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Weblog Entry

Australia Travelogue

October 16, 2004

At last, an account of the recent trip to the land down under.

Two weeks in the land down under is just enough to get a taste, but not nearly enough to deeply experience what this amazingly large continent has to offer.

My wife April and I travelled to Australia from late September to mid October 2004 for the Web Essentials 2004 conference, and stayed on an extra week for a vacation. Our time was split between two cities, Sydney and Melbourne (and any generalizations apply to them alone.)

Sydney

Day Zero

Flying over islands

Flying over the Gulf/San Juan Islands on our way to LAX.

North America and Sydney are about 12,000km apart. This is about a third of the way around the world, plus a little bit. After parking your rear in a plane seat one thing is abundantly clear: make the best of it, because you’re not moving for a long, long time.

Day One

A thin sliver of sunrise

Our first Southern Pacific sunrise, just on the far side of the International Date Line.

The flight brought us in early one Monday morning, but clearing the airport proved somewhat time consuming. The immigration line was long (and multi-cultural), but after clearing it and claiming our bags we were sent through another line for something called Quarantine. While there have always been border restrictions on importing organic material in any country, labeling it so starkly and then providing bins to dump any non-importable items felt like a whole new level of control.

Shoreline

The Bondi shoreline one overcast afternoon.

Coming out of the terminal we met up with John, our tour guide and trip sponsor. Since it was still early in the morning, the hotel wasn’t ready yet, and we were feeling well-rested enough anyway, plans were made to head to Bondi Beach for a quick breakfast and tour of the area. Meeting up with his business partner Maxine, who ordered Vegemite with her toast specifically for our benefit (though we never did end up having any), we were treated to our first Australian coffee.

Day Two

Ornate Facade

The Queen Victoria building façade.

A bit of exploration started our day. We oriented ourself along George St., a main thoroughfare running the length of the downtown core. Our hotel, the Mercure, was situated on the southern end by Chinatown and Darling Harbour, so these got most of our attention. The former felt similar in character to the Vancouver and San Francisco equivalents, the latter is a planned upscale harbour area with restaurants, theatres, and tourist diversions. We managed to stumble far enough north to discover the beautiful Queen Victoria building, a shopping centre blocks long with an intricate decorative tile floor, wrought iron balconies, beautifully ornate arches, and detailed stone work and statues around the exterior.

The evening was spent at a private surf club back in Bondi, following a walk along the shorefront. Apparently the colour of the original iMac, dubbed ‘Bondi Blue’, was inspired by the water of this beach — not much of a stretch to imagine when you see its brilliant aquamarine tossing around foamy whitecaps.

Days Three, Four, and Five

Conference preparation day, followed by the two days of the conference itself. Notes on the experience feel out of place here, so they should be forthcoming in a separate write-up.

Day Six

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour panorama.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney’s famed Opera House, from a distance.

Opera House tiles

Opera House roof tiles close up.

With the conference over, this was the first official tourist day. Starting with the famous Sydney harbour, we made our way along the sea-front from the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House, and then on to the stunning Botanic Gardens. Sydney’s Opera House is of course the landmark to see when in Australia, so I spent a bit of extra time photographing the shapes and contours. The pristine white roof is a series of interlocking tiles that are unnoticeable from a distance, but quite off-white on close-up.

The Botanic Gardens is a large green area in the middle of the city, flanked by The Domain, an almost equally large continuation. Both contain cultural and historical highlights (including the first farm of the Australian colony), along with the rich and varied flora and fauna from around the globe. A tree full of bats sits just outside of the central tourist information centre.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn this is one of the larger downtown city parks of the world, but I don’t have anything to base that on other than a sense of scale of this particular one. And as if they weren’t enough, further south is Hyde Park, a segmented park spanning many city blocks from north to south. We crossed through the centre and spent some time in the Anzac memorial, a war shrine dedicated to Australia and New Zealand’s armed forces.

The evening saw a trip back out to Bondi and a barbecue at our host’s place, in lieu of the beach barbie we had to cancel on account of the weather. Great lamb, good beer, and excellent company — it’s a pretty universal formula for a nice evening.

Day Seven

Manly Seafront

The Manly shoreline, the beach is somewhere behind us.

Destination: Manly. The beach, that is. A harbour ferry ride takes you out toward the ocean, and north to a narrow peninsula of land that features a touristy seaside village and a beautiful, winding beach. Manly is well-regarded by the locals, and for good reason. The water is bright and sparkling, the beach gives way to hikable trails along the cliffs, and the shops and restaurants offer fare from around the world.

