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Well, it was a light week activity-wise as I was a bit overloaded with work this week, so I’ll use this opportunity to catch up on sharing some more interesting tidbits we’ve learned about Australia since arriving. NOTE: I have linked a song below that contains bad words, so if you’re passing this blog along to young, impressionable family members, you might want to skip this one.

But first, an update on Hugh’s sailing endeavours! Kevin and Jo needed to do some maintenance on the bottom of their boat so Hugh joined them to help out. They sailed to Keppel Island on Monday evening and Hugh got to take the helm for a chunk of the trip, including for a short time in the dark, yikes! They anchored overnight and then waited to capitalize on the tide to beach the boat so they could access its underside (this is Kevin painting).

They did the cleaning and painting throughout low tide and then waited for high tide to get them off the beach again! Hugh got to drive a chunk of the way home, including when they were flying the spinnaker:

Speaking of tides, we had a REALLY high tide yesterday morning:

I think the record is only 1 cm higher than this. It’s usually in the 4-4.5m range. This is a photo of where people fish near a bridge in Yeppoon and the water is up to the grass where they’re standing (there is a stone break wall that you can usually see a lot of even at high tide):

OK, onto some interesting Aussie tidbits.

First, if you want ketchup in a restaurant here, it’s not automatic – you have to specifically request it. And, if you’re getting take-away (Aussie for take-out), they don’t just hand you a dozen packets of ketchup, you have to request it and you often have to pay for it – $0.50 a packet! Same with fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant – you have to buy them, they aren’t just tossed in the bag for free.

Graham wafer crackers (and therefore their delicious crumbs) do not exist here. This, together with the exorbitant price of cherry pie filling, severely limits the opportunity for Hugh to make me my favourite cheesecake. BTW, if you haven’t tried explaining what graham wafer crumbs are to someone who’s never heard of them, give it a go – it’s shockingly difficult! But in a stroke of luck, I happened across a post in a Rockhampton Foodies group on Facebook where someone was saying how amazing Food Sing Trading is in Rockhampton for sourcing Asian foods – and not only do they carry lots of Asian foods, they also carry graham wafer crackers! One step closer to cheesecake…

Another missing item on restaurant menus is corned beef / Montreal smoked meat. We didn’t specifically look for it when we were in Brisbane or Melbourne, so maybe it exists in larger cities, but really haven’t seen it around here. We only recently found bagels, apparently that’s a very new item at grocery stores here. The ones we’ve found are fine, but nothing like Montreal-style bagels. Hugh’s wondering about starting to make his own again to get that fabulous Montreal-style flavour.

Speaking of bagels, Hugh created a new breakfast dish for me this morning:

Smashed avo on toast is everywhere here, often mixed with a Danish feta and it’s totally delish! When we were in Melbourne, I had one with an unusual twist – they put green peas in with it. So Hugh concocted this for me this morning – smashed avo with green peas on a bagel, topped with a scrambled egg with diced bacon and onion. YUMMY!!! The green peas are a surprisingly excellent addition to the avocado. No one we’ve mentioned this to around here has heard tell of this combination before, so we’re glad we happened to have this one morning in Melbourne – great way to get more veggies in you at breakfast time :).

Clamato juice is not a thing here but we packed a number of bottles onto the container ship so we could make Caesars (and brought some for Rob and Barb so they could get their real Caesar fix too). Which makes me think, we haven’t had a Caesar in awhile…

A few months ago, we needed to top up our washer fluid in the car. Here it often comes in a concentrate – so brilliant! Here’s an example: – you buy 2 L and just mix whatever portion you need with water. Saves a pile on plastic packaging. You can get what they call “pre-mixed” but it seems like the concentrate is more common.

There is no pay-at-the-pump at gas stations – you have to go inside the store to pay! Technology here is strange – there are so many systems that are way more advanced than in Canada (e.g., an app for filing your taxes) but some things are way behind.

Flying within Australia is a breeze compared to flying within Canada. They only check ID as you board the plane and they get people through security screenings really quickly. Melbourne was a bit more like I’ve seen in other countries (my nail scissors were taken from me, even though I’ve taken them in carry on several times between Rocky and Brisbane) but still pretty quick and we were flying on a really busy day (Saturday at the end of school holidays and during the Australian Open). When we’re flying out of Rockhampton, we arrive at the airport about 45 minutes before the flight and that’s being super generous with time, we just can’t wrap our heads around how easy and quick it is. One of these days we’ll get ourselves down closer to the 30 min mark.

And then there’s this thing called a “shed.” Well. I imagine this is just a rural Australia thing, wouldn’t be enough space on properties in big cities, but everyone seems to have a backyard shed here. And this isn’t the type of shed you’re thinking about, you know the small thing you put your gardening supplies in. No, these things are massive, sometimes as big as or larger than the house on the property. We have one in our backyard and if Hugh had known we were going to end up with one of these, he would have brought way more of his tools with him. Lots of people here have lots of big toys – like boats, caravans, 4x4s, extra vehicles – and so a shed comes in handy for storing them. But other times, we see a lot of those toys in people’s driveways or parked on the grass on the front yard (that’s another thing here – parking on grass, everyone does it!), so the shed must just be filled with “stuff.” Indeed, the people we bought our house from had the one here filled to the rafters – and it’s 2 large garage doors wide, just as deep, and 1.5 stories tall.

We learned another Aussie song recently – Sounds of Then (This is Australia) by GANGgajang. It was on the radio going to work one day and it was a catchy tune with fun Aussie lyrics. So when I got home that night, I decided to look it up, very excited that I had found another song from after the 80’s to add to my Spotify list, given that I am well known for being mired in 80’s music and not recognizing much that came out afterward. Well, apparently my musical tastes remain firmly footed in the 80’s as Sounds of Then came out in, you guessed it, 1985 :). Friday night was another music bingo night and this famous Aussie song was played (not surprisingly, from 1988 :)). Our friend Leigh had previously taught us the lyrics that the crowd yells out in certain spots so we were well prepared this time to join in the fun! THIS IS THE SONG YOU SHOULD NOT PLAY FOR CHILDREN! If you can’t quite make out what the crowd is yelling, just read the lead singer’s t-shirt, he has the lyrics written on it for you :).

Alright, I’ll finish this week’s blog with an interesting study investigating an elusive Aussie animal, the drop bear (scientific name: Thylarctos plummetus), written up in Australian Geographic a few years ago. Those with a keen eye will notice an important detail in this article :).

Have a terrific week, everyone!

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