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popgun62
02-14-2014, 11:45 PM
I need a person who lives in or is familiar with Australia, e.g. climate, geography, local language dialects, customs, etc. I don't have the means to go myself, or I would! I'm doing research on my own, but that only goes so far. You will get full credit in the acknowledgement section of my book. I will be asking various questions via email, so shoot me a line if interested to: {snip}email address removed by moderator{/snip}. Thanks!

Cath
02-15-2014, 12:55 AM
Australia's a huge place. If you want to ask specific questions, you may get some help in thread.

Otherwise asking for an unspecified amount of help for a gratuitous credit might not get the results you desire.

Helix
02-15-2014, 02:00 AM
Echoing what Cath said -- Australia's quite a big place with a fair amount of diversity in all the factors you've listed. What specific things do you want to know?

ameliavarro
02-15-2014, 06:23 AM
I'm an Australian based in Melbourne, one of our big cities and cultural centres. If that matches the kind of setting that you're writing about, I'd be happy to answer your questions.

popgun62
02-15-2014, 11:32 PM
Echoing what Cath said -- Australia's quite a big place with a fair amount of diversity in all the factors you've listed. What specific things do you want to know?


I'm an Australian based in Melbourne, one of our big cities and cultural centres. If that matches the kind of setting that you're writing about, I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Thanks Helix and Amelia. I will have some specific questions once I flesh the story out. I appreciate your input!

popgun62
02-19-2014, 03:41 AM
Here's my first set of questions: I'm doing some preliminary research on the outback. If you've ever been there, I need to know what your impressions of it were - the climate, how it made you feel, what kinds of animals and/or plants and trees you saw there, if you saw any at all. Basically, I just need to know what the outback is like, in your opinion. Also, what do the people in Australia think of the outback? Do they have any special nicknames for it, etc.? Thanks!

Helix
02-19-2014, 04:12 AM
You're going to have to narrow it down a bit, Popgun62! The Outback -- a.k.a Back o' Bourke and other names, some unprintable -- is a vast area and covers a huge range of climate zones from tropical to Mediterranean and ecosystems from sand desert to gibber plains to savanna to eucalypt woodlands to alpine woodlands to deciduous vine thickets to rainforests. It's basically all of mainland Australia that isn't the SW, SE or E coast. (ETA: Or 'The Bush'. But trying to draw boundaries between the Bush and the Outback is tricky!)

May I suggest that you have a look at Australia on Google Maps to get an idea of which region most suits your story? Google Street View has a surprisingly good coverage of the continent. Lonely Planet also has a guide called 'Outback Australia', which puts the area into perspective.

popgun62
02-19-2014, 04:38 AM
You're going to have to narrow it down a bit, Popgun62! The Outback -- a.k.a Back o' Bourke and other names, some unprintable -- is a vast area and covers a huge range of climate zones from tropical to Mediterranean and ecosystems from sand desert to gibber plains to savanna to eucalypt woodlands to alpine woodlands to deciduous vine thickets to rainforests. It's basically all of mainland Australia that isn't the SW, SE or E coast. (ETA: Or 'The Bush'. But trying to draw boundaries between the Bush and the Outback is tricky!)

May I suggest that you have a look at Australia on Google Maps to get an idea of which region most suits your story? Google Street View has a surprisingly good coverage of the continent. Lonely Planet also has a guide called 'Outback Australia', which puts the area into perspective.

Thanks Helix!

mccardey
02-19-2014, 04:43 AM
This (http://goaustralia.about.com/od/discoveraustralia/ss/Australian-Outback.htm) might help explain it
Many years back I had a visitor from America on his first trip to Australia.

There are the visitor attractions of the Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, and so I attempted to be helpful and asked what he wanted most to see.

And he said: "The Outback."

That stumped me. For there is no one place that is the Australian Outback.

