21 September 2010

When people say they want to eat your baby, beware.

Australians really don't mess around with naming things. They call it like it is, even when it comes to their food labels. Or should I say especially when it comes to food? We went grocery shopping for lunch one afternoon and found tasty cheese, extra tasty cheese, and Australia's tastiest cheese. When faced with choices such as these, how is one to choose?

Tasty cheese... or extra tasty cheese?

Australia's tastiest cheese!

All the cheese we tasted was delicious, by the way. I think it was mostly aged (white) cheddar.

They also have strange taste in candy there. When I'm craving a sweet snack, the first thing I grab is my handy dandy bag of squirty crazy babies. Or my jelly babies. We thought it was hilarious, but then, we readily admit that our humor is a little twisted.

Ha! they eat babies in Australia!

Little black babies and Sambo

Of course, if the fruity babies aren't your favorite, you can always chow down on some chewy black babies. Mmmmmm.

More on funny food later.

I could really go for a TimTam or a Lamington right now.

04 September 2010

West coast represent, now put your hands up

It’s hard to go from finals to Australia back to studying in less than four weeks. Not the Australia part… the return to the head games of nursing school. Sometimes, when I find a place that is special to me, I get homesick for it after I leave. I say this at risk of sounding like I would rather be anywhere else in the world at any given time, but the wanderlust is a part of my soul and I fell in love with Australia. It’s such a lovely, fascinating, wild country.

I miss the gum trees and the weird, dangerous animals. I miss TimTams and Lamingtons and ginger beer and Vegemite. I miss the obvious system of naming things (examples of dangerous snakes to watch out for: the green tree snake (green and lives in trees) and the red-bellied black snake (black with a red belly, go figure)). I miss being called “lovely” and “sweets” and “doll.” I miss the rainforests and the clear blue water and the accents.

Gum tree in Queensland's Tamborine Rainforest

Once upon a time, I was not a fan of the music of Katy Perry. Bear with me, for a moment. The average Australian has no idea where Oregon is. When they ask where you’re from, they prefer you to be more specific than “I’m American” in the unlikely event that you’re from either California or New York. We found that the handiest description is “the state just north of California*,” since everyone know where that is, and they usually respond with “ohhhhhh… west coast!” Whereupon we teach them the gangsta sign for west coast and the Katy Perry song “California Gurls” comes on the radio. On our trip to Moreton Island, the scenario I have just described took place, and when our tour guide’s iPod shuffled to California Gurls, he took special pride in pointing it out to us. I like to think that from now on, when that song plays, the Aussies I met will think of me. Katy Perry says we're unforgettable. Not that I'm from Cali, but I did live there for awhile...

Bridge in Brisbane

*Once in awhile, we’d just ask if they’d ever played the computer game Oregon Trail, and usually someone had heard of it. Or we’d talk about cowboys and Indians and the gold rush.

01 September 2010

Sand toboganning in The Desert

One of my favorite days in Australia was a trip to Moreton Island off the coast near Brisbane. It's the second largest sand island in the world and home to the largest free-standing sand dunes. Among the many things we did that day was sandboarding (like snowboarding, but on sand dunes) and sand toboganning in "The Desert."

This video is my spectacular wipeout*, followed by my little brother's. Little sister was nice enough to video and laugh hysterically.

*Doesn't hurt... SO MUCH FUN. Seriously. Go do this immediately.

Headfirst gets you down the fastest, but you can ride sitting like a normal toboggan, or even double.

Stand up boards take the most skill. Our guide, Josh, told us "Put 40 percent of your weight on the front foot and 60 on the back" and after we all wiped out over and over, his critique was "I told you 60-40. You're like, 100 on the back foot. Of course you're falling down." It was hysterical.