Sunday, October 26, 2008

Phoctober Day 3

Struth folks, it's almost November. Crikey where'd the month go. Stone the crows and knock me on the head with a dead Dingo's donger if this isn't the last post for Phoctober which for various reasons has been a bit of a dry argument this year. Grab me a VB and bung on the cork hat, it's time for a few pickies with a tinny in hand and a quick squizz at what goes on at my place when we're not chasing emus from the outside dunny and fishing crocs outta the swimming pool. The joe blakes are all loved up and down by the creek and the blowies are buzzing in the laundry. Won't be long before the brown bombers start clinging to the bonce and Santa arrives on six white boomers . . . .Erm no, we don't actually talk like that. Not in Sydney anyway although the boys have been known to crack a fat and the girls can be skanks.

Don't get me wrong, I love where I live and am eternally grateful for my parent's hard decision to move 12,000 miles from their own families to give us a good start in life.

I often wish we'd gone to Canada but that wasn't an option. Australia is great, but it's just another country. It's huge, it's expensive, it's dry and the four minute shower is mandatory at the Bainbridge's 'desperately trying to be green' homestead. We can't water our garden or wash our car with a hose. The summer smells of bushfire smoke and everything as we've previously established wants to kill you. Getting from A to B takes a long time and little change in landscape. A drive from Sydney to Brisbane (about 10 hours) takes you through gum forests, into Banana Country then Sugar Cane . .that's it. We do have natural wonders, a highly developed cultural life (apparently the Australian Ballet is highly regarded for it's fluid interpretations). We have the biggest Gay Mardis Gras, the Grand Prix, World Rugby and arguably the highest proportion of elite sportspeople per head of population (just tipped the 21 million mark). We have great food from all over the world. Great cultural tolerance - except for the lebs because they're all related to suicide bombers (despite the fact that most are Christian) But the chinks are happy because they're now off the hook. (Now don't go giving me curry over my lack of political correctness, I'm playing up for the cameras).

The beauty of Australia is in its diversity. We're relaxed, irreverent, foul mouthed, varied, casual, largely tolerant and uniquely unable to name a suburb creatively. We are to some extent little America and to another, little China. We've got some lovely landmarks and a penchant for 'big' things . . usually bananas, potatoes, prawns and pineapples although I believe there's a big Lobster in South Australia and perhaps a giant VB bottle somewhere in the outback.

One thing I've realised through travelling and blogging is that every country has its charm. The US has amazing natural history, stunning customer service and no . . the Greyhound and Trains are not a mugger's paradise, they're cheap . . you guys should try them sometimes. Europe is antique and modern. Sophisticated and raw. Small enough to travel from country to country and taste a plethora of different cultures and lifestyles. Even countries within countries have different cultures, languages, dialects and accents. You can travel 10kms and people speak differently.

Not here although there are slight nuances between city accents and a great divide between city and country. Here - we're a multicultural blend of everything with a stereotypical attitude to everything. My Korean neighbours don't speak English but Barbecue and wear thongs. My Estonian girlfriend makes Risolya for Christmas but has no accent. My Cypriot friend looks Greek but speaks Strine. The Somali trolley boys at Coles wear Billabong jackets that they couldn't afford in their own country and Islamic women are free to practice their faith and wear the hi jab. Even the Pentecostals are welcome because they pay a load of tax. We love the diversity of halal butchers, Chinese grocers, Vietnamese bakeries and Thai yumminess, Korean Barbecue, Greek fishmongers and Italian deli's. Dining out here is an international experience yet there are some things which are quintessentially Australian . . . nobody calls their kids Bruce or Sheila any more (what is the world coming to?). Everyone takes an esky to a barbie and BYO is endemic. Meat pies are eaten at footy games and schooner's are the measure of a beer, not a small sailing ship.

There are a number of Aussie Icons of which you may or may not be aware, the Hills Hoist, the Esky, The Wine Cask and the Cochlear Implant to name a few. Like many countries, our good designs are snapped up overseas because funding for them here seems not to be forthcoming.

