Slight differences 

There’s a short story written by Ray Bradbury called A Sound of Thunder. In the story, a guy pays to go back in time and hunt a dinosaur. The company warns him not to step off the designated path or it could have unintended consequences. He ends up stepping on a butterfly and when he returns to the present, the world is slightly different. Words are spelled a little differently and previously elected politicians end up losing their respective elections. 

Being in Australia makes me think of that story-how some things are slightly different than they are back at the states.  Here are some examples we’ve noticed…

You know how Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s are basically the same restaurant? Check this out…

Hungry Jack’s is the Australian version of Burger King. They even sell whoppers. Maybe the word “king” invokes memories of British colonization. Meh, probably not. 

There are limited soda choices. Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero are plentiful. Pepsi is not as popular and there is no Diet Pepsi.  However, there is Pepsi Max. There’s no regular or Diet Mountain Dew. However there is Mountain Dew Energize, which is somewhat of an energy drink as it has extra caffeine. Sprite is available along with Fanta (orange is the most popular variation). No Dr Pepper, although someone told us that it is available. There are also local drinks like Lyft and Lemon Squash. There’s also Sunkist and sugar free Sunkist. The sugar free version is not diet, because it’s not a low calorie drink. It’s weird. 

Like many places, they drive on the left side of the road here. We expected this. But one thing we didn’t expect was that people also walk on the left side. We’ve experienced several awkward moments when we’ve almost run not people on the sidewalk or in stairwells. 

Everyone here is so fit. I remember reading a recent story about the obesity problem in America. This doesn’t seem to be a pressing issue here. I’d say 8 out of 10 people at or below what nutritionists would call a “healthy weight”. 

The revolving doors rotate the opposite way than they do at home. And contrary to popular belief, the water in toilet bowls doesn’t  spin the opposite way. 

Pedestrians are given the utmost respect regarding crosswalks. No one gets angry if someone crosses the street when the “don’t walk” sign is lit. 

I mentioned Burger King/Hungry Jack’s earlier. You know how McDonald’s is nicknamed Mickey D’s in the states? Here, it’s known as “Macca’s”. I think I’ll start using that at home. I like it!

Napkins are called “nappies”. Cigarettes are called “ciggies”. Syringes are called “sharps”. 

Speaking of cigarettes, check this out…  

Since 2012, any special colors or branding on cigarette packages has been banned. All cigarettes, regardless of brand, are in plain brown packaging with graphic pictures of smoking related images (cancerous mouths, black lungs, etc).  It’s pretty nasty. 

We’ve seen a lot of NBA gear-jerseys, caps, etc. Lebron James is the most popular player. The most popular team-Brooklyn Nets. 

There are not many clothing stores that sell a variety of brands. Most stores are named for a company and sell that company’s clothing only. 

Prescription medication is unbelievably cheap here, like we’ve seen them at 1/8 the price of US prices. 

Oh, the money! The notes (bills) are different sizes and the smallest denomination is a $5 note. 

The coins are just out of control. They come in denominations of 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar and 2 dollars. Here’s a picture in order of denomination…


Because of the denominations, it’s easy to quickly amass a large quantity of coins. And the coins are thick, so if you’re not careful, you could be carrying a pocket full of thick heavy coins all day. 

Look at this vehicle…

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It probably looks like a standard pickup truck. It’s not. It’s about the size and height of a car. It’s almost like an El Camino. These vehicles are very common here. 

Tipping is not common and in some cases, frowned upon. We’ve been hanging with Steve, who works here and is from the USA. He tried to tip a barber once and it was turned down. The barber was borderline offended. It was almost like, “How dare you. Do you think I’m beneath you?”

Taxes are included in all prices so what you see is what you pay for. 

They don’t serve “ketchup” here. They serve something called “tomato sauce”. It’s slightly sweeter and a little more vinegary. 

I’m sure I’ll think of more and when I do, I’ll post an update. 

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