Saturday, March 14, 2015

Australia tidbits

If there were a way to sum up how young white men dress in Sydney, Australia, it would be summery metrosexual. So many peg-legged pants and shorts that seem a little too short paired with tattoo sleeves and Birkenstocks or flip flops.

Okay I take that back. That was in a particular neighborhood reminiscent of Bushwick or Greenpoint.  But there are still a lot of shorts and Birks. Lots of shorts on women, too. I looked like a middle aged German man wearing capris. Oh well. Gesundheit.

Australia gets the concept of drinking water with your alcohol. Almost every bar we went to had a reservoir of water which patrons can help themselves to. In one bar's restroom was even a sign reminding ladies that water with your beer helps keep your head on straight. Sponsored by Diageo no less.

Many bars are located in what were formerly hotels or are still small boarding houses upstairs. "The reason dates back to late nineteenth century when, after pressure from conservative Christian groups known as the Temperance Leagues, new liquor legislation were implemented with a lot of restrictions, one of them forcing pubs to also provide accommodation. The presence of a few rooms (rarely used) and the "hotel" name then gave some impression the rules were being followed."

I can't be the only one who hears kangaroos referred to as roos by an Australian and assumes those are the babies. Kanga is the mom, obviously.

I'm so in love with passion fruits. They are the funniest little fruits -- a crunchy slushy in the ugliest shell.

Despite the news of Uber gouging desperate people trying to flee the hostage situation in Sydney a few months ago, Uber is not that well known in Sydney or Melbourne. Every driver we got was brand new to the job, some by only days. All were exceedingly polite and offered us mints and water.

It's hard to pick what to drink when everywhere we went there was such good beer and wine to drink. Australia does some lovely dry Rieslings, I discovered.

A lot of cool bars in Sydney are in hotels. Either former hotels or ones that have some simple lodging available -- old school pub style apparently. Don't quote me on this. That's just what I've pieced together.

Tasmania has the most micro climates I have ever encountered anywhere. When it rained, which was every day, it was only briefly and usually while it was sunny as well.

After practicing driving on the left in Scotland, it was much less harrowing this time. I even did it, with relatively few mishaps. I admit that I did turn into a grocery store parking lot on the right side of the road. I'm sure I got dirty looks but no one was hurt.

It didn't help that in the car we rented, the windshield wipers and the turn signal were reversed. Every stressful turn included a bit of wiper action. That was just a given.

See more photos here.