Saturday, March 24, 2007

No Way Out

Aussies (pronounced Ozzies) have an incredibly weird tendency to name or pronounce things a tad, shall we say, differently than us. As the picture on the left illustrates, an EXIT becomes "Way Out" (also notice that Parking becomes Carpark, I guess no motorcycles need apply). Almost as if dumbing things down for a toddler just learning to speak, names take on their basic functional definitions. If not, then a name will be something completely obscure that makes no sense. This is when I realized that the writers of The Simpsons are beyond genius. A kid who scores 150 on an IQ test might be genius. The music of Beethoven is genius. But the "Bart vs. Australia" episode is beyond genius. Observe dear gentle readers.
Clerk: They're like kangaroos, but they're reptiles, they is.
Marge: We have them in America. They're called bullfrogs.
Clerk: What? That's an odd name. I'd have called them "chazzwozzers"
In fact, when I went to the zoo yesterday, I learned the Aussies have a problem with frogs brought over from the US to help control their sugar cane pests. Turns out the frogs ate the pests, the canes, and a few of their precious native insects.

Also at the zoo, I learned that the giraffes (pronounced girahhhhffes) have the best view of the city. But back to weird names. The inspiration for this post came from my attempt last night during dinner to order a cup of decaf coffee with my dessert. The whole scene was something along the lines:
Me: Do you guys have decaff?
W'tress: Yeah
Me: Well I'll just have a decaf coffee.
W'tress: What kind?
Me: Just coffee thanks.
W'tress: Yeah but what kind?
Mary: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...I forgot, you guys can't order coffee.
Me: What the f...?
Mary: He wants a flat white. Sorry I should have warned you. I even read about it in Bryson.
Well I did my own digging this sleepless morning (it's 7 AM Sunday morning here). And of course, Bryson says it much more eloquently than I ever could.
I didn't even know how to order coffee. It appeared that you had to specify length (principally long or short), a colour (black or white) and even an angle of orientation to the perpendicular (flat or not), and these could be put together in a multitude of permutations -- 'long black', 'short black', even 'long short black'. My own preference, I discovered after many happy hours of experimentation, was 'flat white'. It was a moment of the sublimest happiness. -- Bill Bryson, Down Under.
My hotel room, however, is fully equipped with a drip coffee maker. I never knew Mr. Coffee was meant to create a long flat white. But more importantly, the writers of The Simpsons did.
Marge: I'll just have a cup of coffee.
Bartender: Beer, it is.
Also, these guys have two flushes: a full flush and a half flush. The half one is for the likes of Disco Stu who live by the mantra, "If it's yellow, let it mellow."

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8 Comments:

Blogger Max Power said...

Bart v. Australia.

Best. Episode. Ever.

3/24/2007 4:21 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

Didn't that Yellow/Mellow phrase come about during the droughts in the mid 90's? I distinctly remember a news show telling me not to flush unless it has "chunkies" or it has been a week.
The More You Know(tm) really should have used that one instead of the new 4 letter word (HATE) campaign.

3/24/2007 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armen,

Which way does the water go when you flush? Is it really the other way?

3/25/2007 12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just going to ask that!

3/25/2007 3:27 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I can report with confidence that the water flows clockwise. The weird part is the rainclouds. They move in from the East.

Other weird things:

They like light beer. EVERYONE is drinking Coronas here.

The Aussie accent we know and love is apparently considered "bogan." Roughly translated I think this means hick. This is a quote from today.

"Wow you guys don't sound Aussie."
"Well that's because we're educated."

Stores can't sell booze. You need to go to a "bottle shop."

While tipping isn't in their culture, the credit card receipts still have the tip line.

They think we're weird for having a "Yield" sign. They have the SAME EXACT SIGN, but the inside of the triangle says "Make Way." However their freeway signs still say "Exit." I don't know when the "Way out" signs are going to be installed.

Tomorrow is the wine tour. I'll report results.

3/25/2007 3:44 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Haha I love my mum. She also said after we dropped you at Hornsby when I asked what she thought of you 'well, if that was a typical sample then he's rather nice' and it's a give way sign, not make way :)

3/25/2007 11:03 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Oh and that's not a tip line, it's a surcharge for using a card instead of cash

3/25/2007 11:04 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

You manage to go to Australia and quote one of the greatest Simpsons episodes ever and you fail to mention the boot or booting.

Dr. Bart Simpson of the International Drainage Commission would be extremely disappointed.

But hey, I'm sure your trip is going better than your planned trip to U-R-Gay. And you can make it up to everyone if you manage to legibly write on your own butt.

Just don't lose your ticket home. I'd hate for you to have to come back on the USS Walter Mondale.

3/28/2007 10:29 AM  

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