Well, I’ve been here for some time and I’ve seen and experienced a lot. Let me tell you about some of the quirkier things and some of the things that simply “jar” compared to the UK. All in no particular order as I’ve been adding to this as time have gone on!
- The high cost of confectionery. The average price of a Mars Bar is $2, around 85p – easily twice the cost of the same bar back home. On top of that, the chocolate is rubbish – especially bars which are predominantly chocolate like Cadbury’s blocks
- Sweets are generically called “lollies” whether or not they come on a stick
- Low-fat Mars Bars are available at the same inflated cost as a normal bar, only they proclaim “50% less fat then a regular bar”. This will, of course, be partly due to that fact that they’re 44.5g in weight instead of 60g like the standard “full fat” bars. Sneaky. They weigh 1/4 less, which accounts for half of the “50% less fat” in one swoop
- Nobody called me “Cobber” during my entire stay. Nobody. I am disappointed
- Likewise, I didn’t see a single person wearing a hat with corks hanging from it
- I did, however, see Crocodiles and some Aborigines, though not Paul Hogan. Not even on television
- Aussies love their abbreviations. Service station = servo, afternoon = arvo, vehicle registration = rego, documentary = doco, politician = pollie…
- Anything less than 600km away is “just down the road”
- Meat is cheaper than just about any other major foodgroup
- Quantas are monopolising b*stards when it comes to certain flight routes, but at least they give you snacks and drinks unlike Virgin Blue and JetStar
- They’re fiercely proud about using home-grown/made/manufactured produce in a way that would have morons in the UK throwing hissy fits and claiming racism. However, this also means that their fruit is currently hugely expensive due to poor crops this year (floods, drought, etc). Bananas are stupidly pricey, yet they won’t/can’t import them from elsewhere. Bizarrely, bananas are a pretty normal price in NZ – I don’t know where they import theirs from
- As with the Kiwis, Aussies are very friendly, open and chatty. When they ask “how are you?” they usually appreciate getting more than a “fine”. Or maybe that’s just because of my sexy English accent
- Books are expensive. A paperback with a UK price of £6.99 on the back can cost the equivalent of £8 or higher. Second hand bookshops run at an average of $10 (£4.30) per book, as far as I can find. Back home I’m used to £2 or less
- Nobody in Australia seems to want to study for A+ certification. At least I’ve looked in three cities and umpteen bookshops and not found a single textbook for it
- Aussie TV is either homegrown and awful or the same American stuff we get on CH5 and Sky. Either way it’s infested with more adverts than I can believe. 4 advert breaks in a 30-minute program. Good grief
- Nothing is “used” or “second hand”. It’s “pre-loved”, even if its been beaten to hell. I guess that “pre-tough-loved”.
- Aussies treat their home state/territory the way we divide the UK into four countries. They’re always quick to tell you that they’re actually originally from Victoria, or NSW or wherever
- Australian Idol is far huger than the equivalent Pop Idol back home. And it actually features talented individuals rather than egotistical industry-built morons like the jerks our original version is lumbered with
Bye bye, Australia. It’s been a wonderful couple of months. I will return, I promise!