An Open Letter to Australia: You Are Amazing, Yet Odd At The Same Time

Dear Straya,

I should apologize.

Before I finally decided to visit you, I paid you no mind.

You were near the bottom of the short barrel of countries I hardly wanted to visit. Yet, I gave you a go and I must say, you’ve really impressed me. You’ve opened my eyes to just how fascinating and diverse of a country you truly are.

Though I have a newly lit fondness for you, there are some things I discovered that boggled my mind that we need to discuss right now.

I’ll just jump right into it.

I’ve accepted that you call our American Smarties, Rockets

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and what you call Smarties are nothing like my Smarties at all.

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I’ve accepted that.

I can even accept that you call Rice Krispies Cereal, this…

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Rice Bubbles makes sense, but I cannot wrap my head around this next one.

What. Is. This?

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Is this supposed to be what I would normally call Rice Krispies Treats? Why do you call it LCMs?

Upon further investigation, you came up with the name “LCMs” based on the best alphabet letters according to a popular vote by your Aussie children. If I were still a kid. I def would have chosen “x” or “z” for sure.

Now, for your so-called Rice Bubbles, we would normally put in milk. But apparently, your milk is “betta“.

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Also what the heck is this?

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I’ve seen these pint-sized pickup trucks all over Australia. You refer to them as a ute. If I drove one of these around back home, I’d get made fun of.

I also understand that our popular jello gelatin is referred to as jelly here. Taking a jelly shot just doesn’t have the same ring to it as a jello shot does. But look at this!

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I’ve never heard of a wine flavored gelatin! I have a few good friends at home who might enjoy that.

I do love your Fairy Bread. That is something we should have in my fat American country. I also like the name “hundreds and thousands” over what I’d simply call “sprinkles”.

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And your delicious Weet-bix cereal curbed my cereal craving for a while. I eventually tried all of your flavors, except for the banana one. Who makes a banana flavored cereal?

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Also, your kangaroo meat is super lean, yet mighty tasty. I did feel a bit guilty about eating one especially after becoming pals with this one here…

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As a matter of fact, most of your food was nice, except for that vile Vegemite. How many times were you forced to eat that before you began to like it? And yes, I did do it the correct way -just a thin layer spread over toast with some butter. I tried it twice and decided and it was not nice.

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I even ate the best tea of my life. Yes, you read that correctly. I “ate” tea…because apparently Australia, sometimes you refer to “going out for a meal” as “going out for tea”. I took this literally. I was more confused than ever when I found this out.

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Speaking of being confused. I found myself lost quite a bit by the way you shorten all of your words and add your own spin to them.

Some words your inhabitants said to me that I needed translated into American English include the following:


Arvo – afternoon.

Someone said to me, “What are you up to in the arvo Dan?
Me: “…what?”

Ta – thank you.

“Ta ta back to ya.” I actually said that to someone. It’s wrong.

Footy – AFL (Australian Football League)

Nothing like the football league back home, the NFL.

Biccy – a biscuit, but in the States, we’d refer to their biscuits as a cookie. I still have no clue what they call an actual American biscuit.

Servo – a petrol station. I’d refer to it as a gas station.

Bottle-o – basically a bottle shop (liquor store)

Tradie – someone who works in the field of trade I suppose.

Cabbie – a taxi. I found myself adopting this word into my vocabulary.

Froth or Frothin’– really keen or amped about something. This is probably my favorite new word to use.

Yeah naw – No.

Naw yeah – Yes.


 

Moving along.

Australia, I remember casually bringing up cotton candy to one of your Sydneysiders and they had no clue what I was talking about. I had to google ‘cotton candy’ it in front of him. Come to find out, you refer to cotton candy as “fairy floss”. That’s a creative name actually.

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I was also baffled by why your Hungry Jacks (Burger King everywhere else) offered spiders on the menu. Is Australia so overrun with meaty spiders that you actually offer it restaurants? I googled that too…

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“Ohhh, you mean a float!” I said to an Aussie friend. “Like a root beer float.”

He then responded, “What the hell is a root beer?

Are you kidding me Australia? How is root beer not a thing for you? Apparently Dr. Pepper is not all that popular either. Root Beer is probably my personal favorite pop (soda, soft drink, fizzy drink). I grew up saying pop.

Instead you guys have soft drinks called Solo and Cascade. I tasted your Solo drink and wondered “Why the hell am I drinking sour mix?” This tastes like something you’d use to make a Long Island Iced Tea or a Whiskey Sour. Not something you just drink on your own. I could barely finish the bottle.

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I do love your chicken salt. As odd as it sounds, it tastes exactly what you’d expect it to taste like – salt that tastes like chicken. I devoured many of your chips (fries) dusted in chicken salt. (America, what are you doing? We need this.)

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Oh, and you have an ice cream shop called Cold Rock which is a blatant rip of our Cold Stone.

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I needed to restock on toiletries one day. I’ve come to terms that your deodorant is shaped in a funny container. But then I came across what looked strikingly similar to what I’d call Axe Body Spray. Oh, it is Axe but just a different name. But why?

 

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On the subject of different names, How dare you change the name of one of my favorite childhood characters.

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Who the f*ck is Wally?

His name is Waldo!

I was playing the Australian version of Cards Against Humanity with a bunch of your Tassies and was dealt this card…

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I was like, “What the heck is a fo…tus?

I found out it’s how you and the Brits spell the word “fetus”. So odd.

That same group of Tassies busted out a game of classic Uno.

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But they all pronounced it as “yoo-no”, not as the Spanish pronunciation of “ooo-no”. Not sure if this is an Aussie thing, but that whole dang Tassie group pronounced it as “yoo-no” as if nothing sounded weird about it.

However, I think the one sole thing that bothered me the most about you is your abundance of flies. There were flies everywhere I went, especially near the beaches, flying all up in my face…in my mouth. I hated that. That was my only major gripe.

Contrary to what us Americans are fed in the media by the spoonfuls, I didn’t come across a single snake and rarely a spider (except for that spider that literally flew into my room in Brizzy) in all your states and territories that I visited.

Otherwise, Australia, like I mentioned above. I have a new found appreciation of you, even though you can be a bit odd sometimes. Your inhabitants, most particularly my Aussie friends, definitely made the trip extra special for me. Many thanks to them 🙂

I’ll be back again someday to experience more of your Aussie oddities!

 

Sincerely,

Daniel Adventure Born

(P.S. – The Quest to the Seven Continents continues in Asia, continent #3, beginning in Bali, Indonesia!)

 

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Author: Adventure Born

I'm Daniel. A cereal lovin', traveling machine from Michigan on a solo journey around the world, documenting and sharing my unexpected tales from abroad. My aim is to inspire people like YOU to discover your very own adventures. The world is truly too big not to explore it!

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