I didn't have to go to far for this post, all these pictures are from my own home or garden . . .these are things that are quintessentially Australian to me . . I'm not big into meat pies, cork hats or blue singleted beer bellies . . but five minutes around my place and this is why I still call Australia home. *runs off and sings Peter Allen song*

My verandah . . keeps the house cool, great for kids to ride their trykes around and the place we sit in the evening during summer righting the wrongs of the world . . .but it's a long way to the washing line (60 metres!)

Water sports . . millions of Australians have pools. When you fly into Kingsford Smith, the landscape is smattered with little blue holes. Handy in a bushfire as well. They're a shit to maintain in winter but the summer enjoyment is worth the chemical overload . .

Vegemite . .love it or hate it, we're really pissed that it's now owned by an American company. This particular shot is from Uyuni Salt flats in Paraguay, no respectable Australian travels without it.

Thongs, clearly these won't fit around my bum . .they are footwear people not underwear. Acceptable everywhere except nightclubs and posh restaurants. Valuable in thwacking spiders, keeping the soles of your feet from burning on the sand (warning to Bondi visitors) and help absorb the bindis instead of having them puncture the soles of your feet! They must be Haviainas because they're soft and uber comfy. Pommies you will get sore between your toes but persevere . . .
Weird flowers. . . this is a Sandra Gordon Grevillea . .the birds love em because they're nectar bearing but they look funny, you can't pick them for a vase and they make you itch when pruning!

Weather . . 30 one minute . .hailing golf balls the next. We watched this hailstorm last February in our bathers! The temperature dropped minimally but after it was over, the lawn was STEAMING! (and poor Babysis' car was totalled!). There is nothing 'reliable' about our weather. Summer can be hot, humid, dry and wet. . Autumn is cold and windy and Winter . .anyone's guess. Spring is usually pretty good although we had snow in the blue mountains on Wednesday and today it was 30!

Rainbow Lorikeets. As I sit here, these small parrots are chirruping away in the treetops and are INVISIBLE. Can you imagine a bird of so much colour blending into the gum trees? Well they do. This one however was very cooperative and munching my Robin Gordon Grevillea just outside Adam's bedroom . .they're noisy but so, so, beautifully coloured.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree . .actually this is my sister's gum tree. We have them hear but I tend to hear them laugh before rain rather than see them. They do laugh and they do sound funny.

Babybro's Rodeo . . Holden . . Aussie car brand from General Motors. As Australian as the meat pie and blue singlet! You're either a Holden man or a Ford Man. . .-

Galahs, one of the most underrated cockatoos here. Snapped these lovers this afternoon. These are not drinking. The pool has just been dosed with chlorine. They're sharpening their beaks on the coping stones and licking the lime in the pebble crete much like you give a caged bird cuttlefish to chomp. Very pretty.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. Australian natives despite their well travelled reputation. They are INCREDIBLY noisy in a bunch. The size of a chicken, somehow they know when seed has been put in the tray. I only feed when I have visitors and want to impress but they come . . yep . . build it and they will come!

Blue Tongue lizard . .docile . .slow . .had one in the shower once but he was happy to be scooped up in a cylindrical post pack and released somewhere a little further than my bathroom . .
got snails in your garden? Get one!

Rather pathetic flag that my bro put up in the front lawn on some Vinidex tubing. Hey, it's not class but it shows we're proud!

The barbie . .can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want. ALL Australians have one, use one, invite friends to one . . .although sometimes you BYO alcohol and meat! It is a male bastion. The women do the work, the salads, the table laying . . men turn a chop! Talent eh?

Al Fresco Christmas . . it's usually warm and we eat outside. Cold cuts (although I do bake a glazed ham) salad, fruit, chocolate fountain, more fruit . . .Mango Daquiries and a game of cricket.

Lemon scented Gum . . how does a tree like this smell like lemons? It does. I love this tree but I hate that the bastards are diciduous all year round. I spend every Saturday blowing leaves down one end of the verandah only to have a cool change blow them back. Some pursuits are futile but necessary.

There, just a little of my world. No fall, no snow, no funny accents, no rich history, no water . . .but it's still God's country . .if only I could turn the temperature down in January . .it's not easy being green! Right, off to throw a prawn on the barbie, thwack that redback off the toilet seat with my thong and make a pavlova!


Grandad said...

You are the only person I know who writes with an accent!

Is there any room there for two more [plus a dog and a MinniePig]? It sounds great.

Anonymous said...

Ah, what a brilliant post!
I have moved here too, and made it home, although not as young as you did and not with anyone from my family. Much of what you explain here saw me stay and make it home, as opposed to go back, to my mum's despair.
I only miss Europe because of the close proximity as you said. I do like the spacious living here very much.
I lived in Canada for 18 months as a student exchange and absolutely loved it there. Canada is the epitome of multicultural living with integration at its best. In my opinion, Australia is second right after.
Variety of food is amazing, totally agreed.
Great photos to accompany the post. Love the vegemite shot!

Baino said...

Well hello old man! So you do still read the odd post! And that's not true, you guys write with an accent and don't know it. Yeh, plenty of room until we are gobbled by developers but given the current economic climate that could be when I'm in a wheelchair with a catheter attached!

Gaye that's true, it's such a long way. How lucky are the English to be able to just pop over to Europe for a week or a weekend. I've never been to Canada but it sounds very similar to here other than I believe they're 'very polite'. Haha . .those Uyuni shots were loads of fun. She had people falling out of Pringle packs, standing on people's palms and lots of trick photography thanks to the blurred horizon. Yeh I think we could work a little harder on making multiculturalism work.

Grandad said...

I read every damned post. I just am not very good at comments. [Begorrah!]

TCL said...

So you've been to Salar de Uyuni too. What an amazing place!

It sounds a lot like California, a place I still consider my homeland even though I haven't lived there for more than 16 years. We've the same water restrictions, the same driving distance, the Santa Ana (nasty hot desert wind coming from Mexico) that spreads wild fires, boring suburbs, eating and drinking outside and grilling all year round. Ah you've made me miss California even though it's never the heaven I make it out to be.

And the thong (flip flops in American lingo)! Don't know if you've seen this Aussie spoof on the kiwis? I ran across it looking for rugby union videos and wasting time on youtube.

Canada is lovely, especially Québec. All the diversity of Vancouver and Toronto but with a Gallic flair. I dig my northern cousins.

Ropi said...

I have serious difficulties with heat so yeah, maybe Australia is not the best place for em to live.

Grannymar said...

I love the colour of your wildlife, and your surroundings look wonderful.

I like the idea of outdoor living but alas the heat would not suit me at all.

Nick said...

Have taken careful note of the first para. Will memorise so I'll be speaking perfect Strine by the time I arrive. Europe's not such a big deal any more. Most of the capital cities are packed with hen and stag parties causing mayhem (thanks to all the low-cost airlines). You're right about Canada being similar but polite. Our Canadian cousins cringe if we use any swear words, especially religious ones.

Jay said...

I love it! And my, those Rainbow Lorikeets are beautiful! Funny thing .. when I was at primary school (5-11 yrs old roughly speaking), my best friend and I collected tea and cigarette cards. Our favourite collection was 'tropical birds' and that picture took me right back! I simply did not believe that there were really birds that colourful out there somewhere in the world.

Love your looooong verandah! I miss the verandah we had in NZ, though it was nowhere near as long as that. We also had a Holden! I spilled milk in it, and it was never the same again. LOL!

Ces said...

Grandad is right. I always read your accent. I wish I could hear you speak. Do you speak like that woman in the video you recently posted? I thought you were going to talk about the Olympics when you posted the Australian colors which is the same as Brazil's by the way. When I think of Australia I think of crocodiles and snakes and the aborigines and the Thorpedo and Kathy Freeman and Natalie Cook. Of Kiri Te kanaawa and the prime minister when I was younger who met his wife at a party because they were the only ones who towered over everyone at a party -someone between Holt, Gorton and Fraser's eras. Then I think of my lactation consultant who was the brightest lactation consultant nurse I knew. I always think of Australians as outdoors type of people. These days I think of you and Bimbimbie and Pam, and the Anon (bless her heart). The problem with Australia is it is so huge and takes a long time to go from point A to point B. For example, how long will it take you to go to Ayer's Rock? Then when you get there you tell yourself, this is it? an orange rock? Hmn. then you climb it and then there's a posionous snake. Crikey! You must have a daring-do, can-do and care-not all-in-one attitude to be Australian. After all you are so far out there and what does that make the New Zealanders feel? There's a huge continent-country next door and they are like an island resort. I heard New Zealand is beautiful. I am rambling...Good day Baino.

