Friday, October 10, 2014

TV, Lunar Eclipse, Food

Here's a brief update on the last few days:

1) We got our TV up and working! After debating for a couple weeks on what size to get (I wanted to settle for a smaller one while Peter wanted to spring for the bigger one-go figure) we finally bought one and got it set up. But not without trouble, of course. We got a good deal on the size Peter wanted, and opted to pick it up from the store since it's just a short tram ride away. We both kind of underestimated how difficult it would be to pick up a 40 inch tv in an even larger box and carry it through the city. It was actually pretty funny. So we got it home, plugged it in, and nothing happened. It didn't work. I called the help line number on the installation guide and the woman who answered quickly instructed me to call the store; the help line was only for online purchases. She practically hung up on me. Alright then. 

So we called the store, and the guy who answered told us we would have to bring it back in to exchange it. The next day, we re-boxed it and hauled it back (during rush hour this time). 

We got to the store, told the guy behind the counter that it didn't work and we needed to exchange it, and waited for him to fetch a new one from the back room. In the meantime, another employee wandered over and asked if we had "flipped the switch." Uh, what switch? "The little one under the screen. You have to turn it on before you can actually turn the TV on. Lots of people miss it." Problem solved. It would have been nice if someone would have, you know, mentioned that over the phone. 

I've concluded that Australia does a lot of things well, but customer service is not one of those things. It's astonishing how many businesses just don't pick up the phone during business hours. Sometimes there's a voicemail system, sometimes not. Whether or not they'll actually return your voicemail is anyone's guess. 

On a fun/cool note, as we were waiting for the tram to bring the actually-not-broken TV home again, a man approached us and said he recognized us from this blog! It was fun to meet someone that reads this other than my relatives! So, shoutout to Nat...thanks for reading and nice to meet you in person!
Here's the cable guy setting up our TV! 

Australian TV is pretty similar to American TV as far as I can tell; it's a combination of American and Australian programs. Some of the American shows are way behind, though. The "new" Modern Family this week was from season 2 or 3. Some are only a day delayed, like Ellen and the late night stuff. A few of the networks are the exact same, like TLC, and some are an Australian equivalent, like Arena, which is comparable to Bravo. There are a few reality shows that people seem really into- The Block is one- that I haven't gotten a chance to see yet, so I'm looking forward to becoming just as obsessed with Australian reality TV as I am with American reality TV. 

2) On Wednesday night, we attempted to get some pictures of the "blood moon". It was decently cloudy, so we couldn't see that well for much of the eclipse, but I did manage to get a few photos...though they aren't particularly high quality! 

3) I met some friends for a drink the other night at the Ponyfish Island bar, which is located under a bridge on the Yarra River, right down the street from our apartment. It's a fun place with really good beer- which is saying something since I don't usually like beer all that much- and cider. 
We then went to dinner at Merrywell, which claims to have the best burger in Melbourne. It was awesome, albeit a little
spendy at $30, but well worth it! 
I met a few new Australian girls at this dinner and I've noticed some recurring questions when a new friend finds out I'm American. The most common so far, at least from my own age group, revolve around the college experience. It's very different here-people don't live in dorms or on campus at all, really. There aren't sports associated with universities, and there are no fraternities or sororities. Needless to say, the college experience is quite different here, from what I've been told. The funniest question I have heard was "do you really drink out of red plastic cups?" Um, sadly, yes. They also want to know whether frat parties are "like the movies?" Give or take, pretty much. The second most common question I get, though, is whether everyone in America owns guns and if we worry about getting shot on the street. I think the actual gun ownership figure is about 30%, but my family owns quite a few and I like to shoot, which fascinates most Australians I have met. I usually tell them that if you're not a drug dealer and not in a gang, your chances of getting randomly shot are pretty slim. It's probably hard for them to conceive of a place where it's not uncommon for people to have guns in their house, as they are pretty much nonexistent here, unless you live in the country. 

The conversation then turned to spiders, at which point I promptly lost my appetite. The girls assured me that I would see at least one "medium sized" huntsman in the summer, either in our apartment or roaming the streets. (If you don't know what a huntsman is, Google at your own risk. It's terrifying.) When I asked them to define, exactly, what constitutes a "medium-sized" spider, it quickly became clear to me that their "medium" is my MASSIVE HUGE OBSCENELY GIGANTIC SPIDER. One girl advised that I just spray it with hairspray, which would paralyze and then kill it. Katie (from California) and I were not so sure..a spider the size of my fist seems likely to drink the hairspray, laugh at us, and then attack. My current plan of action, upon spotting a mammoth spider, is to stand on the couch until Peter kills it. That, or jump off the balcony. I've read articles about people burning their houses down trying to start a spider on fire and I have to admit that that doesn't seem like a totally irrational reaction to me. 

Today, Peter and I went to happy hour at a bar near our apartment and got a couple $5 gin and tonics, which is the cheapest drink I have purchased here by a wide margin. 
It was a great start to the weekend! 


  1. So I actually just googled this spider, and if you jumped off a balcony I wouldn't blame you.
    Be brave.

    1. RIGHT!! I mean that thing could potentially eat me for a snack.

  2. Would a big spider really climb 32 stories? Seems like a long way to go when there are more ants etc. on the ground.

    1. Hopefully not climb, but maybe hitch a ride on something up here?? Let's hope they mainly stay on the ground...

  3. Thanks for the shout out Laura, great to meet you guys too. It was so random seeing you guys at the tram stop. And now I find out it was the SECOND time you were carting the TV home when I bumped into you! How annoying!
    BTW I remember seeing those red plastic cups in the US and recognising them from TV too!

  4. Please, don't be afraid of the huntsman spiders; while not entirely harmless if you leave them alone they will leave you alone. And they eat flies, not enough flies admittedly, but they do eat a few.

    1. I've only seen one thus far but I thought it was fake at first because it was so big! I don't think I could ever get used to those things.



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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