08 October, 2011

Ways that Australia is Worse than the United States

We've written a lot here about some of the great things about living in Australia. But we've really become used to a lot of the parts of living in the United States and some of the conveniences that come with that. Here is a list of the mild annoyances about living in Australia in general, and Western Australia in particular.
  • No Turn On Red

    Yep. When you come up to a red light, you cannot turn. In the U.S. this means that you cannot make a right turn on red. In Australia, being on the other side of the road, this means that you cannot turn left on a red light. This is STUPID. Nobody's coming. I don't have to cross over any lanes of traffic.

  • Speed Limits

    The speed limits here are a lot slower than that in the US. Residential neighborhood speed limits are about the same, but the high-speed roads are significantly slower.

  • Stores Close Early

    Basically, everything closes in Western Australia at 5:00 or so on most days. On Sundays, things close much earlier. Each suburb has a night that they stay open late. In Joondalup things are open until 9:00 on Thursday night. But if you want to go out at 3:00am to buy a sippy cup and a DVD of Bosom Buddies seasons 1-4, it cannot be done.

  • Slow Response Times

    I really don't like waiting three days for a tradesman to get back to me. I like calling and getting an answer.

  • Whining About Power Costs

    Moving here we are paying a lot less in electricity, both in terms of total bill and in terms of cost per KWH. BBut because people are seeing their bills go up here, there is a constant complaining about energy costs. We don't get it.

  • High Costs

    Some things cost a lot more here than they should. The same goods that you can buy in the US are available here (kind of). You would think that being so much closer to the shipping ports - China, Singapore - that the costs here would be less. But they're not.

  • Limited Choice

    In the U.S. you can walk into a store and select from a dozen brands of television, jeans, etc., etc. Here you have choice, just less of it. In the U.S. you might see ten things, here you might see six or seven.

  • Lower Quality on Appliances

    We have had no luck with consumer electronics and appliances here. Maybe we're just unlucky.

  • No Bill of Rights

    Really, this hasn't impacted me at all - but it is a little bothersome.

  • Lot (Block) size

    The yards are tiny tiny. You'd think that, given the low population density of this country, they could spread out a little. The average density in the cities are low, even given the small lot size. This appears to be because there is very little high-density living. Basically, there are almost no apartment buildings.

  • Property Costs

    Way too high especially given the lot (block) size.

That's it - nothing major. If these are the worst of our problems, then this is a kind of paradise. No issues with crime (low). We know where to find cheap, good food. The people are generally (almost universally) nice.

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