last bit of differences…

It was incredibly difficult spending our last few days in Brisbane with the Dray-ras family knowing that our full six weeks in Oz just “whooshed” by. While we all knew our continued journey would by amazing and have lots of great, new experiences, it was still troublesome building up to a goodbye (for a couple years until they come and hit our Northern climate!). Their kids spent the last two days at home with us fooling around, playing and relaxing which was very nice. Then they dove us to the airport for a last big meal together before we ran off to security just in time to board the plane to Singapore. Robert, Leesie, Riley, & Emile… we’ll miss you guys! and thanks for making our visit down under so hospitable and memorable!!!

A few last (last for Australia that is) differences in things that struck us are noted below:

Fuel pumps – To fill up vehicles is much slower because there is and less pull distance, and not once have we seen a holding catch. Bummer for us lazy people. The flow still stops as soon as there is the slightest bit of backsplash into the nozzel though.

BBQ’s – One campground we used in the last week had a half grill / half fry plate. The open flame side was filthy though so we bought some gorgeous porterhouse steaks and a brush and received serveral weird looks from others walking by that night. The one REALLY cool thing here is that many public parks have free or low cost ($1 for 20 min) coin operated ones available for use. On one tour boat we took, they BBQ’d on a half ‘n half, but sadly only used the open flame part to warm a large pan of poached fish…

Farm fields – same as Oilberta except the trees are much closer to the road here, and roads tend to be quite a bit windy-er on the secondary highways.

Crib boards – haven’t seen one at all in Oz, never mind a fold up travel board for us as a family

Toilettes dual flush mode – We started noticing this in Latin America but it seems to be practically EVERY single toilette here in Australia. Their are typically two buttons: with with a low volume of water and that doesn’t seem to have excessive force, (for urine). This lighter stage probably uses slightly less water than our usual single flush toilettes in Canada. The other “ferocious mode” lasts about 3-4 seconds longers, seems to have much more water behind it, and has an abundance of pressure that I would expect to force even the biggest of pices of solid human waste down the tubes. If you try and do two stage flushing while sitting down, all of your cheeks are gonna be soaked! Often times you’ll need to wipe the seats of fresh water that splashed up as well. This of course goes hand in hand with:

Water Conservation: For the Alberta government Enviroment departmet (or the GNWT’s for that matter) to talk about water conservation seems completely off track and irrelevant for most of Canada. Here, it is a simple fact of life, and not something to be (even slightly) trifeled (sp?)with. They have increasing levels of severity with all kinds of associated restrictions for each. The Brisbane area has apparently been at level for for well over a year now which means they get penalized havily for any quantity used over a monthly quota. I forget what that number is (I’ll ask Claudette and update this space later) but it was not at all less than the amount that almost all homes in Taloyak used due to in-house water tank deliveries and no underground lines. It was ample for a family of four to live life and do laudry on, but certainly not enough to water lawns or gardens with, (or wash cars ect). Most people here are buying large plastic tanks to drain their gutters into to use outside.

Urinals – have all been troughs since we left Canada. I haven’t seen a single stall porcelin urinal other than passing briefly through LAX way back… The urinal troughs can get quite creative however, from creatively tiled artwork, to stainless steel beamoths that are shiny and blinding to look at (especially when there are skylights above.

Public bathrooms – are seemingly few and far between! Practically no restraunts have them (as is the law in Canada) and we frequently struggeled in small towns to find public facilities. Most often they were in the main town square park or behind the largest pub. When needing to wash up before or after a meal out, waitresses or owners were only too happy to tell us that the nearest sink was “just accross the street, down a block and a half, and then a dogleg left accross the forest over there between those two tall buildings” Rather exasperating…

Eggs – In Latin America and all throughout Australia eggs are not refrigerated. There are sold in stores on a regular shelf and people don’t seem to bother about refridgerating them at home or camping either???? I forgot to ask Leesa-Maree about this…

My Beard – must be weird chemicals in the air here, but on occasion when it grows for a few days, it seems to be bleached considerably from the usual dark brown/black to a much lighter color. Almost grey… very bizzare!

Shopping carts – all four wheels swivel, which makes it seemingly much more awkward to control. Good in tight spaces but terrible for tracking a straight line down the aisles. Even worse is watching customers come out with loaded carts and the entrance ways and parking lots have slopes. A few baby carriages I’ve noticed lately are like this as well.

3 Responses to “last bit of differences…”

  1. Tim says:

    Cool post.

    The refridgerating the egg concept seems to be a North American thing. They don’t do it in Europe either (well, Germany of the Netherlands, anyway) because eggs need to be at room tempreature for many types of cooking (especially baking).

    Some big bos stores in Canada also have the four-wheel swivel thing happening. I find it makes the cart wander, especially when you have have a couple of kids hanging off it.

  2. Rick says:

    Indeed… we are scaremonger freaks perhaps?

  3. Helena says:

    The lighter beard has nothing to do with chemicals, Rick. It’s impending old age creeping up on you! Glad you guys are having fun!