Around Australia – Part 1

Hi all!
Judging by the heavy silence after my last message I’d say the movie review version of my last two months and half months in Australia went down like a bout of leprousy. Oh well. It was actually quite accurate, in a kind of twisted way (if you didn’t get it and you want it, then I’ll send it to you). I’ve been up to my usual antics and there is a huge email sitting in my Hotmail drafts folder, which tells just about everything about my trip, and much, much more.

To be honest, there is so much of it and I don’t think people will be all that interested in it. I’ll just put it up on the web in a few months time and we’ll see what you all think of it then, or I might email it in installments, it’s nearly done.

So send me some emails; I’ll try to email all of you individually, but I can’t promise anything, there are a lot of you. If you email me, I will reply, that’s a promise. For those of you who I met on my travels, I’ve only sent this to you if I thought you could handle it ;-) If you’re offended then for God’s sake email me.

And for those of you who know me well,, yes, apparently I have indeed changed…

In the meantime, some very edited highlights…

About this email
Some pre-amble to get out of the way. First off, this is a group email. It is going to many people. Sometimes I send these things out and I get the impression from the reply that some people get it and say “Look! An email for ME! Kevin spent 20 hours doing an email for ME! He shouldn’t have done this for ME!”. I didn’t. You don’t think that Chris Martin warbles about everything being yellow just for YOU, do you? God only knows why he does it.

I’m doing this in several versions. This is the full version for people that know me and that I think can handle it. It is big. It contains lots of swearing, and all sorts of personal analysis stuff. It’s also full self indulgent nonsense, as well as the usual wit and flair. If you want another version, just ask. If I like you, I’ll send it to you.

If you really don’t want to sit through it all, then just read ‘Contacting me’ and ‘In a nutshell’ and ‘Highlights’. You’re missing out though…

The reason I’m putting those silly little stars into the swearing is because some people’s email systems censor emails for some reason. Actually, it’s the NTL mail sever, so a few of you know who I’m referring to here.

If Englitski isn’t your strong point, then I’m sorry if you find this hard going – I know how you feel; keep a dictionary and patience handy. The other option is to do what young Pavel does, which is shout and swear a lot and hit the monitor, which apparently helps a lot.

Contacting me
Yes, I’m back and I’m contactable once again after two months of isolation. I’ll be checking my email reasonably regularly, so please do email me with all your stories of what I’m missing back home (quite a bit, it seems) and make me feel all homesick which is a lovely feeling. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can txt me or call me; if you get a call card then it actually might cost you less than making a mobile call back home, believe it or not.

Oz: +61 40 499 6709

So, contact welcome, very much so. If you want to call landline to landline, just txt me and I’ll let you know what the nearset number is.

Incidentally, I’m a little suspicious about the reliability of my email system, although it seems to be ok. I think it gets filtered as spam by some people’s accounts, but then again that’s hardly surprising, given my track record.

In a nutshell
Because I know what questions some people want the quick answers to, and in fact might not even read the rest once they know this (but go on, do it anyway!):

Where am I now?
I’m in Perth. It is apparently The Remotest City In The World. It’s not particularly interesting.

What’s been the best thing so far?
Hmm, difficult choice. Possibly the Easyrider bus from Coral bay to Kalbarri, but WWOOFing has been great too. And there was that other time, when…

Worst thing?
Aw man, that would have to be that Wednesday, hangover, Doctor says ear is stuffed, threw up, and then… Aw man. F*cking fantastic.

Do I want to go home?
Sure. Australia has defined for me very nicely all the reasons for being home. Yes, I would like to go home but it’s not time yet.

When am I coming back?
*sigh* Ok, if I f*ck up here, let’s say I kill someone or get fatally injured while wrestling a koala or something, then January. If all goes well, then between March and June. If it goes fantastically well, then September.

Did I get a root?
Read the bloody email.

Top 5 Best Stuff
Yes, the bestest things in this trip so far!

1 – Easyrider between Coral Bay and Kalbarri; mayhem, anarchy and girls – this is what holidays are all about!

2 – Joint winners:
Kalbarri; which had lots of entertainment, bossy German girls, WWOOFing and everything, and
Pelican Feeding; also in Kalbarri, which was fantastic fun and also the best value activity in WA because it is free!

3 – WWOOFing; bloody brilliant idea, and gave me insights into Australian life and all sorts of stuff, such as babies and tea!

4 – Broome; great place, you just go there and stay because why not. It’s fantastic!

5 – Coral Bay; you too can pretend to stranded on an island, just like Tom Hanks in Beached or whatever it was called!

Top 5 Worst Stuff
The worstest stuff ever! Poohole.