The latter half of the day was spent preparing the next leg of our journey, which took us to Melbourne.

Day Eight

Travel day. When checkout is 11am, your flight departs at 5pm, and you don’t get to your hotel until 8:30pm, the day goes by a bit too quickly.

Melbourne

Part of the Melbourne Skyline

Melbourne skyline, black swan.

Melbourne is magic. Deemed one of, if not the most livable city in the world, a few days spent wandering the British-style arcades and browsing the shops was enough to convince me that I could very happily spend a lot of time there.

Days Nine, Ten, and Eleven

Block Arcade

Block Arcade, one of the many beautifully-detailed arcades in downtown Melbourne.

Skyline

St. Paul’s Cathedral, as seen from the corner of Flinders and Swanston.

Grafitti-covered alley

Even the alleys and dumpsters are interesting in Melbourne.

The first day in Melbourne was spent orienting ourselves. We stayed at Rydges on Exhibition street, which is right inside the downtown core and a short walk to most of what we wanted to see.

Armed with a tourist guide and a will to explore, we wandered the shops and streets. This doesn’t sound like three days’ worth of activity, but trust me, Melbourne has enough to fill that time and more. In fact, we didn’t even leave the central business district aside from an afternoon bike ride along the Yarra river and through the botanical gardens. Plans were made to visit the close-by Richmond and St. Kilda districts, but weather pushed that plan to the back seat.

What makes the downtown core so interesting is the sheer density; an afternoon could be well-spent exploring a three block radius, and you’d still leave with the impression you hadn’t caught everything there was to see in the area. There are dozens of arcades along with various malls, filled with shops and running between and under the streets of the city.

Melbourne has a bit of a European outdoor sidewalk café habit, much to our delight. The city also features very distinct ethnic districts, at least cuisine-wise; we stayed next to Chinatown and the Greek district, and made sure to experience each.

There are sights to see, of course — we made it to Queen Victoria Market, the Rialto Towers, most of the arcades highlighted on our maps, Bourke and Swanston Streets (the intersection of which features whimsical flying animals on top of lightposts), and more. Notably, we meant to drive the Great Ocean Road but the three days we had proved too short.

The People

Australian people are a hospitable, sport-loving bunch. Our stay overlapped both a major football match and a federal election, and it was abundantly obvious which the locals were following more closely. The closing of the match saw Sydney erupt in jubilant celebration and good natured yelling in the streets between fans of each team.

Service while in the country was always friendly, surprisingly despite the Australian no-tipping philosophy.

Food and drink

Melbourne sidewalk cafés

Melbourne back-alley cafés.

Discounting Vegemite and meat pies, Australian cuisine seems similar to Canadian in that it borrows liberally from around the world. Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Italian, and more were well represented in various restaurants and even whole districts. Melbourne is particularly suited for dining out, with its outdoor cafés and dense clusters of shops. Locals take full advantage of the proximity of major cities to the ocean, and seafood is easy to find on most menus. Lamb also appears to be more common on Australian menus than in North America.

Australians take their coffee as seriously as Europeans. Starbucks is the Wal-mart of coffee down here, and rightfully so. Compared to even the local java mega-chain Gloria Jean’s, Starbucks is clearly third rate.

You can find standard brewed coffee if you look, but almost all coffee in Australia is espresso-based. Look for more traditional blends of milk and espresso like lattés, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and short/long blacks. Sweetened or flavoured coffee isn’t unheard of, but far from common; instead expect a light dusting of chocolate powder on top of the foam, and a straw of sugar with accompanying spoon for extra sweetness. (No Equal or Sweet ‘n’ Low to be found, thankfully.)

Australia is a major wine-producing country, and we hear the local products are quite good. The few glasses I had were quite tasty and comparable to what may be found in Canada’s wine regions.

Also as in Canada, the major local beers appear to all be lighter lager and ale, with darker beers being relegated to the microbreweries. Getting anything darker than a pale ale proved to be a challenge, but wasn’t without its reward — the stouts and porters found were on par with some of the best Canada has to offer, although a local hefeweizen proved an interesting alternative as well.