Helix
02-19-2014, 04:57 AM
Oh, that article includes Tasmania! I will have to rethink my ideas. SW Tassie is wild country, for sure.

mccardey
02-19-2014, 05:05 AM
Oh, that article includes Tasmania! I will have to rethink my ideas. SW Tassie is wild country, for sure.

What - wait! Tasmania's real?

popgun62
02-19-2014, 05:12 AM
This (http://goaustralia.about.com/od/discoveraustralia/ss/Australian-Outback.htm) might help explain it

Thanks - that's perfect!

Albedo
02-19-2014, 05:26 AM
What - wait! Tasmania's real?

Tasmania is a convenient geographical fiction, created by the colonial administration back in the day and maintained by governments and cartographical authorities since, to cover up the terrible truth of what actually lies in the Southern Ocean between here and Antarctica.

People who think they are going on holidays to Tasmania are actually anaesthetised on the mainland, then kept in comas for the duration of their trips, and fed false memories using a mixture of hypnotism and psychoactive drugs. Hence the illusion of there being an island state is maintained.

Meanwhile, It continues to slumber.

I've probably said too much.

mccardey
02-19-2014, 05:31 AM
Tasmania is a convenient geographical fiction, created by the colonial administration back in the day and maintained by governments and cartographical authorities since, to cover up the terrible truth of what actually lies in the Southern Ocean between here and Antarctica...

I've probably said too much.

My heavens! And all this time I thought Terry Pratchett had made it up....

Helix
02-19-2014, 05:55 AM
There's certainly a fair bit of non-Euclidean geometry happening in Tasmania. And then there's the infernal wordplay of Doo Town (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doo_Town,_Tasmania).

LA*78
02-19-2014, 10:04 AM
As others have said, 'the outback' pretty much encompasses the entire country excluding the coastal areas, so you might want to narrow your location a little. Personally being a Qlder, when I think outback I think Western Qld, Northern Territory. I haven't been to the NT, but for Western Qld my thoughts are dry red dirt, spinifex grass, dry heat, sporadic trees.

You might find this a useful resource site to browse through - https://open.abc.net.au/

LA*78
02-19-2014, 10:11 AM
Also, if you access Facebook at all, this page might be of interest in regards to living in Western Qld.
https://www.facebook.com/ABCWesternQueensland

(ABC is our Govt-owned broadcasting station)

mccardey
02-19-2014, 10:15 AM
(ABC is our Govt-owned broadcasting station)

For the moment.

afarnam
02-19-2014, 03:33 PM
Having an aunt in Australia and knowing enough to know that "the Outback" is not one place, I know it may seem ridiculous for someone to think of writing a book about some place while starting from so little information. However, I would like to point out that here in the Czech Republic every adult male I know grew up on the stories of Karl May, who wrote supposedly about the US Wild West and Native Americans. I grew up in a rural/remote area in Oregon. While I wouldn't recommend the books and they are horrendously inaccurate to the point of roll-on-the-floor hilarious parody, they were wildly popular for decades, so it can be done. :) Research does really help too. Good luck.

Cath
02-19-2014, 04:11 PM
Popgun62, you really might benefit from a trip to the library. Go to the reference desk and tell the librarian what you're looking for, he or she should be able to provide you with a wealth of resources to help answers these broader questions.

Helix
02-19-2014, 04:23 PM
Having an aunt in Australia and knowing enough to know that "the Outback" is not one place, I know it may seem ridiculous for someone to think of writing a book about some place while starting from so little information. However, I would like to point out that here in the Czech Republic every adult male I know grew up on the stories of Karl May, who wrote supposedly about the US Wild West and Native Americans. I grew up in a rural/remote area in Oregon. While I wouldn't recommend the books and they are horrendously inaccurate to the point of roll-on-the-floor hilarious parody, they were wildly popular for decades, so it can be done. :) Research does really help too. Good luck.


We all grew up with our regional equivalents, I suspect! It might be a bit more difficult to get away with that sort of fudging nowadays because of the internet.

