Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Translation Tuesday -Dedicated to Bridging (or Widening) the Cultural Divide

Fearsome Creatures

Overseas Tourism advertisements for Australia invariably show our cute wildlife, sunny weather, the Outback, smiling people, seafood and fabulous golden sandy beaches. Australia is awesome.

Australia is also home to some of the most fearsome creatures on earth. You’ve all heard me joke about our creepy crawlies. People, I am not joking. You risk imminent death just stepping out the front door to go to the letterbox in the mornings. I’m amazed the majority of us survive to adulthood.

I guess Aussies are just  a tough bunch. And since we’re a no fuss kind of people, we just accept that we co-exist with multiple things that can kill us at any given moment and that nowhere is 100% safe. We just go about our business and rarely does anything fatal happen. But tourists – well that’s another matter. You don’t have the inbred antenna for danger we have and consequently some of you end up , well, kind of dead...

Wouldn’t it be fun if they ran an ad campaign that told it like it really is. The problem with that is that nobody would ever come to visit. So I'm going to give you the run down on Australia's fearsome creatures so you know what to avoid when you get here.

My first free piece of advice is you can’t poke a crocodile with a stick. Nor can you jump on them, blow raspberries in their faces, or scream "na na nee nar nar" at them. They don’t like it. They just don’t have a sense of humour . Crocodiles can't take a joke. And like elephants they have long memories. Piss off a crocodile and they’ll wait 20 years to pay you back. Plus crocodiles think you taste like chicken. All that's missing is the barbecue sauce.

( Cue Jaws theme song here )The heads up on white pointer sharks ? If you’re in their water space they’ll eat you. That’s the rule. To them , you’re just a Big Mac. A flailing trying to pointlessly get out of their way Big Mac. With secret sauce.

The skiing and swimming here is totally awesome . Our beaches are golden and sandy and our water is clear and warm. Just like on the ads. You just need to avoid the sting rays, stone fish, blue bottles, blue ringed octopus, stingers and poisonous jelly fish. Some of these things will kill you seriously, agonisingly dead within minutes. Or seriously screw up your holiday with a hospital stay. Another piece of free advice- load up on hospital insurance.

Any bushland is TEEMING with snakes. Bushland here is any garden over three square feet.  Of the ten most deadly snake species  in the world, 5 of them call Australia home. And those bas****s will chase you. Practice your four minute mile and the duck and weave before you leave home people.  We also have flying snakes, swimming snakes and sneaky snakes.  Give nature a miss on your travels. Our bushland is highly over rated.

You will not be safe indoors. We have redbacks, funnel webs and mouse spiders ( so named because they are the size of a large mouse or because they eat mice – I forget which ) The laws of physics  say a spider that is 8 inches across CAN fit in  a crack under a door  1/4 of a inch wide. (I wish I could suck my guts in like that ) Always check under your outdoor chairs before you sit down. Redbacks in particular like to make nests under chairs and breed about 1387 babies at a time. Approximately every 24 hours.  If you get bitten, you should be fine because we have developed anti venom, providing you get to a hospital within 20 minutes and don’t panic in the meantime (panic makes the venom race through your bloodstream faster). Practice your zen like state before you arrive. We also have jumping spiders. I encountered one of these on my patio a month ago. They are called jumping spiders because that’s what you’ll do (onto a table if you’re like me ) when you encounter something with 8 legs roughly the size of a basketball. You will probably also piss your pants so bring Depends, or buy some when you get here. Just in case.

Bulldog ants grow to approximately 1.5 inches long. They love picnics.  If one of these approaches you – just surrender your sandwich,  fried chicken , lamingtons and your wallet and nobody will get hurt.   We also breed flies the size of volkswagons here and those suckers bite. I once got bit on Green Island in Queensland and the pain was worse than childbirth.

Those cute kangaroos you see on the ads...don’t be fooled. Ever been sucker punched by a kangaroo? They fight dirty.  I’ve been chased by a rabid emu too. Scary. You can’t outrun an emu. I had to pretend to be a bigger emu by making my hand into the shape of an emu head and holding it up in the air. (it worked -Emu's are fast but kinda stupid)  And Koalas? Sure they look cute. The truth is they're  whacked off their faces from all the gum leaves they eat and can’t control their own bladders. Koalas will pee on you ladies and gentlemen. Just like a 90 year old lady in a nursing home, and they’ll have the same amount of shame about it.
 
