Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, right? It’s true for a package of Swedish Fish and season finales and of course vacations. In this case I’m talking about vacations. But what a time was had. Those Aussies know how to host us visitors. They have a country filled with nice people, eye-popping scenery, and charmingly hypnotic accents. No wonder they all seem so darn happy. They get to listen to each other talk all day long.
I learned a lot from my trip abroad. For one thing I now know I can travel light with only a few pairs of shoes (one being a pair of $15 flip flops) and enough clothes for 5 days (even though we were gone for more than 2 weeks.) Laundry on the road? Who knew!? (Thanks, Marin!) It’s easy. I haven’t worn a heel in weeks, went days without so much as lip gloss and due to the tropical weather my faux-simple straight, short hair was a tangled marsupial nest everywhere but the 2 days we spent in the Outback. Not a fair trade. I’ll take the frizz over the heat any day.
Telling you about my 2 week jaunt would probably be as entertaining as telling you about my super weird crazy dreams (there were clowns, cruise ships and Fudgey the Whale. Yeah. Scary.) So I’ll skip that part. I will instead present you all with a list of why I Heart Australia.
Shelly Mazzanoble’s Top 7 Reasons to Love Australia:
1. Qantas Airlines
*Best dressed flight attendants (silk wrap dresses anyone?)
*Great food including an extensive vegetarian menu
*No shortage of said great food. Even on a 45-minute flight we got fed
*Hot chocolate before bed!
*Customer Service Agents, Simon & Gary. I never saw them but I heard their soothing voices telling me what altitude we were flying, when I could expect breakfast, offering hot towels, how to declare the 59 pounds of Cadbury chocolate I was importing. I miss you, Gary & Simon.
*Weird, subliminal messages piped through my headphones every time we hit a bit of turbulence. Did I dream this or did I really hear said soothing, hypnotic voice explain the dictionary definition of turbulence and why it’s nothing to fear? I still don’t know if it was real or if the two Tylenol PMs I took right after take off were having their way with me, but who cares? It worked. I got in a good 7 hours in a row of sleep.
2. The accents
I’m not one to swoon over an accent. In fact they tend to make me stupid in the sense that I’ll get so caught up in the odd way they’re pronouncing “calendar” I won’t listen to the rest of the sentence and therefore find myself constantly going, “What? Say that again?”
The Australian accent is different. Sure there were times I got stupid but not because I didn’t understand them. Similar to the Qantas subliminal messages about turbulence, I find the Australian lilt incredibly hypnotic.
3. Cute Abbreviations for Not Necessarily Cute Words
Sure we’ve all heard “Barbie” as in “put another shrimp on.” But there’s also “outtie” as in “you know how hot it gets in the outtie this time of year, right?” and “brekkie” as in “make sure you get in a good brekkie before you hit the outtie as it could be your last meal.”
Forget emus and vegemite and shrimp and meat pies. Australians have a sweet tooth and they’re not afraid to embrace it. On the search for an innocent bottle of water that didn’t cost $8, we hit the local grocery store. Eureka! When I wandered into the candy aisle I felt like the mother ship had finally come to take me home. The candy aisle is on the most aesthetically pleasing visions I’ve ever seen. Both sides of the aisle are dedicated to the pandering of candy, candy and more candy. The WHOLE aisle, people! And this doesn’t count the end caps. We thought maybe it was just because we happened to be there near-ish Easter but then we saw the Easter candy section. In it’s own section!
All this coupled with the dessert and coffee bars lining every street makes me miss Australia even more. So what if none of my pants fit when I came home. When in Rome… or in this case, the greatest country in the world.
5. The Great Pumpkin
Okay I’m food obsessed. Big deal. I had some fantastic meals in Australia thanks to their very creative use of pumpkin. That’s right. Pumpkin. It was a week into my pumpkin on everything fest that I learned what I was supping on wasn’t the pumpkin I’m familiar with.
My first thought was, “Oh no, don’t tell me pumpkin is a rarely talked about cousin to the koala!”
No need to panic. What Australians call pumpkin, we call butternut squash. Whatever. You say squash, I saw pumpkin. It’s good on pizza, in pasta, even spread on a sandwich. And here’s another perk—no matter where you are on the continent you can always find several good vegetarian choices.
6. Word on the Street
While we’re on the topic of food—and when aren’t we really—here’s another tidbit I quite enjoyed. So a pumpkin is a butternut squash but did you know a red pepper is known as capsicum and raisins are sultanas? Arugula is rocket lettuce and that’s something we should adapt over here. What kid wouldn’t want to eat a bowl of something called rocket?
Marin and I so endeared by this secret language bought a giant box of Sultana Bran and dined on it every morning. Is it me or do sultanas taste better than raisins? Okay it’s me.
It’s not just food items that get a make over. A few of my favorites: Bottle shop = liquor store. Trading hours = hours of operation. And hire = rent.
7. Excellent Use of Time Management Skills
Contrary to popular opinion (including every guide book on Australia) one of the greatest sights in all of Australia is not the “famous” sunset on Uluru. Don’t even get me started on that. And no, it’s not even the “jewel of Australia,” Kakadu Forest. Please don’t get me started on that! One of my favorite highlights was a drive up bottle shop.
Sure in theory a drive up liquor store might not sound like the safest idea but it sure is practical. They even have a lane for browsing and one for express sales.
Here in our neck of the woods you can have as many mochachinos and snickerdoodles you can possibly stomach all without leaving your car but I have a feeling drive up liquor stores wouldn’t fly. You can’t even have strippers and alcholol within the same confines. I can’t imagine permitting Mr. Jim Beam to ride shotgun along with your dry cleaning, bank deposit and tardy library books.
I know there are more reasons than 7 to love Australia but I also know the longer I sit here and write about it the more I miss it and the longer it will take to post this. So 7 is better than nothing. Thanks for indulging me.
Stay tuned for the Top 7 Reason I Hate Marin!