Australia: Impressions So Far

A photo of the author in Sydney, Australia.
A photo of the author in Sydney, Australia.

Well, it’s been a long time since I last posted. Six months. For that, I apologize. I know you’ve all been eagerly awaiting updates on my progress in Australia. Some of you lovely souls were probably even concerned about my well-being since the country is full of dangerous beasts. For that, I thank you and am glad to inform you that nothing bad has really happened to me… aside from dislocating (or breaking?) my pinky finger, but that’s another story. I’m in Bali, Indonesia right but I thought I’d write up some of my impressions of Australia so far.

Steve in the cold, cold, cold Australian weather
In the cold, cold, cold Australian weather.

Cold weather. It’s true, I’ll admit it even though I hail from one of the coldest cities in Canada. Sure, it’s easy to look at the temperature when sitting in -35C and say “+2? That’s balmy!” then, when you’re out there standing on top of the seeder bin waiting for the wheat to fill just a little faster so you can go back to your heated tractor cab, that’s when you think “You come out and try it, sissy boy maverick.” The meaning of the thought confuses you just as much as anybody, but the message is delivered. 2 degrees and a strong wind will humble even the hardiest of souls.

Foreigners. Wow, how bad is it in Ireland? It seems if it’s not a French or a German I meet it’s Irish. The Irish are typically employed but the others are usually “in between jobs” or “just finished a job”. All of them, and even us Canadians, are so lovingly referred to as “refugees” by our employers. Ahh…. Australians tell it how it is.

Red Back Spider
The Red Back spider.

Spiders. Holy shit! These guys are everywhere! Now, to be fair I’ve only seen a Black Widow and the Red Back, but then you find out about Funnel Webs and White Tips and that makes you start thinking twice about just sitting down on the toilet or, in my current stint as a farm hand, crawling on the ground to tighten a bolt on the seeder bar. Below you can see my gallery of spiders. Don’t worry, only the Red Back can kill ya, the others are “harmless” in the sense that they give you a nasty rash. And if you’re interested in reading more here’s a whole page on them.

Music. Though I love the didgeridoo, it’s a little more difficult to pick up than just walking into a store and trying it out. More practice is required. But I still love the sound. Other than that, during a visit to my “rellies” (“relatives” in Aussiespeak) my cousin’s husband gave me a stack of CDs and said, “If you want to know anything about Australian music, you have to listen to these.” I’m still making my way through them. I’ve attended a few festivals, including the Australian Day celebrations in Sydney and the Soundwave and WOMADelaide festivals in Adelaide. Aussie Day music was pretty good while Soundwave fulfilled my hope of seeing some of my favourite bands live. WOMADelaide was a disappointment, even though I got in for free. The TV box, however, has been the host of a couple of competitions showcasing Australia’s vocal talent, among other things. The shows are The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent. Apparently Seal is still alive and is now doling out advice to wannabe singers. Bloody hell, the singers on that show should just go out, make an album, and tour their voices are that good. Why don’t they just go do it themselves?

WOMADelaide Festival, Adelaide, Australia.

Accent. I have failed miserably at learning the Aussie accent. All I can say is that most words that end with “a” have and “r” added to it and some words such as “know/no” and “so” seem to have an “a” added to make them sound more like “knaow”. Can’t help but prefer the country accent to that of the city folk… but maybe because they have guns in their utes.

Booze. Beer a plenty in the land down under. Not only that, since I was working on farms I got to see for myself the production of wine. I started writing up a bit about Aussie alcohol only to find that it could be a post unto itself. So I’ll try that.

In Conclusion

That will wrap up the first part of my stint in Australia. I’m currently in Indonesia but fully intend to return to the land Down Under. Next up, however, I’ll give a little rundown of what I’ve been doing so you can learn, laugh, and groan at all the wonderful things that have happened thus far. Until then, stay safe kids.

PS – The dingo and the baby. I didn’t know this was still an issue in Australia, but, again, after 32 years, a recent court ruling states that the dingo did, in fact, eat the baby.