Sunday, May 3, 2009

Australian back yards, Utes and Uluru

It is time for another revue on Australian culture and things I find odd about this big island I call home...

First up, back yards. Nobody has a back yard. Or a front yard. Well that's not entirely true. Everybody has a patch of grass that takes 5 minutes to mow. You could mow the yards here with a weed wacker and not really get too tired from doing it. I feel bad for the kids. I actually saw two kids kicking a rugby ball back and forth to each other recently. One child was on his family's patch of grass. The other was in his own yard. They were kicking it over some two foot hedges. Sad. That leads me to fences. As I've been running recently through many neighborhoods, I notice many people put up fences on their property. That makes sense. Security. I get that. But these fences are pointless! They're not on the edge of the property. They are right in the middle of the property. So this means that the small yard I mentioned above is cut in half. AND many of the fences look like this:

Would love to own a lawn mowing business in this neighborhood.

So really, if I'm a burglar, or even the mailman and I'm trying to get by that, I think I will succeed. My point is: Australians, you are all packed on the coast. Take advantage of whatever grass you have and tear down those silly fences.

Utes. I think I've mentioned these before. A ute or utility vehicle is driven by many different tradesman. I've seen painters, plumbers, landscapers, etc. drive them. In fact, a ute is a very stylish popular vehicle here that is "pimped" out with spoilers and rims and fancy colors. My problem with the ute is that they all look the same! The companies Ford and Holden make a ute that looks very similiar, and it seems that nine out of ten of the utes I see are from those two manufacturers. I guess I am just tired of the ute and wonder how something can be such a fad when everyone has one.

This is a pretty stylish ute made by Holden

The pic above is a workman's ute. It looks like the pimped out ute except it has a flatbed. Do you know what they call a ute in the USA? An El Camino! Or as a friend once told me, a Tennessee Cadillac (I think that's a redneck joke.) Remember the El Camino? Its the car that's a truck! What is funny to me is that the El Camino is made fun of in the USA, but in Australia, if you have a "car that's a truck" you may be the coolest guy on your street. Also in the USA, you have the Subaru Brat, which is even more made fun of than the El Camino I believe.

The Tennessee Cadillac. Not a head turner where I'm from

I think because I come from the USA, I am used to a man being proud of the size of his truck. I come from the land of the Ford F-350, the Dodge Ram, the Chevy Silverado. Proud trucks. So the fact that these teeny vehicles are what the tough guys drive, I chuckle a bit. On a side note, they played some monster truck videos at work the other day and I had to do a bit of defending of my fellow Americans from the south. And yah I used to drive a Chevy S-10. Not exactly ruling the road, but it's a reliable "truck."

It's the size of your truck that matters where I come from

Moving on. A gentleman came up to me at work the other day and told me if I ever visit Uluru, which is a large rock in the middle of Australia, belonging to the Aboriginals, to "Walk all over that thing. That rock's been there a million years and will be around a million more. Don't worry about the signs telling you not to go on it." I talked to another Australian afterwards and they said that walking on the Uluru rock would be like walking all over a sacred temple. I think the man I talked to might have some cultural insensitivity issues. But I do find that some Australians don't have a very positive outlook on the Aboriginals.

Heck I don't even know if I will make it to Uluru. It is in the middle of nowhere.

Uluru, I do not plan on walking on it.

Alright, that's it for now. No real conclusion to this piece. So have a great Monday and I'll return again soon. - Ry

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