Some Australia differences

I thought I’d record some of the differences I’ve noted about being here in Sydney. Not the stuff that’s inherent in the geography (i.e., that it’s warm and sunny here all the time, or there are kookaburras in the park, or it’s spring here when it’s autumn in London). Some of the less obvious stuff.

  • Coffee shops are open late, as they are in Canada. In the UK they always close at about 7pm.
  • The coffee in Australia is phenomenally good, and consistently so. You can get an amazing espresso from the shabbiest looking corner shop.
  • People here say thanks to the driver as they leave the bus, even when leaving from the rear doors. Not just once in a while, either, almost all the time. Some of my London pals are telling me this happens in England. I sure never heard it happen there.
  • People frequently yell out the windows of cars as they drive past. I can’t tell why, nor exactly what they’re saying. It might be something along the lines of, Ha! Look at the pasty poms!
  • TV ads are loud and obnoxious here. It’s like returning to North America.
  • Draft beer is usually served in smaller glasses than pints. This is sensible in a much warmer climate. But it’s much more expensive. The UK, and Europe in general, really do have cheap booze.
  • Timeout magazine for Sydney comes out monthly, rather than weekly as it does in London.
  • A lot of people here have tattoos.
  • People don’t seem to use the Internet as much for comparison shopping or info-gathering. It still seems common to go into shops or banks to ask; the best deals aren’t always advertised on the web.
  • The quality of fruit and seafood is so good here it makes me weep. Groceries ain’t cheap, though.
  • Service is very good, almost as full-on as in North America, but doesn’t go over-the-top phony with it.

4 Responses to “Some Australia differences”

  1. November 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I don’t drink coffee, but I certainly drink alcohol and drinking out is quite expensive here, in particular tap/draft beer. We generally drink pots in Victoria (285ml) and a pot of local beer will set you back around $4. However drinking wine is usually reasonable, if not in price then definitely choice, although if you’re after overseas wines the most you’ll normally get is a couple of NZ drops.
    Having to buy alcohol separately in the supermarket here is still a major peeve of mine though. You can partly blame the Coles/Woolworths duopoly for expensive grocery prices although lately I don’t find the markets that much cheaper either (thanks drought).
    TV ads are one of the reasons I don’t watch TV much anymore! That and the networks complete contempt for the viewing population.

  2. November 11, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Beer glasses in Oz still freak me out. But pots there are middys here; I can’t yet bring myself to order a beer that small.

    The wine selection here in NSW varies wildly, I find. Sometimes awesome, sometimes poor. I take advantage of the awesome times. And why would I buy overseas wine when I’m in Australia?

    Buying alcohol separately doesn’t bother me so much; that’s the way it was in Canada. If I’d only ever lived in the UK I think that coming here would’ve been weirder, but having 30+ years in another spacious extreme-weather former colony helps, I think.

  3. November 11, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I thank bus drivers 🙂

  4. November 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Please come to Melbourne for a coffee, it’s so good here since most of the coffee shops are run by wogs that when I go to Sydney I think the coffee is crappy. We have a guest room and we’d love to see you both.

    Wogs – people of Mediterranean descent, not a derogatory term!

    Aussie manners – when I go home to Ireland I bring with me my Aussie manners, generally a ‘thank you’ to the bus driver or a ‘have a nice day’ to someone in the service industry in Ireland is greeted with the stunned mullet face or shock or caution that you are being a smart ass.

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