*closes notebook for future work set in rural West Virginia and slides it under stack of filing, while whistling nonchalantly*

King Neptune
02-19-2014, 04:52 PM
Having an aunt in Australia and knowing enough to know that "the Outback" is not one place, I know it may seem ridiculous for someone to think of writing a book about some place while starting from so little information. However, I would like to point out that here in the Czech Republic every adult male I know grew up on the stories of Karl May, who wrote supposedly about the US Wild West and Native Americans. I grew up in a rural/remote area in Oregon. While I wouldn't recommend the books and they are horrendously inaccurate to the point of roll-on-the-floor hilarious parody, they were wildly popular for decades, so it can be done. :) Research does really help too. Good luck.

That's a very good point. ANd we all know that Edgar Rice Burroughs knew as much about Barsoom as he knew about Africa, but that didn't hurt his sales at all.

mirandashell
02-19-2014, 05:00 PM
There's certainly a fair bit of non-Euclidean geometry happening in Tasmania. And then there's the infernal wordplay of Doo Town (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doo_Town,_Tasmania).

That's brilliant! And the one called Medhurst.... that just proves you're as bloody-minded as we are!

:ROFL

popgun62
02-19-2014, 07:19 PM
Thanks for all the great tips! I found another excellent resource - a show on Animal Planet called "I Shouldn't Be Alive: Lost in the Outback." Poor guy was lost for five days with a bad heart, no water and no food. He pretty much did everything wrong that a person could possibly do, and survived. Great show.

Helix
02-20-2014, 03:37 AM
I wonder where they filmed that episode*. Does it say in the credits?

He was lucky that the weather was so mild. This Sydney Morning Herald article about that WA incident (http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/searching-for-gold-saved-by-bugs/2008/07/30/1217097303134.html) tells you pretty much all you need to know about attitudes to people getting lost for no good reason.


*ETA: It looks like Broken Hill to me.

Helix
03-07-2014, 06:44 AM
This was too interesting to waste. Hot off the press:

A German tourist missing for almost three weeks (http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/missing-german-tourist-survived-queensland-outback-ordeal-by-eating-flies-20140307-34aud.html) in the Queensland outback has survived the ordeal by eating flies.

popgun62
03-17-2014, 11:50 PM
Okay, I'm back!

What I need to know are specifics about Sydney.

What's the weather like in September, and also in January?

What's the traffic like at different times of day during the week? Rush hour?

What specific things do you see people doing if you are walking around downtown Sydney?

What types of things stand out to you when you are in the city both during the day and at night?

What is the cost of living like in Sydney?

What types of adjustments would a person have to make who just moved to Sydney from Washington D.C.?

What would the similarities and differences be between driving in Washington D.C. and Sydney?

What kind of restaurants are popular? What kind of TV shows are popular? What do people like to do after hours?

Last but not least, what do Australians think of Americans?

Sorry to bombard everyone with questions, but I need to put my protagonist in Sydney and the Internet only covers so much. Thanks!

Helix
03-18-2014, 04:48 AM
I'm nowhere near Sydney, so I can't answer your questions. What follows is me not answering your questions.


What's the weather like in September, and also in January?

What is the cost of living like in Sydney?

These two are easily answered via the internet. Climate of Sydney (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Sydney) and cost of living (http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/sydney-melbourne-more-expensive-than-new-york-says-living-index-20140305-3466w.html).



What types of adjustments would a person have to make who just moved to Sydney from Washington D.C.?

What would the similarities and differences be between driving in Washington D.C. and Sydney?

These are rather specific questions.


What kind of restaurants are popular? What kind of TV shows are popular? What do people like to do after hours?

Australians aren't monolithic. Even Sydneysiders differ from one another. You'd get entirely different views from Redfern residents and residents on the North Shore. (And loads of variation within those groups.)

