Things people do in Australia that would be totally strange done elsewhere -Part 1

There are things Australians do on a daily basis that still make me wonder what just happened. These simple action, so common here, would look totally awkward if done in another country. I am familiar with European habits and, I can assure you, if you behaved in Italy as they do in Australia, the result would be hilarious!

strange Australian habits

  • Greet and thank the bus driver
I was aware people usually say ‘cheers’ to their bus driver in Great Britain, maybe it’s not uncommon in other European nations, but it’s something I have never seen in Italy. Saying hi, thank you, and bye, takes time and distracts the driver. I still don’t understand people shouting ‘Thank you’ from the back door while keeping people waiting to get off or delaying the journey for other passengers. Saying thank you out of politeness is a very good point, but being on time and not talking to strangers is equally functional. How’s that for Northern Italian mentality? 

  • Leave a tip to your waiter
I am not starting a 'Reservoir Dogs' speech here, but feel free to go and watch that scene in case you’ve forgotten it. Waiters in Italy get paid decently, and an extra is automatically added every time you dine or have your coffee while sitting at a table, so we never tip. I’ve even heard of places where the waiter would actually run after you thinking you forgot to take your change. So, when you are in Italy and you are paying your share for the pizza you ordered with your group of friends, don’t try to leave more money, as it would result that one lucky friend will automatically pay less. 

  • Shorten words
In Australia it's common to shorten words, it's actually widely accepted as normal English. Even McDonald's, here, has Macca's written on the outside to replace its actual name. Some words are easy to understand because they are simply chopped words, others, instead, require an explanation, such as: 'fair dinkum' (=true), 'ridgy-didge' (=original), 'budgie smugglers' (=speedos), and many more. I highly doubt Australians expect the whole world to understand these, they'd be lucky if foreigners understood them at all, to be honest! When Italians shorten words people tend to make fun of them, thinking they are probably stuck in the early 2000s and forced to speak as a text message with limited characters. Definitely not common nor desirable. Tru dat.

  • Walk on the left side of the sidewalk
A personal favourite of mine. This is something you never notice until you land where they drive on the opposite side of the road. Of course, driving is a whole different thing, but walking on the side walk could be equally dangerous. Especially on peak hours around tram stops, where even saying ‘sorry’ is a bother for the person you just bumped into while turning around to apologise to the previous person. And it goes on, and on, and on. Would the same happen if you walked on the left in Italy? No, because if Italians drive slightly in the centre of the road and don’t queue in a line, how would you expect them to walk only on one side of the footpath? You would bump into people anyway, and no need to apologise. 

  • Do a spider check to your shoes
You heard me. If you leave your shoes outside overnight, always check inside for spiders. See if there are signs of webs and tap them upside down against a wall to ensure they haven’t become someone else’s home while you were asleep. At least, if you did this in Europe, no one will see you in the privacy of your back garden, but it’s still an uncommon practice. Although, from what I've heard, In Venice you may risk to find mould inside your shoes, which is still not the most enjoyable encounter. 

  • Order fries with sour cream and sweet chilly sauce
I thought it was a joke. Sour cream? In Italy, we don’t even have it. Do we? I don’t know. But, personally, I am a fan of sweet chilly sauce, which was almost impossible to find in Italian supermarkets. All in all, I was down to try the pairing. And it worked better than I expected! In England, you may have seen ‘salt and vinegar’ chips, in Canada they have gravy and cheese, in Italy there is a never-ending war between mayonnaise people and ketchup people. There is no in-between and no alternatives. 

  • Wave at other drivers when you let them pass/ they let you pass
I find this habit hilarious. Italians barely nod to their neighbours as they walk past them, never mind slow down and wave to strangers just to be polite. If Australians did this in Europe, they would get some serious puzzled looks and possibly start several uncomfortable conversations between couples, regarding who was driving that other car and how they know each other. 

Find part 2 of this article here!

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