Monday, April 25, 2011

On Holiday

Australia is a wonderful country. They have nice weather AND a very relaxed perspective about work. Take, for example, their reaction to the quandary that ANZAC day (like the US Memorial Day) happened to fall on the Monday after Easter Sunday. This would normally be a day off for Easter, but since it was now attributed to ANZAC it was decided that Tuesday should also be a holiday (to extend the Easter festivities). Mind you, this is already after getting Good Friday off, so that means a 5 day weekend for a religious holiday few people in this country actually observe.

All this would be fabulous if it weren't for the fact that I have things to do and many shops are closed - making it hard to run errands - so instead I wandered about and made some new friends.

One important thing my new friends taught me was the proper pronunciation of Melbourne. I was saying Melburn. The British say Melborn as in The Bourne Identity. The locals say Melbun. At least that is how it sounds to my ear. It seems the general rule here is to drop letters when possible, especially when they can be shortened and made cuter by adding a 'y'. To name a few: football => footy, breakfast => brekky, super => supa.

I've also enjoyed a few shop names along the way: Lucky Coq is a bar where, presumably, you can pick up guys, if they are lucky. Lord of the Fries is a cute little Pomme Frites shop. NYPD is NY Pizza Deli, which sells "authentic NY pizza" to unsuspecting Aussies.

On my first day here I was quite pleased to see a lake full of black swans and have a live encounter with possums in my friend's backyard. At this point I started to wonder about my assumption that the dangerous creatures of this land were scared away by the city. I was assured that the hospitals have all the antivenoms on hand for any spiders I may encounter and the most deadly ones don't live in Melbourne. I started noticing spider webs all over the place after that.

Since I am still an Aussie newb I was more excited than I should have been when I saw prawns being put on the grill for dinner. It turns out that no one ever says "throw another shrimp on the barbie" here. This was popularized in America by an ad from 1984 featuring Paul Hogan meant to entice American vacationers. Aussies call shrimp "prawns", even the small ones. And no one has yet said "g'day" to me.

Perhaps they give it a rest during holidays.


  1. I like hearing your comments and reactions as you get to know your new home. I'll be reading and watching.

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!! Instead of trying to figure out the correct pronunciation, I will use your formula, and call your city Mely. Let us know what footy team you choose and we'll cheer them on from afar!