Thursday, June 30, 2011

quicko: the manly ferry

The Manly ferry is awesome.  A half hour of riding doing absolutely nothing.  The scenery, of course, is gorgeous, and the first dozen or ten dozen or so times you go that's by far the highlight.  I still love it, of course.  Now though I also just love the ride for being nice and safe and cozy.  You can just plop down and you don't have to worry about where to get off, or when, or anything.  You just have half an hour to fall back, regroup and get yourself ready to face life on the other end.  You can retouch the makeup, finish the sushi, make a phone call you've been needing to make, catch up on your texts, read mX, read Harry Potter, doze or whatever else you like -- all in one trip!  I absolutely love it.

public service announcement: an irish shop!

I found an Irish shop!  In Sydney!  Isn't that exciting?!  If you want to buy Irish products, you can visit in person or check out their website.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

quicko: city extra

So there's this 24-hour place called City Extra at Circular Quay, and I have this theory about its business.  A third of it on people who just missed their ferries, a third of it on people who can't find anywhere else open at midnight and a third of it on people who actually mean to come because they like it.  At least, that's roughly how my patronage of it works out.

And man, that ferry one is a killer.  Drives me absolutely crazy -- there is little in life more frustrating than missing public transportation by mere seconds.  Thank goodness hot chocolates and coconut bread can help!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

public service announcement: azteca hot and cold chocolate!

Guess what!!  I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for this announcement, and here it is:  at San Churros, you can order a hot and cold hot chocolate with Azteca hot chocolate (chili chocolate) instead of Spanish hot chocolate if you want to.

Now, if you haven't had either, I don't recommend deviating from the normal recommendation of Spanish right off the bat, but if you've been there awhile and wanting to branch out a bit, well, hey!  Why not try the Azteca hot and cold as well?  It disappears a bit faster, but is absolutely amazing.

And, while we're at it -- the Glebe Point Road San Churros has a very lovely new wooden table you really ought to visit.

And finally -- don't forget to take your customer loyalty card with you!  Or, better yet, take mine!  :)

public service announcement: san churros in miranda!

There is!  For those unaware, Miranda is quite south, on the way to Cronulla.  North Shore types will want to frequent the Chatswood branch, just at the cinemas, while Eastern suburb sorts can stop in at Bondi beach.  City dwellers (or workers) can pop into the Glebe Point Road shop pretty easily.  Those are all the branches I know of, but do let me know if you find more!

(Thanks, post courtesy Matt.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

quicko: lack of harry-mania

THE last Harry Potter movie is coming out in roughly 2 weeks and Australia ... seems hardly to have noticed.  I have bought tickets online for a midnight showing, which will presumably be populated entirely by ex-pat Americans (?) and the four Australian friends I'm dragging along ...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

quicko: manly life savers :)

The tourists posed for a photo with the Manly life savers at their life saving club.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

quicko: the harbour tunnel

So there is a huge tunnel under the Sydney Harbour, rather predictably, for traffic.  I really dislike taking it, partially because it means you can't go over the bridge and see the pretty harbour (a friend once driving me into the city asked if we should take the bridge or the tunnel.  "The bridge!" I exclaimed, happily.  "Kim," she said.  "You know this isn't purely an aesthetic choice, right?").  However, the other part of the problem is that universal difficulty that tunnels beneath bodies of water could -- could -- at any moment give way and crash, filling themselves with water and leading to the prompt and painful death of anyone within, namely, when I am within them, me.  Thus, I have asked around and developed this handy plan to help:  (ahem) instead of trying to remember the distance and how far in you are (and which way is closer for escape, should escape become necessary), in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, it is necessary only to look at the walls and see if you are angling down or not.  To escape, simply swim UP!  You might still die, but at least you'll die trying, hey?

Never hurts to be prepared, eh, boy scouts?

Friday, June 24, 2011

quicko: cradle robbing

AKA cradle snatching in Australia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

quicko: quiz team name possibilities

A more or less random sample of quiz team names from North Sydney:

I Really Liked Rufus Better
Potatoes and Pears
The Good 2 Plus 3
Yakety Saks
Two's Company
The Lady Hawk Killers
Irish Sunbakers
USA All the Way
Quiz Team Aguilera
Nude Bathing Prohibited

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

quicko: minimum wage

As of July 1, 2011, the Australian (from what I can tell it's a national, not state-by-state thing, but I could be wrong ...) minimum wage is going to be (American teenagers, please stop reading now before you kill yourselves):  $15.51.


When I was doing minimum hour jobs in Ohio in the mid 2000s, it was $5.15/hr.  I think now it might be $5.45.  Although of course when I was a waitress, it was $2.13/hr (not including tips, but still).


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

quicko: to do a runner

i.e., to run off when you're supposed to do something/be somewhere.  MIA.  AWOL.  etc.

Monday, June 20, 2011

quicko: pub trivia

So pub trivia is amazing.  Lots of fun.  The fabulous four went tonight, playing under the name "I Really Liked Rufus Better."  We came 18th of 23, and were mightily proud of ourselves.

