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    > 2002





<!-- April 12, 2003 -->

Gloria Jeans is my new favourity coffee shop. Except they call their coffees by different names.

Espresso, cappucino and lattes are essentially the same. But Americanos are called "long blacks" and they don't necessarily leave room for milk. There are also "short blacks" and "flat whites". And then, of course your regular and flavoured coffees and all the whipped, iced, sugared and otherwise diluted coffee cocktails. I think it's become the modern martini; what you order says a lot about you.

In my wanderings around the city, I've noticed these small consumer differences abound.

Bra sizes are not the same. Instead of a 34, it's a 12. They're blessedly just as expensive here as at home, of course.

Personal hygeine products, are another story. Hair colour is $18-24. Something as simple as a small tube of Colgate is about $4. The cheapest mouthwash is $5 for about half the size we normally get at home. Shampoo? $7 for the cheapest shampoo I could find. $6.50 for a bottle of body wash. Vaseline Intensive Care and Kerry Lotion apparently have flecks of gold in them here, as they cost upwards of $15 for a regular sized container.

There are certainly a LOT of people who care about their hair, though. I thnk Sydney has the highest number of hair salons per capita than any other city I've been to. You'd think the demand would drive the prices down. Maybe they're all heading to the salons to get their hair washed every day. Something to investigate...

Thankfully, liquor is a little cheaper. You can get a bottle of wine for $4 (I didn't say it was a GOOD bottle of wine). But of course, it's just as expensive to buy a vodka tonic at a bar. Less so if you can find someone to buy them FOR you.

You can get Internet access from a Web cafe almost more cheaply than at home. I've paid $0.50 for 15 minutes ($2/hr) and had print outs for $0.60/pg there. Kinko's conversely, still rips you off, charging up to $5/hr for Internet access, $1/pg for print outs and on top of it all, the jerk in Kinko's today was supremely rude to me today.

Many pubs close at midnight, even on a Saturday night. However, there are 24-hour pubs. The thinking is likely that, at midnight, people usually want to either go home or continue their night out at a dance club. Considering that all the pubs that I pass on my way home from Central Station (and I pass a lot) are full every night of the week, I'm guessing that Aussies see Saturday as just another day to drink. No reason to keep the pubs open later.

Almost everything is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Even in the city centre. It's like a ghost town.

Everything, that is, except the travel agents and the 24-hour pubs, of course. Just the basics.

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