Thursday, September 10, 2009

a few things to know before your trip to Australia

Why don't travel agents tell you this stuff? Coins are actually worth something here. And that worth is inversely proportional to size. The silver dollar-size coin is 50 cents. The coin that looks like a quarter is a dollar. And the one that looks like a penny? Two bucks. So don't go leaving it on a counter like I did.

For some reason, Aussie guide books are elusive on electricity, stating only the wattage and "angled pins." What they should say is that electrical sockets are like a cartoon of a sad eyed person yawning. Two slants and a vertical. Converters may be hard to find in the States, but fairly easy to get here. One tricky thing about plugging things in, however, is you have to actually turn on the socket. Each has a little switch at the top. Now you know. So you don't have to wonder as I did one morning how come all of your plugged-in-overnite electronics are dead.

Go grocery shopping. It's fun to see familiar products with slightly bastardized names. Why bother changing the names, I wonder? Product border patrols?

Such a simple idea, you wonder why we haven't instituted it in the States. Two options for flushing: half flush and whole. Saves oceans of water. But can be confusing the first time you go to the loo.


Teenie said...

The other half--from the other side of the pond--comes out with some doozies when it comes to products. Like "Frosties" for Frosted Flakes or "Lynx" for "Axe". Or "Cocoa POPS", of all things.

And that dang switch gets me every time. I had to crawl under the bed twice--once to plug the hairdryer in, and again to turn the switch on. Yeesh!

Unknown said...

Well an Aussie I loved an Aussie living in the UK I related to it even more...BTW in my story, they were called Rice Bubbles since the beginning of time and I am a big advocate of the addition a 1/4 flush button given the past decade of drought conditions down under.

Rob Buccino said...

I remember the first time I went to a lunch counter in Australia and the waitress said, "Are you right?" I tried to figure out what was wrong with me until I realized it's Strine for "May I help you?"

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Teenie--I'm with you on the switch thing. That's the rudest surprise of all. How come travel agents don't mention it???

@Kym 1/4 flush! Brilliant idea :)

@Rob Funny! Haven't heard that one yet. Charmed by "fairy floss" for cotton candy, "no worries" for you're welcome and "not the full quid" for someone a bit slow in the head. Like our airport shuttle driver who took hours to navigate a 20 minute ride yesterday :(

Theresa B said...

We do have those toilets in the States, but they cost more and are only available in specialty "green" stores. Hopefully we'll get our act together and they'll become the norm.

Also, it appears as though the door is so close to the toilet you wouldn't be able to close it while doing your business!

Nomad said...

all of these these things i didnt know about... or didnt think about... luckily i was with friends who were from there. that helped... also have to give a huge shout out to tim-tams. crack candy... i think you can get them in world market under a different'll recognize the package though.