1 – Wednesday 8th October; a black day for mankind. Lest we forget. The hangover cometh.

2 – Failed dive medical; another black day. Ear apparently not good at all, at all. Practically a disabled person.

3 – A tie between:
Turquoise bay Snorkel; leaky mask, didn’t see much, poo.
Hollywood Homocides; for crying out loud, Harrison!

4 – Sunday 21st September; well, I don’t know. Just a career low. All mopey.

5 – Sand in the camera; Bit stuck for low points here, but anyhow. Camera covered in sand. Not end of the world.


What’s happening right now
I’m writing an email! Ha ha. Very clever. What I’m doing is tying up loose ends, re-establishing contact with the civilised world, organising where I go from here and all the rest of it. I got myself a mobile, I got a bank account, and now I’ve more or less made my mind up at this stage as to what I’m doing next (which is working, but not here).

There’s not very much to do here in Perth. It’s a generic modern city, almost as if you could get one of these from a catalogue, which is to say it has everything that you would expect to find from a checklist of some sort for modern cities, but somehow lacking in charm or personality. It has a great asian ‘Chinatown’ area with great takeout, and a huge shopping mall area, but I don’t really have much money to spend so the less I see of that the better. Going out here seems to consist of getting drunk, avoiding getting into a fight with the locals who stagger around the bars with glazed and slightly violent expressions, and trying to get a root. Well, it’s a life I guess.

It’s very multicultural in so far as there are people from everywhere in the world here. As well as Western Europeans, there are Asians, Indians, West Africans and Native Australians. That makes it more interesting in some ways but doesn’t take away from the temporary and disconcerting feel of newly-made designer perfection. I think I would have to be here for a while before I could establish if the shallowness is more than skin-deep.

I’ve been kind of hanging out with some groups of guys and girls, but not really; more on me and groups later, I guess I just haven’t been making the effort.

I haven’t been to neighbouring Fremantle yet, but I should really do that before I leave. It’s apparently quite nice.

What people sent me
Two months, no email! For me, that’s quite a bit of abstinence, because as you all know, I am rarely without my email. In fact, before I started taking work particularly seriously and actually started doing some of the things that Keith and Kenny asked me to do, I used to be a real email fiend, checking and sending roughly every 50 seconds. So, I thought it good to give it a rest. More on that later on.

I got some emails from people I met enroute, which was good. But of course, they knew not to expect too much from me in reply.

I got a huge (and very welcome) shock in Broome after I’d been in Australia for a couple of weeks, because I had to check for an email with an address to send a card to. And I found a big set of emails from people I met on my last trip, that to be honest I had no idea if I would ever hear from again. So a big hand for Rommert, Adam, Annika, Jeremy, Rostislav, Ramona, Lukas, Michal, Oana and Rik. Guys, that nearly brought a tear to my eye, especially when I needed some encouragement. Thanks again.

Brendan is engaged, I believe, so congratulations Brendan! Sorry I missed the drinks. Dylan got a new hairstyle, looks very fine. Neil is having lots of sex, and I even have reason to believe that someone else is involved. That reminds me that I once got Kris Kindle gift of an inflatable doll from Denise, which I like to believe is now up in Coleraine, assisting in the domination of the world via the Internet as a sort of hot-air Terminator, a Kristanna Loken with a gasket if you will. Denise herself claims there’s not much going on, though I think she might be lying. And Michaela of course, reminding me how much everyone back home is missing me, just in case I got the idea into my head of staying here any longer.

There was some more, though Daragh and Mary seem to have given up on assaulting my inBox with jokes and attachments, probably because of my witty auto-response message.

Thanks to all the people who responded to my ‘I’m going away and not checking my email’ message – I even got some of those before I stopped checking so thank you very much, and the various dictionary and phrasebook emails were very entertaining, albeit somewhat useless ;-)

Top 5 Best Buys
The very bestest in holiday purchases!

1 – Penknife; after 5 months still in the top spot! It’s the bestest thing in world ever!

2 – Shorts; My fantastic Alien Workshop shorts from Darwin! Bloody brilliant shorts!

3 – Joint winners:
Banrock Station wine; nectar of the Gods!
Columbia walking shoes; walk up walls, survive nuclear fallout!

4 – iPod; ok, I didn’t exactly buy it. It’s from my sponsors at Parallel. But, you know, all my music, ever, all in one place!

5 – Joint winners, again!:
Sunglasses by Polaroid; look like an extra from the Matrix, defy the evil rays of the sun!
Sleeping bag; soft and yet rip-proof, tiny and yet huge, the envy of dwarven-kind everywhere!

Top 5 Worst Buys
The worst deals ever. Just for weiners.

1 – Radioshack clock; a winner because it is the clock of losers.

