The Aussie Way - Part 4

The longer I spend in Australia the harder it is to spot the differences because I get used to things and before I know it they are familiar to me. Still, a few things have been obvious recently. Here is part 4 of my Aussie Way series. 

Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale technology is essentially the ability to pay for something with a card rather than cash. It’s a credit card machine. This in itself is not new to me, other than the name, I have not been living under a rock for the last few years! However, when you pay with a card in Australia you are asked to choose between accounts, cheque, savings or credit. I feel very virtuous saying savings, but it is really just your current account. In the UK you are not asked to differentiate, the money is either there or it isn’t.

Despite Australia historically being more connected to Britain than America there are lots of Americanisms around. One obvious one is that businesses often market themselves with phone numbers displayed as words. ‘1300 Evergreen’ is one I saw recently, for example. Most Australian towns are very young, compared to European towns anyway, so the architecture is all fairly square. There are of course some beautiful buildings, but for the most part Australia is the land of square high streets. One very cool feature is an overhang at the front of shops. It is a useful shelter when it is hot and also when it is pouring with rain!

Kalgoorlie shopfronts

Keeping cool
Buildings are designed to keep the Australian sun out. For large parts of the year this is a very worthwhile exercise, but living on the south coast of WA, we have a significant winter where night time temperatures hover between 3 and 8 degrees centigrade for four months of the year, which to my mind is cold enough to warrant some central heating and double glazing, and yet most of the buildings have neither. They are all designed to be cool (or just plain cold!) 

Sunfried clothes pegs do not last long

The Sun
Australia is a lot sunnier most of the time than Europe. The average winter day here beats the socks off one in Europe. The sun is a lot stronger here too, so from a young age Australians are encouraged to always wear a hat and to befriend the suncream early. I have got into the habit of hanging the laundry out inside out because otherwise clothes fade and lose their colour. I keep buying clothes pegs too as the sun makes them brittle and they frequently snap in two. I wasn’t expecting that.

What differences have you noticed when you have moved overseas?

Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi

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