Sunday, October 12, 2008

Verges and all that

Well, this Biltongboertjie has learnt a lot of new stuff lately. I even found out what the word "verge" means. Or I think I have. I am not on the "verge" of a nervous breakdown, either. I am in love with this country - I really love the place.

By the way, verge is another word for pavement or sidewalk, or "sypaadjie" as we know it in Biltongland.

So, what happens, is this: Every now and then, a certain suburban area is up for verge collection. What happens then, is that people put stuff on the verge. Junk, old furniture, anything. I saw this with my own eyes, and it amazes me to see what people casually put out on the sidewalk.

I have seen, amongst other things, the following items standing on the verge:

TV's. Old ones, new ones, small ones, laaarge ones (that wouldn't fit into my car's boot).

Couches, chairs, even leather couches.

Prams, baby car seats, toys, computer screens.

Bicycles, lawnmowers, camping chairs.

Tables, cabinets, lawn furniture, beds and mattresses

Anyone who drives by can stop and take whatever they want - free of charge. Anything that's left over on the verge after a week, is taken away by the local city council - then it gets dumped at the correct environmentally friendly local garbage facility. If you want to score Big-time, buy yourself a ute or a big trailer - you can furnish your whole house from doing verge collection.

Another thing I learnt was how the whole "filling-up-at-the-service-station"-thing works. I already knew they have no boys doing the work at the service station. What I did not know, was the procedure to use when filling up your car. Luckily Dewald told me his story, and I learnt from his mistake.

He went to the filling station, filled up the car, and then got in the car and drove it away from the fuel pump so that the next customer could fill up. When he went to pay for the fuel, the guy at the counter was confused. He thought Dewald was driving away without paying for his fuel, and was ready to call the Police! Dewald explained that he just made it easier for the next guy to fill up, and the cashier told him to never, ever do that again.

Here's how it works, for all the dummies from Biltongland:

You stop at the fuel pump. Open the fuel tank lid. Take the fuel pump hose, and then stick its nose into the car's fuel thingy. You press the handle, and hold it down for a few seconds, until the fuel starts flowing. When the tank is full, the pump will stop by itself. Now, replace the hose to it's resting place, and check the number on your pump. They are numbered from 1 to 6, or whatever. You walk into the service station shop, go to the cashier, and give him your pump number. You can pay with cash, credit card, or any other bank card imaginable. If you buy stuff inside the shop, you just add them to 'pump no 4", and there you go. Easy as pie.

If you are still on your way to Oz, please save this blog entry and print it out - it will help you settling during those first days.

Another thing is the lekka thing called "cash-out". When you get to the till in a shop (or the "check-out", as they call it), the cashier will sometimes ask whether you "want cash-out"? What this means is that you can pay with your bank card, and they can add an amount of cash to that. They then give you the cash you asked for. This is nearly like an ATM, you just withdraw money from the local Woolworths or IGA shop.

A "roundabout" is a traffic circle. You get lots of those around here, and they work quite well.

Oh, another thing. My wife was explaining to someone about some trip where she was driving, and she told this person how she put on the "flicker". I explained to her later that I don't think the word "flicker" is understood around here. It's a turn signal, or indicator, as far as I know.

One think I noticed around here is that the Aussies like to add the k at the end of a word where it doesn't belong. Like "there's somethink wrong here", or " he ate everythink". Maybe I heard wrong, but that's what I heard. So, instead of saying "thing", they say "think".

My colleague Henry informed me that the "up" at the end of most place-names, like Kerrinyup, Dandelup, Joondalup - they come from Aboriginal words, and the "up" means: "place of water", or something to do with water.

Now that was a mouth-full, wasn't it?

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