2 – Zippo lighter; looks great, doesn’t actually work. Poohole.

3 – Sandals; Once again, a persistent contender. Stretched. Too big now. Noisy. Smelly. And expensive.

4 – iPod; ok, I didn’t exactly buy it. It’s from my sponsors at Parallel. Needs babysitting. One charge lasts 5 minutes. Full of fantastic music which reminds me of home. Everyone wants to touch it. Entertains crowds. I’m jealous. Poohole.

5 – Camera; It’s big. It’s smart. It gets covered in sand. It does spontaneous like Colin Farrel does delicate. I need small.


The Ramble
If you’re in a hurry, then skip this, but it’s probably the most interesting part.

So, what is there to say about the epic Kevin in Australia? Some of you have gotten the ‘Out of Australia’ film review by now (if you haven’t, and you want it, just ask) which really sums it all up very neatly, if bizarrely.

I actually have a new name out here. Now, as some of you are vaguely aware, I instigated a campaign at the start of the year to encourage people to call me Kevin, because that’s part of the new, more mature, more serious me (and of course that is also why my online MSN Messenger name is “A swimming pool for Bray”. It’s a serious issue in Bray, see?). I can however be provoked to a hulk-like rage by calling me by a number of names which although I might conceivably tolerate in the heat of passion, IF AND ONLY IF the woman involved is astoundlingly attractive and I really incredibly love her dearly, but are otherwise completely off-limits such as ‘Kevski’, ‘Kevster’, ‘Keverooni’, ‘Kevvo’, and even ‘Kevvi’ (which is popular with the Czechs, for reasons that escape me). I mean, how many more ways are there to desecrate someone’s soul? But the Australians came up with a new one. I’m now Kivin Tilja. Think about it. It’s certainly novel.

The self-discovery aspect of the trip has come up trumps with a couple of gems which were certainly worth the many millions I’ve spent on coming out here, and they are these: Babies, and Turbo Kev (for want of a better term – I like Kev Prime too). Babies was a big thing for me, and more on that later. But it’s nice to realise I’ve come to a point where I’ve matured enough to appreciate that maybe there are things coming my way in good time which make it all worth it. Mom and Dad, fear not, you are not grandparents. As for TurboKev, once again I will say more later – but it’s basically about discovering another side to me, about the being the confident, forceful, social force which I had hoped I might be able to be. That means of course that I’ve had even more personality changes than after That Other Trip (I think so, but it’s all relative). I’m still the same friendly bundle of fun though.


The ‘diary’, my little black book, not entirely unlike me, isn’t seeing a lot of action at the moment. This is because I’m just not very interested in recording everything, I just want to try and experience it all, and perhaps, just maybe, a bit of laziness or procrastination. I was using it less to actually record day to day stuff, more like thoughts, feelings and a set of very bizarre short stories which I might unleash on some of you later on. But feel bad because I should have the discipline to keep working at it until it becomes second nature to record those thoughts and ideas.

The Blue Book, my infamous ‘second brain’, is seeing a lot of action. In fact, maybe some of the stuff I was doing in the black book is now happening there, and I’m getting people to write in it too which is having interesting results. There’s also some maps of England and Germany, and an ‘Irish view of Europe’ map which some of you will doubtless find very offensive. I think it’s funny.

That brings me neatly to something else; It’s great out here. It really is. But I’m realising more and more that I’m on the other side of the world in a place where the most profound thing you can say about it is that is very big, and very hot, and there are lots of nasty little animals here. It is, however, nowhere near as interesting as for example, England. I’ve been living Ireland for thirty years, and only occasionally visit this big and interesting place that is only half an hour and maybe up to eu40 away from Dublin, and now I’m here in Australia which has cost me thousands so far (yeah, I was exaggerating about it costing me millions) and is a massive time commitment and is still only a fraction as interesting as England with all it’s cultures and history and people. Even Ireland! I’ve neglected the country I live in; I’m meeting people here, Germans for example, who have seen more of Ireland than I have!

So, basically I feel a bit stupid about being out here when there is so much more closer to home that needs exploring, and that is Ireland, The Netherlands, England, Spain, Germany, Moldova, India (because Connor reckons that’s where I’ll really start to see stuff), and in case I missed it, England. And perhaps Scotland, once I get a wetsuit. There is just a lot that I’ve taken for granted out here. This is something that Caroline said to me when she came back from her trip to Australia (and as usual I’m probably hopelessly misquoting here) which was that she appreciated how much there was to do for her back home. And then she took up canoeing and we haven’t seen her since, but these things happen. Don’t worry, it won’t happen to me, for I am strong, and possess no canoe.

