There will be many upcoming Australia posts since I didn’t get a chance to update the blog during my month stay there.  To get prepared for the upcoming blasts, I thought I’d go over some random facts about Australia that some people may or may not know.  I realize that most of these things are not specific or unique to Oz, but it still might be something some people don’ t know…I didn’t always.

Dressed warm this time, but my cousin Cat had to let me borrow all her clothes my first time in Sydney.

1.) They are on the opposite season than we are.  They celebrate Christmas in the middle of summer and they can ice-skate on their man-made rinks at their beaches in June and July.  This might be obvious to anyone who learned about the northern and southern hemisphere, axis, tilt and orbit in junior high (I recently had to brush up on it all when teaching 8th grade science)…BUT to an 8 year old….this is NOT obvious.  I learned this the hard way when I packed for my first trip to Australia in June with a suitcase full of shorts and t-shirts.  I had to borrow all of my cousin’s clothes for the trip.  One of my first questions was also, “So wait…does that mean you celebrate Christmas in July?”

2.) Aussies drive on the wrong side of the road. Since the Brits colonized Australia, they brought over their idea of driving on the left with them.  I know it’s not TECHNICALLY “wrong”, but it also isn’t right.  If it was right, they would drive on the right. Obviously.

3.) They curse a lot. Ahhh-lot. This is fairly self-explanatory.  I know it definitely depends on who it is…and not every Aussie swears in every sentence…but I do think I heard the C-word more times this past month than I’ve heard in 4 years of college.

4.) They rarely use a dryer. When my uncle told me that Australians are very energy efficient, I simply thought he meant people were “going green”.  Plenty of Americans are promoting a greener Earth, but Aussies take it to a whole new level.  Everything is air dried.  Since it was winter, we had to time laundry on a day that had sunny weather for at least two consecutive days.  I thought my aunt was simply old fashioned…but in every house we visited, they either didn’t have a dryer at all or they rarely used it.

5.) There’s no unlimited anything – wifi, refills, data plans . – Americans are pretty spoiled – and fat – when it comes to bottomless refills.   Ordering a drink at a restaurant doesn’t seem worth it when you know you can’t get a refill.  Even data plans and internet has its limits before it will switch back to dial-up on you.

6.) The toilets are even energy savers.   The toilets here have two flushing buttons. One is a half flush and the other is a full flush.  You can figure it out. I had to.  The little symbols help.

7.) It’s more expensive Down Under. Alcohol is especially expensive thanks to their high taxes, even if you buy it at the bottle-o (liquor store). Petrol (gas) is over five dollars a gallon.  Considering most things are almost 2x the price, you would think they got paid 2x what Americans get paid.  They don’t.

8.) Aussies really like nicknames. For example, Australians from Queensland are called “banana benders”, and we’re called Yanks. Whether it is shortening names of friends, restaurants, or groups of people, nicknames are abundant.

9.) Numbers are different. In case of an emergency, don’t dial 9-1-1, dial 0-0-0.  They use the metric system and measure temperature in Celsius.  The day becomes before the month as well when writing the date.  Christmas Day is 25/12/12 rather than 12/25/12.  I suppose the States needs to jump on the band wagon.  After some Googling, I learned that the USA, Myanmar, and Liberia are the only 3 countries that haven’t officially adopted the metric system.  It would make things easier…not every 4th grader learns that there are 5 Tomatoes (5280 ft) in a mile.

10.) Their lemonade is clear. Yeah…seriously. I’ll get further into that in a future post…but… lemonade is sprite. No big deal.

These tidbits are incredibly random, and there are more random facts to come! Hopefully, you’ve learned at least one thing…I’ve been pretty bad about updating the blog lately, and I’ll try to catch up on all the posts soon.