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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Australia - Where Everything Wants To Kill You

Source:  SBS

To Our Foreign Readers,

The other day I made the comment on my Facebook page that Australians ought to band together right now to do a rain dance. The hard hot winds were brutally taking embers all the way from the Blue Mountains west of Sydney all the way into the beach waters of Bondi Beach (according to one unverified report). That comment got me thinking about this so called 'Lucky Country' that everyone seems to want to come to. Which, to me, seems absurd. For it is my humble opinion, having now seen a fair few parts of the country and having spent some time working agricultural farms, that everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - in this country wants to kill you. If you are still interested in coming to live here, then pack your bags. However, before you do, let me give you a few observations.

In the Kakadu National Park a few years ago I asked the tour guide as we went down the river 'how long would I last in the water before a croc got to me?' The indigenous guide answered 'you would never make it to the river bank'. She was not even slightly joking. My fears were bolstered when a few days later I was fishing in a Creek a few hundred kilometres away and the guide asked me if I'd like to feed a croc. He lowered a medium sized barramundi over the side of the boat about five feet above the water and two minutes later two small, barely perceptible little bubbles on the water came moving down the creek until a medium sized croc leaped out of the water and went BAM BAM and snapped it all up. On the way home as we made our way through an estuary a terribly big bump thudded the side of the boat and almost knocked me out.... Don't worry, it was only a huge bull shark that looked so murky in colour you would never see it coming.

Which brings me to my next little story. One day I was lying under a truck whilst we were filling an orca (spell check?) to get the grain into the silo around 40 kilometres west of Wagga Wagga (do you like these names? That's what you need to get used to!). Because I was a lazy so and so during these work experience programmes I used to try and nod off here and there. I fell asleep on my Akubra and as I was in that half sleep I thought I felt the dogs licking my ear. But the tongue seemed very narrow. I was really quite uncertain as to what the hell was licking me and so I gradually began to fear it wasn't a dog so I jumped up and lo and behold, it was a six foot red belly black snake that was licking my ear. Scared like the city boy I was I shreiked for help. I won't lie to you, I took the rest of the day off.

A few days later the farmer gave me a task to do - 'go check on the watering troughs in this paddock' and he pointed to somewhere distant on a map. 'Check for red backs' he said in parting. Well, they were the biggest red backs I had ever seen. The size of your palm.

But I am not done. When you go up north you need to be careful of the Irukandji jelly fish and always wear a full suit even though the water is just like a bath. You need to be careful of bull sharks in estuaries. You need to watch for tiger sharks if you spearfish. You need to watch for great white sharks if you surf. That is if the surf didn't drown you first. When you go to the country you need to clap before you walk anywhere too grassy to avoid snakes. That is if you didn't get caught in the bush fires or drown in the recent floods. But whatever you do, don't stay out there too long because our sun is extremely cancerous. Oh, and in case you were wondering - possums are nasty, kangaroos can rip your guts out and koalas are not cuddly little bears.

Yes, I do love Australia and we do call it the 'Lucky Country' but sometimes I do wonder what is so 'lucky' about it when you spend most of your life just trying staying alive.

Oh, and just so you don't think I am telling you a 'long' story I am attaching a photo of said croc below:

Photo by Nicholas Atgemis - Copyright

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