26 January 2006

Twenty-five weeks and counting

It was twenty-five weeks ago today that Heather and I stepped off the airplane, walked up George Street towards the Sydney Opera House, and saw a confederate flag hanging in a store window. In recognition of the past twenty-five weeks, I have compiled a list of twenty-five interesting facts about Sydney/Australia/Southern Hemisphere/ Whatever-else-I-found-interesting.
  1. Many Aussie males use the term “mate” frequently.
  2. The only Aussies who use the term “G’day” work in the tourism industry or live in the sticks.
  3. The hole in the ozone layer is directly over Australia.
  4. Eggs aren’t refrigerated at the grocery store.
  5. Cilantro is coriander.
  6. Cell phones are mobiles.
  7. 911 is 000.
  8. Uluru was once considered the largest monolith in the world. Not only is it not the largest (Mt Augustus in Western Australia is 2.5 times larger), it is, in fact, not a monolith at all.
  9. Don’t tip. They don’t want it. They are afraid if too many people tip, their wages will be cut.
  10. Passengers in taxis sit in the front with the driver, as a show of equality.
  11. El Caminos are alive and well in Australia, except they are called Ford Pursuits and Holden Utes.
  12. Drivers here are insane. Not in a speedy, aggressive, American way, but rather an “I’m going to do a five-point U-turn in the middle of this narrow street with cars parked on both sides, and I don’t care how much traffic is surrounding me” sort of way.
  13. “I reckon...” is a commonly used phrase, even in the city.
  14. Australia lost the Ashes, a cricket test series with England held every eighteen months, in 2005 for the first time in sixteen years. An illustrative picture of this prize can be found here and an explanation of its origin here.
  15. The southern hemisphere contains only 30% of the Earth’s total land mass. In fact, the ratio of water to land between 30° and 60° N is 1:1, but 16:1 within the same range in the southern hemisphere.
  16. Less than 10% of the world’s population is in the southern hemisphere.
  17. Roughly one in five Australians lives in Sydney.
  18. Australia is the home of the world’s most lethal species of:
  19. Australia is believed to be the only country that eats its own national symbol, the kangaroo.
  20. Cultural Cringe refers to the embarrassment over Australian events or entities that other countries may find to be humorous and/or stupid, e.g. Steve Irwin.
  21. Voting is compulsory.
  22. Australia has no Bill of Rights.
  23. It is illegal to drive with your arm out of the window [Part 16 Rule 268 (3)].
  24. Contrary to popular belief, water does not drain in opposite directions in the northern and southern hemispheres. Any particular swirl has more to do with tub/basin/drain design, construction, and installation than its position relative to the Equator. Most sinks, toilets, and drains I have encountered do not swirl at all, but rather go straight down.
  25. “In the southern hemisphere” is a frequently used qualifier (in the southern hemisphere.)

1 comment:

Brian Witty said...

I particularly liked comment #24, which I find to be quite fitting for you, especially since your # is 24!