Globalization

It’s hard to call it ‘globalization’ when the term mainly refers to the creeping of American culture into everyone else’s. While it’s sometimes a two way street, aside from the odd British chain (Virgin, Vodafone, HMV) the majority of homogenization in Australia is imported from the US. Most noticeable in food chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway, 7-11, but spreading wider to bookstores (Borders) and even copy shops (Kinko’s, Minuteman). Try having a conversation with an Australian without talking about the Simpsons — American TV shows are all over the airwaves. Jerry Springer never felt so out of place as in Melbourne.

Hungry Jacks' logo

Rather charming is the ubiquitous “Hungry Jack’s”, a chain which in all ways but name is identical to Burger King, including logo. That’s because it is Burger King, or at least a wholly-owned (and branded) subsidiary. The story goes that a local trademarked the name before Burger King set up shop, forcing the mega-chain to franchise under a different name. There’s also an amusing sub-plot about the franchisee suing the parent company when the trademark expired. In any case, they’re now everywhere.

Currency

If there’s one thing you can say for Australian money, it’s that it’s rugged. The coins are thicker and larger than many other currencies, and the bills are made of durable plastic which you can run through the wash (though apparently leaving them in for the drier is disastrous).

Australian currency

The penny was mercifully abandoned in favour of a currency system that revolves around 5 and 10 — coins come in denominations of 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1, and $2. Cent coins are silver while dollar coins are gold, although somewhat curiously the silver coins get larger as they increase in value, while the dollar coins shrink. A 50 cent coin is roughly 4 or 5 times the diameter of a $2 coin, while the latter is exactly the same size as a 5 cent coin.

Worth about as much as the Canadian dollar, Australian dollars don’t go nearly as far. An American might expect to pay roughly similar prices for equivalent items back home, whereas Canadians will end up paying a good deal extra — roughly 50% more. In an isolated nation without a major world superpower next door, it only stands to reason that trading might be a touch more expensive.

Connectivity

If you’re the type content to use someone else’s computer to check your web-based email from time to time, you’ll do just fine. Internet cafés abound throughout the country, and the type of store which might feature a wall of flat-screen panels will vary far more than what you’d see in North America.

However, and here’s an important distinction — if you’re the type that requires a connection for your own gear which you’ve brought with you, you’re generally out of luck. Wireless is virtually unknown in any of the cafés happy to rent you a computer, and they won’t let you jack into their ethernet connection either. Expect to pay $10 to $15 an hour for wireless, if you can find a hot spot nearby. Hotels don’t offer in-suite service, unless you have a local dial-up connection, which doesn’t really count.

The difference between the two forms of access belies the truth about connectivity in Australia — it’s obvious the country is wired, just in a different way than might be expected in North America. It sounds like the situation may be improving, as our hotel in Sydney was being fitted with ethernet jacks during our stay, and new wireless points do seem to be popping up. Just try reading Telstra’s wireless pricing though, and you’ll see that there’s a long way to go. (Two hours maximum connect time? Why are they turning away business?)

Weather

Even though we arrived in the early Australian spring, we expected temperate weather and packed accordingly. Bad move, the heat of the first morning in town quickly gave way to clouds and rain. Much of the trip was spent looking out the window and hoping for a change. This was a blessing for the locals, whom we understood were in the middle of a drought, but a bit of a curse throughout our trip.

Most days in Sydney remained consistent throughout the course of the day, but Melbourne saw many changes over the day. A sunny morning gave way to a cloudy early afternoon which gave way to a quick rainstorm followed by more sun before evening; in fact, weather changes were quicker than even that.

Melbourne was a bit cooler than Sydney, on account of its being further south. That’s an interesting change of mindset to get used to when you’re from the northern hemisphere, since south has always meant warm to me.

Readjustments

Most of the world’s population lives north of the Equator, so crossing it is a disorienting experience for many. Getting accustomed to the other side of the world is easy if you don’t think about it. If you happen to start, it becomes a little strange.

The first problem is gravity: it still works. You could lie on the ground and grasp anything bolted down to prevent falling off the surface of the planet, but of course that isn’t necessary and you’ll look a little silly doing it. But when you point at the ground to vaguely gesture towards the land you live in, you’ll understand in an instant why the urge is there…

Ever heard of the Coriolis effect? Famously characterized in a topically relevant episode of the Simpsons, the effect has to do with the spin of the Earth and its influence on large-scale particle systems like weather patterns. On a smaller scale, you can theoretically observe the effect in the way water spins as it drains. In the northern hemisphere, it goes counter-clockwise, and in the southern hemisphere it goes clockwise. Ladies and gentleman, I am here today to tell you that this is, in fact, true. I have seen it for myself. I made a point of filling the sink with water and pulling the plug, and sure enough, in Australia the water rotates clockwise. (Update: or not. Comments have pointed toward this debunking. Oh well.)

