We Speak Australian

So it’s been almost two weeks since we’ve landed on this big island and we have been steadily picking up and incorporating the lingo. You know, to blend in. The accent is a bit hard to mimic, and words like “no” (which sounds to our American ears like “nawyeurooahooo”) really betray us. But in writing, we’re indistinguishable from native Aussies. Behold:

A great day in an Australian city such as Sydney always begins with a delicious brekkie, and we enjoy some smashed avo toast with poached eggs on top. Usually the sun is bright and reliable in the summer, but we happen upon the one day in Sydney when the harbor is obscured by clouds and a Seattle-like mist enrobes the city. Good thing our hotel is prepared with heaps of brollies. We grab a few and venture out to explore options for a quick cuppa. I’m partial to a long black myself, but flat whites and iced coffees are also very popular.

A trip to the dunny is usually necessary after too much coffee, and the boys look for a place to go for a slash. While the rest of us wait, we check out the tradies, one of whom is a ranga, and debate the appropriateness of their attire. I mean, no hard hats and above-the-knee shorts? Comfy, but definitely against protocol in the states.

No roos to be found in the city, unless kanga bangas at the Coles counts, but Sydney proper doesn’t concern itself with appeasing tourists’ appetites for exotic animals. There are fast ferries to Manly beaches and famous bridges and opera houses to gawk at, the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Rocks Market to visit, window shopping at the QVB, and, of course, concerts for us to play at the City Recital Hall.

Before we know it, it’s time for our arvo coffee, and perhaps a bikkie or two to accompany it. We discuss evening food options. There’s soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, Aussie burgers at Burger Project, or schnitties and meat pies at the local pub, an embarrassment of choices. Might as well start with cocktails at Opera Bar, where we can further discuss food and gawk at a bona fide reality TV star. After dinner, there will be a requisite trip to the nearest IGA to buy a box of Golden Gaytime. We barely step outside before devouring the whole box standing on the sidewalk next to the didgeridoo busker.

Driving in Australia, or should I say, being a passenger in a car in Australia, is utterly terrifying. Everything about it is wrong. As soon as the car pulls into traffic I’m convinced we will plow head-on into every car. Right turns in particular are heart-stopping. I try not to look but I get motion sickness easily so I have to look out the window. Just as I am getting accustomed to going the wrong way around in roundabouts, the car chucks a yewy and I think I might vomit.

Flying, on the other hand, is a real pleasure in Australia. I can walk on the plane with a full bottle of water brought from the hotel and no one blinks an eye. There’s always food included, even on measly hour-long flights. They board planes simultaneously from front and back*, and luggage comes out by the time you walk to the baggage claim. Watch out for those carousels, though. They spin so fast the bags literally come flying off the belt with the centrifugal force. Retrieving bags from our first domestic flight is reminiscent of the famous chocolates scene from I Love Lucy, only with more yelling and running as we chase our bags down the belt, shielding ourselves from the ones flying off it. Totes awkies.

Australian airlines don’t like cellos, however. Or, more likely, they just don’t like Nick. Our tour manager Michelle has hosted many groups with cellists and swears it has never been a problem. But Nick gets booted off our first flight from Perth to Canberra and has skirmishes with airline agents on every subsequent flight. Basically, Michelle has to crack the shits at someone every time we approach the counter. But once on the plane, everything’s grand.

After a long day, it’s time to relax in our rooms. We stay at a couple different Crowne Plaza hotels, some of which are attached to a casino. Though we are tempted to try our hand at the pokies, we all resist (as far as I know). The beaches are irresistible, however, and Adam is absolutely determined to introduce his toes to every beach he possibly can, no matter what time of day. Good on him. He needs a new cozzie, so Michelle points out a couple of stores where he might find some cute budgie smugglers. I promise him not to post any photos. At least not here…

*I’ve been told this is a Virgin Airlines thing, not an Australian thing.


Arvo = afternoon

Avo = avocado

Bikkie = biscuit

Brekkie = breakfast

Brollies = umbrellas

Budgie smuggler = Speedo

Chuck a yewy = make a U-turn

Cozzie = swimsuit

Crack the shits = get mad, throw a tantrum

Cuppa = cup of coffee or tea

Dunny = toilet

Flat White = basically milk with coffee flavor

Golden Gaytime = an ice cream bar with biscuit crumbles and chocolate coating

Good on him, also, good on ya = good for him, good for you

Iced Coffee = don’t be fooled, this is a milky, sugary treat

Kanga Banga = kangaroo sausage (see picture)

Long Black = espresso with water, but NOT an Americano

Pokies = slot machines

Ranga = redhead, as in “orangutan”

Roos = kangaroos

Schnitties = schnitzel

Totes awkies = totally awkward

Tradies = tradesmen

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