I will be back here though, because I’ve made a promise to myself to come out here in three to five years and explore the Western Australian Outback the way I think it should be done, which is to say, off the beatten track in a four wheel drive. I specifically want to get a Toyota Hilux because then a) I can crush small cars, b) impress women, c) impress cars by crushing small women and d) go offroad and chase kangaroos in the National parks. Really. apparently I could be coming back here in ten years time too, but that’s a little vague right now.

I miss having a steady office job. Or rather, I miss being in Parallel doing what it is that I do best, and I think that’s probably not the same thing. It’s kind of funny because when I was sitting in that office I would look out of the window sometimes and ask myself why I was sitting inside in front of a computer, building some completely abstract stuff which would result in a website for someone who didn’t understand, let alone care, about what I was actually doing when there was this whole beautiful world outside which needed exploring, just to want to live my life and be free of this same constrictive routine, day in day out. The upside of course was that I was working with a great bunch of people, and I really enjoyed doing that thing that I was doing. I may have bitched about it at the time, as we all do but the truth is (as I was and still am quick to point out) that I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, with anyone else. I’d just like to… be able to do it outside, is all.

But I do miss having that regular office environment too, and of course I’m worried about becoming obsolete in what I do, which for those of you who don’t know is XSL/XHTML/CSS display layer system creation and customisation for Content Management Systems with XML. Pay attention at the back! Knowledge and skill redundancy is a real problem for Internet stuff because it changes quickly and I’ve been out of the loop for 5 months now, and that’s a very long time in technology terms. I used to be the guy that made people who build websites obsolete, and I know that someone out there is doing that to me, right now…

It would be nice to be able to telecommute, to have the office job somewhere, and still be in Kenya every morning for Elephant wrestling.

Lastly, I have of course been tirelessly promoting Eastern Europe as being The Most Incredible Place Ever, and I think I’ve talked at least one person into looking up Slovakia on the map (interestingly, when you mention Slovakia, they all nod knowingly, and say they passed through it when they went to Croatia… ). But, you know, it is a great place to go for a trip!

Reasons for going
Once again, as for the last trip, there are Reasons for being out here. It’s Australia, it’s the other side of the world, my career is sitting up on the top shelf next to the dessicated coconut hairs, and I’m spending an awful lot of money. There has to be a Reason. A bloody good one.

a) The Australia Working Holiday Visa. Let’s be straight about this. I’m not getting any younger, and as a result of this incredible process my eligibility for the Australia Working Holiday Visa expires once I hit thirty one, a ridiculous event which happens next march. Since I was already pooping my career for the previous trip, I decided to go for it. In for a penny, in for a Euro.

b) I need to grow, to mature and explore myself before I head into my thirties, to equip myself for whatever happens, you know like a career, or a relationship, maybe even kids, stuff like that. Mature life. The stuff people always do in Real Life. Australia is a great place to do that.

c) I need to see more of the world before I get stuck in a static lifestyle somewhere, the wife, the 2.4 kids, the big house, the volvo, the whatever, and then I can’t really just jack it in one morning and p*ss off just because I feel like it. It’s just not on. Australia is a great place to do that.

d) I need a break from ‘everything’. Australia is a great place to do that.

e) I need to get a root. Australia is a great place to do that.

When I decided to go away orginally, Australia was the big trip, and That Other Trip was just a sort of warm-up for the main show. As I might have told some of you, since of course I tell everyone everything, that has changed entirely because I now see Europe as being something I want to spend more time in, it’s something I’ve badly neglected and I find it very very interesting. More on that later. So I was even talking about emmigrating to Australia, but I don’t see that happening now because that reason has evaporated now that I’ve seen that I really want to travel more (the so-called Travel Bug), and Europe really is my home. I belong there.

Being offline
Yeah, I know – Kevin Offline!!! No way!??!! How did he do it, the guy practically has the Interweb hanging out of his ass! It can not be! How did he cope?

It was great. I mean, sure, I missed checking my emails and knowing what was going on in the world, but I got used to it pretty quickly. There was a freedom in it, but maybe it made the sense of homesickness a bit worse because of the deeper sense of isolation and distance. It was what I wanted though; not out of a sense of emotional masochism, but to really feel and understand the distance. What is it like to be on the other side of the world? To really be away? To not just be able to call your friends and family whenever you need to talk to someone, to have to make friends and trust people away from home? That was a great experience, and it yes, it made me value what I have back home all the more. I feel more independent as a result, more self-reliant which is something I needed, more confident as a result of having to make decisions for myself. Not, incidentally, that it’s much of an issue out here since everything is done for you, but even a small amount of mental excercise can’t be a bad thing.

