In a world where vegemite is a standard topping for toast and you can get Kangaroo filet as an entree it's really hard to go wrong with cuisine. Admittedly, I'd only had vegemite one time since coming here but have now eaten a small amount of this vitamin-B rich spread daily. Food, in general, is the highlight thus far of the journey down-under. I've eaten kangaroo which really has the exact consistency of beef and the taste of venison. Delicious boychick! Our other cuisine seeking has taken us to an fantastic Chinese restaurant (Darlinghurst to Oxford to Crown) that was the closest I've had to authentic and tasty since my trip to China this past October.
Work here is definitely Aussie style. Keep in mind it is the very PEAK of summertime here with gentlemen and ladies showing up to the office in cargo shorts and mini skirts respectively. That means we 'Yanks' roll in around 10am and crank on the computers (projects, networks, meetings, whatever the world might offer up) until noon. Then one might be taken for a lovely lunch by the ocean or a hearty lunch with many beers to quench the afternoon thirst. Afterward, a return to the office for a few hours of work with the US (recall that lunchtime here is the end of the prior day in the USA so there's plenty of time to catch-up on email) and then it's off back to the hotel. Drop your things, go for a walk, do some yoga, take a nap, run an errand. Meet around 6pm for a cocktail followed by dinner at 7pm. This is the work-week.
Today will be a half-day after which we'll head to the beach. It's almost so tempting to get out into the ocean that it makes work extremely difficult. Puffy clouds fill a blue sky, heat and humidity make one order up another round of Lemon/Lime & Bitters, and the ocean breeze here makes even the heartiest of California beach-goers more than a tad jealous. The heat sticks around at night giving an East Coast USA feel but with perfect temps in the 70's rather than a sticky 80's I grew up with.
The Aussies themselves are pleasant enough. There's an intimidating feel for some westerners I think. Brought on by a different 'style' and some words that one may or may not be able to interpret the first time around it quickly subsides when one finds world-class service (and why not, like Europe the service industry here isn't paid minimum wage and it shows!) and a smile. "No worries," is the typical response to a thank you. Beats the false, toothy, "You're welcome" of your typical wait-staff in the states. You can feel the genuine contentment here. People are happy to be here. And while the Aussies have their share of political turmoil (local race riots are the latest craze) one does not encounter the divisive and disturbing chaos currently entrenched in US society.
Maybe it's just the summertime talking. Having come from the dead of winter in the US (and in Southern CA that's not much more than a high in the 60's instead of 80's) it feels downright tropical here. The sun rises and sets 3 hours before the northern hemisphere and, yes, the water still drains the opposite direction.
I don't think it's just my outlook. Word has it that Mr. Bush gave a State of the Union address. I have no idea as to it's content but I'm sure it was asinine. I heard that Mr. Alito was confirmed to the Supreme Court. I heard that a good journey around the world will turn your perspective upside down. I think most things here drain the opposite direction. I hope to keep my head that way.