Friday, October 26, 2007

Long Black and Flat White

You say something like that in the States, and you might be hit with a lawsuit. Say that in Australia and you're simply ordering a coffee. And that, my family and friends, is the first thing I learned about Australia, it's culture, people and most importantly it's animals.

Just back from my two week work trip to Sydney and Adelaide and all I can say is - WOW. Strangely familiar in an American way, I saw and experienced some pretty cool things. While my days were filled with meetings, presentations and interviews, there certainly was never any shortage of time to partake in local culture. I arrived Saturday night, with my co-worker arriving Sunday morning. We immediately grabbed a coffee and began touring the area where our hotel (not the Hyatt, by the way) was located - Kings Cross. This area combines the artsy, eccentric group with the drunks, druggies and prostitutes. For example, after walking just a block from our hotel we immediately saw:
1. A man, dressed in a nice business suit, passed out on the sidewalk in a busy intersection
2. Prostitutes roaming the streets
3. At least 50 people STILL in the bar drinking
This all at 8am - incredible! And I thought the Swedes liked to party. But just one more block down, we were in the poshes area leading down to the harbor and botanical gardens.

People wise, I'd say they are just as friendly if not more than Americans yet totally oblivious to the fact that anyone who visits their 'island' has to travel a minimum of 7 hours to get there. I guess that just goes to show that they get a lot of tourists so it's old hat to them. Or maybe I've gotten to use to being the odd man out in Sweden. The animals were what you expected - except for the bats (or, as I later found out - flying foxes...yeah right). However, every animal we asked about or encounter always came with some kind of evil footnote. For example, if you hit a kangaroo with your car you better be sure it's dead before getting out of your car otherwise be prepared to fight for YOUR life. Luckily I left others to the driving but was a bit anxious once I did finally encounter these evil yet cuddly looking creatures at the local zoo.

The weather was amazing - sunny and hot until the last two days of my trip. It was a nice change for me knowing that back home it was getting darker and cooler by the minute. It was such a fun trip too - the hotel guys that work in Australia are amazingly funny and gracious. There is still quite a bit of chivalry down in Oz with all the men opening the door for me and letting me go through first - something you don't encounter very often at all!

And now, for some pictures:
Above the Blue Mountains - the only way to see Australia is in your business suit, by the way!The flying foxes - whatever, they look like bats to me!The gratuitous Opera House view - did you know the acoustics in there apparently stink?A kangaroo - we went to a open zoo in Adelaide but I was too scared to pet anything for fear of deathThe koalas - the haze is from the eucalyptus trees that surround this area. You can hold them as well when it isn't too hot, but apparently their so lazy that they pee on themselves so it's not necessarily the most pleasant experience.

See what I mean - everything comes with some kind of footnote. Funny, huh? The Opera House story was the best one by far. We found this out from talking to one of the cellist from the Sydney Symphony. Actually, it wasn't me who found this out but my co-worker and if you know him, then you most likely are rolling on the floor laughing imagining the conversation between these two. It was just as funny as you think!

Now, I'm off to be a little nosier in the house. I've been up since 4:30am and really REALLY want Anders to wake up and fix me breakfast - eggs benedict!!!

Monica ;-)

MY FOOTNOTE - all evil and horrible statements were made in jest and in no way do I find Aussie's to be negative. Well, except for the Opera House statement - but that's just damn funny!


Judy Sheng said...

Hey there:

So every now and then, I read your blog just to make sure that you are still in Sweden. I can't believe that you are still working with Hyatt, and that they sent you to Australia. Were you there to recruit hotel people, or animals at the zoo? What's up with an Australia trip? Sounds like your job is pretty terrific. But then again, anything is better than Convention Services, right? It's good to know that you haven't lost your whacked-out sense of humor. Stay well. Judy

HeatherJ said...

I would love to visit Austraila. The pictures are great and I love your first impressions of the place with the business suit man flat on the sidewalk. Where's the photo of that? They never put that in the brochures.

Leslie said...

Oooh! So pretty! And the scenery ain't half bad either. :D


Erika said...

I've stayed in King's Cross and agree with everything you said about it. Such a different mixture of people there. There was a transvestite prostitute who was very interested in my father every time we walked passed.
I love the way they try to get you into the girlie bars too. Guys stand at the doors, open them for you and say "same seat as yesterday?" hahaha. love it!

Australian animals are definitely unpredictable. I never had a problem with kangaroos but when my cousin was visiting. One stood up to be eye level with her. She's taller than me, so it was a little scary. haha. We got the hell out of there, fast!