31 July 2010
Geckos are by no means unique to Australia. I'm including them because, this being my first time living in a warm enough climate for them, they hold a certain fascination for me. Their vocalizations -- they sort of chirp -- seem way too loud for their size. Upside is they supposedly eat insects, including mosquitoes. Downside is they produce little turds that you find in places like your bathtub and you have to clean up after them every day.
Google has gazillions of gecko images. Not all of them are images of actual real live geckos, of course. You get gecko jewelry, gecko sculptures, Michael Douglas, and the Geico gecko. When you search "Australian gecko" you also get Ugg boots and the money shot of Sydney opera house with the harbour bridge in the background. This one looks pretty much like the ones I see clinging to my living room ceiling or scurrying across the driveway.
30 July 2010
17 July 2010
So, ferries. Certainly not uniquely Australian. But yesterday, on the road back from Toowoomba, we got off the motorway and took the scenic route, Moggill Rd, from its western origin. What we didn't know was that the road ends at the river, yes, ends; and in order to get to the other side of the river, the cars drive onto a funny little ferry. Here's a link to the map showing how the road just ends on either side of the river. The ferry is pulled across the river by a cable, see top photo, and once it's across the cars drive off and continue on their way. This arrangement is on a major commute route. The traffic backups during peak hours don't even bear thinking about.
But, footy! THAT'S Australian. Now, footy could be any one of four games played here: rugby league, rugby union, soccer, or Australian Rules Football. But usually it refers to Aussie Rules. Now that I've lived here for nearly two years, here is what I know about these games:
1) Soccer is called soccer, just like in the US. It may be the beautiful game elsewhere, but here, of the four it's probably the least popular.
2) Rugby scores often don't get out of the teens, whereas footy scores can approach 100.
3) If there are four upright poles in each end zone it's footy; if the goalposts are H-shaped, it's rugby.
4) A lot of footy teams are based in and around Melbourne, the spiritual home of Aussie Rules.
The nuances of league vs. union are beyond me, and none of them look like American football, mainly because there are no timeouts between plays, no pads, no helmets, and the ball is a bit rounder without the pointy ends.
I took the photo above at an actual footy game - yes, I have been to one, thanks to Brian - about a year ago.