One of the main reasons everyone in Britain (seemingly) moves to Australia is because its just like a version of Britain where God left the sun turned on all the time, rather than constantly switching between rain, cloud and the occasional disappointing flurry of snow which doesn’t stick. The culture is supposedly incredibly similar and everyone speaks English. Which is almost true. Everyone does speak English, until you want to order coffee.
At home, if you ask for a coffee you get a coffee. If you ask for a latte then that is the end of the conversation with the barista at Starbucks who took a course in getting people’s names wrong. Here, it is genuinely a different language. This first started when I went to a little refreshment hut at the beach and asked for coffee. The response was a blank stare followed by a list of sizes and colours all intermingled into one jumble of what I discerned to by nonsense. Allow me to walk you through it;
Server: Hey, how you going? (Everyone here asks how you are ‘going’, which led to me answering with transport methods the first few times. How am I going? Walking and bus mostly. Anyway)
Me: Good thanks, can I get a coffee?
Me: … … … ?
Server: Do you want flat white? Long black? Short? Tall? Slightly rounded beige? Twisted Grey? Cappuccino? Obtuse Purple? Latte? Skinny Latte? You bloody idiot.
You can imagine my confusion. You don’t get my kind of figure by drinking skinny lattes.
I’ve resorted to ordering whatever the person asking says as the first option, which mostly involves long black or latte. I am intently curious as to what a flat white really is, other than a description of me lying on a beach (tanning is producing middling results). In a couple of months I hope to understand what all this means and eventually produce a phrasebook of sorts to help fellow strugglers. Including terms such as cappuccino, long black, and my hovercraft is full of eels. (If you don’t get this joke I implore you to look up Monty Python and watch this
I began this blog talking about Brits moving to Australia and if my group of university friends is anything to go by then the population of 21 year olds in England is rapidly falling. We went into Sydney to meet up with Jen and Saran, who I went to uni with, and the girls they’re staying with Frankie and Katie. I call this photo ‘You clearly need to make friends with more blokes Alex’:
Jen’s first reaction when she saw me was ‘Another pale person!’ which is always nice to hear. Also I should point out I live about 2 hours away from Jen and Saran and yet had to fly 10,000 miles to get them to meet me. Draw your own conclusions.
On Saturday we went to Taronga Zoo, also in Sydney, my main reason for which was so that I could identify all the things that can kill me as and when we see them in the wild. I have managed to commit the appearance of the Taipan snake, Redback spider and Saltwater crocodile to memory. Now at least I’ll know my own cause of death, which can only help at the pearly gates, I assume.
One of the main attractions of Taronga Zoo, other than its vast collection of poisonous and aggressive animals, is the views of Sydney it offers which are pretty stunning. It means you can see a giraffe and the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the same view, the only place in the world where you can do so legally (I assume).
Other fun sights of the animal world included this Koala who encapsulates how I feel after most nights out:
This unfortunate fellow, who you can’t help but feel sorry for. Though, dropping your knob to ward off predators is an interesting tactic.
AND THE HAPPIEST LITTLE ELEPHANT IN THE WORLD:
Finally, I have also been further drawn into Australian culture by watching one of the funniest and most Australian movies ever made; The Castle. I wish I could even begin to explain this movie, but even if I did I am unsure I could do it justice. The plot revolves around an Australian family who are being forced to sell their house to make way for a new runway at the airport they live next door to, with their 4 greyhounds. Its heartwarming and frankly the most unexplainable and ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. You have to watch it.
Really finally, to finish; more elephant:
Alex Odlin cannot comment on speculation regarding the similarities between him and certain species of Geckos. However he does envy Koalas for their ability to sleep for 20 hours a day and people still think they’re cute at the end of it. For more ramblings, why not check out whatnottodoatuni.wordpress.com