Life passing us by

Baltimore, Maryland, United States

It is once again time for Greg’s birthday entry-

One can always rely on family to ask the questions everyone else is quietly wondering about:

“Greg, it’s been almost 4 years now.
Aren’t you worried about the world just passing you by?”

The exact words change from member to member but it’s a question family members have asked us more than once over the past 2 years.

And by “world” we know what’s meant:

Career, Paychecks, 401Ks, retirement, medical / optical / dental benefits, long term financial plan, you name it.  A life beyond the next 2 months and a gig that falls into the category of “reliable income.”  Something I can expect to have for an entire taxable year that will pay a wage somewhere near what someone of “our experience” should be getting.  One that would possibly involve trading in the sails for a desk…or at least a consistent cell phone number.

Freaking money people.  Cash.  An income. Jobs.  Mortgages and the like.

Or as some call it “a REAL life.”

When are we going to get off our butts and stop letting REAL LIFE pass us by?

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Pub Quiz!

Enroute Karumba, Australia

What chronicle of our many adventures tending bars in the remote outreaches of the Outback would be complete without a pub quiz?

first quiz question

Here in Australia many of the beers do you the courtesy of printing questions right on the bottle caps so their customers can all stay in constant training for that next pub quiz night.  Consequently, one works at an Australian pub long enough – pretty much about a week really – and one ends up with a working database of Quiz questions.

Questions that make you feel really, really ignorant – or, in Greg’s case, sometimes grateful for being a bit of nerd:

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A Month of Thursday

Thursday Island, Australia

Croc warningSo keep in mind that sign, and the information contained thereupon, as we go though our entertainment options on Thursday Island for the month we were there.

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The other side

Thursday Island, Australia

Thursday Island really excited us because it was, we were told, a really rare opportunity to spend some time with the native people of Australia.

Horn Island signWhich is, in case you’re wondering, a really, really hard thing to do.

We also came to find out that the “Aborigines” are not the only native people of Australia.  The “Torres Straight Islanders” are a completely different native people than the people of mainland Australia.  So we actually spent some time visiting Aboriginal sites in mainland Australia but while we spent time in an area where there were “natives” these natives were not “Aborigines”…kind of confusing at first.

In a previous post, we talked about our experiences with racism and sexism in Australia.

But we would not be fair in our reporting unless we explained both sides of the coin here.

Because the natives do not make this easy.

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Queensland Grog files


Queensland, AU

 Greg has a long-standing belief that tropical climates produce some of the best wine.  His logic comes from visiting wineries in Florida.

Yes, Florida has wineries.  We’ll get to that later.

The short of it is that the environment does not lend itself well to heavy wines.  The climate of the tropics in general inspires beverages that are a little lighter, a little sweeter with fruit flavors often at the forefront and best served well-chilled.

wine coozyWhere, yes, you can actually make use of a personal wineglass cozy.

So the tropics pretty much inspire the exact kinds of wine we enjoy and the single winery we found up here did not disappoint.

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For the Diggers



Australian Friend: It’s called “two-up.”

US: Ok…so what’s the deal here?

Australian Friend: You flip two coins at once and bet on how many will come up heads.

Now before you read further you need to understand that gambling is:

1)      Something that is everywhere in Australia.

2)      Something that we haven’t overly enjoyed

3)      Something we are forced to deal with every day working in pubs

With that in mind –


US: That is a dumb gambling game.  Why would you even play that?

Australian Friend:  Well, we really only play it on this one day each year because, you know, they did

US: oh dammit, we’re sorry, we’re ugly Americans.

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The imperfect mirror

Thursday Island, Queensland, Australia

One of the things that we love about Australia is that it is, as Greg describes it, “like looking at a imperfect mirror at ourselves.”

20100320 - photo - la cruz marinaOr, yes ok it has been a while since we made a nautical reference so yes, like a reflection in a pool of water.  The point is that reflection is not perfect and there are many differences between our countries but of all the places we have visited Australia is the most like home:

  • We both started off as colonies founded by the same country
  • We are both a country of immigrants
  • We’re both, as countries go, large.  Really large.  As in “Europeans don’t get it” large.
  • We both managed to butcher the same source language – granted each with our own special flair
  • We both have to deal with issues revolving around lethal weapons

We could go on and we assume you get the point: As countries go, our two have a lot in common.  This is what makes Australia so very interesting: how they took a set of similar circumstances and ended up in a different place.  The choices we both made, as a people, and the results those different decisions had on where we both are now.

We didn’t want to bring this up until now because we really didn’t want it to taint our overall reporting, or our memories, of our experiences working in Australia.

At the same time it has happened at almost every place we worked and is especially prevalent at our most recent place of employment so it’s important we document it.  It’s not our best video; we recorded it for the audio so we could get our thoughts in the moment.

This article is about our experiences with sexism and racism in Australia.

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Thursday…now available in Island format!

Thursday Island, Queensland, Australia

After the arduous process of “studying” for our Responsible Service of Alcohol test we passed our course and became certified Australian bartenders!

Greg Tending barAbout 48 hours later came our first outback pub job over at Thursday Island, Australia.

One hitch – where the heck is Thursday Island?

Now we know what you’re thinking –

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How are you spending your Easter Holiday?


That question took us a bit by surprise because, well, we hadn’t really put a lot of thought into it…

And we would be dramatically understating things to say that shocked our Australian friends.

Travel is an interesting thing and one of the most interesting things, in fact the very reason Greg states for wanting to travel in the first place, is to discover and challenge one’s own unknown assumptions.

20111020A - leaving the dive ship (15)

What do we assume is “normal” without even realizing that we’ve made an assumption in the first place because everyone around us makes the same one?

For example, in an urban culture (like the one we were raised in) 10PM is an early bedtime for a young professional.  Whereas in an agrarian culture…

(or a sailing one – “sailors midnight” is 9PM)

…10PM is an extremely late bedtime when you are accustomed to waking up at 6AM and 8AM is “sleeping in.”

(and no, we never got used to that… 😉 )

But what does this have to do with Easter?

Well, let us ask you this:

How important is Easter, as a holiday?   Continue reading

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Australia Grog Files


Well since we’re going over adventures in outback bar tending, it’s probably about time we started updating the grog files to keep us with us.

We’ll be doing a new grog files for each state we visited in Australia but this week is all about our overall experience, which can be summed up this way:

Australia has a great libations industry –

It’s just not where you’d expect to find it.

Australian Mojito

What this pretty much means is that as long as you avoid the beer, Australia has a lot to offer.

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