Moon said...

Where do I start ??, you know I spent a year in your country, and I loved everything about... everything ....

Your pictures remind me of so many stories.. the first when I thought someone had lost their beloved pet, only to find out cockatoo and Galahs are natural in Oz !!, and the sign on the pub door saying 'No Thongs' ... how did they know, and I'd like to be the man that has the job of checking !!!!

I loved Oz, the country, the people, and of course the sport, after all, thats is why I was there !

Christopher said...

Baino, is it possible to feel homesick for a place I've never been? What astounds me is how the Aussies I've met speak so distinctively, speaking a language that, to me, doesn't sound like English, but has a lovely, poetic quality, even when it includes phrases like "knock me on the head with a dead Dingo's donger". Give me a home among the gum trees!
The funny thing is I once met an Aussie singer named Paul Killingly, and he really did talk like that. I know not all Aussies do, but I got so wrapped up listening to him talk that I had trouble holding up my end of the conversation.
And, by the way, I love Vegemite. And I'm pissed that an American company now makes it but I can't get it here. Well, I can get Marmite at my local grocery in the "specialty foods" section, but I'm not paying $7 for a 2 ounce jar.

Ces said...

Thongs are what we called tsinelas and Filipinos are born with them on their newborn feet. In fact most people wear them because shoes are expensive. Don't worry about the vegemite being made by a US company. Your other choice would be Chinese.

kj said...

well, baino, you did it for me: i will now add australia to my travel list. i have never included it because i believed its population was not at all multicultural.

what a fun fun travelogue you've created here! the song at the end made me feel patriotic for australia and as a citizen of the world. of course i didn't understand much of that first paragraph, and still wonder who 'lebs' and 'chinks' are. i can guess, although the latter is a term i've never liked even as a teenager (if indeed it refers to asians).

more photos, please. perhaps you might join in on the thursday 13's?
(even though miladysa cheated and did the saturday 7's instead)


Baino said...

Awww Grandad . .well thanks, to be sure!

Not me TCL, the daughter she was in SA from Jan to March. Yep, I think we have much in common with California . . even the wine's not half bad! Yep I've seen the clip, the All Blacks and the Wallabies are old foes!

Gets pretty warm Ropi! Gets pretty cold too! If you come, make it a Winter trip and you can ski!

Hence the need for a verandah GrannyMar.Go for a dip, then sit in the shade, it can be very pleasant.

To be honest Nick, I've never heard anyone say 'struth' except in jest. You'll get a taste for the heat over Christmas I imagine although last Christmas was cool and pleasant. Swearing over here is mandatory!

Jay, the're lovely and we seem to have more of them this year but difficult to see in the treetops. The verandah's a bit of a cheat, there are actually two houses joined by the same roof with a games room in between. It's still a long way to the hills hoist!(I spilled garlic butter in my new corolla I know exactly what you mean!)

Cess I do play up the 'everything wants to kill me' angle but it's not like that,hey you have snakes in your bayous. Erm Dame Kiri is actually a Maori from New Zealand. I've never been there but it does seem to have everything. Takes about 3 days drive or a four hour flight to get to Alice Springs, then another hour or so to the Rock. Not a place I have a hankering to go to frankly. Yep, it's big but we're used to travelling long distances.

It's pretty cool Moon. Personally it's the lifestyle I like, very relaxed and although I'm not a fan of sports, there's plenty around! Hey, we're coming into 7's summer of cricket! *yawn*. There was a pub that said 'no thongs'. Wow must have been a posh joint!