Here's a general list of things to do in Sydders (http://www.sydney.com/things-to-do).


Last but not least, what do Australians think of Americans?

Well, different Australians think different things about different Americans.

popgun62
03-18-2014, 05:50 AM
Actually, Helix, this was quite helpful. Thanks!

Helix
03-18-2014, 07:27 AM
Something just came to me, prompted by your mention of Washington DC. I'm sure you already know this, but just in case others don't -- Sydney isn't the capital of Australia. That's Canberra.

The Wikipedia article on Sydney has some useful stats to help you get your head around it.

Jaymz Connelly
03-18-2014, 11:00 AM
Weather in September and January.
September can be on the cool side, but it's usually fairly sunny and you wouldn't need much more than a jumper (sweatshirt or sweater) for warmth. Not quite shorts weather yet.

January is the height of summer, so it can be stinking hot. It's fairly dry, though, so you can get 38C and it won't feel that hot.

What's the traffic like?

Horrendous - no matter what time of day. It just gets even more horrendous during peak. Most people who work in the city will take the bus or train because traffic is bad and parking is extremely expensive.

What do you see people doing walking around downtown?

Eating, chatting, heads bent over their smartphones, taking pictures if they're tourists (taking pictures of odd things like a 'dinosaur' on the steps to Martin Place train station if they're residents - yeah, I took a picture of that *g*). Pretty much what people do in any big city in the western world.

What type of things stand out?

Well, I don't go into the city at night, but the biggest thing is the crowds of people - although you can get buskers in certain areas.

Cost of living?

Bloody expensive!

Adjustments to be made - really, the food. It's different here. I remember the first time I ordered a burger from a takeaway here and the guy asked me if I wanted pickle. I said yes, thinking he meant dill pickle, but he meant this other ghastly stuff! No pumpkin pie... but you can get pumpkin soup! Little things like that that you wouldn't think would bother you, but they do.

Similarities and differences between driving in Washington DC and Sydney.

Can't really help with that because I've never been to DC. But the roads in Sydney are very higgledy piggledy. There was zero planning for most of them, they just happened. Oh, and a lot of streets don't have street signs for some reason... maybe to add to the 'fun'. That's one thing that really stood out to me when I first moved here. Good luck finding your way around without a native to direct you until you're familiar (I just got lost the other day trying to find the stupid restaurant for a work dinner! I did eventually find it before I walked all the way to King's Cross, though *g*) Also, there are nowhere near the number of freeways you have in America.

As for what people like to do and what they think of Americans, well, have your characters do and think whatever you want and it wouldn't be out of place at all.

I live in a suburb of Sydney and work downtown.

mccardey
03-18-2014, 11:04 AM
Adjustments to be made - really, the food. It's different here. I remember the first time I ordered a burger from a takeaway here and the guy asked me if I wanted pickle. I said yes, thinking he meant dill pickle, but he meant this other ghastly stuff! No pumpkin pie... but you can get pumpkin soup! Little things like that that you wouldn't think would bother you, but they do.

Oh!


:Ssh:

Jaymz Connelly
03-18-2014, 11:10 AM
Oh!


:Ssh:

*g* Narrowly escaped 'poisoning'. My husband eats that crap, but then, he eats Vegemite too. No accounting for some people's taste. ;)

mccardey
03-18-2014, 11:11 AM
*g* Narrowly escaped 'poisoning'. My husband eats that crap, but then, he eats Vegemite too. No accounting for some people's taste. ;)

:Ssh:

ETA: Can I just say that vegemite though black and tarry and cheap has vitamin B. Which is - a vitamin. And good.

popgun62
03-18-2014, 06:22 PM
Thanks for the help, everyone! Sorry to be so general with my questions, but I need an overall feel for Australia from people that have been there or live there now.

Cath
03-18-2014, 06:24 PM
Moving on, folks. Please focus on the questions.

