Ah, the mighty American shopping mall. Air conditioned at full blast, crowded with screaming toddlers and angst-y preteens, and more shops than any of us actually need. Aussie shopping malls are no different in that regard. In fact, despite a pretty lengthy geographical distance, American favorites (well, favorites to me) such as Target, Nike, Pandora, to name a few, have found their way into the Aussie shopping lexicon. There are, however, a few oddities I’ve come across in shopping malls over here, that you just wouldn’t find in any other country…
1. Santa Claus in the summer: Christmas is in summer here. Summer is in our winter months- Dec, Jan, Feb, yet the weather is extremely hot. Winter here in is our summer months, but it’s cold here then. I hope I’m not the only one who was seriously confused by the opposite seasons before moving here. (What do you mean we spend Christmas on the beach?!)
So, being the Christmas season, at least in the eyes of retailers, all malls and public spaces have been decorated-there is something odd about singing along to “All I Want for Christmas is You”, while wearing shorts and nursing a sunburn, but that’s just the way it is here. Which means you’ll see Santa in the mall, in the summer. No, he doesn’t wear Hawaiian shirts or carry a surfboard, which is sort of what I was hoping for.
2. Flip-Flop vending machines: How many times have you been out and about, getting on with your day, when you suddenly notice- “damn, I forgot to put shoes on my feet today? If only there were a place where I could find shoes quick and easily, without having to actually interact with another human..”
Well, if you’re in that boat, the Pitt Street Westfields is for you, where you can find this very useful Havaianas vending machine, dispensing not chips and chocs but flips and flops, in a variety of appetizing colors.
3. Steve Irwin (and croc) kids ride??: Many malls provide little spinning rides for kids to ride-insert a few coins, and the merry-go-round spins and plays music, the fire truck sways, typical stuff. But at the Broadway Shopping Centre, one might find a decidedly Aussie ride…a sort of kid-size truck, with no other than Steve Irwin (sporting an unusual facial expression) and an (assumingly) friendly croc hanging on the rear. I had to do a double take when I spotted this, much to the embarrassment of my Australian boyfriend. As I eagerly snapped several pics, he slowly drifted away, pretending he didn’t know me.
Is it too soon? Steve Irwin as a food court kids ride? It cannot possibly get more Australian than that.
On a side note, I am really, really excited to announce that the Accidental Australian has been nominated for The Expat Blog Awards 2012, a competition for expat writers. I seriously love every comment, like, and viewing my blog gets from all of you, and it really does mean a lot to me. If you like reading my random thoughts, can I ask that you please click on the contest link below and write a positive comment or review on the contest page? Part of the judging is based on followers and readership, so every bit helps! Thanks again!
Here’s the link to my contest page: