So today is Australia day and in typical Aussie fashion everyone is either cooking themselves outside, cooking meat outside on the barbie* without flames because in summer they’re obsolete, drinking tinnies**, listening to Triple J’s hottest 100***, sitting in an undersized pool child’s wading pool, bashing the hell out of a chewed up tennis ball****, or a combination of all of the above, and usually all are done at the beach. It’s a time to appreciate the diversity, multiculturalism (regardless of what some redheaded xenophobic politician would have us believe) and a laid back lifestyle that makes us the envy of the majority of nations on earth.
I spent mine at the beach enjoying our uniquely harsh UV rays. It’s been a long time since I ventured out into sunlight that actually scorches your skin. Japan and Korea barely had sunlight to begin with, and the one time I spent a full day under it…there was no burn. This might seem normal to some of my readers, but to an Australian it is bizarre. At best you expect a headache, at worst you can’t wear clothing on the affected areas for up to three days. Here it’s the price you pay for such wonderful beaches, scenery and the not so wonderful heat.
I’m usually quite cynical about everything so I thought I share with you my newly formed top 10 realisations as I stepped off the plane from Osaka and re-entered Down Under.
- The first thing I realised was the heat, it smothers you and the air feels heavy on your chest.
- The second thing that defines Australia I felt was the fact there were flies in the airport dining area, something you forget to worry about after being in Japan.
- Thirdly, I remember what it’s like having to clean a public toilet seat before using it, but not before double checking that said cleaning wasn’t using up the remaining toilet paper!
- Fourthly, the toilets flush themselves…what is this?
- Fi…next up was the realisation that Australian hospitality is just as friendly as the Japanese, we just use extremely slurred English in our greetings “‘ows it goin’ mate, what kin I git ya?” was a far cry from anything I’d heard for 8 weeks.
- As previously mentioned I remembered very quickly that the sun hurts. I mean it actually hurts.
- Spiders chill out in unexpected and irritating areas in our environment, to the point I think I might have eaten one whole today.
- Everyone on the road sucks at driving, and is angry as hell. It’s really quite entertaining watching everyone scream at each other and accelerate past only to get caught in the same traffic 45 seconds later and having to sheepishly stare at each other again.
- The men just don’t care how they look and the women barely wear anything. This can be viewed as good or bad, depending on how you want to address it. On the one hand the men aren’t crowding around mirrors to check their appearances every 12 seconds (Korea) and the women aren’t ashamed to wear whatever they like, whenever they like, public opinion be damned. On the other hand the men really can be totally feral and the women not far behind.
- Australians as a people are usually kind, and caring. The old lady whose house I parked my car in front of for 2 months came out as my alarm went off and gave me a hug. She was so concerned that the person who owned it had died that she was going to file a missing persons report. She had kept the car clean, and even made sure to tell me about my flat tire and where the closest servo***** was to fix it (not realising I was a local). Things like that make me smile.
Anyway Australia day post over! I hope everyone can have a laugh over this piece, and that all the Aussies who read it can relate and had a good day today. I expect some sore heads tomorrow.
* BBQ – thing you cook stuff on, usually meat
** Beer in a can, usually cheap and nasty but fills an esky
*** It’s tradition to tune in and listen to the top 100 voted in by Australians
**** Backyard cricket is a mainstay, losing the ball over the fence is called hitting a 6
***** Service Station, Gas Station, Petrol Station, you get the idea
I will leave you with some of the photos I’ve been messing around with on my GoPro since returning. It’s a work in progress to perfect a time lapse so bear with me folks!
Feature image credit goes to my little brother Greg. Beautiful shot of the Australian Outback sunset!