I spent the day wandering around the city some more, with slightly more purpose than before. My mission: find a relatively affordable grocery store. And I had a small side mission: to find an office supply store. First I went to OfficeWorks, which is the equivalent of Staples or Office Depot. I was quite successful there. This was the second of many stores I found that had their front door on the street level, but you immediately walked into a set of stairs (or an escalator) that whisked you down. There’s practically a whole underground network of stores and food courts. Then I wandered into another store or two and decided I should give Target another chance, since they’ve been so good to me back home. I was semi-successful there. At first I was thinking that it was just the name brand stores in the heart of the city that were really expensive, but as I continued my search through the day, I’m beginning to think that these prices are the norm. A number of people had told me before I left that everything was more expensive in Australia, but I didn’t want to believe them (cause who wants to pay more money than they are already required to?) But it may just be something I have to come to grips with, unless the holy grail decides to show itself. I did however come across a restaurant called “That Schnitzel Place”, so of course I had to go in and try it. I got the BLT Sandwich, and it was delicious. And it lasted me for both lunch and dinner, which is a plus. In the end, I did find a grocery store a few blocks away from my apartment, in the opposite direction from the city. I walked through this little neighborhood which was either cute and quaint, or super sketchy. I think I decided it was quaint…? Either way, I got what I needed for the time being, and hopefully a better solution will show itself to me sometime in the near future.
And now on to the compare and contrast portion. The biggest thing I learned today (because it happened frequently) is that in Australia, both debit and credit cards have pin numbers instead of signing for the card. And of course I was paying for everything with my credit card. In addition, it’s not just debit or credit, but the debit has the option of being savings or checking as well. Those options kept throwing me off, and then when I would say that I didn’t have a pin for the credit card it would throw them off. One nice lady at the checkout took pity on me and explained to me how their system works. (I think it was obvious that I was from ‘the States’ as they call it) Another interesting thing is that there are McDonalds and Subways everywhere, along with the slightly less frequent Starbucks and KFC. In my brain those are American chains, but it shouldn’t surprise me that they would be popular in other countries as well. (I knew that many of them were global, I just didn’t expect to see them this prevalent). On the same note, they have what they call Hungry Jack’s, which is the Australian owned franchise of Burger King. Another thing that surprised me was the TV and media in general. They air a lot of American TV and sometimes commercials. And they have all of our American movies, but they come to their theaters a few months later than they do to ours. So for example, Grudge Match (which came out in December in the US) wont be out here until the end of January. I wandered into a JB Hi-Fi, which is like a Best Buy, and they had copious amounts of american movies and television, and they had about equally as much British media. And in addition to all of that, they had their own Australian Tv and movies. It was a little bit mind blowing.
I’m sure that there are many more things that are similar and different, but that’s all I’ve got for now. When I come across some more, I’ll let ya’ll know.