Oct 14, 2004
|Melbourne and the unique culture of Australia
Our time in Melbourne was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and to visit old "haunts". Melbourne is cold in September and October, and although the sun can be hot during the day. As with our last visit, we were colder here, than anywhere else. Houses are not insulated. If central heating is in place, it may have the heat registers on the ceilings, and work only intermittently, and the floors tend to be quite cold - taking your shoes off in the house, as we didin Japan,, results in very cold feet. In one place we stayed, the inside temperature was 13 degrees C in the morning. We used our fleece coats often.
Cultural norms that we donot seem to have:
•People interrupt one another, and talk like the other person does not exist. It is a problem if you are the person being addressed, andyou wish to be respectful of both parties.
•Driving on the left,looking right before crossing the road, and walking on the right are very difficult to get used to.
•Food portions are, on the whole, very large and high fat.
•The accent is beautiful. We hear the words much better than we did.
•Chocolate and biscuits are far superior to ours
•These people laugh at themselves a lot
•If you talk to people, they are very welcoming. In Port Fairy, at the store where we were accessing the internet, the manager with the very pronounced "Australian accent was Canadian - from Edmonton. He moved here in 200.
•There is a special relationship we enjoy with these people, especially when they find out where we are from.
•Computer technology continues to lag behind, and communication is quite expensive. It is hard to talk on the phone when you need to continue to put in money. In Canada especially, we enjoy very good communication.
•The clean air. Blue skies, and beautiful clouds are a reminder of Calgary.
•The education system is superior to ours. It shows in the language people use, the respect for one another in the culture, and the organization of society. Investments in education are long term. It takes years to see benefits. It is the same for poor education - it take years for impact to be fully expressed, but I believe we are starting to see changes today.
•The beauty of the culture for me - it is an interesting mix of Canadian and British with a yearning for the American hype. For me, the beauty rests in the difference here -- the communication is not as easy and the distance from North America means that change is not as fast. There is a folksiness and a uniqeness to the culture, that we rarely enjoy. We have a rare opportunity here to take our tuckerbag, stop by any billabong we see, and enjoy the Coolabah tree. I will be careful to not take the Jumbuk, take only pictures, and leave only my footprints. Fair Dinkum for today.