It's a pretty cool part of Australian culture -- weeknightly trivia nights, how much fun is that?!  Tons!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

quicko: post codes

AKA ZIP codes.  Generally 4 digits here.  Pretty sure NSW post codes all start with 2.  Sydney, for example, is 2000, and most areas in the vicinity are 20--.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

quicko: the australian dollar

Is doing very well.  Which is good.  Really.  Sort of.  Not really.  For me.  Kind of.  Maybe.

It certainly impedes my ability to formulate full sentences, which may or may not be beneficial for the world at large.  If it even cares.

It's good in one sense:  namely, the "Kim-has-slightly-more-cash-to-her-name-than-she-did-before" sense, which really isn't saying much.  Something.  But not much.

It's bad in another sense:  namely, the "Kim-can't-come-home-for-Christmas-because-all-the-Australians-have-seized-the-day-of-cheap-airline-tickets-and-there's-none-under-3-grand-left-for-poor-Americans-on-the-other-side-of-the-world-from-their-families" sense.

So I don't know what to make of it.  I don't know a thing about economics, but other people seem to say that it won't really last.  Which is distressing because it means the little super I've accrued here will probably be worth, say, half as much when I actually go to try to get it back later on.  But at least I'll be able to go home to get it back.  I don't know.  Like I said, economic thoughts aren't really my strong suit.

Diamonds, now.  Those I could handle.

Friday, June 17, 2011

quicko: sailing the high seas

Did you know that all ocean traffic goes right if it must pick?  We worked this out on the Manly ferry because it went distinctly farther right than necessary (it does every time, but was more noticeable this time).  It makes sense for this to be worldwide agreement, but it struck me particularly in Australia, which of course drives on the left.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

quicko: morning tea, continued

Australian children receive morning tea in schools -- my Australian friend was shocked to learn that we were not given a snack around 10:30 in the morning and had to make it all the day until lunch with no sustenance.  I was surprised they were given such special treats!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

quicko: the pledge

As far as I know, Australians don't have a pledge of allegiance.  Or if they do, I don't think the kids recite it at school every day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

quicko: susan's further observations

She cannot tell the difference here between bird calls and small children screaming.  And possibly injured cats.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

pictures: pavlova!

Today we taught Susan about the Australian (or is it Kiwi?) dessert pavlova.  It's amazing -- meringues with whipped cream, passion fruit, kiwi, strawberries and, in our case, honey and burnt fig ice cream.

Friday, June 10, 2011

quicko: susan's observations, day 3

Today Susan noticed that there are lots of houses and apartments with glass/clear balconies.  Although she sees they have their place, overall she is not a huge fan.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

quicko: susan's observations, day 2

Today Susan was alert enough to notice her surroundings -- mostly.  She reports acute trouble with traffic coming from the other direction with drivers on the other side, though has stayed safe so far.

Otherwise, she has not had any earth-shattering revelations, though does say Australia seems more European than America does.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

quicko: susan's observations, day 1

Susan has no observations on day 1, aside from the fact that jet lag makes you sleepy.

Kim, however, noticed a few things.  They were so obvious she couldn't forget them and wouldn't need to write them down.  She'll get back to you on what they were.

In the meantime, perhaps you can content yourself with some photos:

quicko: ape

Synonym for crazy.  "He was totally going ape when he found out about drop bears."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

quicko: cards in plastic

Oftentimes when you buy greeting cards here -- particularly good ones -- they come all wrapped up in plastic.  In case they get cold, perhaps?

Monday, June 6, 2011

quicko: spelling lesson

Pyjamas, not pajamas, in Australia.  Or, as the English teachers say, p-schwa-jamas.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

quicko: a taste of manly

Food and wine festival in Manly over the weekend!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

quicko: rugby?

Rugby, I'm told, is popular in Sydney.  Not in Melbourne.

Friday, June 3, 2011

quicko: shopping

I'm not positive whether this is an Australian thing or a I've-been-teaching-ESL-too-long thing, but it seems to me here that the use of "shopping" is lots more liberal here.  To me, shopping has to be an arguably fun endeavor -- looking for new clothes, shoes, accessories, perfume, etc.  However, here it is just the monotonous day-to-day "gosh-I-need-to-pick-up-some-teabags" type of behavior.  Searching for Scotch tape, cellophane or socks could be shopping here, whereas I reserve it for the likes of shorts, skirts and swimwear.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

quicko: divorce

I'm told that, in Australian law, you cannot be granted an immediate divorce but must instead wait for a period of 9 to 12 months and attempt to reconcile.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

quicko: san churros

... is just amazing.  Unless you eat too much of it ...

Speaking of which ... might I particularly recommend the churros for two (with milk chocolate and caramel ... or possibly white chocolate), the hot and cold hot chocolate (pictured above -- it's hot chocolate with ice cream, what could be better?), the chocolate covered strawberries and the Azteca hot chocolate.  The banana lambada, I'm told, is amazing as well, but that is highly contingent upon you actually liking bananas.  Guess who doesn't.  Ah, well.  Guess I'll just have to knock myself out with the mint version.  Worse things have happened.