I was going to wait to think about this until next month, my one-year anniversary of being in Australia (how is that possible when I feel like I'm still wrapped in cotton and stacked in a warehouse?), but I'm feeling bad about my last post, where I swore at pumpkins and possibly made it seem like I was chastising strangers for failing to take a deep and buoyant interest in my small life.
So, here is a list in absolutely no order (not a dig at the Australian preferential voting system!) of some things I love about Australia so far.
(Where "Australia" = "Western Australia, in the region that south of Perth but north and west of Albany," for I know some things don't apply elsewhere.)
This big orange in the town of Harvey.
Chilli Camembert from Ha Ve in Harvey.
The way "Harvey" is pronounced "Ha Ve," and so this company name makes sense to everyone but I have to sound it out.
The jillion places where they grow and sell olives (and let you taste them first). Australia is where history marks the fall of the plain black olive from the top of my olive-ranking list. I grew up in a canned world of "Black or Spanish?" with the discovery of Kalamata later on marking the height of sophistication, like when I found out that you can have syrups other than straight-up maple on your pancakes at IHOP. Now all I want is plump Sicilians. (Black is still my salad olive, though.)
Take-away containers. If you have a hoarding problem, don't get Aussie takeaway. The reusable plastic containers with lids are total enablers.
How everything is so clean, even/especially the beaches.
All of the beaches. So many beaches.
The clean restrooms at the clean beaches. Or just the fact that even the smallest beach seems to have wee-wee facilities. It's quite possible that Aussies don't just wet themselves if they're in the ocean and need to go. It's that clean.
All of the natural beauty, especially the stuff we saw on our grand adventure around the south west that I never finished posting about, probably because it took place the weekend after I first arrived. Argh.
The Tree-Top Walk. (I'm ashamed for not blogging this. Do they put something in the water here to help keep so much majesty a secret from the rest of the world?)
The amazing health care. Don't get me started. Australians don't even know to be ridiculously proud of this, which in itself is a credit to them, for assuming it's a 21st-century norm for a country's citizens to not become bankrupt due to illness or to become ill due to bankruptcy.
The baa-lambs in the pastures on the side of the roads.
The moo-cows, lately in single-file parade, and the calves all sitting under shady tres.
The glossy horsies, so often in blankets.
The camels! Who has more camels than anyone else in the world? Australia! Last weekend we saw some teenage ones hanging out in the field as we drove to Perth.
The kangies, of course. And their little roos.
The koalas that I always forget to blog about, and apparently didn't even Flickr about, so above is a couple of screen captures from Facebook. Pitiful. This was a really great day, and I wish I'd written about it at the time, if only to show Mike how wonderful it was that he thought to take me to this wildlife park where you can gently feed a koala. Alas, for some of us, the call to write is maybe more likely to come when you need to let something go, not gather it closer. (Maybe. I think I just liked typing that and, given how often I type here to record memories, it's probably not true.)
Numbats! I was going to link to my Perth Zoo video, but it's awful, and you (poor person who wandered in by mistake) deserve better.
Quokkas. Wombats. Swamp wallabies. Pademelons. Cockatoos. Pink Galahs. Potoroos. Dolphins. Black swans.
Basically, all of the new things to try to cuddle with my Lenny-arms.
The local wildlife park.
Cell phone plans. I pay $20 AUD per month for a SIM/coverage for my iPhone, and I have more minutes than I'll ever need. That's currently $18 in U.S. dollars, and remember that the cost of living is higher here. Unlimited texts are included, and that means texts outside of the country, too. Incoming, as well. (Pause to glare at AT&T and the 50 cents they charged every time Mike texted me from Australia when I didn't reply on Skype.) Incoming calls don't count against my minutes, either.
Sugar in sodas. (Well, duh. I've spent twenty years grumbling about the taste of HFCS. Of course this is the Promised Land.)
Mobile dogwashing. I keep seeing these everywhere! In fact, the place where we wash our car has tubs and hoses just for washing your dog. It's always crowded. (I'll take a photo next time.)
The way there's always an open-air market somewhere on the weekends. Bread, chocolate, potatoes, old vinyl... and the "gold coin donation" to enter often goes to charity.
They say it was a dry winter and now a dry summer. Whatever. After eight years in Las Vegas, I get excited just hearing the sprinklers tick on.
All of the 1800s/early 1900s architecture that is familiar yet different.
All of these new buildings and spaces with stories I don't know.
The distinctive verandahs wrapping around the second story of corner hotels.
My in-laws (and their cats).
The feeling of safety.
How so many streets are named (Something) Parade.
How Indian food is mainstream and everywhere.
The arcades instead of strip malls.
Chocolatiers with honeycomb and freckles.
The crossing signs showing that old people live nearby.
The crossing signs showing that kangaroos live nearby.
Bottle brush plants.
Twists from Baker's Delight.
The lack of Daylight Saving Time.
The way the post office also serves as a full-service gift shop.
How clean everything is, not just beaches.
Roundabouts that make driving seem so smooth.
[here ends part one]
10 March 2014 | Permalink