Some of you will remember (I doubt you’ve forgotten, judging by the horrified expressions on your faces at the time) my phone-throwing episode before I left on my first trip; for those that weren’t there for that, it involved me occasionally throwing my phone over my shoulder against hard surfaces to a) demonstrate that the phone meant nothing to me *as a thing* – which is to say, I see the phone only as an object with no personal value – because I think people hold their phones to be too precious. I can live without mine. b) Man, you should have seen the look on their faces. It was worth it. Sorry guys. Oh, and of course c) I believed the phone could take it. It was a Nokia 6150, it’s big, it’s ugly and second only to the 5100 in terms of taking a hiding. I was wrong.

So, life without a phone was great. It’s a real freedom, and I’ve done it for periods back home to cut costs and it was good then too. But that said, it’s good to have a phone again now and be in touch with people. And sadly, a modern social life really does need a phone to stay current.

The interesting thing is that on the Eastern Europe trip, which the mere mention of is doubtless sending people off to sleep even as I type this, I was in touch at the very least every second day, as I tried desperately to keep my email diary up to date. And I missed absolutely f*ck all. Nothing happened. So what’s happened now? 11 weeks later, any change? Apparently, very much so – there seems to have been all sorts of things happening back home and elsewhere and I think my social environment will be very different when I do get back home. This is probably good, because change is generally a healthy thing.

The highlights are pretty easy to point out. Mindil Market at Mindil beach in Darwin was great – Asian food from every possible country, anything you could roast or blend made into food. Brilliant stuff. The Adventure Tours safari through the Kimberly region was very good, I got to see the Outback in all it’s wild glory from the safety of a 4WD truck. Broome was great fun, and it was good to let off some steam and wear women’s clothes too. The WWOOFing I did there was fantastic, it was a great experience and seeing what life is like out in the Outback, and life with babies with two interesting people who are the same age as me was a real eye-opener. That’s one of those things that might have a far-reaching effect on my life…

Coral Bay was a great bit of relaxation, it was like being stranded on a reasonably well catered desert island, and the Easyrider trip that followed to Kalbarri was great – it resulted in the unveiling of the TurboKev to deal with intransigent women and crowd control. Hmm… Maybe I’ll call this RiotKev. Kalbarri was another great spot to just hang out in, and on top of that there were lots of friendly girls – especially since TurboKev was still in effect there. WWOOFing with Mick and Wendy was good and very interesting although I was out of sorts for a couple of days there as TurboKev had to be reigned in. Perth is highlight by virtue of marking my return to civilisation.

What’s next
That’s a very very good question, and one I’ve been wondering about how to avoid answering for a long time now. First off, in the short term, there is Earning Money. I have to eat. I have to pay for all of this stuff that I have been doing. So it’s almost certainly a done deal that I’ll be doing fruit-picking and that kind of stuff down south of Perth for a few weeks before I head on to the East where I’m going to terrorise an old friend of mine in Adelaide – he doesn’t know I’m in Australia, so I’m going call over and play a prank on him, tee hee! If the truth be told I’m a bit nervous because although we have reasonably regular contact these days after I tracked him down over the Internet a few years ago, I haven’t actually seen Sean Donaghy in over 15 years so even recognising him is a bit of an unkown quantity. He’ll certainly recognise me, after last year’s 140 Photos Christmas website that I made, but I think with my lightning reactions I’ll be able to deck him before he gets me.

Then, on to Melbourne, where I can hopefully get work, maybe an IT job, and then after 3 to 6 months it’s on to Sydney and then up a bit of the East Coast to Brisbane. I really don’t know after Melbourne, though I’d like to visit Sydney and Brisbane. I might pay Canberra a visit out of due respect, since it is the capital of Australia. as I said, I’d like to be out of Australia by the middle of next year, and have to be out by September, and right now I can’t see big reasons for sticking around.

After that, who knows. South-East Asia, the US? New Zealand is something I’ve earmarked for a later trip, because I want to be able to give it the time it undoubtedly deserves. Home, earn more money, maybe move to England or The Netherlands for a while (6 months or more), and then set about tackling more of Europe, since yes, yawn, I want to visit Eastern Europe again, as well as Spain and Germany.

I’m almost certainly going to come back to Australia within 3 to 5 years and tackle some of the Outback with my own transport and hopefully, very hopefully, not by myself. I’m going to buy a four wheel drive, probably a Toyota Hilux because then I can
a) crush small cars
b) impress women
c)impress cars by crushing small women and
d) travel off the beatten track which is what’s best about Australia. But that’s way off in the future, and we can’t know what that will bring, which is a good thing.

