Things that make me go hmmm...The Crosswalk button. The magic button you hit to let the lights know there is a person there that wants to cross the street. Do we really know that it's connected to anything? It's a total faith thing where we hit it just because but we have no actual idea of knowing if there is any correlation to the light changing.
I don't know if I'm more fascinated with people who see me hit it or the people that don't. For example, everyone seems to have a ritual when you come to the crosswalk. I usually make my hand into a fist and hit the button twice just in case it doesn't register my first hit. My thought is that this will save my fingertips from extreme germs but then I immediately pick up my phone which probably has way more germs anyway. Oh well.
So, I punch it twice. Sometimes in a fake ninja stance just to see if I can make people look twice. Then inevitably there is someone who has already seen me do this and still they come up and hit it themselves. Why do we do this? What are we thinking? Do we think that it's cumulative? That the magic button is recording how many pushes to see how many people are waiting to cross? Like there is a little creature inside saying, "Wow, the button has been pushed ten times. I'd better change the flow of traffic to let this mass of people cross!" I'm pretty sure that's not how it works.
Then you have the people who haven't seen me hit it but they come up and hit it themselves. Do they think I'm lazy? That I haven't, in fact, hit the button and have just decided to tempt fate and stand and wait to see if the light changes? This whole thing is very intriguing to me. More research will definitely have to be done.
|Paw Paw = Papaya|
Things I never thought I would miss:
Shopping carts. Here in Australia all four wheels spin as opposed to the U.S. where only the front two spin and the back are firmly facing forward. Never thought about that, did you? Yeah, well I think about it every time I go to the store. It has taken me this long to be able to turn down an aisle without hitting the person in front of me. Plus, it takes all of my weight in just the right position to do it otherwise my knees start killing me. Crazytown. It's kind of cool to have in certain situations but for the most part it just drives me batty!
"Extreme" spice, sour, sweet, tart, etc. For some reason Australians don't seem to like really spicy food. When you go to a Thai restaurant, for example, and order something that says it's spicy it would be mildly spicy in the U.S. They do this because they know most people ordering don't really like spicy food. At least that's what the lady at the restaurant said. Since there are virtually no real Mexican restaurants all of their "Mexican" food is super mild. At least we found a huge bottle of Tabasco at Costco otherwise I think my husband would go crazy.
I got some sour bears the other day at the store and they are about a tenth the sourness of Sour Patch Kids. Just a little sour. Just a little spicy. No idea why.
|Now that's some fresh honey!|
Classic music being played in restaurants. Australia is like Europe in that they have a love and fascination with dance music. House, techno, ambient, dub, electro, trance, ugh. I actually like dance music...when I'm dancing. Call me a purist but when I'm eating I want to hear something kinda mellow.
Play something sweet. Play something mellow. Play something I can sink my teeth in like Jello. I can't tell you how overjoyed I was the other night when the Thai restaurant was playing some kind of Asian Elevator Music of cover songs such as "Like a Virgin" and "With Or Without You". It was amazing. And funny. And I will totally go back there to eat again!
|Yeah...soooo...you are McDonald's! The entire restaurant IS a taste of America.|
Things I think are super cool:
Waterproof Money. Yes, the money is plastic and waterproof! How brilliant is this? It makes it harder to counterfeit and you can accidentally put it through the wash. Plus, each bill is smaller than the other according to the equivalent amount of money AND it's a different color. Also, almost all of them feature a woman on one side and a man on the other. Talk about promoting an equal society.
|Money, money, money|
Tradies (Aussie equivalent of a tradesman) all wear bright neon. So, basically it means that blue collar workers are neon collar workers. You can easily see them working on construction, roads, and well, let's face it, anywhere. It makes me smile almost every time I see it. No explanation for why it pleases me this much but apparently I really love neon. It's funny. Next I want to see all cashiers wearing hypercolor shirts. Wouldn't that make your day?!
|Let's play "Spot the tradie"! It's not hard these days...|
Meat Pies. Even though this is also a British food, Aussies have made them their own. If there was one "Aussie" food staple I think I would have to say it's a meat pie. They even give them to you on domestic flights as a snack. I absolutely love them. But then again my favorite food is meat and potatoes. I'm an Eastern Oregon girl after all. They have a food chain called Pie Face. I love them. They just opened a couple stores in New York City and I hope they do well because I would love to be able to eat them when I'm back in the States.
|It's a different pie face according to what you order. This is Steak and Peppercorn. Yum!|
Only use what you need. This may be changing slightly as outside influences continue to creep in but for the most part people seem to be in the mindset of only buying and using what they need. Maybe because it's just a huge island but they are very aware of water consumption. I think they have campaigned for this for a while now and it seems to have worked. I am also keenly aware of when I should do laundry or the dishes or take showers as you get charged different rates for when you use energy.
On weekdays, peak time is 2:00pm - 8:00pm, Shoulder time is 7:00am - 2:00pm and 8:00pm - 10:00pm. The rest is off-peak and on the weekends the day is shoulder and the night is off-peak. This not only makes you aware of when you are using energy and gas it also makes me do the dishes less, wait to do laundry until it's a full load, etc. Stuff that I tried doing in the U.S. but didn't always succeed. Amazing what the potential of saving money will do.
We also live in an energy efficient apartment with led lights and other power saving devices. In Australia, the power is at 220/240 volts instead of the standard in the United States which is 120 volts. This means that you also have a switch at the wall where you can shut off the outlet for safety reasons. I love this! We are talking about the people that started Earth Hour after all.
|Switch at the wall. Very cool!|
|They do exist.|
|I think this is where all nightmares begin.|