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Sunday
Feb052006

The Moose's Lament

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WCS (a.k.a. Moosehead, a.k.a. Mousehead) writes:

A flappy heads guide to life Down Under

Friends and family stuck back in Canada often asked in my first months in Australia if I were finding it difficult to adjust to life here. "Do they talk funny?" they would question. "Are there koala bears outside your bedroom window?" was another favourite. After envy at my photos from the beach when it was a chilly minus 38 in Toronto, the questions about life upside down were the most frequent.

With this in mind, I compiled a few tips for those willing to make the journey to the Lucky Country (although since not one of them has been here yet, maybe my list is utter nonsense – the other possible reason is too depressing). Perhaps it can help others as well. Here are a few of the things that helped me adjust to being a Sydneysider.

People:

Yes, Australians have an accent. A really great accent that is hard to resist. Combined with the Aussie's love of rhyming slang and shortening words you may find yourself asking people to repeat them. Words like arvo, cossie, clucky and others may be confusing. Hugely gregarious and welcoming group of people though – god love them, so don't be afraid to ask a question. Oh, and to my gorgeous single friends? Australian men are quite lovely.

Food:

Believe me when I tell you: The seafood here is superlative. I have very fond memories of sitting outside at a restaurant on the harbour in July (winter) and having chilli salt squid, followed by kingfish curry. Yum. The vino in Oz is also wonderful, as my liver will be very happy to tell you. Just do not let anyone feed you Vegemite. However, for a country that eats both animals on its Coat of Arms, (very very tasty, by the way) the Aussies have done it right with their approach to food. Make it to Oz and I will take you to the lovely places on my list.

The supermarket? May throw you for a loop the first time. The eggs are not in the dairy case. They are on a shelf in the grocery aisles. The weirdness does not stop there though. I could go on for hours about this but it's better if I show you. And if you'd like me to send you TimTams or Mint Slices (both chocolate biscuits made by Arnott's), I'm happy to be your pusher.

Sports:

Forget about hockey, kids. If you mention hockey here it is field hockey. (Mom, I can try and explain obstruction again if you need me to.) The big sports in Oz are cricket, rugby league, Australian rules football and rugby union. I have endeavored to understand cricket (and I love it) but still struggle to explain the difference between rugby league and rugby union. Just know – sports stars tend to become objects of much attention and adulation here. Wait, that is no different from the NHL.

Weather:

Winter in Sydney does not get too cold and be thankful for that as central heating is not in wide use. I wandered around my house last Aussie winter in my Roots Canada hat, down-filled jacket that kept me warm in Banff, fleece pants and wool socks. This may have been due to the 1cm gap between the floor boards and the walls in my room or the distinct lack of insulation as a building material. Thankfully I moved, and have been much warmer. The hottest it has been in Sydney in my time here has been 45 degrees. Ridiculous. But beats the heck out of Canadian winter.

The Country:

It's a fantastic place – amazing beaches, gorgeous coral reefs, great bush to hike through and mind-blowing canyons. I've never seen better stars in my life than I did on the Ningaloo coast and although they don't have the Aurora Borealis, the Southern Cross and seeing the sunset over the Indian Ocean is fairly spectacular too. The bio-diversity is amazing and the weather allows you to enjoy it all…

You'll feel right at home here. The 24 hour journey is worth it, and don't let the pesky crocodiles, sharks or drop bears scare you off… sg_moosehead_400.jpg894c3396-fee7-4be5-9e78-037790842e58Small.jpg

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Reader Comments (173)

WTF is a "Roots Canada" hat? You don't mean "Roots for Canada"?
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlambe, paris
Roots Canada is a clothing brand. They outfitted the Canadian Olympic team for the past few games and the clothes become a huge collecters item.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWCS
Oh, and thanks for letting me play Mal. Felt good to write - I appreciate it.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWCS
Nice Wendy! I'm sure you'll have your friends and family here in no time. And if they're anything like you they'd be welcomed with open arms and several glasses of wine!

