I’m beginning to suspect a conspiracy. Now before you think I’m some nut job who believes that Princess Diana was murdered because Elvis didn’t tell the Aliens to stop using the mind control ray on George Bush (It was actually Clinton who was murdered, and his double finished the term in the oval office, forced by the illuminati to… ah, but wait, that’s another story…)
No, I’m starting to suspect that the Aussie’s have been putting us on. I have yet to see a movie where an Aussie doesn’t greet someone with a hearty ‘G’day, mate’, but I had yet to meet an Australian who actually used that clichéd phrase. ‘How’re ya goin?’ was the standard greeting as far as I could tell, and I came to wonder if they only used it on us because they couldn’t tell at first glance that weren’t Australian. I imagine that when an American introduces themselves, they become instantly identifiable from their accent and demeanor, and unlike us Canadians, who blend in wherever we go, Americans get the G’day! greeting. I might not have needed that Canadian flag sewn onto my backpack. As long as I didn’t say Eh, or Aboot, I would be fine.
The first thing the Aussies do to welcome you their continental nation after a long flight across the pacific, is to spray down the interior of the plane with a ‘harmless’ pesticide/herbicide. I’m not sure if I still qualify as organic after being sprayed point blank by the stewardess (who appeared to be wearing a hazmat suit), which is something I’ll be sure to point out to any croc/shark/snake/spider that tries to take a bite out of me. For a country that has the world’s highest concentration of venomous creatures, they seem overly cautious about what flora and fauna they allow in. They could probably do with a little culling of species, in my opinion.
Once in the airport, the Australian citizens (and New Zealanders, who have special citizenship in Australia,) get to go in their own special customs line and whizz through to the baggage claim. The rest of us foreigners must slog it out in a long queue to be ushered through with relative ease. I did have some trepidation that our lack of return or onward tickets might cause some concern at the immigration counter, but we were unceremoniously waved through and welcomed to the ‘lucky country’.
From my first impression upon leaving the airport, we could have been in some suburb of London, where the accent was slightly different and there was less fog. The houses, the buildings, even the fact that they drive on the wrong side of the road was definitely reminiscent of merry olde England, or at least how I picture England from what I’ve seen in TV and movies.
Our suicidal Airport driver whizzed us through the streets, and I began to understand why the Mad Max movies came from this country. They all drive like madmen! I believe the experience was too much for Cyrus, as he passed out and did his best Zombie impression for the rest of the drive, and continued to do so during our check in at the hostel. I don’t know how he navigated the mazelike corridors of The Original Backpackers Hostel, or made it up the stairs to our room with his eyes closed, but somehow, he did.
Violet, on the other hand, was bouncing off the walls, probably in imitation of the new Kangaroo stuffy she had gotten at the airport. On the flight over, I had piqued her interest in the land down under by appealing to her animal loving nature. Naturally, this lead to me promising to buy her a Kangaroo stuffy once we got to Oz, and conveniently enough, they have mountains of them for sale in the Sydney airport. She seemed to feel that this was the sole reason for our journey, and would have been content at that point to carry on to other lands. However, as we were soon to find out, the land down under had many great adventures in store for us.