Monday, 6 March 2017
Aloha! Greetings from Hawaii! I felt compelled to write this blog after being here a few days. Australians are passionate about their coffee and I once thought Americans were too. However after living in Australia for 18 years and visiting The USA periodically I've come to the conclusion that on balance, Americans don't know what good coffee is. Drip coffee is horrible and most people drink it like coloured water. It is repulsive and the garbage they give you in hotel rooms could be classified as poison. Then if you go to order a speciality coffee from a Starbucks or a Seattle, it's made with no love whatsoever. I just ordered a Seattle's Best and it's simply not the best. I found the same experience when we were in New York last year. You can't make coffee like McDonald's cheeseburgers! It can't be from an assembly line. There is an art to making good coffee and you can actually taste the difference in Australia from person to person who makes your latte or whatever you have from the same coffee house. Apparently there is an Australian coffee house near the Hard Rock Cafe here and they pride themselves on making real coffee. I'm going to go check it out. We found an Australian coffee house in Dallas last year and it was wonderful. I'm thinking my experience with the Aussie coffee house in Wai Kiki will be the same.
Thursday, 12 January 2017
Happy New Year and I'm Back! I know you've missed me!! This is one of many blogs about beer. To start though, Aussies are passionate about their beer. They're passionate about how a good draft beer is poured. I never understood this until I actually moved here. When we were living in Seattle, we had visitors for a few days and one of them told me when we were out on a ferry ride that we didn't know how to pour a beer. He was complaining about how flat it was and how it had no head and that it was a 'plastic' glass. I must admit that I took 'some' offense to it. I didn't yet really understand the big deal. I mean beer is beer right? So what if it's in a plastic glass and if there's no head that means more beer to drink right? And if it's flat, it must be easier to drink right? That's what I thought. But lets face it. Americans don't mind drinking beer from plastic party cups or out of a can. Generally we don't keep it cold enough at a pub and bartenders don't really have a passion for or perhaps don't know how to pour a draft beer with a decent head on it. Usually it comes out flat and it's not cold enough. On the other hand, Aussie beer is tailor made for a hot day and it's carbonated just right and bartenders take some pride with pouring a good beer. When we visited The States last year it only reconfirmed this. I know Americans are passionate about beer too but this is usually with boutique micro-beers, not a good Lager. So when you visit Australia, go to a good old school Aussie Pub and order a Schooner (I'll tell you more about that later) of New and find out what I'm talking about. Enjoy!
Tuesday, 13 December 2016
In this heat and with the papers saying to brace ourselves for a very hot summer, I felt obliged to tell you about the beach attire here. While you don't just stroll down every beach and see topless women, tops can be optional. I've taken a couple of visitors that I have picked up from the airport and have taken their weary selves to breakfast at Coogee Beach. It's a long plane ride from anywhere so I also welcome them to Australia with a visit to the beach before we go to our place. On any given day and I've yet to disappoint yet, you'll stumble across ladies who thought it was too hot to wear a top. Who can blame them, it's hot and one wants to get an even tan right? There's a code for this amongst men. While you're at the beach you may get asked if you saw any White Pointers. That's not shark talk, that's the code for topless women. But while you're out and if you see white pointers you don't look straight at them, it's like looking at The Sun. It's just not done! But there's also a flip side to all of this. Men, and often times OLD men wear their Dick Stickers (Speedo's) to the beach. It's not pretty, it's not pretty at all. And again you don't look. You just don't look!
Monday, 12 December 2016
Ok I've also had to re-learn how to spell but that's for another blog. I just took my better half to the Roads and Maritime Services to get her licence renewed. This is a completely different experience altogether than what many of my American friends would be used to. There are people with smiles on their faces and they greet you upon entry! They asked us what we needed and went and grabbed the right form to us and printed out our number. We were then pleasantly greeted by the staff member behind the counter when our number was called. We found out that we were eligible for a 50% discount today for which I have no idea why but we weren't asking questions! We were in and out of there in 10 minutes including the photo session and when we finished we were asked if we wanted to quickly take part in a customer service survey on a touch screen at the exit door. On the flip side, I've sat for hours in The States in a jam packed understaffed environment where patience and tempers are on edge. I think the last time we were visiting home we spent half an afternoon at the Department of Licensing and when we finally got to the counter, I was accused of a hit and run in California at some stage while I was living in Australia. It took me a while to convince the authorities that they had the wrong man... Today was a much better experience!
Sunday, 11 December 2016
Everything is bigger and more dangerous in Australia, Right? One of the things I've enjoyed about being here is being able to tell stories to my friends and family who have never been here. I've told one of my friends who was about to go water skiing in a safe river that he'd probably be ok just before he got in the water. Just don't crash too close to the mangroves because of the crocodiles. The look on his face was priceless as he asked me did he really want to be doing this. I took one of my other visitors out with me for work one day. I did work in the bush. He didn't get out of the car the whole time. For the life of me I don't know what he was afraid of, but he wasn't getting out. Course this is the same guy I told that I had found a blue tongue lizard under the house and he asked me how big they get. At that stage I knew I had him so I said, not very big only about 5 feet long. Then there's The Outback. I've been all over this country for work and for pleasure. I've been places where you may not see someone for a while. But every time I ask someone when I'm what I'm thinking is way out there and maybe this is the outback, they always tell me it's somewhere out there and they point somewhere further away. Of course there are risks, but then again people get attacked by mountain lions while jogging every once in a while as well.
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Most men around the world are passionate about barbecuing. However the Australian barbecue is a different experience altogether. In the states men will convene around the barbecue but it is an unwritten rule that you don't touch someone else barbecue. If you're attending a barbecue in the states and you're hanging out with the fellas around the barbecue, you're simply there for moral support. You don't even make a suggestion to the host barbecuer around technique and so forth. However in Australia the guys (blokes) are hovering around like vultures waiting for the lion to leave the carcass for their chance at the tongs. If you leave for a split second, perhaps you forgot the salt and you put your tongs down they're in and you're basically relegated to the back of the line. And Aussies all have their own way. They can't leave things alone, they keep turning the sausages and tapping things and perhaps pour a little beer on a few items. They'll move everything around and there is plenty of unsolicited advice from the peanut gallery. It took me a while to get used to but hey, if someone wants to cook on my barbecue then great! I'll just sit back and drink my beer and if it's not good, nobody can blame me! HA! Aussies will also throw everything but the kitchen sink on the Barbecue. I myself have even cooked christmas bacon and eggs on our barbecue many times and will do so this year. The Aussie barbecue is something special and by the way I've never heard anyone here say, "throw a shrimp on the barbie." They're called Prawns not Shrimp.. But yes, prawns are done on the Barbecue as well. Enjoy!
Monday, 5 December 2016
One of the first lessons I learned upon arrival in Australia was not to take myself too seriously. Coming from America, we tend to be a little more uptight. We don't even know it but it's in our general culture. Australians enjoy 'ripping' people off, and that's not stealing it's giving one a good natured well intended hard time. Aussies will tell you that if they're not giving you a hard time, that's when you need to be worried. It's part of friendships here. It took me a little while but I really do enjoy the humour here and actively engage in the banter.