By Bruce Murray
We are currently visiting our eldest son and his family in South Australia and I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the unique things we have discovered.
Traffic circles are called ‘roundabouts.’ Yield signs are called ‘give way’ signs. No parking signs are ‘no standing’ signs. Drunk driving is ‘drink driving.’ Automotive light bulbs are ‘automotive globes.’ A passing lane is an ‘overtaking lane.’ An auto rental is often called a ‘hire car.’ Gasoline is ‘petrol’ as in the UK and tires are spelled ‘tyres.’ The most important thing you must remember is you go clockwise around a roundabout, as opposed to counter-clockwise in our traffic circles.
Shopping and eating out
Interac is ‘eftpos.’ One per cent and two per cent milk is not commonly sold. Skim and whole are the usual choices. Freezies you might have in your freezer are called ‘ice blocks.’ Sprite is called ‘lemonade’ and orange pop is ‘Fanta’ and a slushy is a ‘frozen drink.’ When buying green peppers refer to them as ‘capsicum.’ If someone invites you to ‘brekkie’ at ‘Maccas’ or ‘Hungry Jacks,’ you’ve just been invited to breakfast at either McDonalds or Burger King. Shopping carts are called trolleys.
Someone might greet you by saying ‘How ya goin’ mate?’ If you say thank you to someone they will likely respond ‘no worries.’ If they are saying ‘thank you,’ you will often hear ‘tah.’ If you hear someone yelling ‘Oi’ at you, pay attention, as it is equivalent to our ‘hey you.’ ‘She’ll be alright, mate,’ is a common expression indicating things should be OK even when to your eye things look bad.
It can be challenging to recognize the difference between an Australian and a New Zealand accent, as our uneducated ear cannot tell the difference. Do not make the mistake of calling an Aussie a Kiwi or vice-versa, as they will take this as an insult. You will often be identified as an American, but when you correct them, they will apologize and you will be warmly welcomed.
Australia is generally very hot and so the government has launched a health campaign called “Slip, Slop, Slap.” This means slip on a shirt, slop on some 30 plus sunscreen and slap on a hat. This is great advice and should be followed.
In Canada, while travelling during early evening and at night, we pay particular attention to deer on the highway. In Australia, the problem is the same, but different. Here it is kangaroos. The best advice I received — if I were faced with a collision involving a kangaroo — do not swerve to avoid them. They are very unpredictable and can jump in any direction without warning. Apparently, more people are killed or injured by crashing into a tree by the side of the road while trying to avoid a kangaroo than actually hitting a kangaroo.
Australia is a wonderful place to visit. The people are friendly, the weather is marvelous, and the beaches are spectacular. The food is just different enough to be interesting and driving on the wrong side of the road adds just enough excitement to make a road trip memorable. I highly recommend a trip down under.