The Equator isn’t the only imaginary line crossed en route — there’s also the matter of the International Date Line. Time zone differences are generally just a matter of a bit of sleep loss and the odd extra few hours of daylight, but crossing the date line is where things really get wonky: depending on which way you’re going, you either lose an entire day, or gain an extra one. While I suppose on either side I may have seen a few hours of it, the 26th of September didn’t actually happen for me. Coming back, I got two 9th of Octobers. It’s a weird phenomenon, the only upside being that you have a fun story for parties (and the downside being a lot of sleep to catch up on).

To further complicate matters, Australia has adopted the British method of driving — the steering wheel is on the right hand side of the car, you drive on the left hand side of the street. Many a time was spent waiting to enter the driver’s side of the car as a passenger, and there were a few narrow misses crossing the street. To further complicate matters, Sydney has many one-way streets and Melbourne has the oddest traffic laws involving turns to account for trams: a right-hand turn involves first driving far to the left within the intersection, then turning right. The first few times we saw this we were sure that a driver used to right-hand road rules was just mistaking their turns, until we saw the signs.


Reader Comments

Virginia says:
October 16, 06h

It’s always interesting to read an out-of-towner’s take on my humble hometown, Melbourne, particularly having just spent some time in the US (I’ve not made it as far as Canada yet). Glad you had a good trip… sorry the weather didn’t live up to expectations. It’s been pretty damn nice the last week or so!

David says:
October 16, 06h

Interesting that you found coming down to our part of the world so disorienting. Are you surprised now that our web designs aren’t upside down?

October 16, 08h

It was lovely meeting you, Dave (both in Sydney and Melbourne). I’m glad you had a great time in our country

I’m even happier to see you realised how superior Melbourne is to Sydney. So very true!

cam c. says:
October 16, 10h

I love the bit on the “Quarantine” area at the airport… thinking back to the Simpsons Australia spoof episode, I can just picture the bins being labelled “Frogs”, “Rabbits”, “Misc. Reptiles”, etc… :)

October 16, 11h

Ohh, oh oh. I must regretfully inform you that the Coriolis thing is dodgy:
http://www.snopes.com/science/coriolis.htm

But isn’t the driving thing utterly freaky? When I was in the US a couple years ago I was near jumping out of my seat with a cry of “omg traffic eek” every time we’d be overtaking or turning a corner.

I’m always pleased to read about someone visiting Australia for the first time, anyway. :) Also that you liked Melbourne, which is one of my favourite cities… WE05 in Melbourne please folks!

Trovster says:
October 17, 01h

About Australians/English driving on the “wrong” side…they’re (we’re) correct. The reason it is correct dates back to olden days (not sure exactly when) when people travelled on horses. They rode their horses on the left, so when meeting a person from the opposite direction, they could a) shake hands (which is done with the right hand) or b) use their joust which is held in their right hand…

About getting in the wrong side of the car, I’m doing this often now as my housemate drives a German car. It’s quite funny watching the locals look as I “drive” with no hands!

7
Tom McQuillen says:
October 17, 03h

Great to hear that you enjoyed your stay in Australia Dave. It is always interesting to read the perspective of someone else about our tucked-away country.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, everyone involved in IT down here understands your amazement/frusteration with connectivity - cable is overpriced and underperforming, good luck trying to get T1 without your own business and a small fortune.

Though I’m only 16, I’ve been reading this site for quite a while but this is my first comment. Mezzoblue and CZG are a design inspiration for me and the rest of the world so keep up the great work :)

8
Aaron says:
October 17, 04h

Hi Dave.

I’m in awe that you missed the drive along the great ocean road, its probably one of the most beautiful stretchs of road in the country.

I would have liked to have visited you while you in melbourne at the WSG meeting alas i fell ill on the tuesday morning.

It was viral it was nasty and i didnt particularly want to share it around.

I’m hoping the comments about melbourne in your article result in another visit.

a devoted melbournian.

9
Anura says:
October 17, 04h

Dave

Firstly, let me thank you for your presentations at WE04. Truly inspiring to be reminded that standards doesn’t equal boring!

