended up with the same thing. Also ketchup is called tomato sauce – but where does that leave the other tomato sauce? I should have looked into this. Pasta sauce?
I kept seeing this on menus, and thought “well that’s strange, why aren’t you saying that the sandwich itself is tasty?” Then I saw it in a grocery store and realized it’s a type of cheese. Apparently cheddar. Why it’s not called cheddar remains a mystery to me.
I don’t know if it’s because of the whole no-tipping standard, but service at restaurants is horrendous. I have never experienced such rudeness towards a customer in my life. Even when I tipped (before being told not to), I saw eyes rolling when I asked for clarification regarding whether a capsicum was indeed a red pepper, was ignored while waiting to order and have sat longer waiting for a bill than for eating the actual meal.
Absolute Crap US Shows on TV
When I had my own room it included a TV, and it was interesting to see that, like at home in Canada, US shows are predominantly what’s on. Mike and Molly, Two and a Half Men (although perhaps not anymore – who’s winning now Sheen!, and a million knock-offs of US reality shows were always on. While I think Australia does a better job nurturing it’s own star system, there’s still a huge reliance on Hollywood.
I had it quite consistently in New Zealand but that was because I was seeking it out. Here, pumpkin is the grand poobah of vegetables. I don’t know whether there’s a pumpkin mafia somewhere threatening to break people’s legs if they don’t put it on a menu, but it is EVERYWHERE. In sandwiches, salads, quiches, pastas. I will never look at a jack-o-lantern the same again.
I got burned to a crisp my first day in Auckland, and after falling asleep on a beach in Bronte. Both times I was wearing my waterproof SPF 70+ sunscreen from home. The highest SPF I’ve seen here is 30 and I was initially worried that I was going to be absolutely fried with that on. However, I haven’t been burned once since. The slip-slap-slop mantra seems to be working (my burn still lingers, though).
Everything Costing Double
Yes, I get that you’re an island in the middle of nowhere but I find it a titch ridiculous that everything costs double. Foods aren’t imported, they’re home-grown – so why the mark-up? Why am I paying $20 for a salad? $3 for two bananas? $50 for a Lonely Planet travel guide? (I did not purchase the book, by the way – I hunted for a used bookstore and found an older edition of it, whew). I know that people make more money here, so are prices adjusted accordingly? If so they should have special prices for people who are NOT from here. Man alive.