Craig's Travels



Go The Wallabies!

Unbeknownst to most of us in America, the finals for the Rugby World Cup are just three days away and Australia is in a tizzy. Not only are the Aussies hosting the games right here in Sydney, their team -The Wallabies-has made the finals. This past Saturday, The Wallabies downed the New Zealand All Blacks in the Southern Hemisphere semi-final to advance to the finals. On Saturday, millions of Australians will gather together to watch their beloved Wallabies take on the imperial master of this country, Great Britton. It should prove to be an excellent match; the more technically sound Northern Hemisphere team versus the hometown favorite Southern Hemisphere team. I'll be right along side the tens of thousands of screaming Aussie fans down at Darling Harbour watching final, cheering on The Wallabies to get another try and drinking a few schooners.

"Get another what? Drinking a few what?" you might ask.

The first think you notice when living in a new country is the minor differences between languages. The Australian lingo has some unique nuances compared to how we speak in America. While some little differences are easy to figure out (eg, 00 would be pronounced "double zero" not "zero zero"), some terms take a little getting used to (eg, arvo is short for afternoon, despite the fact there is clearly no "v" in the word afternoon).

Most of the new terminology I really like. Much of the Aussie language is a shortened form of how we speak. They will drop the ending of a long word and either add an "O" sound (as in Arvo) or and "ie" sound (mosquitoes become "Mozzies"). It's "Oz" instead of Australia and "Ta" instead of thanks. In response to "Ta," the Aussies tend not to say "your welcome" (which really never made much sense to me anyways --does that mean I was well to come to this place?), but instead say "No worries" which implies the thankful task was no worry to them at all.

Alcohol brings on another confusing set of terms. All of the bars are called "hotels" and any liquor store is called a "bottle shop." You can always get bottles to go, but they call it "take away." Schooners, pronounced "skooner," it is the Oz equivalent to our pint glass. Their favorite beer (by volume sold) is Victoria Bitter, but is always shortened to "VB," and another popular brand, Toohey's New, is just referred to as "New."

Greetings also take on their own feel. Everyone knows of G'day (namely from Paul Hogan), but that salute isn't quite used as much as we might think. They prefer "How you going?" instead of "How are you doing?" like we might ask (as if they actually want to know how we are getting from place to place). Instead of saying "good job," the Aussies say, "Good on ya!"

Which, of course, brings us right back to Rugby. Instead of a touch down, they score a "try." A throw in is known as a "line out." The name of the Oz team is "The Wallabies," and instead of just cheering "Go Wallabies," Australians will keep the "The" in the name, and yell out "Go The Wallabies!" Of course, these fans are not rooting for The Wallabies, because "Rooting" is actually synonymous with fucking. So if I say, "I'm rooting for The Wallabies," most Aussies will think I'm either a VERY dedicated fan or wonder exactly who I'm rooting to effect the outcome of the game.

So come Saturday I will be celebrating with my fellow countrymen with pride. I'll probably grab a few News to take away from the bottle shop in the arvo. Then I'll head to my favorite hotel for a few more schooners of VB to watch the footy match and I'll be rooting for The Wallabies the entire time.






About the Trip