Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Translation Tuesday -Dedicated to Bridging (or Widening) the Cultural Divide


Tracey Chapman had a smash hit in the 1988 with the song "Fast Car". Steve Martin and John Candy starred in a movie entitled "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" The Who sang about a Magic Bus, and road trip movies always rate well at the box office. Even Steven Speilberg made a movie about a cranky truck driver called "Duel".  The world is obsessed with things that have wheels.

 Australia has the fourth highest number of cars in the world, which is pretty amazing when you consider our population is only 20 million people. Apparently we're all lazy or our public transport network sucks or something because there are about 13 million cars on the roads here. And in peak hour they all seem to be heading in the same direction as me at the same time I am. What's up with that?

In Australia we drive on the opposite side of the road to the majority of the rest of the world because we like to be different. We’re leaders – not followers. Actually pretty much anywhere that is part of Britain or used to be part of Britain drive on the left side of the road. (with the exception of Canada . Hey Canada what’s up with that? Normally you’re so cool with your maple syrup and awesome bacon and Canadians acting all laid back just like Australians)

Way back when, it was decided that Australians had to drive on the left side of the road because kangaroos are only able to jump to the right , so there is much less likelihood that if you’re on the left that you’ll collide with a kangaroo on the open road. And so left handed driving was made into law.

Ok, I just made that up.

Actually I think it’s because our steering wheels are on what the rest of you would consider the passenger side of the car. And because I like to bring you hard hitting Translation Tuesday posts based on research and evidence I took a picture of my car today because I was sure you wouldn’t believe me. That you'd think this is just some urban myth or that I was pulling your leg.   Yes that’s Australian dirt and dust in my car and for the really astute thats what an overflowing ashtray looks like ...




Tonight I took a picture of my drive home from work. See?  Cars on the  left side of the road.How many people are freaking out right now looking at that picture because it looks so wrong? Well to us it looks perfectly normal.

 

Heads up rest of the world - you are doing it wrong. You are driving on the wrong side of the road.


Our other transport oddity , is that in Adelaide we also  have the O-Bahn. The O-Bahn is world's  longest guided bus way  which basically means some buses pretend they’re trains and run along a guided concrete track. The buses travel at approximately one million kilometres per hour. We like fast here. The drive from the city to my suburb takes approximately 2.3 seconds and I live in the foothills/outer suburbs.





Disclaimer: The O'Bahn doesnt really run at one million kilometres per hour. That would practically enable time travel which would be kinda cool but still only exists in science fiction....

13 comments:

Shevvy said...

Well as far as I'm concerned the steering wheel and cars are all in the perfectly correct position. It all started with where you wanted to keep your sword apparently!

http://users.telenet.be/worldstandards/driving%20on%20the%20left.htm#history

On the other hand - that bus thing is totally mad! Really really really barking! Around here it would attract the loonies like bees to honey. They would take it apart, vandalise it or throw themselves in front of the moving buses.

Nanci said...

I drove on the "wrong" side in the British Virgin Islands with my mother yelling "stay left" for 3 weeks straight. Too funny at the time.
Then, I came back to Canada and my sweetie was yelling "stay right" It took some getting used to.
A very funny post!

Brenda said...

Wow, that bus on the concrete track looks cool. Someday I may get to Australia or some other country where I need to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road, but my hubby probably won't let me behind the wheel - he'll be freaking out!

quiltfool said...

That's an incredibly wierd place to put a bus. Love your translations. Lane

Michelle said...

I've never seen a bus on tracks! Hmmmm. Another great blog article. :-)

Marg said...

After seeing the bus on concrete tracks, I am convinced that I live in a different country to you. Seriously weird. Am I living in a bubble? I have never seen or heard of that.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah, it totally goes against the grain. The only left-side-of-the-road drivers I've seen are in British movies, or movies filmed in Britian. The only movie I've seen filmed in Australia is that one called Australia. And I'm pretty sure that the steering wheel was on the right side of the car. Oh, and I saw Crocodile Dundee and the sequel, but they were out in the bush where nobody cares what side of the road you drive on. So, what we need is some good Australian cinema to educate us.

P.S. the O-Bahn looks awesome. Do you have to check for spiders under the seat? Because if not, then I'm definitely coming to visit and I'll just stay on the O-Bahn the whole time.

P. said...

You're kidding with that O'Bahn thing, right? Guided concrete? What happens if it jumps the curb? I guess if it's going a million kilometers per hour, at least your imminent death would be swift.

I am loving these translation Tuesdays!

JKP said...

These posts are awesome! I have to admit, though, I always wanted to visit Australia until your post last week described eight-legged freaks hiding under chairs. I don't like eight-legged freaks. Not even little ones, and I'm talking little, itsy bitsy ones. The itsy bitsy spider, if he goes up my water spout, he better stay there because if the rain washes him out, he'll meet his demise under my shoe. (Well, okay, not my shoe. I usually screech and my son comes and does the dirty deed for me.)

vawriter said...

The easy way to remember which side to drive on, they told us in Ireland, is to always keep the middle line next to the driver.


A Yank and an Aussie were driving down the road together. A red light loomed and the car never slowed. After the third time they ran a light, the Yank screams at the Aussie, "You're such a &%$*@ rotten driver!" The Aussie replies, "ME? I thought YOU were driving!"

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth: Wait til she blogs about Darwin where the movie's Australia and Crocodile Dundee was made, that will give you horror stories ; )

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

If the O-Bahn jumps the track they bring a massive crane called Dumbo to come lift it up.(that is actually true)

They dont allow spiders on the O-Bahn unless they have a ticket.Then they're free to ride like everybody else.

And personally I think it would be way cool to drive on your side of the road, Northern Hemisphere. Especially if I did it here !

P.S. Darwin is a lawless place with lawless people. And many crocodiles. And lots of alcohol rehab services, which nobody attends.

Kris said...

Lol! I KNEW you lived out my way! (I recognised the corner) Well, not actually my way, cause I moved about 11 months ago, but you know what I mean!