After sending a draft of my completed thesis project to my committee members last week, I celebrated one night downtown with an old college roommate and followed that up with a three night family camping trip. While recovering from all that, I realized it might be a good idea to start thinking about this trip to Australia next week. Other than a research project I did in fifth grade, I don’t know shit about Aussies.
I picked up a few books at the library today, and am now completely terrified. Apparently the wildlife Down Under has a knack for evolving into the cutest, cuddliest little darlings, and then swallowing you whole as soon as you get close enough. I’m not just talking about koalas and kangaroos. There are fucking people-eating-bunnies and shit. Don’t even get me started on the deadly spiders and snakes. I’ve been warned to store my shoes upside down to try and deter them. I think I’ll take that a step further and duck tape my orifices at night. Apparently the natives share the wild kingdom’s survival of the fittest philosophy; I read about a rugby player whose season was in jeopardy due to a broken finger. His solution? Amputate the finger. He ended up being the player of the year.
We are renting a car when we get there, and I was reading up on what that entails. The guidebook recommends renting a 4-wheel-drive vehicle equipped with rope, a shovel, a tire gauge, and extra gas and oil. It also suggests keeping yourself stocked with plenty of water and energy foods. Really? I need all this if I’m just going from the airport to the hotel? I’m already seeing kangaroos jumping on our car and stingrays flying through the air.
Learning about the climate and terrain didn’t make me feel any better. The sun’s rays can pretty much burn your face off in a matter of minutes, and people are constantly being rescued from the ocean and desert. When I read about the species of toad that has been known get up and hop away after being run over by a car, I moved on to the kinder sections about beer, wine, and food. It turns out meat is pretty prominent in Australia, which kinda sucks for one who doesn’t eat it, but the seafood also sounds incredible. And a lot of restaurants are BYOB. There are wineries everywhere. Now we’re fucking talking. There are dozens of restaurants, cafés and bars within a few blocks of where we’re staying, and Perthites, (I swear that’s what they’re called) according to one book, spend most of their time surfing and drinking. Well, probably not exactly at the same time, but then again anything’s possible in this place, it seems.
Reading about the nightlife and beautiful beaches made me feel a little better. Instead of being so freaked out, I am now content knowing that if I’m going to die from a spider bite or a kick in the stomach from a kangaroo, at least it will be on a full stomach and with a buzzed head.