Tips for American Visitors

I’m writing this post mainly for my friend Amanda who will be visiting in a few weeks (yay) but I figured some others might get some benefit from it as well. I’ve compiled a list of tips and helpful things to know for your first visit to Australia.

1. “Hotels” are not usually real hotels. They are bars or pubs. So when you see “Mosman Hotel, The Clock Hotel, Cremorne hotel”, etc… they aren’t places to sleep, they are places to drink.

2. Lemonade is not lemonade. Lemonade here is Sprite or 7 Up. You can’t really find what we think of as lemonade in many places , but if you do ever find it- it will be called “traditional or real lemonade.”

3. When you order a drink at a bar, it comes with one shot. NEVER any more than exactly one shot of alcohol. If you want more, you order a double- and pay double!

4. Entrees ARE actually Entrees. And by this I mean they come before your main course, as they should. Entrees in the US are the main course, but in the rest of the world, entree means appetizer or starter. So don’t order an entree and expect it to be big enough to fill you up!

5. Don’t tip. It is not the common practice here and many people actually get mad if you tip because they don’t want tipping to become the norm. If enough people start tipping, it WILL become the norm and then it will be expected. For now, you only tip if you really want to because of great service (which as my last post noted, is rare).

6. “Ta” means thank you. Because yes, some people are so lazy that even saying “thanks” uses too much energy ๐Ÿ™‚

7. A “dunny” is a toilet. And on that note, when you need to find a bathroom, ask for the toilet, not the bathroom. It sounds tacky, but that’s just what people say here.

8. “Pash” means make-out. While this doesn’t seem like a helpful hint for visitors, it has been something that I’ve needed to explain to the last few Americans who visited.

9. If you’re by yourself, get into the front seat of the cab. I still don’t do this- but Andrew said it seems kind of rude to get in the back if you are all alone.

10. Ask for your bill at the end of the meal, otherwise you may never get it!

11. “Light beer” is not light on calories, it’s light on alcohol. If you order light beer to watch your figure, it won’t help. You’ll just be heavier and less boozy.

12. TONS of restaurants are B.Y.O. so you can bring your own bottles of wine… which is a HUGE reason that we end up drinking so much.

13. Nobody says “McDonalds.” It’s Maccas.

14. Chicken Salad sandwiches are not the typical chicken salad you would get in the US (with mayo and celery and stuff). When you order a chicken salad sandwich or turkey salad sandwich it means chicken WITH salad. And by “salad” I mean lettuce, tomato and other typical fixings that come on a burger/sandwich.

15. People will say “How you going?” and you will be totally confused. Your mind will try to comprehend if they are saying “how are you DOING?” or “Where are you GOING?” So… just say “good.”

16. Don’t try to say “G’day.” Americans always sound ridiculous when they attempt to say it.

17. Coffee is different, but I don’t drink it, so I can’t really give tips here. Maybe someone else can chime in on this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyone else have any handy tips or hints they’d like to share??

14 Responses to Tips for American Visitors

  1. suzer April 19, 2009 at 4:27 am #

    I never thought of ta that way…great one.

  2. Natasha April 19, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    I hate ta… I think it sounds so pretentious! I literally wince every time someone says it.

    Totally agree with Andrew on the cabs- I always get in the front! It does kind of feel rude to get in the back. I almost never took cabs at home really, so I guess this one was easy for me to adjust to.

    You just can’t really find drip coffee here. I do drink coffee here but I’m not really a coffee snob, so instant coffee keeps me happy. If you’re ordering from a cafe, you can probably order a long black and it’d be similar to “regular” coffee back home. I think.

    Good entry!

  3. Natasha April 19, 2009 at 4:56 am #

    And p.s. I still say bathroom- I cannot bring myself to ask for the toliet! Ew.

  4. Danielle April 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    I didn’t know about the taxi thing! Now I feel all rude for sitting in the back! BUT not that rude, since every taxi driver is always blabbing on the mobile while driving …
    One thing I had a hard time getting used to is the walking on the left..it just feels so strange to me.
    Oh and ketchup = tamahto sauce, that one cracks me up too.
    Great list!

  5. Andrew April 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    Actually yeah getting in the back if you don’t care about being rude is a good idea – all our taxi drivers stink.

  6. Valerie April 19, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    I have to add a few things:
    Hotels- do usually have a few rooms (upstairs), you just have to ask and they will help you from the bar. But I don’t know how good they are.
    Don’t feel bad giving a $50 or $100 note anywhere because they are used heaps more here.
    If you enjoy drinking beer, try whats on tap, Aussie beers are very good and are almost all low carb.
    Elsja- Have you gone to the Easter Show?

  7. Andrew April 20, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    There are a few options for low carb beers now with the two biggest being Pure Blonde and Super Dry. Out of an average of 6 taps though you’ll only find these two (usually only one) – with the other four being a mix of ‘imported’ beers that are actually brewed locally now (e.g. Becks, Heineken) and VB or New. VB and Toohey’s New are the original Aussie beers in the southern states with XXXX being the beer of choice in Qld.

    It’s true about those ‘hotel’ rooms but after having stayed in them a few times, don’t expect anything more than a jagged single bed, an empty wardrobe and a sink…possibly a ceiling fan if you’re lucky.

  8. mc April 20, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    Coffee order: my coffee with milk and sugar became flat white with one sugar in Australia.

    Elevators and sidewalks: keep left.

    Beers… who wants expensive beer when there is such good cheap wine?

  9. Andrew April 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    …and a three day growth.

    Only the Aussies will get that one. I guess everyone else will have to use google.

  10. amanda April 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    what a fabulous list! i’ve learned so much about australia.

    i can’t wait to BYOB at a yummy thai restaurant. get drunk and pash on the left side of the street with stephen. tee hee hee.

    so looking forward to this!

  11. Kate April 20, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    Elsja, i’m impressed…good blogging……all of these are precisely true! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    P.s…I’m thinkin bout getting in on the blogging thing…this looks like a good host blog.
    I think we have dinner next week so see you then!

  12. MB April 24, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    Great list…made me laugh. I totally second mc’s comment about keeping left on the escalators. That drives me mad when people stand in the middle and I’m in a hurry to get up/down.

    And the coffee in Australia is so much better I think. It took us forever to find decent coffee in a cafe when we moved back to the US. But we mostly drink cappuccinos in cafes anyway.

    I was trying to think of some others, but it’s late and I need to go to bed so I’m too tired. Oh wait, one thing that bugs me is when Americans say Aussie with an ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’. It’s pronounced Ozzie people. Gawd that bugs me. Okay, sorry for the rant.

    Great list! I like your blog. It’s funny. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • elsja April 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

      I hear the coffee is better here, but I didn’t drink it back home so I can’t really compare. I do miss my Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes though- that was as close to coffee as i got. How funny about the AuSSie vs. AuZZie. I hadn’t noticed, but that’s very true! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. katrina April 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    I love this!

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