Chris, it can sound quite 'English' or very strine depending where you come from. Country people have stronger accents. Mine's not that strong due to my English heritage and a mother who insisted I speak properly despite having lived here for 40 years so I'm still not true blue! Much of the language is derived from Cockney rhyming slang due to the country originally being a penal colony. I'm not a great fan of vegemite but it's always in the cupboard!

Haha . . true that Ces, although they have the monopoly on the clothing market!

kj every race has a derogatory name here so we're all square. I'm a pommie! Even the Aussies are 'skips' after Skippy the Kangaroo! Very multicultural although due to past White Australia policies a black face other than indigenous people is rare. These days we have Chinese, Somali,Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Vientamese, Koreans, English, New Zealanders and more recently Afghans and Iraqis, Indians and Pakistanis. . .the list goes on. I live in a very Chinese/Korean/Indian suburb. Many come to give their children a good education. There'll be more photos, Sunday posts seem to be my photo posts!

Gledwood said...

I love those rainbow lorries...

hope it isn't the MOUSE SPIDER SEASON. Nobody even in Australia seems to know what mouse spiders are. They are trapdoor spiders like funnel webs but scarier and more poisonous!!

TCL said...

Yeah I wouldn't mind giving Margaret River and Barossa a go sometime.

I'll be pulling for the Wallabies on Nov. 1st. I would like to see Dingo do well and the Bledisloe Cup exchange hands at some point in the near future.

Baino said...

Gleds you're right about the mouse spiders. . also known as wolf spiders. Frankly, I've never seen one and there's only ever been one recorded fatality. I suspect many funnel web victims have been bitten by a mouse spider - they use the same anti venine. (I thought I'd give the squeamish a break from spiders given the post re the Golden Orb. As far as I know, there's nothing more poisonous than the Sydney Funnel Web female.

Mmm . . .well if you're off to Margaret River, you can take me with you!

Megan said...

Thanks for the tour. I enjoyed this post very much. You are a great spokeswoman!

Ces said...

Dang, yes she is of maori ancestry. I think there is a difference between the immigrants who go to Australia and the immigrants who go to the US. For starters, it's very difficult for illegal immigrants to swim to Australia. Also you have pretty strict immigration rules. I doubt if present day Australians will accept the world's huddled masses, wretched poor, along with serial killers, police killers, rapists, thieves, burglars and terrorists along with doctors, physicists, nurses, accountants and chefs. I don't read a lot of illegal aliens causing strain on your health care system and lowering your educational standards either. I have yet to read of Christian suicide bombers, unless of course you are talking about Ireland. The fact that most of them have to pay for an air fare just about gets rid of the lowest common denominator.

Bimbimbie said...

Good to see you doing your bit for our tourism - expect to see overseas visitors crashing at your place any day now seeing as the exchange rate is perfect for venturing down under right now*!*

Melissa said...

I love this post!! That first paragraph had me in stitches -- and I agree with grandad, I can "hear" your accent when I read your blog (same with Milady's!) and I love it. Those birds -- I'm drooling. I'd love to sit in your back yard (preferably whilst it's NOT being pelted with hail) with my binoculars. Have a good start to your week, Baino!

TCL said...


Immigrants and Americans, illegal or not, both put a tremendous strain on our health care system. We've a fast-aging population and they're all going on Medicare (US health care scheme for Americans over 65). With Medicare part D added legislatively (for non-Americans or those not keen on American political developments, it's prescription drug benefits for the elderly), the burden on the non-discretionary part of the US federal budget is even greater.

It is perfectly valid to suggest that illegal immigrants add cost to the health care system. But it is also fair to say they contribute to the American economy by lowering the prices of many products, many of which we consume at the dinner table. If one is to disagree with the presence of many of these laborers, perhaps we need to live with higher-priced agricultural products.

I'm not saying it is right that these individuals enter our country illegally. But I am saying that our immigration system is incredibly cumbersome and needs an improved process for immigrants to legally pass through our borders.

