Discoveries Australia New Zealand Fiji
The education of a septuagenarian American.
Grand Circle Travel Trip May-June 2011
By Wade W. Wilkerson
Australia (A) and New Zealand (NZ) are:
· Friendly people.
o Our NZ guide referred to our tour group as “folk” and “team.”
· Sister nations to each other (like US and Canada).
o No visas required between citizens of those two countries.
o Share TV channels, news, weather
· Understand each others’ colloquialisms but difficult for US person to follow news broadcasts or talk / game shows because of accents and colloquialisms.
o On menus “entrée” is US “appetizer,” “main course” is US “entrée”
· Friendly rivals with each other in rugby, cricket, and football (American “soccer”).
· Rabid rugby fans.
o Several different rugby leagues—15s, 7s, Origin. Super
· Sports (rugby, soccer, cricket, ice hockey, US pro basketball) prevalent on TV channels but French Open tennis got little coverage.
· TV advertisements were small percent of airtime.
· More than “first-world” nations
o High standard of living
o On UN’s Human Development Index top 10 list: Norway, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany.
· Exceed USA in some “liberties”
o In Sydney, “66” self-injection parlors provide drug addicts privacy, clean needles, recovery room, and counseling at government expense.
o Prostitution and pimping are legal. [Underage 18 and forced is illegal.]
· Provide affordable universal health care
· Have allied with US in all US wars in 20th and 21st century.
· Ecologically hyper conscious
· Sales taxes are embedded in pricing and not listed separately. [Similar to USA gasoline pricing.]
· Prices are high:
o Aussie petrol (gasoline) is $Aus 1.39 / liter or about $US 5.50 per gallon
o NZ petrol is $2.05 / liter or about $6 per gallon.
o Restaurant prices are 2 to 3 times US prices
o Men’s haircuts $120
o Private elementary school tuition $25,000 / year
o Private golf course $15,000 a year and $300 green fee.
· Salaries: Mean for 2011
· Minimum wage AU$15/hr
· Australian banks have never defaulted or lost $.
· Public toilets in both countries are labeled: “Toilet Female, Toilet Male”
· Toilets are poor flushers by US standards. In a 4 star hotel, five flushes were required before fecal waste disappeared.
· Sinks and tubs in finest hotels use rubber stoppers.
· Use International Scientific units of measurement: gram, meter, second, liter, deg Celsius
o Meter (m) = 39 in. or ≈ 1.1 yards; kilometer (km) = 0.62 miles
o Kilogram (kg) = 2.2 pounds; 1 lb = 0.45 kg; 100 grams = 0.22 lb or 3.5 oz.
o Liter = 0.264 gal or 1.06 quarts; 1 quart = 0.946 liter
o Deg Celsius = (9/5) x deg C + 32 F deg. [Easy approximation is 2 x deg C+ 30 F deg.] Examples:
§ Accurate: 20 deg C: (9/5) x 20C + 32 = 68 def F
§ Yvonne’s approximation: 20 deg C: 2 x 20C + 30 ≈ 70 def F
· People are called Australians or Aussies.
· First populated by Europeans in the late 1700s through the mid1800s by prisoners that Britain was no longer able to send to America!
· Later immigrants came in a 1850-ish gold rush.
· The nation is cultured and refined.
· Architecture and construction are world class.
· A’s have lasting appreciation for US helping the As successfully repelling a Japanese invasion in WW II.
· 22 million people as of June 2011
o About 2 % (450,000) are indigenous living in 250 different groups
§ Indigenous and aboriginal are synonyms.
§ Language, stature, livelihood, and skin color vary by region. Examples: central interior--small, wiry, dark black. In; Northeast rainforests--tall, stocky, medium brown.
§ Aborigines arrived over 30,000 years ago.
o About 90% of the population lives in urban areas. 12.4 M in four largest cities: 4.6 M in Sydney, 4.1 in Melbourne, 2 in Brisbane, 1.7 in Perth
o About 80% of the population lives in the three provinces along the Eastern Coast of Australia—from north to south those provinces are Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.
· Seven main Provinces
· Australian Capital Territory (ACT) lies within Victoria Province. Capitial city is Canberra.
· Football in Australia usually means rugby and moreover, rugby union. [Another type of rugby is “Rugby League.” Google “rugby” for more.]
· The US dollar is worth about 5% less than the Australian dollar.
· People who appear to be aborigines are occasionally seen but don’t seem to be in responsible positions.
· People of African descent are rarely seen as citizens or tourists.
· Indigenous people are the Maoris (properly pronounced “may-or-e” (long a & e short o) but casually pronounced in NZ as “maurie” rhymes with sorry.)
· Maoris are of Polynesian descent and came to NZ in about 1300 AD.
· Population about 4.4 million [Percentage numbers are from Wikipedia but add to more than 100 % ?!]
o 78 % European descendents
o 15% Maori
o 9% Asian
o 7 % Pacific people
· Of the Maori’s only about 10% are pure. A person can elect to be identified as a Maori if he has one or more great grand-parents that were a pure Maori.
· NZ people are called: Kiwis, New Zealanders
· Biggest city is Auckland (N. Island).
· Capital Wellington (S. Island)
· The South Island is mountainous and has glaciers. There are fiords where the mountains meet the ocean.
· Some southern NZ cities are farther south of the equator than Minneapolis MN is north. Example, Port Pegasus, NZ is 47 deg S; Minneapolis MN is 45 deg N).
· F’s citizens are called Fijians and they came from Africa about 3,000 years ago (1,000 BCE).
’s are mostly United Methodist. Missionary Rev. Baker converted many in mid 1800s. Baker was eaten by tribe because he broke a taboo. He showed a chief a comb. When he was ready to leave he asked the chief for the return of his comb. The chief didn’t understand it was a loan and he had the comb stuck in his hair as an ornament. Rev Baker removed the comb from the chief’s hair. Ooops, touching a head, especially a chief’s head, was a taboo act. The tribe boiled and ate the missionary--even though he was a Baker. Seven of the nine tribesman accompanying Baker were also eaten but two escaped to tell the story. [For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Baker_
· Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa (Yanuca Island, Fiji) is a five star resort. The reef that is in the bay that the resort faces is a perfect 10 for snorkeling.
· Kava is a root that when dried, ground up, and mixed with water makes a pungent drink with sedative properties. Kava looks and tastes like muddy river water.
· Fs have mixed with Polynesian people and are of large stature (exceeded only by the Tongans).
· Planters put in sugar cane in the late 1800s. Fijians are “laid back” and didn’t want to work cutting sugar cane. The planters got workers from India who worked hard and were industrious. Now many/most of the Fijian businesses are run by people of Indian descent.