Years ago I had the pleasure, and I mean pleasure, of living and working in Oz, otherwise know as Australia. It was in the 1980s. I hitchhiked the entire country, bar a bit of the far far north, settled in Melbourne, and developed a small consulting business.
I got to know the Aussies pretty well. Lived there for four years. I explored their country from well north of Cairns (pronounced CANS) and traveled, unlike most, all the way west and far north of Perth to dive Geraldton, and down south around Albany.
It was a lot cheaper back then. The dollar was stronger. Bought a lot more in the ’80s. However, after multiple work visas, the Immigration folks finally slapped me on the wrist and told me that if I were that serious about staying I needed to apply for permanent residence.
The truth was, I missed American men. But that’s a whole other story.
Today I was treated to a reminder of why I love Australians. A Facebook post (which I am lifting in its entirety here, but have added some explanatory notes of my own to help make a point or two) lists a series of real questions asked of the Aussie tourism bureau, and their actual answers.
If you don’t think these are real, you don’t know any Aussies. They’re real.
Please enjoy. I miss my Oz.
These questions were posted on an Australian Tourism website and the answers are the actual responses by the website’s official. Their travel agencies obviously have a sense of humor.
Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street when I visit Australia? (from USA)
A: Depends how much you’ve been drinking.
Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK.)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.
Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it’s only three thousand miles, take lots of water.
Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.
Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK).
A: What did your last slave die of?
Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle-shaped continent south of Europe.
Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not… oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. (note from the author, King’s Cross is the notorious tenderloin district section of Sydney)
Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get there and we’ll send the rest of the directions.
Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is…oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races.
Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney, and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.
Q! : Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-mer-i-ca, which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled, and make good pets. (note from the author: Australia has about 140 species of snakes, of which 100 are venomous; 12 are considered fatal to humans; many considered the most dangerous in the world. Some are so aggressive that they bite multiple times, such as the Tai Pan, whose venom is 50 times more potent than the King Cobra and grows to a length of 11 feet. That of course doesn’t include the boa constrictors which can be so big and weigh so much they fall through your roof. And hide in the toilet. Just saying.)
Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.
Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.
Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you’ll have to learn it first.
Nearly forty years ago, I spent four years in Oz. All my friends said they were “gonna go.” None did.
You should. Now you see why.