Surviving Week 1
Trip Start Oct 13, 2007
17Trip End ??? ??, 2009
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Well, we survived Week 1. Only 103 or so more to go! The week was a mix of ups and downs. Thankfully, mostly ups. The boys and I got into a bit of a routine here at our little "apartment." We typically hit the pool for an hour or so if the weather permits. It's been back and forth...most days in the 80s (around 26 degrees celsius), but a couple of 19s (60s, I guess). The sun is definitely stronger and they are very conscious here, with good reason. There's a hole in the ozone layer, so you really have to protect yourself. We usually make a daily trip to the mall across the street to go to the grocery store. We can only buy what we can carry with our six hands. Jim tried to prepare me for the prices here, but holy smokes!!!! Just to give you an idea..milk was $4.40 for 2 litres! That translates a little lower in the states, but c'mon!!! Thankfully, I've been able to find store brand items that saves a little.
We're also learning the lingo here. For instance, the grocery carts are called "trolleys". And they have these funky front wheels that go sideways really easily. I'm convinced it's because there's so many people moving quickly that it helps you maneuver in and out of people traffic quickly. Vouchers are coupons. "How you goin?" is typical for "how you doin?" And "mate" is extremely common. G'day, by the way, is something that I've never heard. It think it's one of those things that we associate with Ozzies (not Aussies...you say the Z sound) but they just don't use. We've become very familiar with the "Ozzie Wave" which is basically using your hand to shoo away the flies. There are not mosquitos, but these flies are something else. They are pesky like you wouldn't believe. They have no problem just landing on your face. Hence, the ozzie wave.
The money is pretty easy to use here, but the coins are taking some getting used to. They have a $1 and $2 coin, and the $2 is smaller than the $1. They are brass or something other than silver. The silver coins are just annoying... big and bulky. And they go in size like you'd expect...smaller ones are worth less. We've been giving those to the boys to give tips to street performers. I made the mistake on the first day of throwing my extra change in a tip jar, forgetting that the little brass coins were dollars! And the kicker of it was, you don't have to tip here!!! They really don't expect it. So some chick at a cafe got about a $4 tip that morning. But then again, the bill was probably about $50 for a couple muffins and cups of coffee (really).
You'll see in our pictures that we spent a day with one of Jim's bosses and his family. They're from Minneapolis, so they were extremely helpful in giving us advice. In fact, Kim will be taking me grocery shopping this week to tell me what's good and what's not. The boys had a blast with their boys, playing cricket and rugby in their yard.
We spent yesterday with our buddy Chris again. We had a wonderful lunch that included Bellinis (a champagne drink with lychee, a fruit that looks like an eyeball, but tastes great), calamari, kangaroo (skippy as they call it), oysters, prawns. We took a ferry over to Manly--a very california-like town across the harbour and watched some surfers on the beach. Oh, and a new favorite food is Kebabs...it's a tortilla filled with seasoned meat that's been cooked on a large skewer, and a variety of other fillings. Then it's toasted so it's crisp. Max really likes them. But the boys have had their McDonalds fix and Happy Jack's ( which is Burger King). At McDonalds, they put beet root on all their burgers, whatever beet root is.
Well, stay tuned for more!