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|| News Item: Posted 1999-12-23

Return to Oz
By Tim Clayton, Sydney Morning Herald

G'day to you all and seasons greetings to all sports shooter readers from the Olympic City, Sydney. If I hear we're the Olympic City once more, I'm going to jump off the Harbour Bridge. I swear! It's almost on a par with the word 'millennium' which has only been 'hip speak' for the past year, we've been the Olympic city for six years now!

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Well, you'll be pleased to know things are moving along very well indeed thank you very much. After a four-month glut of 'test events' I think Sydney is looking in very good shape indeed! Just about all the venues are complete now and everybody working in the Main Press Center at Homebush are going to be pretty impressed with the venues and the ease of getting around the Homebush Bay Olympic's looking like a dream ... fingers crossed!

But enough shop talk! It's that time of year in Australia when we drink lots and lots of beer, its the middle of summer, its beach and barbie weather and what can be more important when covering the Olympics than having a wind down with a cold one! But before we run through some beers, better get used to the lingo first!

* A Cold One.......A beer
* Stubbie...........A bottle of beer
* Tinnie.............A tin of beer
* Schooner.........A large glass of draught beer
* Midi................A small glass of draught beer
* Barbie............BBQ
* Desmond.........A light beer (Named after Desmond TuTu because one of the first light beers was 2.2 in strength.)
* Slab................A case of beer, usually a carton of 24 bottles or cans.
* Grog................Alcohol
* Grog Shop.......A liquor store

Watch out for the strength of beers, I was brought up drinking English beer which averages around 4% alcohol. The average Australia beer is 5% alcohol with the premium beers averaging around 5.5% alcohol content. Needless to say, I don't remember much of my first year in Australia!

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The main draught beers in Sydney pubs are Victoria Bitter (VB.) and Toohey's New. Both are bog standard beers but do the job! Most people just drink out of the bottle though and the choice varies from pub to pub. Hahn Ice, Crown, and Toohey's Red are all recommended. But my favorite is Cascade which is a premium beer brewed in Tasmania! For the light drinkers, Cascade also has a light beer and Hahn Premium is OK. But the way I see it, if you're drinking light beer you might as well have a glass of water!

For the wine lovers, you're in for a treat! Australia has some of the best wines in the world and at a very reasonable price! I am now a member of three Australian wine clubs and I've had gallons of the stuff and have yet to have a bad glass of wine. (OK I'm no expert! pass me another bottle of meths please!)

The local wine region is The Hunter Valley which is situated two hours drive north of Sydney and It might be worth a day trip for the real wine lovers. Shiraz wines are a specialty from this region. Enjoy!

Eating out...I must say, I'm not an expert here... usual story, I eat out all the time on away trips, so the pleasures of home cuisine and local establishments (I live one hour north of Sydney) aren't the order of the day when I'm at home.

However, Sydney is such a cosmopolitan city you can eat just about anything! Sydney has a Chinatown, not far from Darling Harbour, a huge Italian and Greek community so the choices of these is enormous. If you're looking for a good Italian, the suburb of Lichaardt is just a ten minute cab ride from the city!

Seafood is plentiful and Jordon's at Darling Harbourside is one of the best around. But whatever your choice, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Mongolian, Lebanese. You'll find it in the city! Some restaurants are BYO but there's normally a grog shop near by, as long as it's not too late! Of Course, if you really feel homesick, or you just want to feel sick...try the big M! ...OOPS, don't know if you can print that!

Oh, and one other thing, Australians shorten all the words. Christmas is Chrissie, present is pressie, swimming costume is cosssie, football is footy, Mosquitoes are mozzies and positions are possies, relatives are rello' if you're going to an Aussie Barbie at Chrissie with a pressie for the rello's, bring your cossie, get a possie by the pool, sink
a few tinnies or stubbie down, watch some footy on the telly and don't forget to use the mozzie spray in the evening ! Did you get that!

Have a great Christmas from all at the Olympic City...Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg, Splash! HoHoHo...

(Tim Clayton is a sports photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald and will be contributing period pieces leading up to the 2000 Summer Olympics.)

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