Christians may not have recent notoriety of committing suicide acts of terrorism. But prior to 9/11 attacks the biggest terrorist attack in the US was committed by Mr. McVeigh, a white Christian fundamentalist who was keen on bring about the apocalypse and avenge the Branch Dividians. Most people are peaceful and normal. Some of them are not, legal residents, Americans, or illegal immigrants.

Baino - I know what you mean by the distance one needs to travel. It takes a full week to drive from Los Angeles to New York. Los Angeles to San Francisco, both in California, takes 7 hours on the road. As I'm preparing for my move to Argentina, I'm finding out that it takes 20 hours from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, and similar time to get from BsAs to Salta or Bariloche. Sometimes distance is a barrier. But sometimes the isolation keeps certain locations perfect because it is not spoiled by human intrusion.

Baino said...

Megan no problem. I should do an 'ugly' post to balance it up a bit! Show you the traffic jams and rubbish dumps. Like I said, not precious about the place but it has it's advantages.

Ces, I've blithered off an email . . too long to post here but actually most legal refugees have assisted or paid passages, crims aren't allowed and we put our illegals in detention centres and send them home if they don't prove to be legitimate. Granted we don't have the Mexican border issues.

Well Bimbimbie, you and I know the truth! hehehe.

Kath Lockett said...

Great post Baino. Love the birdy pics!

TCL said...

I've yet to try the wonders of Vegemite.

Maria said...

Great post, Baino! So I understand that your comment on my blog was also written with an accent - "the cute dawg" ?
I looked it up in Leo online, haha!
I found explanations like "Dawg is the written version of 'dog' used to convey a drawled way of talking" to "Dawg is a slang term for friend, along the lines of "homie" or "bro".
Hm - I think you meant my dog? :)
Do you know that quite a few young people here in Austria would love to start a life in Australia?

Taffy's Mum said...

Vegemite - yuk!
Give me a jar of Marmite any day - it has more bite to it!

As for the pics, it makes me 'homesick' for another holiday to Australia!!

Ces said...

Dawg?! So you speak with a Southern drawl? Are you sure you're not Texan, Honey? Do you say the swear word "sh-t" in three syllables? Haha!

Ces said...

..and that verandah (baranda in my dialect), you can practice the 100 meter dash in it.

laughingwolf said...

we CAN be polite here, but not always :P lol

great stuff in oz, from the look of things, tho i've never been :(

tell your esto gf: terviseid, ja elagu eesti!

[isa maa, ja ema keel] ;) lol

Bear Naked said...

I heart your veranda.
I just had the time to watch that youtube video.
Very heartwarming.

Bear((( )))

Excellent Adventures said...

That was fantastic Mum! I can't wait for all these things when I come home! In fact I'm going to do a blog about it now!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Whaddayamean no funny accents, of course you've got funny accents! And as for having World Rugby, ah, but we've got The Cup, na-na-na-naaa... (for now, anyway!)
I will give you this, you've got gorgeous birds! :-)
Great story telling, Nell!

Baino said...

tcl: it's gloopy black salty stuff that looks like sump oil!

Nah Maria 'dawg' is definitely an American thing that we've adopted. We tent to extend vowels and shorten words 'how ya gaarn moit' (How are you going mate)

TM: Not my favourite but just sometimes I yearn for soft white bread and butter with a lick of the old veggie.

It's a pretty long baranda Ces! I do the 100 metre dash to the washing line about 10 times every Saturday (then I have a little lie down!)

You just told her yourself Wuffa!

Ces, nope one big syllable "Sheeet yeah!"

Hi Darls, nice to talk to you last night I was worried that bump on your head had given you concussion! Five weeks that's all! And watch your money, 48 cents to the Euro at the moment! GAH!

World cup? What world cup . . funny thing about the Aussie team is that half of them are Islanders! You hang onto that cup now, we're coming to get it back!

Baino said...

Sorry Bear, I missed you there! They used to play it on all Qantas homecoming flights as they land in Sydney! Not sure if they do these days though.

Quickroute said...

Lovely post - the Oz Tourist Board should hire you! I miss the place

laughingwolf said...

cool... not met any oz-tonians yet :P lol

david mcmahon said...

You are SO right about the diversity . So very right.

sexy said...