What we’re missing so far in Australia…Guess we need to accept and adapt…

The seafood is offered by the kilo (2.2) pounds in AUD. As a result, these prices are not bad. For example AUD $20 is USD $15.51.

Every country has its nuances and its lifestyle commensurate with centuries of history and tradition. We try as much as we can to adapt to these differences that we find wherever we may travel.

As our long term readers know we’ve sacrificed many aspects of our lives in order to have the joy of traveling the world, few of which we ever find difficult to change after a few weeks have passed.

These sacrifices may include many items of which we become glaringly aware the first few weeks in a new location. Here in Australia, a few items stand out that may take some getting used to such as a lack of international news on TV (we’re news junkies). 

At first glance, these also look pricey when in reality, they are lower priced than we paid in many countries, especially in Hawaii. All the fish is wild-caught.

We like to stay abreast of international news, which keeps us in touch with the outside world as well as keeping us aware of where we shouldn’t travel due to intense political unrest.

On a lesser scale, Australians don’t drink much coffee. We can’t find an electric or appropriate stove top coffee pot. Arriving here last Thursday, we’ve scoured several stores, (no less than five) to discover that Australians don’t brew coffee as we know it, in a pot with or without a filter.

They do use a few pricey apparatus such as the French press machine which we did find at a pricey kitchen store for US $54.31, AUD $70, which based on its small size would be cumbersome when we each may drink three cups in the morning. Pressing for this amount of coffee would not be worth using the small press.

Some of the fish products are pre battered.  If we use a batter, we’ll make it using coconut or almond flour both of which I’d been able to purchase at the Woolworth’s grocery store.
We both like our coffee hot and this style of coffee making leaves it greatly cooled by the time it’s served. We used such a press in Morocco but found it made the coffee too strong and subsequently cold.  Neither of us wanted to spend that amount of money on a device we didn’t like using. Even K-mart didn’t have many possibilities. They didn’t have a coffee machine section nor could the rep suggest where we’d find such a thing.

We could send for a coffee maker from Amazon.com but, by the time we receive it after paying high shipping costs, we’ll be used to living without it and nearly be ready to move along. At the grocery store, there was a small coffee section with bags of beans, none of which works for us. We’ve decided not to drink coffee in Australia and may encounter the same scenario in other locations in the South Pacific.

As I scurried about K-mart, looking for an electric coffee machine, Tom reminded me to stop asking for an electric coffee pot. He assumed such questions and ancillary comments would make me appear as the “ugly American.” I stopped asking now that I understand that primarily, Australians drink tea. When we saw many Aussies drinking coffee on the ship, we assumed this was a popular morning beverage.

Next time, we shop for groceries, I’ll be purchasing some of this fresh fish from this local fish market located in the mall.

Since I like tea, giving up coffee won’t be too difficult for me. Although most mornings I like to drink coffee, I usually have tea at 4 pm each day, not unlike the British way. Maybe it’s harder for Tom, who doesn’t like tea as an alternative. For some reason, I can’t seem to get the coffee out of my head. Perhaps it due to the fact that we have one bag of delicious Kauai coffee with us and no way to brew it.

On the ship to Australia, I never had coffee when it was made too strong for my liking. Tom drank it using half decaf, half regular, adding real sugar and fake cream (no real cream was available). 

At least now he won’t be consuming six teaspoons of granulated sugar each day, hardly befitting our way of eating a low carb, starch-free, grain-free, and sugar-free diet. The lack of coffee for me is only psychological since I haven’t had a cup since we were in Hawaii, 24 days ago. “They,” say it takes three weeks to “break a habit.”

Speaking of “cruise food.” Tom has already lost all the weight he gained on the ship. In reality, he didn’t go overboard (no pun intended) eating starchy, sugary, carb-laden foods. He never had an ice cream cone and had few desserts. Instead, he ordered margaritas and Mai Tai’s which were included in his drink package. 

An indoor farmer’s market in the mall.