Holiday Romance
Something that the girls back home ask me without fail is “So, Kev, any Holiday Romance” which is one of those wonderful female euphemisms for did I get a root, as they so charmingly say it out here, or did I shag, or ride, or bone or screw or f*ck or ‘lash one into’ some girl?

And before anyone defends it and mentions ‘relationship’ – hey, we’re backpacking here… ;-) It’s the ultimate transient social environment.

No. Come on, I didn’t come all this way out here just to… I did. That is one of the reasons I came out here (amongst other good ones, I hastily add). But there’s more to it than just intent and even with the new TurboKev total ultra hyper positive energy, I’m still not at that stage yet so we’ll see how it goes from here. I have met some truly lovely women that I have to say… Well, if I wasn’t wibbling my wonderful way around the West coast of Australia then who knows, as usual I’ve fallen in love about 10 times so far. And then someone has to get on or get off a bus or a plane or join the Liberation Army or something stupid like that. :-p

The new TurboKev could change all that, but it’s still a new thing for me, this new personality and I’m not entirely clear about what gets it to kick in, but any kind of development in this area is going to be connected to this new me, there is no doubt about that whatsoever. We all need to be a bit ruthless to get our lives to change.

I’m still too bloody nice. Where’s my inner asshole when I need him most?


Many of you have been here. Some of you ARE here. But for those of you who haven’t been here and maybe you’d like to know what it’s like, here you go.

It is big. Very very big. I mean, when you think of big, it’s sort of hard to get an idea of a notion of what really very very big means, you look at a map for example, and you think ‘Well, that’s alright, not too bad then’ and you’ll be easily satisfied that you’ve just experienced ‘Big’ as a concept. You haven’t. Imagine a map of Australia, and then imagine that it’s the biggest thing in the whole world ever, as big as the world. That big. really incredibly huge. Imagine it wasn’t just flat but covered in sand and rocks and teeth and spiky stuff and was really, really incredibly hot, so you couldn’t even walk on it, which would be difficult already because of all the spikes and sh*t. Australia is bigger than that even, and much, much tougher.

Seriously, the distances are mind boggling in Western Australia. You can drive for hours and see nothing – there’s a Roadhouse every three to four hours where you get screwed for the price of just about anything you need. Your nearest neighbour is at least several hundred metres away, more usually several kilometres away. And a quick trip down to the shops is something you plan days ahead because it is going to take you an hour to get there. It defies belief, and plays games with the mind. In the Northern Territory, incidentally, there are no speed limits on the open roads and you really can go as fast as you damn well please. It’s not like you’re going to meet anyone else out there.

The heat is astonishing, and up North which in Europe traditionally is synonymous with cold and windy means very hot and humid out here. They don’t have winter and summer up there, they have Wet and Dry. And uh! It’s a bit cold in the dry up there, it plummets to a low of 25C! How people survive the wet is mystery to me, because by February it’s an environmental madhouse, all the wildlife is out in force and it’s hitting close to 50C every day. You are assaulted by flies all the time. My personal favourite is the Mousefly, which you can read about in the Wildlife section. It’s a winner. And then apparently the Wet Season ends overnight sometime at the end of March. Just like that, it’s gone. It starts like that too, incidentally, because the morning I finished WWOOFing with Jason and Tan I woke up covered in bites and the climate had changed noticeably. Luckily that was when I was going to start heading down South, which was good timing. People go ‘Troppo’ during the Wet, which is they go insane, lose the plot and kill themselves or someone else because the heat and humidity gets too much for them – Western Europeans just aren’t physically or mentally designed for this kind of meteorological abuse, it’s pretty tough.

And yes, the UV is very dangerous out here. Up North you are actually physically closer to the sun and you can feel it. If you have the same ambient temperature as in Europe, it’s still actually hotter and more damaging to be in the sun out here. 40C here is not the same as 40C in, for example, Croatia. I can get away with no block there for even a day. Here, 20 minutes and after that I’m going to need medical treatment. It’s not an exaggeration. And it gets worse down South, because although it’s not as hot, and in fact is drier, there is that hole in the Ozone layer.

With all that, why do people come here?

Politically Australia is composed of Federal system like the USA with a number of semi-autonomous States, each with it’s own capital and Governement. They can be quite tribal about it; businesses in the Northern Territory generally give discounts to ‘Territorians’ as they call themselves, for example. Products in shops in Western Australia will proudly display ‘Made in WA’ stickers.


