Saturday, May 30, 2015

Random Observations Down Under

Any time a person travels, that person will no doubt observe some funny random moments -- unusual habits, interesting or bewildering slang, customs that are done a little differently from home. I collected a list of things while traveling in Australia and New Zealand. These are my random observations.

Some of the slang I already knew. I started writing them down as soon as I heard them. For example, right away, when going through customs in the Sydney airport, a customs worker said "ta" when I put my luggage in the right place.

A hotel worker said "g'day" to me.

I heard a guy on the phone saying to his friend, "see ya, mate." Eventually I heard "mate" many times here and there.

"Bugger me" = I heard man say "bugger me, my ..... whatever... isn't going well." Can't remember his exact words. This one means something like, "my bad luck" or "what a bummer."

Learned these new words. I hope they are not offensive:
wogs = Italians
poms = Brits

A guy at Hubby's trade show said, "Let me just check this over and make sure it's all tickety-boom."

A guy will be called "Mack" if his name isn't known.

In a previous post I already told the story of "return trip" meaning the same as what I call "round trip." After I returned home I heard this on a radio news story.. a person from Sydney had flown to Ireland at the time of the same-sex-marriage vote, and had paid so-many dollars for a "return trip." For an instant I was confused again.. thinking that was for the trip BACK to Sydney only. Then I remembered that it meant "round trip." A lesson I learned that helped me back home! Cool.

Salt and pepper shakers--
Here in USA we put salt in the shaker that has bigger and/or more holes. We put pepper in the shaker with small and/or fewer holes. In both Australia and New Zealand it is the other way around. I learned this by attempting to put "salt" on my eggs. It was awfully dark salt! So from then on, I tested every shaker on a napkin before using it on my food.

Restaurants, including fast-food --
All of them were "leave your dishes on the table" style. I never saw a place for customers to return their own dishes to a platform and scrape your own plate (though I kept looking). They tended to be not very generous with napkins (serviettes?) or with ketchup (tomato sauce, pronounced "to-mah-to.") You'd get one tiny squeeze packet or part of a tiny cup with a bit of ketchup in it. They must not consume ketchup by the bucketful like some Americans do. I personally don't, so I was fine.. just noticed that it wasn't even available sometimes, even with "chips" (fries).

All I had to do was open my mouth and utter one word, and the question would be "which part of North America are you from?" It felt funny being the person with an accent (but hey, it was my turn to experience this).

I tried to get photos of the different signage I saw. The first one, below, is a striped cross-walk, and it's pronounced "zeh-bra." The second one is just a really cool place name.

This must be where a person goes to find some really handsome "mates."

above: hardware store says "It's your local." Then there is a kangaroo-crossing sign. I saw two koala-crossing signs, too, but they came up too quickly; I couldn't grab a photo. I hate to think of cute little koalas trying to cross a highway. That's how they end up in the Koala Hospital.

a speed limit sign -- 110 km/hour = 68 miles/hour

Well, as you see, none of this is very profound.. just the interesting or odd things one runs across on a daily basis when traveling.

P.S. I never did see the swagman in the billabong.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Down Under, Chapter 7

I'm sad to be writing the last chapter. We would love to go back and have more time to explore New Zealand. We saw only Auckland while there. We would have had time to explore a little more, for example there are ferries to islands around Auckland. But Hubby was tired after his conference. He needed a day to just hang out and rest. And we were both getting tired of spending money on extras such as entrance fees, transportation, and eating out. We were feeling ready to get back home.

We did enjoy Auckland. The weather there is interesting. In our morning bus-tour hours we had clouds, rain, wind, and sunshine. The weather can change in a moment! Here's the Sky Tower in different weather conditions. It was close to our hotel, and a good landmark for finding our way back home after exploring the city.

The brown building is the Ferry Building. Next one is the War Memorial Museum which is excellent. It has much more in it than just war memories.

We attended a live Maori performance at the museum. It was excellent.

Here is my brush with fame. I saw this person and thought she looked a lot like Molly Quinn who plays the daughter on the TV show "Castle." Hubby didn't think so. I'll admit I was being a sneaky paparazzi person. I hid behind a column upstairs and waited for her to look away from her phone. I never did get a very good face shot. But, after returning home I did some sleuthing, and my BIL did also, and we confirmed that this person is, in fact, the real Molly Quinn. She was in NZ with a touring group and performed in Auckland later the same night that I saw her. Cool!! I present to you, my good friend, Molly Quinn.

My husband being photographed as he ate lunch at the museum café. A bride being photographed outside the museum. Two guys in "outfits" being photographed at an intersection. Maybe they'll appear in some fashion magazine, and I can claim another brush with fame???

The Skytower is everywhere!!!

Auckland from above (inside the Skytower, of course), including the Skytower shadow.

Suddenly a body whizzed by. People were jumping off the top of Skytower! Here's a picture where you can just see some feet at the very top of the photo. I clicked a split second too soon.. the jumper whizzed by, and I thought I had missed him or her, and I was mostly right, except I got the toes! LOL. Here's one of the jumpers, but he's so blurry.. he's the blob in the middle of the photo, with knees bent, feet by his butt, facing to the right.

On our way out, we met the jumper down below. He was going back up for another jump.

Sunset from Skytower:

On our last day we took a short ferry ride to a neighborhood called Devenport. It was a nice shopping and restaurant area, fun to walk around and look at the cute houses and gardens, AND -- I found a beautiful quilt shop there! I was so excited, because I had about given up hope of finding one in NZ. I was able to buy some unique-to-New-Zealand fabrics. That made my day!

Interesting trees in Auckland: they twist and turn all over the place and take up LOTS of space.

Our fabulous trip had to come to an end. We were eager to get home, but full of wonderful, happy memories of a lovely holiday. Remember how I said we lost May 5 on our way over to Australia? On the way home, we had the longest day on earth. We arrived in Los Angeles before we left Auckland, and we gained another whole day. We arrived home on May 21, but really, we had already experienced several hours of May 21. Funny world we live in, isn't it?
... in the Auckland airport.

P.S. Our cat was happy to see us back home, but yelled at us for half a day, to make sure we knew how terrible it had been for us to leave him! (Daughter was feeding and checking on him.. he was just being dramatic.) Now it's back to real life and responsibilities.... do I have to??