Come on Wendy, Super 14 starts next week, if you'd like some training on the wonderful game of Rugby I'd be more than willing to be your tutor. Although I'm sure WJ and I might have to duke it out for that honour!

And if they miss the skiing, your countrymen would always head down to Perisher Blue in winter. It's about a tenth the price of Whistler too!! Plus we need all the Dale Begg-Smith's and their ilk we can get to be competetive in the Winter Olympics.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUncle B
Perisher Blue? Perish the thought. Has to be Thredbo.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlambe, paris
Nice one WCS, good to see someone else agrees that this country kicks arse!
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRob Byrnes
You cannot be serious!! Thredbo is full of wankers and Blue Cow has the best runs.

I will grant you though that Thredbo is better for infrastructure and accommodation etc.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUncle B
Thanks guys. And yes - someone needs to explain why Union is better than league - I've learned at least that much.

I do have to get to the snow this year - but it may have to be NZ, as I have a Qantas fare to use up. And the last place I was skiing was Banff, so not sure I can face anything that smacks of Ontario skiing.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWCS
"Blue Cow has the best runs". You serious? Yeah there's some wankers at Thredbo but on the other hand Perisher has the hoi polloi. Thredbo's closer to a European alpine village. Remember the Doug Mulray campaign? The parody of the Peter Stuyvesant Ad. "And where do the wankers go to ski? - who cares! Thredbo...we love it!"
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlambe, paris
It is simple WCS, league players when they get tackled are allowed to get up off the ground to restart, they are complete pussies They generally have the IQ of a broken toaster.
Union players when they get tackled are afforded the courtesy of both forward packs dancing on their heads for a while. The ball mysteriously reappears back into play via a branch of physics that the French will never understand.
They are not pussies, they have brains.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRob Byrnes
Oh Come on Malkie, I think everyone knows that Thredbo's like a fucking Staurday morning at Mosman. Everyone standing on their skis having a chat. All wankers.

I think since I mostly ski at Blue Cow/Guthega I miss all the Perisher wankers. And yes - I think Blue Cow has the best runs.
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUncle B
Yeah it is full of Mosman and Double Bay and North Shore arseholes BUT the skiing's good. Try Funnelweb - a black run or the Supertrail off the top of the mountain. Maybe you're a boarder?
February 5, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlambe, paris
Not a boarder - Nah - I think I'm going to NZ this year anyway. We have a free hotel stay given as a gift through the gf's work and they have a hotel in queenstown so we'll prbably take advantage of that. Maybe sometime down the track.

February 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUncle B
You have got to be kidding me Lambe, skiing in Aust is shite, crap snow, overpriced and overcrowded, too many idiots on snowboards degrooming the runs too.
Go to NZ for the same $$ I say.
February 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRob Byrnes
I'm driving the Benz to the Alps in 6 weeks. You can do 140 kph legally on the motorway (tollways) here. And a LOT of cars pass you doing, like, 200 ks. We've taken the TGV (Train Grande Vitesse) - the Very Fast Train in the past. "Her Indoors" is going to look after Lord Charles while I do my best to break my neck.
February 6, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlambe, paris
Try not to break your neck Lakie. We'd miss you around here. And who would enable our time wasting at work then?
February 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWCS
Malkie too. Le sigh. It is going to be a long week.
February 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWCS
Man those TGV's are awesome Lambe!
They are getting up to the 400kmh mark aren't they?
I thought 300kmh odd in the Shinkansen was fast!
February 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRob Byrnes
Byrnes you idiot, depends where you go and when. I've had some great skiing. New Zealand might have good snow but I can't stand their fuckin' accent. Although...my mate Michael has just come back from that Antarctic trip on M/V Orion and they stopped off at Christchurch. He reckoned it was the happening place. And he's no lover of Kiwis either.
February 6, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlambe, paris
Fastest trains in the world. You can do Paris Marseille in 3 1/2 hours (I think...I'll check) - like Sydney-Byron Bay distance.
February 6, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlambe, paris

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