At the risk of incurring the wrath of our Australia friends, I would like to comment on some of our findings in this new home...
For example.... Like what's the deal with the bread here? The fanciest and healthiest bread we've found is white bread with some seeds on it. When I've been to the bakery and ask the worker what each kind is, the response is:
That's white bread in a round form. Oh, that one is white bread that is baked in a square pan. That one is white bread with a crispy top, and so on....and each shape has a different name (e.g., Tiger Bread, Farmer Bread, etc.). Even the whole grain bread here looks white.
Haven't they heard about bread that you can eat three bites from and the resulting nutrition will last you for the next three months? Actually, we found the same thing in France - sort of tasteless, white bread. Can someone tell me where we can find bread that'll put hair on your chest? One friend suggested a bakery near the CBD, but what about us folks in "Suburbia?"
Australia offers some wonderful things, but I miss The Great Harvest Bread Co. in Albuquerque, NM (and real robust bread!).
Speaking of eating, the restaurants here in OZ are wonderful - and we've been eating out mostly in the Northern Suburbs of Sydney. The restaurants tend to be intimate with excellent service. Very often you will find yourself being served by a member of the owner's family. And you want to talk about variety??? If you want to eat Gado Gado that might be the main dish from some obscure Indonesian Island, you could probably find it here. We have eaten Sri Lankan, Singapore food, Japanese, various types of Chinese - you name it - OH, and the gourmet pizzas! What they lack in bread here, they make up in varieties of pizza.
And on the road.... that is, roads that are narrow and not particularly efficient for a city the size of Sydney, are the drivers. Growing up in Boston, I remember that driving can be stressful - dangerous in fact. I thought Boston drivers were the meanest until I drove in New Jersey. New Jersey drivers aren't just mean - they actually try to kill you. I was almost run off a busy freeway by a crazed semi-truck driver. Then, if you drive in New Mexico you can witness another type of bad driver - NM drivers aren't mean - they're just dumb! They have no sense.
So far, I have found Australian drivers to be mostly proficient and polite drivers, unless you hesitate for a moment prior to entering a round-a-bout or making a turn - then you get the proverbial "BEEP!" Australian drivers like to use their car horns, so if you're new in the area or trying to learn how to drive on "the other" side of the road, you can expect to get beeped at a lot. I have beep marks all over!
I have probably bored you enough with my remarks, so I'll sign off for now. I will continue the pros and cons list in a later posting.
(PS: Tim and I really like it here - honest! An amazing experience we have had here is the deliveries are made on time by professional, efficient and polite workers who take pride in their jobs. It's great and something we weren't used to in NM! Oops, here I go again.... )