I think there are two “Australia Essentials 04” you missed out on.

You really should have attempted vegemite - it’s great on hot buttered toast! There are no lingering after-effects.

Also, a great activity is the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb ie. a climb all the way up one of the (other) famous arches. It’s surprisingly easy, the view from the top is fantastic and if you pick the time of day you can also see the sunset and watch the city light up for nighttime.

Thanks for writing this up. As with Virginia, I found it interesting to see your perspective on our cities and remind me that there are some things close by that I really should go and see.

October 17, 04h

About the lack of tipping - I believe that the service industry in Australia actually pays fairly well, compared to NorAm.

gb says:
October 17, 04h

From my experience with living in oz, I must say that the water in the toilets in australia neither spins one way or the other… it simply explodes. The first time I flushed a toilet while living in Melbourne I scared myself half to death…

Odd bit on Hungry Jacks… there are a few locations that are actually labeled as Burger King. I recall getting a bite to eat at one around either Epping or Deer Park (it’s been a few years, so my memory is sketchy). I was surprised that new locations would be BK, while the older chains were HJ. Odd.

12
Dean Jackson says:
October 17, 05h

Dave, it was nice to meet you and April in Sydney, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your stay. Unfortunately I have to agree with Raena, the Coriolis thing is a myth. For years I wanted to believe it was true, to show that that the laws of physics can be broken…. but alas. I’ve swapped hemispheres a lot of times and drained the water in many sinks across the world to find that science is right: the water spins in whichever way the drain determines.

But to back you up on another claim, it reminds me of the Simpons episode where the US embassy in Australia installed a flushing system to reverse the spin.

ephi says:
October 17, 06h

Thank you for explanation on the bill note :) I always wonder about why does our 100K billnote feels like plastic. It is imported from Oz. Apparently, all money there are like that.

14
CheekyGeek says:
October 17, 07h

The “Hungry Jacks/Burger King” history is explained here: http://www.brainyencyclopedia.com/encyclopedia/b/bu/burger_king.html

I was also quite taken with Australia when I got a chance to visit (in May) a couple of years ago. I only got to see the SE corner (12 Apostles - Melbourne - Canberra - Sydney) but loved it. Melbourne is perhaps one of the best kept secrets in the world and while I’m not a “city” person, I could quite happily live there.

The southern skies were quite a treat for this amateur astonomy-lover. I highly recommend the tour at the Sydney Observatory where you get to look through both the historical refractor which still operates there, and a more modern computer-controlled scope (weather permitting).

October 17, 08h

Dave, as has already been pointed out, I’m afraid you did not observe the coriolis effect in an Australian sinkhole.

Repeat your experiment a few times in Canada and you’ll see that the water will sometimes spiral out clockwise and sometimes counter-clockwise.

Still, you’re not the first person to propagate this myth: it has even found its way into textbooks.

Some more info:

http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadCoriolis.html
http://home.thezone.net/~bwhiffen/articles/Coriolis.htm
http://www.ulrc.com.au/HTML/report.asp?CaseFile=ULRR0073&Page=1&View=Request

Sorry.

October 17, 08h

Great having you downunder Dave. I was one of the fortunate ones to witness your sessions at WE04.

Hope to see you again net year.

Derek says:
October 17, 08h

I’m glad I don’t have to take on the Coriolis thing in detail. Essentially, only large-scale events like weather systems are controlled by Coriolis forces. At smaller scales, other factors such as the shape of the basin and whether the water gets pushed in one direction to start have a far larger influence.

The coffee thing is interesting. I was last in Australia in 1995, and the coffee was universally terrible, weak drip, with espresso hard to find, and a surprising amount of instant coffee (Sanka), even in restaurants. Glad that’s changed. Also, not having artificial sweetener (which was also then impossible to find) can be a pain when, like me, you’re diabetic.

What I found most disorienting as a Canadian was not the driving, or the time change, but the movement of the sun. I guess I base a lot of my sense of direction on where the sun is at a given time of day, and I’m so used to seeing it traverse the southern part of the sky from left to right (if you look that way) that I was quite discombobulated when it moved across the north from right to left. My instinct was to confuse south with north, and the direction of sun movement was just _wrong_ for my brain.

Melbourne’s weather is famous enough that the big ’80s/’90s band Crowded House had a song about it called “Four Seasons in One Day.” Great song, by the way, from their 1991 “Woodface” album.

