Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things are different here

Tom is modeling a traditional Queenslander headdress worn during ceremonial witchety grub eating festivals.

Just kidding!! this is a seed pod that fell out of one of our coconut trees.

Australians spend dollars, use the internet, walk on the beach, and watch "So You Think You Can Dance?". From time to time they forget where they put their keys, gaze at the moon, plant veggies, and get annoyed with people they love. Sounds like home, eh? Except for.....

After work they might go to the BWS (Beer*Wine*Spirits) which is a drive through bottle shop. Yup, you don't even have to get out of your car. It's a carport type building selling all varieties of booze, which you can't buy in grocery stores. It works like this: with the motor running, tell the nice man which one, how many, give him the money, and you get the goods in your hands there at the wheel(on the right side of course) and off you go. I suppose folks have been known to open these recently purchased bottles while they are driving, but we have not seen a preponderance of drunk drivers here. The BAC level that will get you in trouble here is only .05%, but the penalties seem similar to the U.S. If caught driving while talking on the phone the consequences are much stiffer however. We are not planning to have any first hand experience with either of these laws.

Aussies probably think we Yanks are strange for having so many drive-through food places. Coolum and surrounds don't have them, but perhaps they exist in the bigger cities. I find food to be an interesting aspect of a foreign experience; can't get by a day without it! Naturally there is a dearth of Los Bagels bagels here and the substitutes we tried were not quite up to snuff. The supermarkets are not so different; the stores are large and have many familiar items. The names of certain foods are not the same however: silverbeet is chard; mince is ground meat; full cream is homogenized milk; biscuits and bickies are cookies, rocket is arugula, and these foodstuffs are transported out to your car in a trolley not a cart. Eggs are not refrigerated but sold on the shelf, high fructose corn syrup is not a common ingredient, and dogs have it good here as there is a large refrigerated section in every store devoted to specialized dog food! We have had some excellent lamb (the three oldest non-veg members of the family anyway) as it seems to be the national food of sorts, that and meat pies. Think chicken pot pie in more varieties and without the pasty gravy stuff.

Nutrition information dissemination seems to be a little behind America. Our landlord left behind some past issues of a magazine called "Healthy Food Guide" and the letters to the editor (in 2005) discuss how nifty it is that a magazine like this is finally available in Australia. I guess America is somewhat obsessed with food/diet/nutrition stuff; we have dozens of these magazines! Interestingly, the OZ counterpart to the food pyramid recommends only one serving of protein per day. Tom has been quite "Kilojoules Conscious" (1KJ = 4.18 calories)and I am happy to report that our regular forays to the gym have officially resulted in a reduction of kilos for the pair of parent Perretts.

We went a'fishin' yesterday! We bought used fishing gear from a nice old gent in the next town over who collects two categories of items: fishing rods and golf clubs. Tom says that this is a sign from the gods as fishing and golfing are his two new new Auzzie hobby goals. We walked down to the beach at the wrong time of day but we caught one anyway. It was a small 8" sand whiting (we're rounding it up to 10-12" for the record books) but it was heaps of fun and we only threw the line into the surf a couple of times. Didn't exactly catch dinner, but it certainly christened the pole for bigger catches in the near future.


  1. I like Tom's "go-native" garb(!), and I bet he's on to something with the little used fishing/golfing place. Caroline Myss, mystic, says pay heed when the small and humble appear in your life as what appears to have little promise often has the most! Thanks for another interesting, fun post, Steph!

  2. Tom,
    Glad to see that the coconut-based cosmetic surgery was so effective. Thanks for the picasa photos. Yes, you have at least four eyes in Pasadena peeking at your pics. By the way, I saw that an Ozzie Sheila -- yes I think that was her name -- won the women's snowboard at the Olympics. She really knows how to go downhill. But I can do that.
    Good Day, 'Mate.
    Sean and Dianne

  3. thanks so much for keeping us updated!!! sounds so great and so many new experiences!!! wow!!!
    miss you all...andrea and hannah and family

  4. "steph -- i love reading your blog. you really document life down under well. for some reason i cannot become a member of your blog ... technology. so please keep sending the head's up.
    steve and david are going to shasta today ... david is going to tahoe with riley next week. thinking of you and love you.
    xo vickie"