30 Jan 2008
This week has been fairly normal. I’m beginning to settle into a routine of class, Ultimate Frisbee, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends. Thus, I’ve devoted tonight’s post to some random thoughts that I’ve been meaning to get around to, but for some reason haven’t yet. Also, I am going to put up pictures, lots of pictures, although I’m afraid that I’ve yet to spot any penguins here, and I know that Emily would kill me if I were taking pictures of the Australian girls, so I hope they won’t disappoint.
Subject 1) Toilets- Let me begin by saying that there are no restrooms in all of Australia. I know, I couldnt believe it either. There are no bathrooms, restrooms, washrooms, only toilets. Americans use the euphemistic expressions to describe their bathrooms, Aussies cut to the point. Where are the bathrooms? Oh you mean the toilets. Also, it has been suggested to me that water in the southern hemisphere flushes counter clockwise. I have made it my mission to determine if this is true. So far I can neither confirm nor deny these claims. The water in my toilet is very powerful and rushes straight down. One interesting toilet fact, and one that puzzled me at first, is the two buttons on every Aussie toilet. One looks like a half moon, and the other looks like a full moon. There are no levers to flush only these two strange buttons. It was later explained to me that in order to save water they use the half moon button for liquid waste and the full moon button for solid. Ive found the toilets here very interesting.
Subject 2) Steve Irwin- Now I love the crocodile hunter as much as the next guy, but apparently he was not as revered here in Oz as he was in the states. Your average Aussie thought Steve Irwin was a little too loud and gregarious, and he wasnt too popular back home. After his death, however, the Aussies realized how much he did for conservation efforts worldwide, and have given him much deserved respect and admiration.
Subject 3) Sharks- My mother has been seriously concerned about me going surfing and then losing life or limb in a shark attack, so this section is for her. There hasnt been a fatal shark attack off the coast of Australia in several years. Along all the popular beaches there are shark nets to keep those great whites at bay. It just doesnt happen, so you should be much more worried about subject 4.
Subject 4) Jellyfish- Dangerous little critters. They are small, and can be very dangerous. They are like the wasps of the ocean, sea bees if you will. Several people in my orientation group were stung by jellies, but it usually doesnt amount to much more than a bee sting depending on the type that gets you. If you want to be really frightened look up blue bottle jellies, but if the jellies are out they close down beaches, and keep the population safe. I also wear a rash guard that doubles as protection against jellyfish.
Subject 5) Tim Tams- I love Tim Tams and Peanut Butter!
Subject 6) Heaps- whenever Aussies want to express a lot of something, they use the word heaps. Ex: I put heaps of peanut butter on my Tim Tams.
Subject 7) Roads- Im finally beginning to get the hang of crossing the street. Its weird having the cars coming from the right first and then left as you cross. I still have a hard time with the driver being on the right side of the car. One time I was waiting to cross, and the driver was waiting for me to cross. I was used to the driver being on the left side; however, so it turns out I was locked into eye contact with the passenger who must have been weirded out that I was staring at him. Well I made it across the road, but I still dont quite have a handle on things.
Subject 8) Snorkelling Old Men- I was out fishing one morning. I had not caught anything, and I was about ready to give it up when the most bizarre thing happened. An old man in full snorkel gear plopped into the lake right by where I was fishing. This was unusual to say the least, and he had to see my fishing line. Still, to be polite I reeled in and began casting away from him. I casted away but my bait like my eyes kept drifting over towards him. He looked very silly with his full wetsuit and enormous goggles. The water was only about 5 feet deep so he could still touch bottom, and he would stand up for air from time to time. One time as he was standing, just to show him that I was fishing here first, I threw a cast that landed in his vicinity. He seemed to not even notice, and dove under once again. The next thing I knew, I felt a tug on my line and the old man came up holding my bait. He showed it to me and smiled. He warned me about some of the wires on the bait, and I was just really creeped out. I headed in, but if youre ever down in Australia I would warn you to watch out for snorkelling old men, theyre unpredictable.
posted Wednesday January 2008