Australia is a haven for backpackers and indeed the country seems to live and breath with a sort of “live and let live” ethos that suits the backpacker lifestyle just fine. We spent 40 days in the country, most of it going north from Sydney to Cairns using the greyhound before flying south to Melbourne and back to Sydney for our outbound flight. If you go, you’ll find lots of “shoes optional” type environments, beach hangouts and just plain friendly people looking to enjoy life in the sun.
Sometimes what you pay is so wildly out of line with what you get. Most times, you pay a lot and get a little. Here in Sorrento, we are paying 20€ for a double room and have an incredible view of the ocean below.
Do we have room service? Nope. Do we have a gym or business room? God I hope not. But what we have is a truly incredible view.
The Kiana’s bow soars up, pointing to the sky before cresting and diving head first into the next wave, bringing all forward movement to a temporary halt. Her steel hull echoes with a thunderous clap as wave after wave smashes against her sides. Her passengers, myself included, stand, bracing ourselves with each rise and fall, riding the motions of the ocean like a bucking bronco. Driving rain explodes against our plastic enclosure. For a brief moment, I wonder if the other half of our passengers, those that fled our boat this morning for dry ground out of exhaustion from sea sickness or a general fear for their safety, weren’t the smarter ones.
Reflecting back over our short six weeks in Australia, I see a number of very worthwhile moments and characteristics that Canada could learn from and hopefully adopt. I’m not sure how exactly you change the culture in Canada – it seems to have stagnated in some ways – but if I could, I think it would benefit from an injection of Australia. Here’s what I would recommend.
Water fountains that work
Australia, for matters of survival in many ways, has an abundance of water fountains that actually work. This may seem like some kind of petty point but it’s not.
Australia has a lot going for it and there’s a lot that it could teach Canadians. But there’s a lot that Canada could teach Australia. Here’s what I hope Australia would adopt from my home country.
Australia needs to open up its mindset. The people need to come to terms with what a multicultural world looks like and give up some of the racial tensions that are just below the surface. Asia is a growing and huge part of the world. Australia needs to embrace new cultures and people without trying to keep its distance all the time.
If there is a quintessential Aussie food, vegemite is it. This yeast extract is a salty black gooey paste that inspires warm homey feelings in Aussies everywhere and utter revulsion for most anyone else.
In fact, my first vegemite experience involved me frantically looking for a napkin into which to spit out the piece of toast I just put into my mouth. Not the most auspicious first taste.
Since then I’ve been shown the proper way to eat this salty savory topping and I must say, it’s grown on me. While I haven’t gone so far as to buy a jar of my own, you’ll find me scraping some on my toast if one is handy (which in Australia is often).
The difference between the Kiwi and Aussie accent is always a fun game (despite how silly the Kiwis and Aussies think the game is). While we were on our trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, one of our fellow divers absolutely loved the video above. It’s a fun watch and worth sharing. Enjoy.
While we were in Queensland, the state vote was held. Labor was absolutely destroyed in the vote. Indeed they knew it was coming and ha been running ads pleading to not give their opposition “too much power”. Imagine how desperate a political party must be to run on a message like that.
In either case, you can add one more species to the list of “things not to mess with while in Australia”.
If you have not heard bell birds before, you really are in for a treat. They really do sound like some kind of sonar system and nothing like what you would expect a bird to sound like.
Here is a little video that captures the sound of the bell birds. I took this while walking through to Botanical gardens in Melbourne.
I’ll be posting more sketches as I do them. Maybe some foursquare checkins with drawings.
The conversation above actually happened when we checked into The Nunnery Hostel here in Melbourne. True story.
Surprisingly, I think I was the first to play this trick. That, or she was a new employee. Cause the woman behind the counter laughed like it was pretty funny. As you can tell, I am a horrible sketch artist but a comic genius.