If you were away from home for 8 months, what would be the first thing you do when you get home? Unpack? Watch some English television? Eat your favorite foods that you have been missing? Well, this morning, 7hrs after I landed in Australia, I went for a ride.
It was a surreal feeling doing a ride that I haven't done for so long and to be honest, not much has changed. However, there are some things that I noticed that appeared a little odd to me after being away. Here are a few...
For starters, everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road. When did that happen?! After riding and driving on the right hand side fir so long, it has become the norm. I find myself looking into cars and freaking out because there is no one is in what I think is the driver's seat. Despite this, there also appears to be less traffic on the roads. Maybe it's because I've just come from the craziness that is China, but the roads feel 'quieter'.
Before I left, due to the floods, many roads were damaged and repairs had begun to rectify this. 8 months on, and some of those road works are still going. Ahhhh, Australian efficiency.
The mobile Internet in Australia is so SLOW. It takes twice as long to download a web page and is likely to drop out half way through. In fact, in my new abode (which my lovely wife worked hard to have ready for when I arrived) it seems that one reliable phone company can't even provide ADSL Internet to the location. Considering it's only 5km from the centre of the city, it's a bit ridiculous.
Australia has, by far, a long long way, the best coffee. (Excluding Wild Bean Cafes and McCafe) Forget what people say about coffee in Europe, it's got nothing on an Australian brew. Ask for a cappuccino in Europe and you will generally get hot milk at around a billion degrees with 10cm of froth on top.
The biggest difference that I noticed when I went for a ride here is that I have to wear a helmet. I got about 50m down the road before I remembered it. I can no longer have the wind in my hair when I'm riding around. Not even on the bike path. Not even when I go to the shop to get milk. I can't go back.