Friday, November 26, 2010

Culture: Coffee Breaks, Cricket, "Set Top Boxes" & a new PR

Life is Great Down Under!

   One profound experience that I have had while living in Perth is the frequent coffee breaks. Yes, COFFEE breaks! Not your standard, dark roast with some hazelnut but some of the tastiest lattes and mocha’s that you have ever had in your life! It’s a rare occasion that you would finish a morning jog without someone saying, “let’s grab a latte or flat white" before preparing for your day. This is my style, my friends back home know what I am talking about as well, when I was unemployed and taking a different path a year ago I often visited the local coffee shops in Dilworth to just relax, soak up the atmosphere and research my new life that I was thinking of beginning.

   I remember about 5 years ago when I on occasion made a Saturday morning run with the likes of Cathy Grable, Lori Hagemen, Sheila Wakeman, Aprille Schaffer, Julie Hardin and Kathy Abernathy, they really only met in the morning to have an excuse to have a 1hr coffee break on a weekend morning. I tried to soak it up, but I just didn’t have much girl talk for them, and most of the time they wanted to hook me up with someone, so I eventually faded away from the gossip scene(sorry ladies, you know I LOVE all of you!).  So coffee here is not percolated or drip, it is all blended with some form of milk in a latte form, it’s so good that I never even add sugar or splenda to my warm milky, caffeinated heaven. Back to the casual environment of the coffee world here, the local café/coffee shops are EVERYWHERE. Literally next to each other in the competing market which is seemingly unheard of in the US. They do have some chains of coffee shops but there are tons of independent chains which I absolutely love and support! The people are like family there, they greet you and ask you how your day is and remember you the next time you come in and recommend certain picks of their own.

   The shops are pretty much half full of people throughout the entire day around here through the weekday until everything closes and then moves to other outskirts of the town. Here is a dialogue of the culture here from many angles interpreted by Christopher Lamperski: “ ohhh mate I had a tough night last night, lets grab a coffee” “sure”;   “Work is pretty slow, let’s grab a latte down the corner shop” “sounds good let’s go”;  “ It’s 1:30pm on Tuesday and 100 degrees outside, let’s grab a mocha?” “Perfect, freakin oath!”  I have yet to hear anyone deny a coffee break at any point in their day, people really love to take breaks and to just discuss anything or nothing, and it’s AWESOME! There is a small coffee shop that used to be a horse stable tucked down an ally way in west perth that I have visited twice now and I love it. There is always one man serving coffee up in this small place, but its done up very well, but thats not the kicker! 
  The man most likely in his 50's is always playing JAY-Z, so I know this is one of MY spots for sure, makes me want to open up a replica back home!I wished back home people would take some time to literally sit and enjoy a coffee with a good friend as opposed to working to get ahead of the Joneses new LCD TV , it puts life into perspective. This may be the reason that I haven’t met one person yet who seems slightly depressed or upset about work, their family or their financial woes, because well, they appear to have their priorities most lined up.

   So there has been this huge build up about the “Ashes” match that has now begun down under for weeks. I was waiting for it to finally come to see what all this talk is about and here it is. Australia vs. England, in get this, five-----pause----wait--- 5 day matches, is this not the longest game in history? Well the before they even set foot on the turf, I figured I had better watch some cricket on TV! We did pick up an inflatable kangaroo that says “Go Aussie” in support but really, I am ready for the Basketball season to come through because its more my speed. One of my goals however is to catch a “20/20” match live, which is a faster paced cricket game that is complete in merely a few hours. Also on the agenda is to watch an AFL game in which my friend Nathan Doig is actually an official BIG TIME official.

   Next on the plate, set top boxes! I come from a culture of pop frenzy where nearly everyone has high speed internet, cable, DVR, flat screens and surround sound, which of course all of them I had in North Carolina. I had an EXTRA subwoofer connected to my surround sound to make the movie experience extra intense even. As I sit on the couch to watch TV in Perth, I am looking at a tube TV that has a broken set of rabbit ears on top with a fuzzy signal on nearly every station. We fortunately get one clear station so far called “ten” which is similar to our fox network back home and it has a few shows we watch on it. It’s actually refreshing not having the world of 1000 channels at my finger tips as well as DVR to record anything I can dream of. Most of the people locally appear to have something called a set top box, which boost up to around 15-20 stations at most from what I gather, many of which are cultural channels that may not even use the English language, so let’s say for the sake of argument, 10 channels.  Today Janna and I are setting out on an adventure to possibly purchase a set top box to provide us with a few extra stations with clear picture and sound. The kicker is that once you pay the $70 for the box, all of the stations are free, so it’s really a deal. Back home I was paying about $135 a month for basic stuff mostly but it included DVR and HD stations. While hunting for a cheap set top box, I am going to purchase some blank CD’s to burn some music on for our car rides and for the chance to play at home. My life is a soundtrack, I am always pumping music in some fashion depending on my mood it could be gangsta rap, country, easy listening, jazz or classical, so I need to have access to pumping my music up!

    All in all, I love the culture here and I can see how my good friend Cody loved it so much as well. People are very happy with their possessions and most don’t appear to be in this rat race that America feeds off of. Instead of having a brand new Lexus, people will drive a Ford and save money for the coffee shop or their vacation to the coast of some other country. I hope that I can take this attitude back home, to really soak up life and make the most of everything without putting material possessions as #1 in my life. Before I head back to settle into the “real world” once again, I have several plans to travel as much as I can. Here is a list of places that I would love to hit on my journey back home, so if you have any tips, recommendations, connections for housing, or of course want to meet me and pay for my way I would appreciate it, so that I may truly soak up my journey and place in life.

New Zealand

Where are we going  next? Who is taking a step and meeting me?

If only money grew on trees!!!!


Just before posting this blog, I was convinced to put my hand in the fire at a 3000m track race locally at Challenge Stadium. I ended up in 6th place even though I was seeded 13th on an estimated time of 9:05. After testing my speed, I know that I have a bit more in the tank for sure and in a few weeks I will be able to drop my time down substantially. 1k splits: 3:04, 3:06, 2:59

5k in 2 weeks! Goal to run sub 15:27

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