Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Spring of my September

Australian money is gorgeous. The lovely hues are a beauty to behold...many countries have different colored bills, but these particular bank notes resemble the pastel colors of baby clothes. Adding to the perfection is the good quality of the notes- there is nary a tear or rip, because they're made of plastic! Another advantage of this currency is each one is a different length; the smallest denomination is the smallest note. Gee whiz it's logical.

Speaking of money, I have heard some rather astonishing statistics about the Australian economy. The unemployment rate now is down to around 5%, which is considered full employment (any less and inflation is feared). While the U.S. and many countries in Europe are struggling with twice that, or more in some areas, why has Australia been left out of the global financial crisis?? The short simple answer seems to be China's growing need for exported minerals. And we've got them in spades: It's the largest producers of opals, and down under the down under there is heaps of coal, aluminum, iron ore, nickel, gold, uranium, zinc, and diamonds.

In Victoria,the spring carnival on the horizon.  This is not any ol' pony trot, it is "The Celebration That Stops a Nation" according to the website. THEE preeminent horse race with the world's largest handicap, a cool 6 mil. It happens in early November and fans are closely tuned in everywhere, not just in Melbourne. I guess it's kinda like the Superbowl, except every man, woman and child on the continent is a fan. The richest Australian companies offer no competition to the richest folks in the gulf, so the major sponsor since 2005 has been Emirates International Airlines. Hmm.  Dressing up fancy is de rigueur, including head wear. In not many places I hang out could a woman wear one of these things besides for Halloween.  At the races the top milliners walk away with 20 grand in prize money. If you'd like to part with several hundred dollars this lovely topper could be yours.

Back on the non-decorative hat wearing home front, here's some snaps of the kid's woodworking projects.  She made the pencil box (the designs are miniature footprints) and his adjustable, foldable deck chair unfortunately will not be making the trip back home with us.

Here's a few more of the most Australian Australianisms I've come across recently. Other terms like 'ring' for call on the telephone and 'book' for reserve are a little mundane, but these are nifty:

rugged up: dressed warmly
chuffed: happy
dear: expensive
ute: truck or 4 wheel drive vehicle
gettin' good with a footy bag
stuffed up: messed up
dunny: port-a-potty
daggy: sloppy, usually referring to dress
dodgy: sketchy or suspicious
stubbie: short beer bottle
arvo: afternoon
bummies: short shorts
whoop-whoop: seems to be similar to hinterland, which is just inland, further inland is the bush, and then keep going and you're in the outback.

kissing a mosaic 'roo
At the Australia Zoo wildlife hospital, a koala is prepped for surgery after
being hit by a car

new school bag we made last night

Jabiru at the zoo
Birdlog: I've been trying to take note of all the varieties 'round here, and my list is at almost 30. I'm sure there are hundreds more however my aging eyes are slow and the birds are fast, but it's been fun to learn. Thanks to Scott and Cindy we have use of a field guide and are slowly getting familiar with all the incredibly colorful species here. These are just  a few of my recent finds (not this Jabiru, they live in northern Oz)

brush turkey...they are everywhere
spotted turtle dove
School holidays are upon us in a week, and we're venturing to the western third of the continent, creatively named Western Australia. We'll be visiting caves and hopefully catch some waves,  and there are penguins to be ogled at as well as wildflowers and some of the tallest trees in the world (outside our beloved redwoods). Tom returns from Bangkok on Wednesday, and then we're off to Perth on Saturday!


  1. Stephanie, you are such a good, interesting and creative writer. I like
    reading your blogs and I don't read many others.
    As far as the expressions, ring (to call someone is like to call on
    someone, to go see them), chuffed, dear and dodgy are common in the UK,
    too. You are probably familiar with chucked (threw) as in chucked my
    burger away. I still use so many expressions from my 12 years in the UK,
    like dollop. Love them!

    Have a good time in the West!

    xxox halimah

  2. I love reading all of your blogs, but I found this one particularly entertaining and find myself missing you all a little bit more than usual. Looking forward to your return.

    Love from Tovy and Alex too.

  3. Stephanie dearest, two comments...
    I promise, you can always come hang out at my house with your foofiest headdress and I will not require it to be Halloween.
    This DUNNY business........... Isn’t it a port-a-potty ~ as in portAble? But I LOVE port-OH-potties too
    Your news is all the news I need. I’m getting an international perspective without having to ponder exactly how immediately we are bringing the world to an end.
    I tire so quickly of the doom-n-gloom of the modern world.

  4. Love the pix! especially the lovely woodwork the kids did! I really enjoy hearing about the words they use there :) A lot is similar to UK & Ireland, naturally. Some are very important to use properly :) much love!