We all know where they came from. They’re convicts from England. They drink beer a lot and have the social skills of baboons. ;-)

The truth is actually a lot more complicated than that; and I won’t get into the detailed history of it at this point. They’re generally a friendly bunch – very informal, laid back and easy going. And yet still organised and hard working. You can see that here; Perth, for all my comments about pre-fab city, is still a modern, organised, well-run city which has been made and run by Australians, and Australian services are well-run and funded. They can stretch the concept of ‘in a timely manner’ a bit sometimes, but when they say they’ll do something they’ll generally get to it eventually and do it well. There’s a bit of a service industry culture of informal friendliness here (as opposed to, say, politeness), and I like it, though it was very disconcerting at first in Darwin when I arrived.
They don’t like authority. Someone telling an Austrialian what to do is asking for trouble. They don’t like it. I have no idea how it is that they manage to run businesses here because they have a disturbing habit of leaving their jobs any time they’re unhappy about anything, and generally their mates leave with them.

And yes, the men can be incredibly sexist here, it’s part of the culture. That means the women are a bit tougher to get ahead too, I reckon, but I haven’t been here long enough – either way, it’s not a great country in which to be a woman.

The same ‘small town’ effect comes into play here as anywhere else in the world, which is that you’ll get a small number of people, small gene-pool, and they’ll amuse themselves by getting drunk, trying to root each other’s women, and then fighting over the results. And do it all with the social flair and aplomb of retarded baboons. That’s fairly universal the world over.

They are very Euro-centric in some respects, and US-centric in other ways which makes for an interesting but somewhat derivative mix, and I’m not sure how much they’re absorbing the Asian, Polynesian and other nearby cultures. There’s an odd kind of xenophobia at work here (and of course it’s a bit hypocritical). Western European Australians are as native here as the cat or rabbit, but the common or garden white Western European can still manage to be extraordinarily racist, and even when they’re not there can still be a sort of denial about it. It’s interesting. But, before you think I’m generalising, it’s different for many people, and there’s many different views and opinions here. That’s a good thing, I reckon.

Incidentally, they love the Irish here. An Irish accent is worth a lot here, and everyone is proud to have an Irishman around. You could set fire to someone’s car here and as long as you said sorry in genuine Irish accent they’d buy you a drink after and claim it was their own fault. It’s crazy. Any positive attributes they see in themselves here they immediately claim that they inherited from the Irish – positive attitude, fighting spirit, etc. The English on the other hand, or Pommies as they’re known, are really looked down on. It’s amazing, that they’ll ‘bag on’ the English, but never manage to give any good personal examples of where they got the idea from. In fact, they might even have plenty of examples that are the opposite, but nonetheless in the Australian national conciousness the English just drink and fight and are messy, lazy, good for nothing freeloaders that come ovber to wreck their country. And many ‘Australians’ are really English if you go back one or two generations.


(There’ll be some who know more about this subject – this is a subjective, simplified overview)

I saw them first in Darwin; and naturally the first place I saw them was roaming around the local park. It was kind of intimidating, too; they were talking to each other all the time about pretty mundane stuff which is ok but they have these conversations across several hundred metres. So when Clarrie wants to ask Lorra about something, he just shouts it at her from as far away as possible – “Hoi, Lorra yur garn dan t d fackin shap?” And she she screams back “Narr, Arm nat garn d fackin shap!” and so on. By and large they keep to themselves, but you can hear them a long way away. At first I thought they were spoiling for a fight or something but it’s just the way they communicate, they can’t be arsed walking over so they just shout where they’re from. And there’s some drinking too, and police harrassment.

I learned early on that these people are basically dispossed – Abo culture is complex and pretty harsh – if you piss off someone, you get kicked out, and then you’ve got nowhere to go. Before white fella got to Australia they would have died by themselves most likely, but now they can hang around in parks and get social welfare. I also heard about the effect of some of Western culture; psychologically and culturally a lot have been dispossed and don’t have a ‘centre’, and physically they aren’t able to handle alcohol, addictive substances or complex processed carbohydrates. You can see the effect a western lifestyle might have there.

The Aboriginal society that is operating and coping is something that people like me simply don’t see because they don’t want it. They just want to be left alone to do their own thing, and so of course Westerners like me just see the guys screaming at each other in the park and drinking and sometimes fighting, and not how most of them actually live.

There’s much more to this subject which I’ll leave to some other time, both good and bad – it’s a very complicated subject and I doubt that I’ll ever understand it. But I have learned it’s very dangerous to take a stance without getting a clearer picture.


Australian is not English. It’s not disimilar, but they’ve added words, shortened words, and repurposed words all over the place so even though you’re hearing familiar words they actually mean something completely different.