I didn’t gain an ounce and as a matter of fact lost a few pounds although I had a substantially large breakfast each morning along with a cup of homemade hollandaise sauce served with each dinner to keep my fat consumption at high levels which is a requirement of my diet, referred to as LCHF (low carb, high fat with moderate protein).

Cooking again has been good. Last night, we made organic burgers (no grass-fed ground beef available so far) with avocados, homemade ketchup, sautéed mushrooms, onions, organic sliced tomatoes topped with fine cheeses, and some of the best “streaky” bacon we’ve had in a long time. 

We haven’t seen bacon referred to as “streaky” bacon since living in Kenya, almost two years ago. Streaky or not, the deli is the only area in the grocery store the bacon can be purchased. There is none of the expected pre-packaged bacon. The streaky deli bacon is smoky flavored and delicious.

Yesterday’s grocery shopping trip worked out well. With only a tiny space in the freezer, we can’t purchase meat other than that which we’ll consume in a few days, another challenge and change from what we’ve done in the past.

Although I don’t eat fruit, this red dragon fruit certainly looks appealing.  Here again, prices are per kilo (2.2 pounds). 

Today returned to the Telstra phone store. The SIM card we purchased wouldn’t work on either of our hot spots devices. Much to my delight and surprised when they couldn’t get our devices to work, they gave us a loaner to use while here in Trinity Beach. 

The rep didn’t require me to pay a deposit or sign a form for the “loaner.” How unusual is that? He stated that he had no fear that I’d return it before we eventually leave.  Where in the world does this happen? We’re both in awe of the trust the rep exercised in letting us walk out the door with the pricey device.

That’s the nature of the Australian people; kind, friendly, and trusting. So, if we have a few inconveniences, they are more than balanced out by all the pluses of living in this wonderful country.

To sum up a few of the new sacrifices we’ve discovered for life in Australia:
1.  No morning coffee  (there are a few coffee shops but not something we’d spend money on each day).
2.  No purchasing protein beyond what we’ll use in a few days.
3.  No international news unless we watch news online.  With the poor wifi signal, this isn’t a good option.
4.  No screens on doors and windows.
5.  No grass-fed beef other than a few steaks offered at US $34.87, AUD $44.95 per kilo (2.2 pounds).  Mostly I’ll focus on the huge selection of wild-caught fish and free range chickens, having beef only occasionally.

This glorious life we live requires changing our needs and wants almost every few months, finding “workarounds” that suit us in the interim. Oh, one more workaround for Tom that he’s experienced many times in these past 32 months…he’s now driving on the opposite side of the road and shifting using his left hand (he’s right-handed).  

Now, my big challenge is walking up to the correct side of the car to open the passenger door and get in. In three months, I should be able to get this under control.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, June 16, 2014:

The fog rolled in while Tom stood on our veranda in Madeira, Portugal. It was quite a sight to see. For details from that date, please click here.

Comments and responses What we’re missing so far in Australia…Guess we need to accept and adapt…

  1. liz

    I love your blog- I learn so much not only about the geographical differences between countries but the cultural nuances. I worked with a wonderful Australian for five years so I thought I had a handle on the cultural differences, but already you have highlighted several. Fascinating.
    I hope your jet lag passes soon and that you find your daily routines and rhythms a you settle in.
    Liz x

  2. Jessica

    Dear Liz, we love that you read our blog. Its funny how the cultural difference you mention may be perceived differently from citizens from various countries all over the world. The lack of coffee makers may seem perfectly normal to people in some countries and peculiar to others. That's what makes travel so interesting. We try to consider that which we find requires our adaptation may be perfectly comfortable to others.

    We've been out exploring two days in a row and now have to get to work on sorting through our many photos. Its quite enjoyable, believe it or not. Having the responsibility of writing and posting photos each day adds an element of joy to our travels that we'd sorely be missing if all we were doing we placing photos in folders on our computers.

    Hope you and Dave are doing well. Hugs to both of you from both of us.
    Jess & Tom

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