Aussie Observations

After just a few days in Melbourne and most of those in the Crown Poker Room, I have come up with some impressions of at least the poker-playing, casino visiting, vacationing Australians.

If you drive on the left, wouldn't that also mean that walking in crowds would also go left versus right, just like the traffic? The answer is No! In fact, the simply act of navigating a crowd seems completely lost on nearly everyone here. People actually bump into me here because they can't figure out whether to pass on the left or the right and often a couple will decide on the completely opposite path, which is actually hilarious because as often as they split and go in opposite directions, they also both choose the middle course and run into each other in an attempt to avoid running into me. I have actually had crowd behavior studies done with me as a subject because most people in a crowd avoid the large alpha males but down here its pretty much pedestrian randomness. In the poker room it is actually worse and they have a fairly good traffic pattern set-up in there but obviously the Aussies, who allow backwards batting in their Cricket matches (in baseball its called a foul ball); the Aussies sense of pedestrian direction is just sort of "kinda that way sorta". Maybe it has something to do with the way the water swirls.

Speaking of water--there is a real shortage here. It makes home in the Nevada desert seem nearly oasis-like. And, of course, there is the political infighting over what to do about it. Reminds me that people like to think they are not subject to the laws of nature and particularly
the laws of human nature. One of my favorite lines--"No one actually thinks they are normal."

Example #1: Those who have voluntarily installed low flow shower heads and faucet flow restricters will now find that those devices will not work because the local government is going to turn down the pressure in the water mains and the water saving devices operate by doing exactly that function--lowering the pressure. So low-low pressure means--no water at all. So thanks for your civic mindness and enjoy that nice glass of air.

Example #2: Nevada just started enforcing a more restrictive ban on smoking in public places. Las Vegas is the third city I have lived in during the introduction of a smoking ban for restaurants and bars. In each city there were a series of lawsuits because owners feared losing business. Yet not once in the whole political and legal process did anyone and I mean anyone! point out that in every other city where smoking bans were put into place the number of customers in bars and restaurants went up! Up in numbers, up in money spent, up in total time in the establishment. No, they just sue and bitch and never consider that they are just going over the same old ground. This is us! We are unique! We want to bitch and whine and..... no you are just another bunch of hairless monkeys with way too much time on your hand and way too much fear of change.

Speaking of difference, the Australians I have encountered are as a whole--friendlier and more talkative to strangers than your average American. The poker tables have very few problems between players and disputes often involve immediate apologies. Most games are friendly but no less aggressive, its just that they do seem to get that poker is a game and a check-raise is not an insult to you or your mother.

The Crown Casino sits on the Yarra River in downtown Melbourne just a brisk stroll from a whole series of parks. Today I am off to the Alexandria Gardens and Queen Victoria Gardens. Until later, g'day mates.