The Aussie Way

Photo by tim phillips
I have been in Australia a few months now. What have I noticed that’s different from other places? The Land Downunder is unique in several ways. Here are some I have noticed.

The colourful Australian use of English
Jokes about speaking ‘straylian aside, English is the official language of Australia, but not as we know it. It is not only the Aussie accent that confuses non Aussies, but the use of different words. The news reports that someone was ‘bashed’. The cheddar cheese in the supermarket is defined as either being ‘mild’ or ‘tasty’. Then there are phrases like “I was flat out like a lizard drinking” which once you’ve thought about it is a very colourful way of saying “I was busy”. I have noticed Queenslanders especially saying ‘but’ at the end of sentences (where you might say ‘though’) An example might be asking someone to go buy something from the shops and the reply being “I went already this morning but” I keep thinking ‘but what?’

Australian cheese is either 'mild' or 'tasty'

Relaxed attitude
This is a popular stereotype but I have noticed it to be especially true in far Northern Queensland. How laidback is too laidback though? People greet each other, strangers included, with a friendly “G’day, how ya going?” which is all very nice, but there are also people wandering around the city centre and even in the supermarkets, with no shoes on. People don’t point or stare; it seems accepted as normal. The thought of getting my toes mashed by the unforgiving wheels of a supermarket trolley horrifies me but (did you see what I did there?!) I don’t think the town planners (in Cairns at least) are very laidback though, as they seem to have designed the pedestrian crossings of all the wide roads in town to allow you only 8 seconds of ‘green man’ time, to get across the road (which takes 18 seconds to cross at a fairly speedy walking pace)

Is it 10% here?
In countries across Europe it is normal to tip waiting staff, taxi drivers, hairdressers and a whole host of other people working in the service industry. In America it is unforgiveable Not to. However in Australia customer service can be appalling, largely I think, because tipping is not customary, so there is no incentive to provide good service. I am not ‘bashing’ all waitresses here, I have met some very helpful ones, but I have also met some really rude ones. 

Australian Money & Tipping

TV Downunder
Television programs in Australia are riddled with adverts, which is not unlike TV Broadcasting in other countries, but the adverts are annoyingly frequent throughout the programs, like in America. Aussie TV is often broadcast to it’s own unique schedule too, by which I mean that the program advertised as showing at 8pm often only actually starts at ten or fifteen minutes past 8… I have also noticed that Lethal Weapon has been on A LOT!

What striking differences have you noticed while living abroad?