Uniquely Australia

Being born and raised in Hawaii has given me a very distinct, but limited, outlook on the world. After being Down Under for just a few days, I can already see the differences between Australia and Hawaii. Here are just a few of my random observations:

  • Although the country is massive, everything else is not. Simple things that we in Hawaii (and the U.S.) take for granted, like large refrigerators, do not seem common. Here the fridge and freezer unit are only big enough to stock a family of four for a couple of days. There is no room for Costco-sized anything. This means shopping for dinner every other day at the mall. Yes, I said the mall. At the mall, there are stores that sell produce, meat, fish and Asian foods scattered among the department stores, electronics and restaurants. Interesting right? You’re walking by and there’s a slab of beef or a fillet of fish ready to take home. Everything is fresh (not frozen) and you tell them how much you want and they weigh it for you. 
  • There is a genuine concern for the environment here and not just environmentalism due to rising oil prices. The toilets do not use a handle that flushes a set amount of water and money down the drain. There is a push-button system that allows you to select half a flush or a full flush depending on your needs. I see clothes lines hanging up at all the surrounding houses so I can only assume a dryer is not used within most homes. People compost in their back yards for goodness sake – and they don’t even live out in the country. This is the suburbs.
  • Aussies seem to have excellent manners, even the teenagers. For instance, I was waiting for a train with a bunch of people when a teen got out of his seat and offered it to a woman carrying a baby. When an elderly couple came by, another young guy got up without even hesitating. This is truly amazing to me. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like this doesn’t happen at home. It just doesn’t happen as often and with such caring for someone else’s well-being.
  • Speaking of teens, I don’t know what to make of their clothing styles. On one hand, I think it could be a throwback to the seventies and eighties with all the bright colors and short shorts. I mean, even America showed a little love for the eighties when Fanny Pak appeared on America’s Best Dance Crew. On the other hand, maybe they’re just 30 years behind? Is that even possible? You’d be puzzled too if you saw their clothes. Think Dogtown Skateboards or Powell Peralta threads of the early ’80s. And don’t even get me started with the hair. Guys have an interesting, and someone universal, hairstyle. There’ll be a group of six guys and at least five of them have the same haircut. It’s short on the sides and tapered. The top is longish, spiked to an inch of its life but made to look casual and hairsprayed in place. Their bangs lie flat against their forehead with gel and hairspray and are whisked to the side. The flatness contrasting with the height of the spikes is very interesting indeed. Think Adam Lambert only more severe in spikes and flatness.
  • And lastly, the most obvious one besides their accents, is that they drive on the left side of the road. It’s taken a bit of getting used to, even if I’m not doing the driving. Having to look the other way and make turns the other way is really disorienting. What I am beginning to love though are the roundabouts. I think they are so much better than stop lights or four-way stops. Why don’t we get these in Hawaii? Oh right, first we’d all have to learn how to signal our turns and lane changes. Right. But if we can get over that, these things really speed up traffic. Again, I think the successful signaling is due to the courteous nature of Aussies. Everyone does it and it seems to work out just fine.

Australia really is a unique place. I’m learning a little more about it each day and enjoy discovering the way it works.


Filed under Australia, Culture, Travel

10 responses to “Uniquely Australia

  1. Aunty Pat

    Are you staying in a hotel? I find your blog very interesting. How do the Aussies find time to shop for dinner, come home and cook it? I can’t picture it.

  2. Debbie Adams

    Hi Dorian, sounds like you are having fun. How is your 21 day tour coming along. Also have you decided to get padi certified? Go for it. Lots of Love from the Adams family

  3. Aunty Sanj

    I don’t know about those roundabouts. I think if they are small, it’s OK but the ones in Boston & D.C. are hysterical, especially when you are not used to. The first time, Uncle couldn’t find his way out, LOL We kept going round and round and cars wouldn’t let us out. Also, you have to learn the rules of the roundabout, but there will always be people who are selfish and try to cut you off.

  4. weeboopiper

    I have to agree with Aunty Sanj about the big, multi-lane roundabouts. Experienced ones in the UK. It can be pretty crazy trying to get to the exit you want, especially when there are a lot of cars.

  5. A. Sanj

    Forgot to tell you that Uncle Glenn asked for your blog and will be following you online. I take it he will relate all info to your Dad as to what you’re up to. I think it will give your Dad peace of mind. BTW: you missed a great party and post party. U. Glenn was the hit of the night. Having drunk a little (?), he had all of us in hysterics.

  6. Jen Simpson

    I’m enjoying your blog as well – what an adventure you’re having! Sure beats QC’ing days in the IH warehouse.

  7. @A. Pat – Stayed with a friend’s sister in Sydney and in hostels during my 21-day tour. The hostels are interesting places. I’ll need to write a post on that later.

    @Deb – So far I’m in day 6 of 21 and am exhausted already. I’m in Adelaide and the good thing is that we have a free day in the city tomorrow. All other days we get into a place late in the evening and leave early in the morning. Have to do laundry tomorrow.

    @A. Sanj & Wee – These are small ones to avoid 4-way stops I think. They’re only about two lanes wide. Also, I think Aussies are too polite to cut you off. What I found amazing is that everyone uses their blinkers. So unlike Hawaii! lol

    @A. Sanj – I think mom is having Deb print out all my blog posts. Dad can always read it from there too.

    @Jen – Definitely a whole different world than the warehouse.

  8. Big Brother

    Polite? Who woulda thunk. I thought they all drank Fosters and spoke using strange words meaning even stranger things.

    PADI Certified in the land of Great Whites and Bull Sharks? Where they use a floating net that only goes a short distance down to protect swimmers and surfers? You should wait till you get back to Hawaii first!

    Jan and I have been printing your posts for Mom and Dad also. I need to use bigger fonts, as they get older, they find themselves needing a magnifying glass. We’re going to miss you on Mother’s Day.

    Be Safe.

  9. Diane Nakamichi

    Hi Dorian, Sorry to be late in responding to your great blog. I’m so pleased you are having so many great experiences. I agree with the wonderfulness of the roundabouts (they call them circles in NJ). However, timid drivers sometimes get stuck going round and round cause they don’t know how to make their move to get out of them!! Enjoy, enjoy your travels! The Australians remind me of the Europeans with their small refrigerators, less energy use, and toilets. Why does the rest of the world always do a better job at these things and the Americans are more wasteful? Take care! Aunty Diane

  10. @Bro – I didn’t really look but didn’t notice Fosters at the pubs. They have a bunch of other beer though, like Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught and Coopers. I think Fosters is for export only. I told dad to go over to your place one of these days so he could see the photos and watch the videos. Don’t think the slideshows print out.

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