Hey, Mate, What’s Different Down Under?
Yes, they do call their friends “mates,” and crocodiles really exist in abundance, waiting to chomp on unwary tourists. But there are a lot of different things you won’t necessarily have heard about or seen in the media, like different signs…
…and different foods.
There are very different plants…
…and insects (these green ants weave a nest of leaves, but don’t get too close, they bite!)
and speaking of ants, look at the size of the termite mounds here!
and then there are different animals, of course…
And different English! “We shorten all of our words,” I was told. Although a slight exaggeration, this is in large part true (fair dinkum means “is that true?”) University is uni, photographs are snaps, sunglasses are sunnies, afternoon is arvo, sausages are snags, and McDonalds is Maccas (yes, the golden arches are everywhere). A party store is bottle-o, and faking sick for school or work is chucking a sickie. They call dinner tea and bathing suits swimmers, and unsavory characters ratbags. Resale stores are op shops and many words that are spelled the same have emphasis on different syllables (oREgano vs oreGANo). Don’t forget that hiking is called bushwalking, and make sure you call your flip flops thongs.
A nice thing different financially is that the price on an item is the price you pay, the tax is already included! That goes for tipping as well. And their paper money is very different – it comes in rainbow colors with little clear windows.
They have nets in the ocean at the beaches to keep the stingers (jellyfish) and crocodiles out, however the crocs have been known to climb over the nets for a nibble.
And they laughed their heads off when I said I like their accent, mentioning that we in the US, the midwest in particular, don’t think we have one. Apparently I was mistaken.