In honor of the Summer Olympics, Andrea Sachs compiled this list of little-known facts about the land called Oz and the people called Aussies.
1. Many Australian roads have "kangaroo crossing" signs.
2. Even with the warnings, thousands of kangaroos are killed every year by cars.
3. Not just kangaroos: Wombats, emus, koalas, mallee fowl, bandicoots and, on Phillip Island, penguins get run over.
4. The most dangerous time to drive in Australia is between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m., when nocturnal animals awaken from their all-day slumber to search for food in the dark.
5. In the rural Outback, many cars are fitted with "bull-bars," giant metal bumpers that protect the vehicle if it hits an animal dashing across country roads.
6. There are 117 million sheep in Australia.
7. There are 19 million people in Australia.
8. The waters off Australia are home to the world's deadliest octopus: the blue-ringed octopus. When this venomous, eight-armed sea creature gets angry and is ready to sting, its skin glows like a lamp with tiny blue light bulbs.
9. Koala bears smell like cough drops.
10. That's because of all the eucalyptus leaves they eat.
11. Koala bears aren't bears at all. They're marsupials.
12. The truth on toilets: Despite rumors we heard in the bathroom, water in Australian toilets and sinks doesn't swirl in the opposite direction of ours.
13. Most Australian schools don't have cafeterias. Students either bring their own lunch or buy sandwiches and chips at the canteen or tuck shop, then eat in the playground or classroom.
14. Favorite choices for lunch: sandwiches with cheese, sausage, Vegemite (a brown yeasty bread spread that supposedly tastes like tar) or jam--but without the peanut butter.
15. Australians think eating peanut butter and jelly is as gross as eating, say, bologna and glue.
16. There are no school buses in Australia. Most kids take public transportation or walk.
17. Students in most Australian grade schools are required to wear uniforms.
18. Since the largest hole in the Earth's ozone layer hangs over Australia, the school uniform includes a hat to protect bare heads from the scorching sun.
19. The most popular styles are wide-brimmed straw hats with a ribbon and baseball-style caps with a flappy piece of fabric that covers the ears and neck.
20. If you don't have a hat, you're not allowed to go outside at recess. The rule is "No hat, no play."
21. Australians don't play American football, but they play a strange game called Australian Rules Football, a combination of rugby, American football and all-out pouncing and bouncing.
22. The nickname for this violent game is "footy."
23. In Western Australia, a state larger than Alaska, the TV weather report can take up to 15 minutes to deliver because the area is so vast and has so many different climates.
24. The flies in the Outback are so bad that some people wear felt hats with corks tied to the brim, like a curtain of beads covering their face. When the flies buzz around their heads, they shoo them away with a simple head shake.
25. Since Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, the night sky has different constellations than are visible in North America. Australians don't see the Big Dipper, but they do see the Southern Cross.
26. The Southern Cross is shown on the flag.
27. Many towns in Australia have odd names, based of the language of the Aboriginals, or indigenous people. For example: Yoongarillup, Western Australia. (It means "a place where kangaroos dig holes in the ground.")
28. Then there's Bullemwaal, Victoria: two spears.
29. And Coonabarabran, New South Wales: an inquisitive person.
30. Don't forget Indooroopilly, Queensland: running water.
31. Or Millingimbi, Northern Territory: a mythical snake.
32. The world's longest earthworm makes its home in Australian dirt. The Megascolides australis can be up to 12 feet long.
33. Australians call Rice Krispies Rice Bubbles. (They still go "snap, crackle and pop.")
34. In Australia, most Burger Kings are called Hungry Jack's.
35. A burger "with the lot" (everything on it) means you're not only getting lettuce and tomato on your bun but also a fried egg, beets and pineapple.
36. Kangaroo is served in restaurants and sold in supermarkets as sausage links, filets and hamburgers, or rather, kangaburgers.
37. You cannot get kangaburgers at Hungry Jack's.
Talk Like an Australian
Sure, they speak English in Australia, but they also have some strange words and expressions. Memorize this list and you can sound like an Aussie: G'day = hello
* barbie = barbecue
* barney = argument
* brekkie = breakfast
* cow juice = milk
* rockmelon = cantelope
* fair dinkum = true or genuine
* bludger = a lazy person
* goog = egg
* snags = sausages
* fairy floss = cotton candy
* icy pole = Popsicle
* jelly = Jell-O
* jam = jelly
* jumbuck = sheep
* maggot bag = meat pie
* chunder = vomit
* cobber = good friend
* "Good on ya, mate!" = "Congratulations!"
* Happy as Larry = thrilled