So, been in Australia for just under 3 months now. Did a small touristy stint and let my mum take me round some of the fancier sights in Perth before buckling down, getting a job and funneling money back into my bank account to continue the travelling, and this weekend do a little bit more while I head to Fremantle for the Easter break.
That aside, 2 paychecks and adjustment period over, I’ve managed to come to terms with some things in Oz. One, is that everything is just that little bit more expensive here. It has taken month’s to stop my heart leaping out of my chest when I pick up a packet of crisps and do the the mental currency conversion. Its borderline insane – made even worse by the actual currency. Never mind the notes, the $2 coin is smaller than the $1, but the 5 cent is smaller than the 10 cent which is smaller than the 20. And believe me, when you’re fumbling in your wallet, it becomes very hard to figure out if its a 1 or a 2 in your hand.
Secondly, starting to feel a little homesick. Mostly passed now, but I missed a pretty big event that I normally go to every year – and my presence appears to have been sorely missed by sheer lack of girl-with-video-camera (seriously, I gave a YEARS notice and nobody bothered to get someone else in?), so I couldn’t even enjoy it via youtube. Living with the folks does mean I don’t have to pay for food or rent, but does mean I don’t have much interaction with other people since I’m way outside the city centre and hostels.
So just to get this blog back into the swing of things, compiled a small list of pros and cons of Australia.
Thing’s Scotland beats Australia at
1. Tea – What the hell? Its took weeks before anyone at work would trust me to make the tea because I made it, quote unquote ‘Tar’. I now pour water into mug with the bag and yank it out immediately. I have drank stronger water than the cups I’m making here. Not to mention I have to leave the bag in forever, because you cannot get good, strong tea here. Its week and feeble and I am missing home bought Tetley’s like crazy.
2. Chips – They have a franchise called Jester’s here, which advertises ‘The World’s Best Fries’. All I can say is every other country on the planet must not have made it to the finals, because these are in no way the worlds best. Admittedly, their fries are the best I’ve had in Australia, but frankly, Australia does not make a good chip.
3. Ants – I was prepared for many insect related disasters when I arrived here. Spiders, cockroaches, wasps…but never realised the biggest insect problem in that Australia is built on one giant ants nest. Seriously, they are EVERYWHERE. Every kitchen, bathroom, office, garden, pavement, dustbin – houses and offices are lined with ant sand and bug spray, but the little buggers are persistent. Last week we even found dead ones that had crawled into the filter of our kettle at work. Worst cup of tea ever.
4. Isolation – everything is so damn far away. You don’t quite realise how different people judge distances until you come from a tiny island to a giant continent. My mother’s home is 5 minutes in a car to the train station, then a 40 minute train ride before a 15 minute walk to get to my office, and this is considered close. Back home, the 40 minute train trip to my work had everyone telling me to quit and find something closer. Made worse by the fact that I can’t drive.
Thing’s Australia beats Scotland at
1. Salt and Vinegar crisps – Seriously, when I head home I’m probably gonna just ship a crate back with me. The flavouring here is unbelievable, and that’s not just 3 month’s of Asian withdrawal talking – they’re just that good.
2. Potato wedges – A New Zealander once told me that the best potato wedges in the world are created in New Zealand. I waved that statement off, but after having tried Australian wedges, I’m ready to revise that opinion. Clearly what the Ozzies have failed to master in chips they have succeeded with in wedges. They are SO good here – don’t know how they could get better, but certainly willing to find out when I hit NZ.
3. Transport – Okay, it IS isolated, and I can’t drive and in Australia that sucks. Coming from a country where you can get from one end to the other in a day to the land of horizon roads is just a tad problematic. Thankfully, Australia (or at the very least Perth) has solved this problem via the train system. I use it to get into work, and in the 3 month’s I’ve been here, it’s broken down once. AND, they had a replacement bus service up and running within 10 minutes.
And when you finally get into the city? Perth has 3 CAT buses that run through the main city. This system? Free to use – I’m an Aberdonian, home of the First ‘lets see how much we can charge without being arrested’ Bus service, and I’m now living with free public transport. Awesome in every possibly way.
4. Birds – I come from a city where going outside with food is a mult-problem disaster. First you need decent weather, and then you have to wrap the food up tightly, and shadow it with your hands whenever it’s not in your mouth, because the second its on display, its gone, and you look into the road with a scratch on your cheek as the local seagull tucks into your lunch.
Here? Not only do I get to see pink parrots and cockatoos feeding on the neighbouring football pitch, but the common crows’s and magpies are perfectly harmless. Heard horror stories about the swooping season that may change my mind later in the year, but I have been able to eat my lunch outside just about every day and have yet to lose a finger. Plus listening to the crows is VERY amusing.