Paul says:
October 18, 02h

Takes me back to my month down under last year - making many off the same observations. However my suprise of the whole driving on the left (correct) side of the road was that they do it as well - I always thought they took the American appoach to driving, so that was good to see.

As to currency, I think the plastic notes are a fantastic idea, and would like to see them implemented here in the UK too.

Manly has got to be the most beautiful set of beaches in Sydney - I thought Bondi didn’t live up to the hype at all.

Anyway - WE05 - sounds like a good excuse to spend another month (or so) down under next year!

October 18, 03h

Hi Dave

What a great travel report. It’s always cool to read about other folks experiences in different countries.

I find it so interesting that you spoke in Australia at the conference. Web Standards is alive around the globe and growing but the Australians really seem to be grasping it quicker than others. Every CSS site I visit has some tie in to Oz. I think this is awesome.

I live in Northern BC (not that far from Vancouver, BC) and yet I was encouraged to look at css/xhtml by my friend Peter Gifford in Sydney. And Russ at Max Design has been very inspirational.

Anyway, loved to hear about the trip, hope you have some money left for coffee someday and thanks for sharing both the trip with us and your experience at Web Essentials. Maybe its time I booked my trip to the land down under, sounds like a whole bunch of neat people.

Cheers

Gordon

Bill says:
October 18, 05h

Your post just strengthens my desire to experience Australia.

A small side note: when my wife and I were in Ireland we also discovered a land of “no tipping” service people. It was very hard to get out of the habit. Even if they are paid well I still feel like I should reward quality service.

ps: i also like the little “slides” you used in the post. It’s always kind of neat to see elements from my childhood reused in a modern context. I cant say I enjoyed sitting through slide shows as a kid but I haven’t even seen a slide since then so it kind of tickled me to see them in the post.

October 18, 07h

I got to meet you briefly at the WSG meetup in Melbourne. Glad you enjoyed your stay here and hopefully we’ll see you again some time in the future.

P.S. I always thought the Coriolis thing was bogus too!

22
Eric Thompson says:
October 18, 09h

I’ve never quite understood why it was so much a problem that globalization exposes other people to American culture and products (not many people seem to object to the reverse…).

But in terms of Australian exports to the world, Vegemite is…singular. And a very, *very* acquired taste. I managed a third of a cracker with some on it, so wasn’t able to acquire the taste, but I know people who swear by it.

23
John Cherry says:
October 18, 09h

On the subject of Australian currency, I don’t believe the one cent coin has ever been known as a ‘penny’.

Real pennies were abandoned in 1966 with the introduction of decimal currency, and it would have been a little confusing to refer to cents as pennies.

But, of course, you were referring to the removal of one- and two-cent ‘bronze’ coins from circulation, starting in 1992.

We now only have 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c ‘silver’ coins (75%Cu 25%Ni) and $1, $2 ‘gold’ coins (92%Cu 6%Al 2%Ni)

We’re just waiting for the $5 note to be replaced by a ‘gold’ coin. If the trend continues, it’ll be tiny.

Chris says:
October 18, 12h

You write: “It’s hard to call it ‘globalization’ when the term mainly refers to the creeping of American culture into everyone else’s.”

I agree completely. When you understand this sentence, when you experience what it means, you also understand many of the current problems (understatement ;-)) of the world today.

Matt says:
October 22, 08h

Hi, being an Australian living in Canada, I was quite interested to read your post. You are obviously a very observant person! You picked up on many distinctive Aussie cultural aspects that many tourists would not notice.

One thing I thought was missing - language! I find Canadians have extreme difficulty understanding my Aussie slang. I have also noticed that not many Canadians have ever been to Australia so you are one of the lucky few :)

Matt

Stephen says:
October 29, 04h

Hey Dave, I love your work!
It’s people like you that make web design + learning proper CSS usage all the more worthwhile.
But mate [~australian slang for friend], you missed the best city while you were down-under : ADELAIDE.
(Or did you?)
If you had visited ‘the city of churches’ as it’s known, I would have paid money to hear you speak, plus gotten you free meals [www.doduckinn.com] plus found free lodging. Next time you fly down to this side of the world…

Nick says:
November 08, 06h

Excellent article! Being an Australian myself, I can personally affirm all that has been written here. I’m glad you enjoyed the stay in Australia and thank you for spreading kind comments about us Aussies! Come again soon.