Cathy C
03-18-2014, 06:48 PM
Actually, these sort of are part of the questions:


I need a person who lives in or is familiar with Australia, e.g. climate, geography, local language dialects, customs, etc.

Food is a hugely useful and abrupt change to a visitor. I have some Aussie friends who visit one romance con and bring along Vegemite to have on their toast in the hotel restaurant. The taste made me shudder. But a visitor has to be willing to try some new and interesting things, so knowing in the text what sort of things will give a reaction like the hamburger/pickle really makes the book pop. :)

popgun62
03-18-2014, 07:17 PM
I agree, Cathy. Those little details are the types of things I like to add to my text. Asking general questions gets people talking about whatever pops into their head, which is awesome.

Cathy C
03-18-2014, 07:39 PM
I set a section of one story in the opal mining town of Coober Pedy. I was fortunate enough to have a phone conversation with a travel writer who had visited the area extensively. The tiny details I wanted were what an American would see. The most interesting thing I discovered was that the ground actually sparkles because there's so much opal dust. He said it was like walking through a craft store where someone had spilled a bin of glitter. I was all over that for the heroine to notice! :)

popgun62
03-18-2014, 07:55 PM
I've heard of Coober Pedy. I have watched countless videos and read countless websites, and so far I've gleaned the most useable info from people I have talked to on here and on my Facebook page!

Helix
03-19-2014, 04:10 AM
Not wanting to pry into your story -- especially while you're still developing it -- but I think it might be helpful to give us a smidgeon of background for some of the questions. For example, if you wanted someone to be in the Outback, knowing that s/he was a tourist might spark a different set of answers compared with knowing your character was a gold prospector/gemstone fossicker or even a ghost hunter.

It's the same for the Sydney Qs, I think. How your character will view the city and what s/he'll do there will depend on whether they're a rube or a person about town, a hipster or...er...whatever the opposite to hipster is.

LA*78
03-19-2014, 04:31 AM
I have never been to the US, but I have heard that US bread is apparently extremely sweet compared to Australian bread. As in so sweet that vegemite tastes revolting on bread in the US.

I think to be honest though, the reason we are struggling to answer your questions is that Australia is a globalised, multicultural mixing pot. There isn't really a stereotypical response that can be given.

It's been years since I've been to Sydney. The last time would have been for a work conference. Hyde Park is something a newcomer might take notice of. I remember lots of business peoples picnic lunching there during their break etc.

Cath
03-19-2014, 05:13 AM
I agree, Cathy. Those little details are the types of things I like to add to my text. Asking general questions gets people talking about whatever pops into their head, which is awesome.
I agree to a point, but there's a difference between commenting that the cuisine is different and passing comment on the quality of it. I'd prefer the thread not degrade into a defence of certain foods and food choices. So, moving on, please focus on answering the questions.

Helix
03-19-2014, 06:51 AM
I set a section of one story in the opal mining town of Coober Pedy. I was fortunate enough to have a phone conversation with a travel writer who had visited the area extensively. The tiny details I wanted were what an American would see. The most interesting thing I discovered was that the ground actually sparkles because there's so much opal dust. He said it was like walking through a craft store where someone had spilled a bin of glitter. I was all over that for the heroine to notice! :)


At Coober Pedy, I'd be thinking broken bottles before opal dust, tbh, esp. given the structure of opal. ;)

ETA: Now I've thought about it, that last bit doesn't make much sense. I stand by the first bit though.

LA*78
03-19-2014, 06:58 AM
At Coober Pedy, I'd be thinking broken bottles before opal dust, tbh

Stereotypically speaking, Australians are cynics ;)

popgun62
03-19-2014, 07:14 AM
Not wanting to pry into your story -- especially while you're still developing it -- but I think it might be helpful to give us a smidgeon of background for some of the questions. For example, if you wanted someone to be in the Outback, knowing that s/he was a tourist might spark a different set of answers compared with knowing your character was a gold prospector/gemstone fossicker or even a ghost hunter.

