I recently spent a couple weeks in Australia and it was an amazing experience. It was my first time down under, and everything about Australia more than lived up to the hype. It’s just such an awesome place. Cool people, fantastic scenery and just, you know, different. Here are 10 major differences between the Australia and the US:
Aussies Have Faith in Their Own People’s Intelligence and Ability to Understand Air Travel
Sounds kind of weird, yea? But check this – when you’re traveling by plane down under, Aussies don’t assume that you’re a complete idiot, and that’s kind of refreshing. I showed up to the airport in Melbourne (on my way to Cairns), and I was responsible for checking myself in, printing my own boarding pass, printing out and attaching my big baggage claim sticker and dropping off my luggage on a scale/conveyor belt that led to my actual flight. There’s no way Americans would be allowed to do this. People who travel light in the States, yea, you can print out your own boarding pass, but even that’s not a given. Most Americans will wait in line, even if they’re not checking any luggage. Ask these same people to print out and attach a big-ass sticker to their suitcase? Forget about it. Now go weigh your own luggage and drop it off in the appropriate area? There’s no friggin’ way. Aussies assume a level of non-retardation with their travelers that America just can’t replicate. We have to cater to too many slow people. I liked going to an airport that assumed I understood the fundamentals of airline travel. It made me feel responsible and respected as a person and an airline passenger.
Wack-Ass Internet Infrastructure
Okay Australia, what’s with the shitty Internet everywhere? I get that I’m on vacation and I shouldn’t be checking work emails or Twitter or ProFootballTalk.com and so forth, but what the hell? How come you guys charge such ridiculous fees for Wi-Fi? I can go to a bar, order a pint and get a receipt for 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi access. I can get solid chunks of free web access at a cafe or a fast food joint just for purchasing a coffee or a sandwich. Why would the hotel that costs two bills a night charge $50 a day for in-room Internet? Per device? This makes no sense at all. None. You need to sort out your Internets, Australia. It’s easier to IM people from the provinces in the Philippines.
Overall Cleanliness and Helpfulness
This can’t be overstated enough. Australia is a clean place, man. They have trash cans everywhere, with little build-in metal spots to put your cigs out. Down every street there’s a person picking up after themselves. And if you ask an Aussie to give you directions, that person will go out their way to make sure you understand where you are going. Even if they’re crazy drunk, dirtbaggy and/or dodgy-looking. And if you’re getting served an in-flight meal on a plane in Australia, the flight attendant will make sure the person in front of you puts their seat back in the upright position so that you’ll have enough space to eat your meal. All that shit goes away when you fly back home. As soon as the meal comes out, some jackass will slam their seat back. As you exit an international flight arriving in the States, you’ll be shocked at how much trash and shit people leave behind. Us Yanks think it’s our right to be slobs. We expect people to leave us alone and pick up after us. Aussies have a whole different outlook on life. They’re clean, engaging people who are always willing to help.
Tax and Tip
Okay, so when you purchase something in Australia, you don’t need to add tax, and in most circumstances, you don’t need to leave extra gratuity. The price that’s listed is what you pay. You want to get a jug of Carlton? Well, if it’s listed at $8, then you hand the bartender $8. You don’t have to pull out a $10 and fish for change to cover sales tax and 20 percent gratuity for the guy who poured your pitcher. Just pay the man the price that’s listed and you’re good to go. If you’re at a bar, there’s no need to open a tab. Just pay as you go, even if you order food. Walk up to the bar, order what you want, pay what you owe and when you’re all done, just take off. There’s no need to close out a tab, or double-check the bill or calculate tip. When you’re done, you just bounce. It’s really quite nice.
Frosty Beer Taps Everywhere
There’s nothing more enjoyable than ordering a frosty beer at a pub in Australia. Any pub you go to, when you walk in, you’ll see that the tap sticking out of the bar is covered in frost. Not like some half ass ‘that-might-be-cold’ condensation either. We’re talking full-on, snowman-style frost. So pretty much wherever you are, you’re beer will come out cold and delicious every time. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can get pretty toasty in Australia, so having the ability to walk into any bar and get an extra-frosty pint is really appreciated. It kinda makes you hate beers in bottles and cans. Why go for an inferior beer dispenser when you can enjoy an icey-cold pour every single time?
Strict Liquor Pours
So when you go to a bar, you enjoy the benefits of quality beer, frosty taps, and no expected gratuity, but don’t go in thinking you’re gonna get hooked up on liquor pours. Australia is super strict about how they pour spirits in bars and restaurants. If you order a Jack and Coke, be prepared to watch the bartender push a button that will digitally measure out exactly one miniature shot of Jack Daniels in your glass. Alcoholism is a big problem in Australia, as you’d expect from a laid-back, fun-loving country full of former convicts and the descendants of former convicts. There’s a government agency in Oz whose sole purpose is to make sure you don’t get a strong pour of Scotch (seriously). Aussies are big on knowing just how much they’ve had to drink, so they can assess whether they’re over the legal limit to drive. By measuring things out so precisely, drunk Aussies can more easily count the number of drinks they’ve consumed in a given night, and then determine whether or not they’re cool to drive home. If you know this going in, you won’t waste your time tipping your way into the hopes of a strong pour. Shit, you won’t even waste your time with liquor. If you’re going to booze it up, just stick to beer. You can always get a jug of quality brew on the cheap during any happy hour.
Nobody Says You’re Welcome
Say “thank you” in Australia and you’ll hear a ton of different responses. “No worries” is by far the most popular, but it doesn’t end there. You’ll hear shit like, “oh, it’s not a problem at all” and “that’s perfectly fine and alright” and all kinds of long-winded ways to reciprocate a thanks. You won’t hear the phrase “you’re welcome,” which seems odd, because it’s a super-easy reply option, especially for people who love shortening everything. Which reminds me…
Aussies Abbreviate Everything
Aussies really do abbreviate just about everything. Even when there’s no syllable savings to be gained. Filo for Filippino, sunnies for sunglasses, ute for utility vehicle – all these all make sense. Even brekkie for breakfast or footie for football. But Brisy for Brisbane? That’s just lazy. I mean you aren’t even saving a syllable there. I’m all for shortening things that take too long to say, but Aussies seem to relish the opportunity to abbreviate, even when it doesn’t seem called for.
Imagine if street food didn’t consist of hot dogs and cheap tacos and pretzels and shit. Imagine if you could go anywhere and enjoy a variety of meat pies with all kinds of sauce options. I mean, you can hit the club, go watch a cricket match, wander the city streets at odd hours, go to the train station – it really doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re up to. If you’re hungry, you can find a meat pie to eat (especially in Melbourne). And whether you like mince meat, turkey, beef, chicken, curry, eggs and bacon or some other awesome option, you’ll find a flaky crusted meat pie that’ll suit your needs. Add some sauce on that shit too – tomato sauce (aka ketchup), BBQ sauce, sweet chili sauce – It doesn’t matter. The combination of meat, flaky crust and sauce is like the perfect food.
The women in Australia are unbelievably gorgeous. I realize that people say that about a lot of places – Europe and South America come to mind. But man, I can’t believe how much sexiness all these Aussie birds are working with. I mean, if you like cute blondes with tight/fit bodies, you’ll find at least one in every four Aussie ladies fits this description. I don’t know what it is, but there’s very a distinct type of attractiveness that you’ll encounter with Aussie girls. It’s like they all have bright eyes, winning smiles, golden faces, savvy fashion sense and compact curves. Good on you, all of Australia. Good on you.