Yesterday, I was talking to one of my new friends up here in the hills of Tallahassee. My new friend is originally from Australia, which I consider to be terribly exotic and fascinating, so I bug her all the time about what life is like there.
My fascination with Australia began years ago when I used to watch General Hospital. This was in the 80s when I was in college and everyone in my sorority (yikes!) would eat lunch in the TV room and watch soaps, trickling in and out as classes allowed. (The episode when Luke and Laura got married and Scottie jumped into the wedding from the balcony was standing room only in our TV room, and another sorority actually put a “Congratulations Luke and Laura” banner up outside their house – we were obsessed!) There was this hunky character, Robert Scorpio, with this very sexy accent who became super popular on the show.
Before you knew it, Outback Steakhouse became popular, and that guy was doing the voiceover for their commercials. Then, everything Australian became fascinating: Men At Work, didgeridoos, Crocodile Dundee…the 80s were the Age of Australia in the US.
Moving to Australia became a topic of conversation, because, obviously everything in Australia was better than the US: the people were cooler and more laid back, nature was everywhere, and even the government was probably better. After all, they all had that cool accent!
Then came Steve Irwin and The Nature Channel. I began to learn that Australia was no longer “entirely populated by criminals.” Rather, it was entirely populated by venomous snakes, spiders, ants and other critters that wholeheartedly want to kill you because you are taking up space in their world.
My conversations with my new Australian friend have completely borne this out.She herself has actually been bitten by a “Level 3” snake and lived to tell the tale. In Australia, there are five levels of venomous snakes and you don’t even bother to go to the hospital unless you are bitten by a Level 4 or 5! Everyone knows the proper way to treat a snakebite (I’m guessing it’s lesson one in kindergarten, right after how to dial 911), which has nothing to do with carving little Xs into the bite, or tying tourniquets. And, the superbadass Level 5 snake (very innocently called a “brown snake”) is so common, she encountered it in Sydney, which is a big city.
If the snakes were the only worry, that would be one thing, but the superbadass spiders are so common, she found one in her bed one time. And then there are the superbadass ants!
That’s just too much for me. Add on top of that a 33 hour flight, and I’m putting my travel plans to the smallest continent on hold indefinitely.
At least until someone else is willing to pay for my trip….and my insurance.