Thursday, August 04, 2011

Travelogue: Australia – Offset

For those of you who have not traveled vast distances from home, let me tell you; getting there and back is likely not to be the thing that is likely to be the toughest thing that you have to deal with. For me, the thing that is the hardest to keep straight in my mind is what time and day it is.

Part of this chronological dissonance is the fact that as I am ending my day, my colleagues in the UK are just starting theirs. As I start my day, my colleagues back home in the states are ending their previous day. As I sit here thinking about what I am about to order for breakfast on a lovely Thursday morning in Canberra, Saga is probably getting her Wednesday afternoon lunch in Denver.

This is freaky and I can tell you it would take me some time to get used to it. I could probably be here a month and not get used to it. Not that I want to try it, I've been on the road for two weeks and am missing my dog! I cannot wait to get back!

Oddly, one of the local stations carries the US morning news programs. They are delayed (this morning I was able to see what happened two days ago) but at least it is a bit of time that I can spend keeping in touch with the news from the states. Though the big news makes it here pretty fast; the settling of the debt ceiling crisis was here almost before it happened, I guess bad news just travels fast!

But still, I am not sure that I could get used to this without a serious effort. I am not sure that I really want to make that effort. I do miss the immediacy of proximity. I think I will have the spinach and tomato omelet today. It may be lunch time there, but it is time for breakfast here after all!

Wherever you are, I hope that you will have a great day, close to the ones you love.

Don Bergquist – 04 August 2011 – Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Anonymous said...

Hi - I have always found your analysis of different countries to be interesting. Now that you are in Australia (a place that I've never been to) I am finding it interesting to read your observations.

I could be wrong but whenever I have discussed Australia with other people, I have told them I thought that going to a large city in Australia would be similar to getting on an airplane for 13 hours and landing in Vancouver, BC (a place not too far away from me that I have visited several times). I know that the climate would be different (and the time of day and the season of the year), but I sense that the people and the culture in Australia might be similar in some ways to the people and the culture in Canada.

I trust your judgement on questions such as these and I would find it interesting to read your observations.

Also, are the people who are taking care of Saga sending you pictures of her by e-mail while you are gone? I think you said that they did that one time when you were traveling. Maybe you could send her a picture of yourself to make her feel less lonely (or perhaps send her a dirty sock that she would recognize as being yours - for some reason dogs don't always respond to pictures).

Anonymous Reader

Don Bergquist said...

Dear Anonymous Reader,

Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog.

I am glad to hear that you find my random cranial excretions to be interesting, if not always insightful! (Self-deprecating humor!)

I find it interesting that you followed the same logic that I did on my full weekend in Australia. I was trying to decide what to do with my only weekend there and I decided that going to Sydney, while I am sure it is a lovely place, was visiting a city.

After he opera house and the bridge, you're left with a city. I can visit cities here in the states, I often do! I opted to stay in Canberra and visit a wildlife park not far from town. As you can see from my other posts, I got to see some of the wildlife that you're never going to see (outside a zoo) except in Australia.

Did I find the people different there than elsewhere? No. Not really. People are people no matter where they are. There are good and interesting people; there are dull and rude people. You spend time with the people you like, avoid the ones that annoy you.

That being said, yes. The culture is different… but then you have to imagine it would be. Australia is a much younger country than The States or Canada. And until the widespread availability of air travel, it was too secluded to really have any near real-time exchange with the outside world. There are a couple pubs in Canberra that I visited, but I will tell you that the pubs in Canada that I have visited are much more pub-like.

As to Saga's Kennel, no. They send only the one picture at the start of her stay, usually.

Thanks again for reading and commenting!

Don Bergquist

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your analysis of Australia. Your comment about the isolation of Australia during the pre-aircraft age was interesting and may explain something about Australia that I learned a few months ago when I downloaded an application to my iPhone that would allow me to stream
music from radio stations around the world.

I wasn't surprised to find an all 1980 rock station (I think it was in Sydney). They played Australian bands such as INXS and American and British bands that were popular in the 1980s. But I was shocked to hear country music on some of the other Australian radio stations. I heard some very good country songs that I had never heard before (including one song that mentioned a Kangeroo. I heard a recording of a live performance that was done by a popular Australian country band that was performing in Sydney. I don't recall hearing any American country music songs yet the messages in the Australian country songs were similar to American country music.

Did you notice anything like that when you were there? I think the fact that rock music these goes across all borders makes it strange to hear very good Australian country that never made it to the US.

Anonymous Reader

Don Bergquist said...

Dear Anonymous Reader:

Thanks again for reading and commenting on my blog.

I really cannot say that I am surprised at the popularity of country music in Australia… It is largely a rural country. (Think of a whole country made-out of North Dakota! – For my Canadian Readers: Imagine Northern Saskatchewan spreading from The Maritimes to Vancouver!)

I heard an interesting statistic. For a country that is roughly the size of the continental US, they have only a population as large as New York State. It is a really spread-out country. As a matter of fact, apparently about 90% of that population is in the coastal regions. Ironically, their census occurred whilst I was there – they include visitors in their census. So I am officially on record as having been in Australia. I was included in their census this year!

I know that I mentioned seeing some American TV there but I didn't actually hear any radio at all while there. The TV in my hotel room was actually only on because I cannot stand a silent room. I have to have some noise or I cannot relax. It is probably a hold-over from growing-up in a large family.

So I cannot really tell you anything about the radio there. Sorry!

But again, thanks for reading and commenting on the blog!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me update my understanding of Australia. From now on I will think of Australia as being like a Saskatoon with a fancy looking opera house.

Don Bergquist said...

Having been to both, I can say it's not quite an exact fit, but it is not TOO far off!