Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is Australia From a Different Galaxy?

People say I've been giving Brad a hard time. So, to prove them wrong, I've given him some space in MY blog. See what he's come up with. Not original but interesting reading.

The following gem is by Douglas Adams of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fame. It is an amazing insight into Australia - prepare yourself!

Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognizable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep into the sea. Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but they still call it the "Great Australian Bight" proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory but they can't spell either!

It does look like the bottom has been bitten off by some humongous shark, eh?

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other landmasses and sovereign lands are classified as either a continent, an island, or a country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.

The second confusing thing about Australia is the animals. They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep.

Is it baa baa baa or beeh beeh beeh?

It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them. However there are curiously few snakes, possible because the spiders have killed them all.

Have seen some of these at home. Scary!!!!

But even the spiders won't go near the sea. Visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on), under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.

At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus - estranged relative of the mammal, which has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining all 'typical' Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.

Cute but odd, aren't they?

The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants.

First, a short history:
Sometime around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and a lot of them died. The ones who survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man's proper place in the scheme of things and spiders. They settled in and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.

Then, around 200 years ago, Europeans arrived in boats from the north. More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged and stupid people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a lot of them died.

Some Aussies are proud of their convict ancestry.

About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since.

We love sheep too - when they are lamb! (chops, racks, loin, steak....yummmm)

It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture they say) - whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick.

Naughty colonials! They've said "sorry" though.

Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on Extended Holiday and became Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises. They also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world, and the Aboriginal gift for making up stories. Be warned.

There is also the matter of the beaches. Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world.

Bondi beach - aaah....polka dot bikinis....

Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain) and surfboarders.

Beware of the stonefish! Bad barbs!

However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk. As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger.

Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick. Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.

Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land "Oz", "Godzone" (a verbal contraction of "God's Own Country") and "Best bloody place on earth, bar none, strewth." The irritating thing about this is they may be right.

There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveller, though. Do not, under any circumstances, suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Do not wear a Hawaiian shirt.

Nope. The Hawaiian shirt is not an Australian invention.

Religion and Politics are fairly safe topics of conversation, (Australians don't care too much about either) but Sport is a minefield.

The only correct answer to "So, howdya' like our country, eh?" is "Best (insert your own regional swear word here) country in the world!" It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will 'adopt' you on your first night, and take you to a pub where Australian Beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse. It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes.

Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and waive off any legal difficulties with "It's his first time in Australia, so we took him to the pub", to which the policeman will sagely nod and close his notebook. Be sure to tell the story of these events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new embellishments at every stage and noting how strong the beer was. Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.

Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.

Typical Australian sayings:-
* "G'Day!"* "She'll be right mate."

Tips to Surviving Australia:
* Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason WHATSOEVER.
* The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.
* Always carry a stick.

Even kangaroos carry sticks in this country.

* Air-conditioning is imperative.
* Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and extremely good in a fist fight.
* Wear thick socks.
* Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.
* If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die.
* Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.

Now, would you believe me if I say that Brad can read and write too? purrr....meow!


Pi Bani said...

Dear Brad,
Where do Australian cats originate from? Were they once convicts too? ;-)

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Aunty Pi,
Good question. You want the truth or the BS answer? har har har *evil laughs*


Anonymous said...

Fair dinkum, Brady me boy. I swear you write better than that sheila whazernyme... Ange? :)

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Kambing Biri-Biri,

Saya suka tengok awak,kata Pak Malim sambil memeluk biawak. Awak, nampak gebu, kata Pak Malim sambil minum air tebu. Awak, hantar dry clean kot, kat mana? kata Pak Malim yg merana.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Andrea!!!! I heard that!!!


Cat-from-Sydney said...

Andrea darling,
Auwww....you're so sweet. You know, it's hard to live under the shadow of a very forbearing female....sigh....


Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pak Malim,
Saya memang gebu, betul, tak tipu
Kot saya waterproof, I can show you proof
Saya pun suka awak, sebab pandai buat lawak

~CovertOperations78~ said...

You are one smart kitty, Brad! Dangerous, odd and sheep... so which category would you fall into? I'd reckon ODD!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Neither. I'm like Australia - UNIQUE!!! har har har...
Woohoo...Angelina is so gonna hate me for hogging the limelight.

sherry said...

Hai Brad....

Aunty dah jatuh cinta pada ur evil laughs..har har har...! no meow meow ker?

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Sherry,
Meow meow is Angelina's signature, I can't copy her, she'll claw my eyes out. har har har *evil laughs*

mamasita said...

Dah 3 kali baca this entry..still cannot answer your question..

p.s. you don't look like an alien mate..but you're a talking cat..hmmmm??

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Aunty Yummy Mummy,
Nope. I'm not a talking cat. I'm a blogging cat. In this case, I'm Angelina's guest blogger. har har har....

tireless mom said...

Hi Brad

I always believe you are the smarter puttytat. Oooohhhh... that magnificent beach, would you accompany me there? Meooowwww !

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Yatt!!! You too? I heard that. That's it. Any comments that say Brad is in any way superior that me will not be published. Be warned. There is no greater fury than a female scorned.

Lee said...

Hi Cat, I enjoyed reading this posting.
One day must visit your country....look at the Sheilas, billiebongs, have a Fosters see how strong it is....
and visit Alice Springs, take the Gann, with sleeper cabin.
But will not climb Bukit Ayers.
G'day, Lee.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Yatt,
Oooohh...you've made Angelina so livid. I'm sooo enjoying this. Perhaps I should have MY own blog instead of "tumpang" hers. She is so "kedekut taik hidung masin".
Oh, you want to take me to Bondi beach? I'd love that. But, promise you'll wear itsy bitsy polka dot bikini?

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Uncle Lee,
There's a loooong list of Aussie beer, not just Foster's. The vision of sheilas will vary depending on what beer you're drinking. Oh, it's not PC to say Bukit Ayers. It's gone back to its original name of Uluru. We'd love to tag along if you ride The Ghan!
Psst...have you won the $50mil lottery? purrr....meow!