I’ve been here for three weeks now, and these are my first impressions of Australia:
On my first day here I caught a bus back from the mall and since I had no idea where I was, I asked the bus driver if his bus went near Ash Ave.
“Ish Ev?” he asked,
“No.” I repeated patiently “Ash Ave.”
“Ish Ave? I don’t know what that is lady.” He looked at me like I was a moron.
I blushed. Had I somehow gotten mum’s street wrong? I checked my phone, and showed it to him.
“Ohhhh Ash Avenue. Why didn’t you say so?”
See, Australians like to think we’re the ones with the bad accent. But all the Aussies around here sound like they’re on that show Kath and Kim. It’s incredibly nasal and annoying. I’m also living in Boganville, and they like to pretend they can’t understand me.
Here’s what the Aussie accent sounds like:
and so on and on and on and on.
A few weeks ago I went down to the local “club” which is basically a big building with a bunch of bars, TV’s to watch the rugby, a tiny dance floor, and some slot machines out the back.
A courtesy van picked us up, and I had a chat to the driver on the way. I’d had a few drinks by then, but I clearly remember him telling me about the horrible animals hanging out in my neighborhood.
“Crikey” (he may not have actually said this, but I like to think he did). “We’ve got all sorts of poisonous snakes around here. They’re trying to get people to catch them so they can make some anti-venom.”
I gulped. “You mean they don’t even have anti-venom for them? What happens if you get bit by one?”
He scratched his chin. “You die.”
And then we were on to the spiders.
“Are there any poisonous spiders around here?” I asked
“Oh yeah, spider season’s coming up”. (Seriously, spider season?! Are you pulling my leg?)
And finally it was the sharks.
“Yeah there are some big ones around here. Most of them are further North, but we had a tiger shark hanging around here awhile ago.”
I decided then and there that I wouldn’t be swimming here at all. The driver wasn’t too impressed with that though.
“That’s like saying you’re not going to drive your car cause you’re scared of having a crash,” he said.
I know he was telling me to harden up, but my car generally doesn’t try to eat me.
I arrived in Australia with $100 and a backpack full of dirty clothes, and I’ve been lucky enough to move in with my family for a while, so I can save for more travel.
We’re living in a place called Shellharbour. It’s about an hour and a half from Sydney, and I’m not planning on being here for long since it’s about the same size as my hometown Christchurch.
Don’t get me wrong-there are some lovely Aussies around here. One of them is my friend Lindsey who was nice enough to show me around this weekend. And it’s actually beautiful here. There’s a lot of interesting wildlife, and I’ve even heard the Kookaburra’s cackling laugh, which is incredibly creepy.
Yesterday we went to Bass Point and Bushrangers Bay, as well as a gorgeous beach which the locals call “The Farm”.
The good news is that I’ve found a job at Flight Centre. I had to go to Sydney for a six-hour group interview and they’ve hired me (suckers). I need to go back to Sydney for three weeks for training, and they’re all full up at the moment, so I have to wait until there’s a spot open. It looks like that’s another four weeks from now. Four more weeks of unemployed life and no money. Yay.
On the bright side, this means I’ll have much more time for writing, I can get started on all those books I’ve been meaning to read, and maybe even start losing some of the weight I put on in the States. Sounds like a plan!
I must say, even though they have lots of scary, lethal animals, the Aussies do have great beaches.
Australia, your scenery is stunning. And don’t worry, I’m not judging you on the people (yet).