Sunday, 8 September 2013

Spot the Aussie

Whenever I'm away from Australia, I like to avoid other Australians.  I prefer to meet 'other' people, and learn something of their local culture.  After all, if I wanted to meet other Australians, I could just stay in Australia, right?

Sometimes, Australians are a bit loud, like 'Josh' in Pamplona, who, together with his mates, was happy turning up his own volume to announce his nationality to all within earshot.  Not quite the classic loud Americans we used to see in London years ago wearing the wide Texan hats, and who wanted directions to both Buckingham Palace and the nearest hotdog stand, but you know what I mean.  

Many Australians, of course, are quiet individuals happily wandering the world in large numbers.  All through my life, wherever I've been, there has always been a plentiful supply of my fellow countrymen.  Somehow, I've often instinctively known from a person's facial expression that they are Australian.  But you often identify an Australian instantly by what they're wearing.  While Europeans are wearing a couple of layers of clothing with shoes and perhaps a thin weather-resistant jacket, the Australian will be dressed in a singlet (vest), thongs (flip flops), and a baseball cap.  The European will have a very slight uptight or busy look.  The Australian will be carefree and relaxed, waiting for whatever happens.

There's another way you can tell who's Australian.  While Australians might be relaxed, their standards are rather different to the rest of the world in certain respects.  In an outdoor restaurant, the Australian will be the one who is waving the cigarette smoke away which is drifting from the guy at the next table.  (You cannot smoke anywhere near food in Australia, nor in many other places.).  Or, in a restaurant, the Australian will be the person whose jaw drops with shock and disbelief when other patrons arrive with their dog, which sits under the table while its owners dine, and may or may not bark at other passing canines.  (In Australia, no one would even dream of taking a pet to a restaurant, guide dogs excepted.)

There are so many Australians outside Australia at any one time that sometimes you just can't help but spot the Aussie.

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