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Susana Lindsay

California vs South Australia

My husband recently returned from a quick trip to San Diego to visit his father which, for the umpteenth time, made me ponder the differences between California and South Australia. I love and appreciate both places, but sometimes wish we could blend the best of both just a little more.

One's first impressions of any country are airports and immigration procedures. I love the way U.S. officials greet their returning citizens with a huge smile and a heart-warming, "Welcome home." Aussies could take a few lessons in 'meet and greet'. However, the vibrancy of Sydney airport (the only one I've used as a returning citizen) goes a long way in making up for that. Instead of police bristling with guns (my impression of LAX), the terminal is a bustling, meeting place full of colour and people hugging and smiling ... the paranoia levels are definitely lower.

Mexican food: how I wish we could find good Mexican food in Sth. Aus.

Winter in Southern California is quite amazing. How many places are there where one can surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon, as my son-in-law did?

Yosemite, giant sequoia trees and fog rolling in from the Pacific Ocean leave me awestruck.

Vegemite: Yay! Another one for Australia.

L.A. traffic is not pleasant, neither is traffic in Melbourne, Victoria. Adelaide is much easier; there's a reason it's dubbed the 'twenty minute city'.

On hot days, Adelaide beaches can be crowded, but for most of the year the long suburban beaches of fine, white sand are deserted. They are clean and wonderful at any time of year and are not privately owned.

Mexican food in California definitely merits another mention.

I love American mail boxes and the U.S. system of delivery. In a closed box the mail doesn't get wet from driving rain pouring through an open slot and there are those little red flags to indicate that you've got mail or to signal the postman to pick up mail. How much more sensible to have the same person both deliver and collect mail!

Americans are innovative; always dreaming up new ways of doing things. They have a lust for life, an energy that keeps them going to school when they're 70. To some extent Australians share that quality, but it's quieter and I don't think it's on the same scale.

Shopping centre car parks in Ca. are navigable and convenient with spacious parking bays, numerous trolley bays and pedestrian paths (sometimes tree-lined) between the noses of parked cars. We, however, have shopping trolleys with four spinning wheels, not two ... we need more manoeuvrability to make those quick directional changes as we dodge cars in the car park,

While the 'bottomless' cup of coffee in the U.S. sounds attractive, finding a decent cup is something else entirely; quantity does not equal quality. Australians take good coffee for granted and it's only when we venture off-shore that we discover just how good it is.

So many comparisons can be made but, on the whole, South Australia and California are remarkably similar. I think it's the climate, wide open spaces and laid-back life style that make me feel at home in both. I might play with this some more in a future blog.

The first draft of 'Sam and Alice', the romance I'm writing, is almost finished. I'm on the final chapter.

This month's photo celebrates spring with azaleas and irises splashing their colours around.


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