The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

The Husband’s International Checklist – Australia

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on March 18, 2010

As we’re approaching halfway through our trip, I thought I would recount my list of things I wanted to accomplish while here in Australia.  For an explanation of WHY things are on the list, see below the lists.

Things to do in every first-world foreign country:

  • Go to a grocery store – done, in Sydney
  • Go to a convenience store – done, a couple times.  We HAVE been driving everywhere in Queensland
  • Ride local, public transportation – not yet.  We almost rode a bus AND train in Brisbane, but realized we could walk to the brewery.
  • Try a quintessentially-local food – Vegemite = Wonderful
  • Go to a McDonald’s – done
  • Try a local beer – done, AND went to a brewery
  • Try a local wine – done, AND went to multiple vineyards/wineries in Hunter Valley
  • People watch from a streetside establishment (cafe, bar, park bench, etc.) – done, in Brisbane
  • Try some Chinese food – not yet.
  • Try some Italian food – not yet.

Things I wanted to do in Australia, specifically:

  • See a live, wild Koala, Kangaroo, Wallaby, and Wombat – We’ve seen Kangaroos in Yeppoon.  I’m sure that will change as we drive more, but this has been disappointing.  I thought I would be able to knock out at least two in the first week, but so far, DESPITE all the signs, only some roos.
  • Try kangaroo, emu, and crocodile meat – Raging Bull
  • See “the Bush” – done, on our way back from the Hunter Valley
  • See “the Outback” – Unfortunately, we’re not going to get to this one, except to fly over it on our flight from Cairns to Melbourne.  Of course, it’s always nice to have a reason to come back.
  • Try some Indian food – done, and it was different than Indian in the U.S., but it was good.
  • Try some sushi – done, in Darling Harbour, and it was completely lackluster.  I want to give it another shot in Cairns, though.
  • Try a sausage roll – done, and it was as unappetizing as it sounds
  • Try a meat pie – done, in Miram Vale on our way from Bundaberg to Yeppoon.

Seeing how a grocery store is laid out, and what kinds of food are, or are not available, and how much everything costs.  For example, in Australia, despite its alcohol-tolerant culture, you can’t buy alcohol in the grocery store.  There is a separate liquor store (bottle shop) for anything alcoholic.  Not shocking, but interesting.

Same thing for a convenience store.  Seeing what’s IN the convenience store can provide strong insight into what a culture views as a necessity (hence the reason they need it conveniently).

Public transportation is available in almost every major, first-world country.  Seeing how different cultures implement public transportation, and seeing how widespread its use is, I find fascinating.  Just looking at WHO rides public transportation provides some insight into how the culture views public transportation.

McDonald’s – I’ve found that McDonald’s is the same everywhere… but different.  Seeing what’s the same, er, different is pretty interesting.

Local beer, wine, and local food – I don’t think I have to explain these.

Watch people from a streetside establishment – The Wife and I love peoplewatching.  Doing it in a foreign land just makes it that much more interesting.

Trying Chinese and Italian food – Chinese and Italian are the two foods that are available essentially everywhere in the world, in every major city.  But it’s not all the same.  Ingredient availability and cultural tastes drive what it all tastes like, and you’ll probably find out it doesn’t taste like what it tastes where you live.  Check it out.


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