Kenny does a very passable Australian accent, and his favourite phrase (because it’s easy to get right) is “Aww, yihh!” said with enthusiasm. They like that here, you hear it often. It means ‘yes, I agree’ or ‘Very much so’. There is ‘Getting a root’, as in ‘I was rooting her last night’ – to have sex. And ‘going off’ which caught me out a few times. It’s a positive, and it means ‘going well’, ‘very much/well/fast/hard etc’. For example, the second time I was WWOOFing, Mick pointed to some mint and proudly declared ‘Awwr, that mint’s really going off!’ which I misunderstood to mean that it was ‘stuffed’ – which is another one; ‘stuffed’, it means broken or damaged. Declaring yourself to be stuffed after a good meal can offend the chef.

The other regulars are ‘Narrr!’ – No. ‘Moyt’ – Mate (friend, companion, buddy, hey you). ‘Well, yihhh… ‘ – No. ‘Fack’ – swearing, use liberally but use it offend.

Because there are so many Germans here, it’s good to have a good grasp of German in Australia. German speakers frequently use German to speak to each other regardless of who else is around or how rude it is. It’s almost like ‘Hey, you f*ckarses, you are speaking the German and I don’t understand you!’ to which the response is something like ‘Yes, we are knowing this. Why?’. So, the way to play them at their own game is to make up a whole new language that they don’t understand and use that whenever they start speaking German. The thing is that it’s not just Germans, it’s Austrians and Swiss Germans too, because they’re all in on the act too.

Incidentally, my accent has flattened considerably, and I get pegged as from being from just about anywhere, though Canadia is popular right now as a possible place for me to be from. Even Irish people have accused me of having a ‘fake Irish accent’.


The Wildlife
Yeah, the dangerous lethal venomous aggressive wildlife which has me in mortal danger day and night. I saw crocodiles. I saw the Redback. I saw centipedes. I saw a scorpion. I saw snakes. I saw lethal deadly killer fish. I saw jellyfish.

I don’t know, but I didn’t feel in any kind of danger. None of that stuff picks a fight with you unless you go out of your way to provoke it or set yourself up for it. apart from the crocodile which you can avoid using your brain by not getting into the water where they are known to be.

There are the mosquitos, the midges, the sandflies, and the mouseflies.

I mentioned the Mousefly, which is this huge grey flying slab of evil, an airborne Volvo of a fly. It lands on you (and you feel it hit, it’s a big b*stard). It positions itself for best effect, which takes a few seconds. And if you for some insane reason have decided to leave best alone then the fly bites you. Dear God. Don’t let him do that. He just takes anything he can in that mouthful, it’s a savaging and you’ll bleed.

According to most Australians you meet, one of the above (pick any random one) doesn’t bite, it urinates on you and that is what causes the bite mark. Morons.

To be honest, the most dangerous thing out here is with you every day. It’s not a mammal, it’s not a reptile, it’s not an insect. It is in the sky every bloody day. It is the Sun. It is the killer, and does more damage and kills more people than any of the other stuff out here. And you can’t escape it, your only defense is a bit of common sense.

4 Responses to “Around Australia – Part 1”

  1. Alex Says:

    Alex sagt:
    Because there are so many Germans here, it’s good to have a good grasp of German in Australia. German speakers frequently use German to speak to each other regardless of who else is around or how rude it is
    Alex sagt:
    The thing is that it’s not just Germans, it’s Austrians and Swiss Germans too, because they’re all in on the act too.

    Alex sagt:
    ok, we gotta talk about that
    Alex sagt:
    fact is, that when you’re in the group, a german speaking group, without any english people around, why would you speak english with each other?
    Alex sagt:
    just because you’re in an english speaking country??
    Alex sagt:
    when someone else is in the group, someone who wants to participate, and communicate with you, then we DO speak english, or at least a language they’d understand
    Alex sagt:

  2. kevintel Says:

    Well, it’s still true; although I meant it partially in humour it was true that some would insist on speaking in German even when everyone else was speaking other languages (English is simply a lingua franca for most people) – regardless of how rude it might be perceived to be. Of course, there were others – such as yourself – who would speak English even when there were only a few who spoke English.

    It was still handy to know some German in hostels there though, especially along the South Coast, because anyone who didn’t speak German (or indeed Netherlandic) was in the minority…

  3. sanju Says:

    Because there are so many Germans here, it’s good to have a good grasp of German in Australia. German speakers frequently use German to speak to each other regardless of who else is around or how rude it is. It’s almost like ‘Hey, you f*ckarses, you are speaking the German and I don’t understand you!’ to which the response is something like ‘Yes, we are knowing this. Why?’. So, the way to play them at their own game is to make up a whole new language that they don’t understand and use that whenever they start speaking German. The thing is that it’s not just Germans, it’s Austrians and Swiss Germans too, because they’re all in on the act too.

  4. kevintel Says:

    Err… Yes, that looks suspiciously similar to what I wrote. But still, any feedback is good feedback, even if I don’t fully understand what it’s about…