February 2011





I admit that I get annoyed when people start talking about Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK).  I don’t think everyone interprets RAOK in the way I do.

What is a RAOK?

All too often I read people’s tales of their RAOK and it’s simply that they carried an old lady’s shopping to the car for her.  Is it me or do you think that this is more a display of good manners than a RAOK?

To me, a RAOK is when someone deliberately goes out of their way to help another person.  Not just back to the car park.  A RAOK is something that you see on television when an anonymous person replaces an item stolen from a poor family.  It’s the way people pitched in and helped total strangers after the recent floods.  It’s when someone hears of a person in trouble and freely volunteers their time to help out.

I feel disappointed when I read that the RAOK tip of the day is to hold the door open for someone else.  Isn’t that just good manners?  Isn’t it just good manners when you let someone go ahead of you at the supermarket checkout if they only have a couple of times and you have a full trolley?   Surely that is something we would do without even thinking.

What I love about RAOK is that it makes people pay attention to the needs of others and that is something we often forget to do in the hectic rush to get everything done each day.  I’ve seen people do some remarkably selfless things for others and it makes me proud to be human.

I guess it doesn’t really matter what people call it as long as they do it.  Kindness and manners are both necessities of life after all, aren’t they?

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Americans take note.  You may think you are familiar with our way of life thanks to Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) and Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter), or familiar with our diet courtesy of the Outback Steakhouse (Bloomin’ Onion anyone?) but we offer much more to American holiday makers.  Australia is a country with a great many varied travel destinations from the outback to the beaches through to the multicultural cities offering a wide variety of entertainment and dishes to eat ranging from spicy Thai to tasty Lebanese.

However there are some things to know before you visit, especially to do with our language. We don’t all speak like Crocodile Dundee and some of our phrases tend to be a little unusual.  Here are some which may be helpful to you during your visit:

A shout – Your turn to buy usually referring to drinks as in “your shout” or “my shout”

Cuppa – A cup of tea or coffee

Chook – Chicken

Maccas – McDonalds

Footy – Australian Rules Football

Barrack – To support as in a particular team

Snag – A sausage

Tomato Sauce (or sauce) – ketchup

We love our meat pies at sporting events and vegemite on toast is a breakfast favourite.  We rarely say “Gidday” opting for the more universally accepted welcome of “Hello”.  And we NEVER EVER use the term fanny pack preferring bum bag or belt bag instead.  In Australia the word ‘fanny’ refers to a part of the female anatomy.  Use of the word and the anatomy can both lead to trouble!

Our currency is dollar and cent-based although you may notice the absence of the one cent coin and the quarter.  Our lowest coin is 5 cents and we have a 20 cent coin as opposed to a quarter.

One important fact to remember is that Australians drive on the left side of the road.  To counteract this make sure you look both left and right before crossing a street.  Speeds and distances are measured in kilometres not miles and this can add to confusion.

Stay safe but most of all have fun!

If I can make your stay here a little more comfortable or if you are looking for someone to show you the sights, contact me, your personal concierge.

Looking forward to meeting you!

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