Newnan's Keating travels Down Under

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A view of the Australian sunset on the waterfront in Sydney.

Last month, Newnan's Michael Keating had the pleasure of visiting a place many of us have images of in our heads but very few actually get to visit - the country and continent of Australia. Keating answered some questions about his week-long journey abroad.

NTH: Just the boring details of where you went, why you went, how long you were there and the dates.

Keating: I went on a business trip to visit our office there. I am responsible for crisis management at our company so we did a crisis simulation and helped train the team there on the topic. It was my third trip in three years.

NTH: You don't really hear about Australian cuisine. Any good?

Keating: Kangaroo is a popular dish in Australia. There are people there called kangatarians who eat no meat but kangaroo. I had kangaroo steak the last time I went and it was good. People there compare kangaroo in Australia to deer in North America, but I thought the kangaroo tasted more like beef than venison. It didn't have the game flavor common even in well-prepared venison dishes here. One interesting item I tried is a 'Coat of Arms' pizza, which features meat from both animals on the Australian coat of arms - kangaroo and emu. I enjoyed it but couldn't tell which was which.

I noticed the other night that The Cellar in downtown Newnan has a kangaroo burger on the menu and I plan to get it the next time I go.

Because Sydney is such a desirable place to live, there are many world-class restaurants there. On this trip I had the best French meal I've had in my life at a place called Felix right in the middle of Sydney.

NTH: What are a couple of things Americans might most be surprised by if they were to go to Australia for the first time?

Keating: Sydney is a huge city right on the water, which means a lot of people use ferries as part of their daily commute. The vast majority of Australians do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV, but if you do you can watch sports channels featuring rugby, cricket and soccer all day long.

NTH: Any weird or interesting facts about the county?

Even though Australia is nearly the size of the United States in land mass, it has only about 10 percent of the U.S. population. Sydney is so far from Los Angeles that flying to LA with the wind saves more than an hour of flight time compared to going from LA to Sydney.

NTH: How does an Australian big city compare to, say, Atlanta?

Keating: Most of Australia's population is in only a few cities. Sydney, where I was, is the biggest city and it is a little larger than Atlanta. Almost 20 percent of all Australians live in Sydney. Canberra, the national capital, is only a 10th the size of Sydney.

NTH: I'm sure they have different names for common things than Americans do. Do any interesting ones stand out to you?

Keating: When we call a group of people a 'mob' it has a negative feeling to it, but not there. Also, you wouldn't want to 'root' for anyone, but it's okay to talk about tree roots.

(Traveling abroad for business or pleasure? We'd like to hear about it. Email us at closeup@ newnan.com .)



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