I love Australia
I love living in Australia. We have a vast and varied land with a wide variety of imported cultural influences which Australia seems to absorb the very best of from our long term immigration policies.
In my lifetime the changes in our food and culture have been very good for this young vibrant democracy. Our food is part Asian, part european and down right fresh and delicious. We grow masses of fruit, grain and vegetables in a land that is arid for the most part.
Many chefs will tell you that food from any culture tastes better here than where it originated due to the freshness and quality standards of our food crops.
The Australia accent and language.
The Australia that I know is different to the Australia that has become stereotypical through tourist promotion.
I am not a Paul Hogan!
Steve Irwin "The crocodile hunter" was a real and genuine Australian icon, but he was not typically Australian either.
Both Irwin and Hogan do however speak with a typical Australian accent.
I was born in Chelsea a Melbourne seaside suburb not twenty miles away from where I live now but have travelled extensively and lived in other parts of this huge Island.
I speak with a typical local Melbourne accent, which is well enough received generally as an authentic Australian accent, although not a very broad one in my case.
My ancestors were convicts, and it is a mixture of this inherited English, Irish, Scottish and even Welsh working class languages that makes "Strine" humorous and fun to speak.
We all sound a bit the same, although the further "bush" you go, the slower and broader the accent gets and the more you see creative use of the word "bloody" Things become "bloody good" or "bloody lousy". When you come to Melbourne you will hear the difference, it is faster in the cities.
Many colloquial Australian sayings are now pretty much confined to the country folk, but I can remember hundreds of them from my country Australian childhood. "Dry as a dead Dingo's donger" and "silly as a wet hen," or referring to the toilet as the "dunny" are typical of sayings I still hear occasionally.
I remember the first time I heard an American from the south of the USA mention the singer Bing Crosby, I thought he had said "Bang Crashby" and when I spoke to him I soon realised there was a huge problem for him understanding me as well!
On Skype or the phone to my American friends there are many words where my I's sound like A's and my M's and N's are not easy to separate either apparently.
I do speak and understand English, but admit to knowing far too much "Strine" the local lingo.
The best way to understand "Strine" is to begin by saying "Strine" with your mouth closed, using a loooong "S" and a very loooooong "I."
You have just said the word "Australian" perfectly in Strine!
It is the laziest language I know. Strine only annunciate enough of a word to be understood by another Strine speaker. It is also bloody funny!
When I was a kid in the bush my dad was a logging contractor and we had a tree feller/lumberjack named Mr. Crawford. The guy who cut down trees is called a faller in Australia by the way, or at least they were when I was a kid.
Anyway back to Mr. Crawford, who had hands the size of a good sized roast and arms like tree stumps! A huge bear of a man, I only ever new him by his nickname "diesel Crawford" He got the name because he worked all day like the diesel engines we had in our bulldozers and was bloody near as strong!
I remember him swinging his "Plumb" brand racing axe with one hand and then change to the other, swinging it like it was a tomahawk and making deep even cuts with each stroke. Diesel could lift the front of a Ferguson farm tractor off the ground, and amongst the big tough men of the bush he had no peers.
I remember asking my dad. "How strong is Diesel Crawford?"
Dad smiled and said. "Son, diesel could hold a full grown bull out to piss!"
to how mothers sometimes cradle a baby in front of them to allow it to pee.)
The Yarra river downtown
to beautiful Melbourne.....
Melbourne's inner suburbs are the nicest places you would hope to find in a city.
For example, Prahran is 2 mile from the city centre and has Chapel Street, a large shopping street that stretches from one end of this large suburb to the other end at the Chapel Street bridge over the Yarra river.The other side of the bridge is Richmond with more shopping, including exotic cars.
Chapel Street on Saturday night is where the young and young at heart go to display there expensive clothes and hairstyles parading on the sidewalk (called a footpath in Australia) or driving through Chapel Street several times in their expensive cars. It is referred to by locals as the Saturday night parade. Hotted up cars, even racing cars that are road registered do the Chapel Street parade.
the street you will see Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley, Porsche,
Maserati, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo and other very expensive cars
usually parked right alongside the outdoor restaurants and night spots.
There is a lot of wealth in the inner city!
People watching is a real pass time here, as we see celebrities in the street often too!
Stars from major American movies and TV shows seem to
be attracted to this area of Melbourne like flies! Stars like Jerry
Seinfeld and many other big names flock to Chapel Street whenever they
come to Australia. American Celebes's seem to know Melbourne better than
most tourists, so it could be a good idea to watch the local news to
see where they like to go.
More than 180 languages are spoken on the streets of Prahran, it is a cosmopolitan city with rich cultural diversity apparent in the variety of shops and the range of goods available.
Day or night Prahran is a lively and exciting place.
I lived opposite the huge Alfred hospital and medical complex in Prahran a block from Fawlkner park, a massive central park that runs from Commercial road to Toorak Road between St Kilda Road and Punt road where the famous MCG is located.
You can ride a bike or walk
through parks and gardens all the way to the city from Punt road/
Commercial road with the exception of a far too short walk up one
beautiful street with amazing houses some of which have glass fronted
underground rooms. Quite a treat.
My wife, kids and I have lived at both ends of Australia as well as a few places in Melbourne. with the longest stay in Prahran.
In the late seventies we lived in Brighton, an expensive trendy bay-side suburb of Melbourne.
I look back on this time with fondness for the ideologies that we tried to live up to. I remember a friend at the time describing a group of us as middle class hippies...... we had money and time. We shared it pretty well and life was very much more flexible and fluid for individuals because those with money were not afraid to share it.
Business had been good for many years, we were getting bored so we decided to take a year off, let our managers run the businesses and cruise up the east coast for a year and as things were really good, maybe we could find a little business in a pretty coastal town and retire early.
To this end we contacted all the councils in the vacation villages we liked all the way to Cairns in far north Queensland, and they dutifully sent us local information to assist us in finding something easy to run, so that we boys could go fishing more often!
Living in Darwin.
The two years we spent in Darwin were accidental and great fun.
Darwin for two years means two wet seasons as we Mexicans count the time spent in the humid heat of the "wet". (A Mexican is anyone from the southern states).
The wet season in Darwin is a lot more exciting than a Melbourne summer if you like to top up on high adventure, a trip to Darwin from Melbourne is not a bad idea if you get bored with Melbourne area being all calm and peaceful with everyone on the beaches.
In the wet season the thunderstorms in Darwin are more intense than in any other city in the world, and I have felt my concrete slabbed cyclone proof house jump from one lightning strike right next to our house which took out a huge tree by splitting it down the middle from top to ground.
The big storm
A month before our 8 foot high twenty five foot long garden fence around the barbecue area was ripped out of the concrete and deposited in the Darwin racecourse! Where our back yard and driveway were there was now a raging river replete with snakes and all sorts of creatures and as wide as one of the rivers I was used to down south!
The car was not usable either until we got the banana tree off the back of it. My wife had nurtured the tree and it had enough bananas on it to flatten the suspension on the back of the big Ford V8. We had to harvest the bananas before we could use the car.
Down south it does not matter how rich you are you cannot buy bananas that taste like they do when you take them off the tree already ripened, and here we are with half a tonne of them, and no one to share them with.
had fourteen staff in the business I managed but only three did not
have their own fully grown ripe banana trees. So here is their new
"Mexican" boss trying to foist bananas on them and the customers! The
locals must have thought I was nuts!! Talk about the new boss would have been worth hearing.
Apart from travel and work, I have lived in Melbourne for about thirty five years all up, and prefer the climate to the north.
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