I've spent the first few weeks of 2013 adjusting to life in Australia. On paper, you'd think moving to an Anglophone, Westernized country with a developed economy would be straightforward and, for the most part, it has been. The adjustment hasn't been so much in the big things - bank accounts, property leases, tax codes and so on - but in the details of everyday life. For my money, it's a feeling best captured by William Gibson in Pattern Recognition, even if he's writing about an American in Britain:
Mirror-world. The plugs on appliances are huge, triple-pronged, for a species of current that only powers electric chairs, in America. Cars are reversed, left to right, inside; telephone handsets have a different weight, a different balance; the covers of paperbacks look like Australian money.
I still catch myself quoting prices in pounds, not dollars and I won't even get into the whole beer size thing. There's certainly some specific technical adjustments required for bar work - spirits are generally served in 30ml measures and it seems it will more than a week to train a decade worth of pouring 25ml measures out of me; glasses of wine are generally smaller (150ml vs. 175/250ml in the UK) - and then there's the question of what's available in terms of product. Things that I'd taken for granted in the UK are seemingly tougher to come by here, which is equally useful (in terms of forcing some creative re-thinking) and frustrating.
Of course, it's not all quibbling about measurements and what kind of vermouth is in the shops. The weather's OK, I guess.
Don't expect a win for the plucky underdog: I Played A Drinking Game Against A Computer.
With the re-emergence of Tanqueray Malacca just around the corner, is now a good time to bring up edible geography's excellent musings on the impossibility of historical flavour?
Bacardi UK just named the Savoy's Chris Moore as their 2012 Legacy Cocktail Competition winner and named the three finalists for the 2013 title (recipes for the 2013 drinks in the link).