Stuff I didn’t know before I arrived…

31 Mar

The end is near.  My fifteen months spent in the land of convicts and koala bears is almost up.  Prior to writing the expected sappy and bore-you-poor-souls-to-tears entry about Australia becoming my home away from home I need to write about a few of the things I have learnt about Australia in the past year.

Starting with…


“I’m heaps keen to get maggot as tonight c*nt.”

I knew Aussies had slang when I arrived.  I made sure to practice my “G’day mate”  “Cheers”  and “Crikey”  But I had no idea how disgustingly wonderful their slang could be.

In case you are still stuck on the phrase, I’ll translate…

“I’m heaps keen to get maggot as c*nt.”  =  I would very much like to get belligerently drunk this evening, my dear friend.

Betcha didn’t guess that one.


Drop Bears.

Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin had given me fair warning as to how many ways you can die a painful death in Australia.    I had heard about the snakes and spiders, sharks and crocodiles, even the floods and fires…but I hadn’t heard about the Drop Bear.

It looks like a koala, but instead of being dumb and docile, Drop Bears are   carnivorous predators.  They kill their prey by waiting until a large mammal (occasionally a hiker) walks underneath the tree where they sit hidden, then they drop onto the victim and attack.  I have spent many bushwalks staring into the trees praying to get out alive.

Check this link out:

Followed by this one:


Australia is ridiculously humongous.  It is massive and is mostly empty space.  It’s as big as the U.S. but has a mere 22-million people in contrast to America’s 300-million.

That much empty space means lots of empty driving.  This explains why 75% of my pictures from the past year look like this:

IMG_2500 DSCF4408


The Goon Sack.

Backpackers in OZ smell like cheap boxed wine.  And for the lucky few who got a few showers in that month, the red stains on their clothing give them away as backpackers.  Because we all know red goon is has a higher alcohol percentage than white goon. Drinking from an aluminum foil bladder of wine has become second nature, usually out of a plastic coffee mug, but sometimes just straight from the teat. Boxed wine in Australia is shockingly cheap.  Any other day I would go for an a beer but when choosing between 24 beers $50 or 5-liters of wine for $12…the wine usually wins.

DSCF4281                                                      IMG_0618

Boxed wine is perfect for camping.                                                                                     Until you realize you have to sleep in a car.



If you have not heard a drunken Scottish man order a “wet pussy” shot at a nightclub then you are not truly living.

My exposure to foreign accents had been minimal up until I came to Australia. Men with Irish, Australian and English accents had a mysterious allure to them.  P.S. I Love You, Love Actually and of course all eight Harry Potter movies had me convinced that life with an accent is just better.

I was wrong.

Any sex appeal that accents held for me fifteen months ago has been blown to smitherings.  After being serenaded with Celtic folk songs by an aged Irish leprechaun and being berated by angry miners from Liverpool for not being understand their drink order after the third try as well as realizing that Aussie accents don’t just come out of Hugh Jackman type guys but mullet wearing bogans as well  (bogan is the Aussie version of redneck).

Both have Australian accents:


Those are just five basic things I have learnt about Australia in the past few months.  The list however is endless.  From learning how to sneak into hotels for showers to the techniqe involved in getting a job (remove all education and career information from your resume).  This past year has challenged me in all aspects, forcing me from the beginning to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Somehow it all worked out.



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