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Craig Cignarelli • Aussie Insight For The Culturally Ignorant From Melbourne And The 2018 Tennis

A general view of Rod Laver Area during the quarter final round match between Kyle Edmund of Britain and Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 23 January 2018. EPA-EFE/MAST IRHAM



Fodor’s and Lonely Planet set industry standards for the travel guide. One can find great restaurants, tourist attractions, iconic images and safety advisories to ensure you don’t up losing an organ before your return flight home. What they do not cover, however, is the cultural nuance necessary to avoid looking like a complete idiot whilst hanging out with the locals. To wit:


Contrary to popular phrasing, Koalas are not bears. They are Koalas, and 90% of them have chlamydia and they are vicious and have claws which can make your face look like Freddy Kruger if you happen to lose vigilance when holding one for a photo. And they smell like they’ve been living on the streets for years.


If you employ the phrase Fair Dinkum def: genuine, honest and good, you’ll confirm that you are both uncool and so far outside the millennial milieu you’ll hear actual scoffing.


“Boguns” are ragtag sorts, with mullet hair and greasy shirts and residing on the edge of civilization. To call someone a “Bogun” inside a pub will incite instant carnage. Note: Hospitals nurses will ask what caused your facial injuries.


Margaret Court was her real name, so if you call it Margaret Court’s court, you’ll be correct but you’ll also sound like Jimmy Stewart.


Imagine Nascar drivers working out the kinks on Los Angeles’ hyper-congested 405 freeway. If this were Australia, the locals would call them “Hoons,” When locals attempt to explain a “Hoon,” the best English equivalent is “A-hole.”


There is no actual alcohol called “Watevamate,” but that is precisely what you’ll hear when you ask an Aussie what kind of beer he/she wants.


Trains, trams and trolley all run on tracks above ground. Wallabies, Kangaroos and Joeys all hop on two legs above ground. Pat Cash, Pat Rafter, and Rod Laver all serve and volleyed above the ground. I had hoped there would be a way to tie all this together but it worked out about as well as the American contingent’s first round at the Open.


Aussie slang is so easy to slip into, you’ll hear yourself saying “G’day” and “No worries” and “How ya going?” before your first day is over. When the waitress says “what’re you after?” she is referring to your order and not something inappropriate, apparently.


When Australians respond to questions, their voices rise at the end of their answer so it sounds like they are asking you a question. If you continue asking questions, you’ll feel exactly like a Lleyton Hewitt – David Ferrer tennis match would feel.


In my opinion, this is the kind of stuff travel guides should include in their cultural literacy pages. Hope it helps with your trip down under.

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