It's the same for the Sydney Qs, I think. How your character will view the city and what s/he'll do there will depend on whether they're a rube or a person about town, a hipster or...er...whatever the opposite to hipster is.

Good point, Helix. My protagonist is a young female with the CIA who was born in the U.S. and raised in Australia. So I'm looking at the story from a point of view of someone who was raised in Sydney, but who now lives in D.C. She is going to be in Sydney on vacation and will end up lost in the outback, or the bush, the Big Red, the back of beyond, or whatever you want to call it. So, she's familiar with the country, it's just been a while.

Helix
03-19-2014, 07:52 AM
She'll probably be grateful for the tangy taste of Vegemite. It'll be just like Proust's madeleines.

One of the things you might want to check is how you're going to get your protagonist from Sydney to the Outback. It's a long, long way. An alternative is to get your woman lost in the Blue Mountains, which is v. close to Sydney.

Racey
03-19-2014, 08:13 AM
I want to answer a couple of questions to help, since I've been to Washington D.C I can (hopefully) aptly compare:

What types of adjustments would a person have to make who just moved to Sydney from Washington D.C.?

I feel that things move slower in D.C. Just the general pace of things, walking, driving, getting things done. Sydney is a very vibrant city and often fast-moving so I think one thing that your protagonist would notice was the pace. Things in Sydney are just more rushed compared to D.C.
In the city, Sydney is very vibrant. You will get people asking you questions, beggars coming to ask you for money, pedestrians knocking into you as you walk through the streets on a regular basis. None of that really happened to me in D.C.

What would the similarities and differences be between driving in Washington D.C. and Sydney?

Apart from the driving on the opposite side of the road deal... your protagonist would notice the steering controls are on the opposite sides. E.g. to signal a turn, people from the US often turn on the wiper blades instead of the indicators... they are on the opposite sides here (generally).
The roads in D.C are much wider and streets are much cleaner. There seem to be more freeways/highways in Sydney in comparison to D.C. Again the pace is different.. drivers speed a lot in Sydney. Everyone seems to be in a constant hurry to get to their destination. I didn't notice this when in Washington.

popgun62
03-19-2014, 07:00 PM
I want to answer a couple of questions to help, since I've been to Washington D.C I can (hopefully) aptly compare:

What types of adjustments would a person have to make who just moved to Sydney from Washington D.C.?

I feel that things move slower in D.C. Just the general pace of things, walking, driving, getting things done. Sydney is a very vibrant city and often fast-moving so I think one thing that your protagonist would notice was the pace. Things in Sydney are just more rushed compared to D.C.
In the city, Sydney is very vibrant. You will get people asking you questions, beggars coming to ask you for money, pedestrians knocking into you as you walk through the streets on a regular basis. None of that really happened to me in D.C.

What would the similarities and differences be between driving in Washington D.C. and Sydney?

Apart from the driving on the opposite side of the road deal... your protagonist would notice the steering controls are on the opposite sides. E.g. to signal a turn, people from the US often turn on the wiper blades instead of the indicators... they are on the opposite sides here (generally).
The roads in D.C are much wider and streets are much cleaner. There seem to be more freeways/highways in Sydney in comparison to D.C. Again the pace is different.. drivers speed a lot in Sydney. Everyone seems to be in a constant hurry to get to their destination. I didn't notice this when in Washington.

Thanks for the great insight, Racey!

Rufus Coppertop
03-20-2014, 04:19 AM
She might encounter rhyming slang. It's used in the UK and to an extent, in Australia.

The thing about rhyming slang is you take a phrase where the last word rhymes with the word you actually mean, and then you use the first word that doesn't actually rhyme.

Got a bit of kembla for an oxford, china? = Have you got change for a dollar, mate?

Kembla (Grange) = change.
Oxford (scholar) = dollar.
china (plate) = mate.