14 June 2009

Frank

I saw my first kangaroo... it was dead on the side of the road. A four hour drive north to our soon-to-be-new home in Townsville let me enjoy the sights: vast countryside and roadkill. Highways in Australia are much different to those in the United States. First, when I hear the word "highways" I think multiple lanes -- or at least two per side -- with emergency lanes and a speed limit of at least 60 MPH. In Australia highways range between 60 and 100 KPH. I'm guessing the rough gravel area, large enough for a moped, to the left of the bitumen a.k.a. paved driving lane is the emergency stop area. Rarely are highways more than one lane per side, which makes passing a common but tense situation.

Second, when I think of States highways I think of BPs and Shells/Taco Bells and Burger Kings competing for your money at every exit. There are no numbered exits and usually one local "petrol" station, so stop when you're around a quarter tank. In the U.S.A., unless you're driving through rural landscape or Kansas, there's usually developments, plazas, or residences within eyesight of the highway. In Australia, when you leave the towns of Ayr, Sarina, and Proserpine, you are on a lonely highway with nothing unnatural to break up the view.

Last, most Americans are familiar with the cautionary signs in construction zones in cute, childish handwriting stating "Slow down, my daddy works here" or "Leave racin' to the horses" (in Kentucky). Australia cuts right to the point:

NO SEATBELT, NO CHANCE


SLOW DOWN STUPID


and my favorite....


TIRED DRIVERS DIE

01 June 2009

Language barrier

There are a lot of odd variations of language in Australia compared to The United States. A few examples:

U.S.A. WORD / AUSTRALIAN WORD
Cotton candy / Fairy floss
Breakfast / Brekkie
Bathroom / Loo
Cardigan, long-sleeve / Jumper
Thank you / Ta
Clue (the board game) / Cluedo (This anomaly perplexes me the most. What's the point of taking a legitimate word & adding the sound "doe" at the end?!)  See also: Registration / Rego
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The entire family & I are sitting at the dinner table. Bree (15 year old daughter) is raving about the new "Hiptop" cellular phone she wants. She asks me if we have it in the States. I reply "No, but we have something similar called the EnV."

A few minutes later I ask -- generally -- if Australians have "Blackberries"? Yasmin (mom) responds "Yes, but we call them Mulberries."

I say "Ohhhh, hmmmm, how funny! I've never seen one. Bree, you should get a Mulberry with all the texting you do."

Bree & Michael start howling with laughter and say "NO MOM! Michelle's talking about mobiles." ....Yasmin was talking about fruit.