You’ve probably been wondering if I have any thoughts on Australia so far. Here’s a rapid fire list of observations I’ve been collecting over the last few weeks.
1) For some reason, rules are extremely important to people down here. You can get a ticket for jaywalking and they have electronic speed traps set up all over the place. On the first day of every month there is a very loud, obnoxious test of the emergency system at my job. Cabbies go out of their way to ask you to buckle up. Perhaps most annoying, they are very picky about what clothes you are supposed to wear when you go to clubs around here. For instance, not once but twice I have been turned away from a club for wearing a collared shirt (No collared shirts allowed!). We go to the next place down, and my buddy was not let in because he WASN’T wearing a collared shirt. Same stupid bullshit flies for footwear. Also, they are extremely strict about not letting inebriated people into bars or clubs. And I promise, it’s not just me.
2.) The weather really is georgeous. The last solid month has been picture perfect. It’s ridiculous. Soon it will get a little too hot, but then it’s time to head to the beaches. I haven’t been yet but I’ll give a report when I go. Along those lines, I am hoping to go deep sea fishing in the next couple of weeks, so hopefully that will happen and I can get some more photos up in this bitch.
3.) Halitosis totally flies down here. I have never smelled so much bad breath in my life before I got here. I don’t know if the toothpaste is really expensive, and I can say from experience that bubble gum IS about 3 times more expensive here than back home, but somebody needs to politely say something to the 30% of people here who are walking around with disgusting breath. To a smaller extent, the same thing is true with BO, although my thoughts on this are so heavily influenced by the one smelly Indian guy I sit next to at work that I will give a free pass to the few others that I have noticed.
4.) They actually play decent basketball down here. I just joined a league about three weeks ago, and I was expecting everyone to play like sissies. But it is actually a very competitive league in which I fit nicely. This has been a pleasant surprise. A buddy of mine plays squash on the reg so I’m hoping to get in on some of that.
5) Blind people, disabled people, midgets. There are a lot of them here. It’s at least a daily occurrence to see a blind person or a midget. This one is actually not a negative since I have no problems with any of the aforementioned people. In fact, I’ve always had a fantasy where I am friends with a blind person, and I get to tell them about all the stuff they miss out on. With midgets and disabled people, I can help them reach for things they can’t on their own.
I am really not sure about the explanation for their increased numbers- I’ve been tinkering with a pseudoscientific answer about the homogeneity of the gene pool here, but I think the real explanation is not an actual increase in the number of blind people, but more a result of handicap access and such. Good for them. the more the merrier.
6) Australians are very cautious pedestrians. Maybe it’s because you can get a ticket for jaywalking! I was also a little cautious at first because of the left-right swap, but now I’m always the only person crossing the street when the red hand is still up, while a dozen people stare at me with combination of annoyance and envy while I reach my destination a few precious seconds quicker than they do.
7) The people here have a much better understanding of the world around them compared with the average American. A lot of the news coming into this country is from international outlets like the BBC, and people are always aware of what the exchange rate is between the Aussie dollar and the US dollar. (Brief aside- the exchange rate has fluctuated wildly since I’ve been here. When I got here in July, it was 98 US cents to the Aussie dollar, which was a 24 year high, and just a couple of weeks ago it dropped to 65 US cents to the Aussie dollar, which was a 5 year low. Obviously, the cheaper the Aussie dollar is the better off I am.)
I might have met a few people who seem to have a little resentment towards Americans, but by and large people don’t mind at all. However, people will usually play it safe by asking if I am North American, so as to avoid accidentally offending someone from Canada by asking if they are American.
Also, I have sensed some excitement about the, dare I say, impending Obama administration. Just like in America, nobody is exactly sure what we have to look forward to, but everybody seems happy to soon be rid of George Bush. I for one and pumped about the open book of possibilities that an Obama presidency provides. In fact, I’ve already voted! Not bad, right? Too bad Connecticut is not a swing state.
That’s all for now! Hopefully I’ll get his blog back up to cruising speed soon, but no promises. Peace out.