So by all means come for a visit, but the plain cold hard facts are that  some of you are going to end up as a wildlife food.  Maybe if you brought a lot of Oreo's  I would consider being your personal bodyguard for  the duration of your stay...or I hear if you rub vegemite all over your body it acts as a talisman against the fearsome creatures but I've never tried it because I'm not gullible like that.




Tourism Australia is sooooooooo going to sue my arse off for this post .. You guys know I'm just joshing about all of this dont you?  But if you see a bunyip in the wild - run. My sister saw a bunyip 35 years ago and she's still in  therapy. Oh and watch out for  the drop bears too....





21 comments:

Sarcastic Quilter said...

Look, I don't care if you put a little post script on there saying you are joshing about these things because frankly, you can NOT josh about spiders at all with me. You cannot show me a spider. I am 36 years old and it's taken me this long to be able to kill a spider the size of a pinkey fingernail. I can't look at pictures without serious, hardcore willpower to think of something else before I FEEL the creepy crawly. I could live with it all but those.

you just talked me out of Australia, which, btw, I once saw a show on the "most poisonous creatures on earth" and they were in Australia and South America... that show talked me out of both places as a vacation spot. I was willing to overlook that... thinking you lived in civilization but well, you are renovating. You are disturbing living spaces and I don't think you have a plastic bubble large enough for me.

I might have to talk to the hubs about buying you a ticket here instead. Your man can work on the redo, you can be warm in our summer.

btw... I'm not sure I'm kidding. I have to go golf and see if I can get the freaky out of my head. :D

P. said...

No, I did NOT know you were joshing! My skin crawling with the mere mention of snakes, not to mention giant spiders (anything larger than a nickel is a giant spider to me).

If you come to Wisconsin, you better watch out for the hodag!

vawriter said...

You have managed to hit all my hot button horrors in one post--congratulations!

Cancel my reservation at the M&S B&B.

This is hilariously funny, despite the nightmares it will give me!

Lorraine said...

you are a crack up!! I think there are also bird spiders .....and wolf spiders....LOLOL....when we were kids we always had to burn a sheet of newspaper under the "seat" of the long drop dunny before we sat down...to get rid of the red backs! I love a trip down memory lane!!

Shevvy said...

And thats the reason I'm staying in England. Nothing to do with the full days flying time, the cost or the heat when I get that that will fry my pale freckled celtic skin. Snakes and spiders! No chance!

Brenda said...

Hahahahaha, I HAVE heard there are scary creatures in Australia - plus on our "Funniest Home Videos" show - there are lots of kangaroos kicking people - mostly men, in the groin.

Jenny said...

Hmmm.... there goes the moving to Australia theory! Funny post! But scary.

lw said...

The ladies at Victor Harbor's Quilt Basket have a prize winning Dunny quilt with redbacks embroidered on it. I got my photo taken with one of the quilter and the quilt.

When I was out at Warrawong, the tour guide explained about drop bears (-;. And went on to tell us that the duck-billed platypus has toxic stingers. We saw four platypus that evening, swimming in the ponds. I was shocked at how small they were. Every photo I'd seen made them look like they were about 45 lbs. or so-- like a raccoon or a beaver. They were very tiny, maybe 1.5 lbs or so and about 8-10 inches end to end.

It was so much fun, I wish I could afford to risk another trip to Adelaide.

Shirleymac said...

Okay, call me naive but you had me at the mouse spiders *shiver*. Also the fact that Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray and he was extremely animal/reptile smart. Or dumb don't know which - he thought all animals were his friend *LOL* All I know is he was darn cute and too young to leave this earth, even Australia. You forgot to mention the barbie though. You know, "Throw another shrimp on the barbie mate" as opposed to the American Barbie who every woman would be glad to throw shrimp at with that perfect body at 50+ years old. I read a little known fact yesterday about Winnipeg (capital of Manitoba in Canada). Apparently it's legal to sit on an alligator, poke it with a stick and/or pull it's tail. But for some reason in 1996 they found it necessary to enact a Bylaw which states that none of this is considered llegally provoking or agitating an alligator. It is illegal to provoke an alligator into a fight. Don't know how you could provoke it any other way other than commenting on what nice shoes it would make. On the other hand alligators aren't found in great numbers in Manitoba which is basically miles and miles of flat land with wheat growing on it if they're lucky.

The Flabby Ninja said...

That post was genius. There isn't a phobia on earth unaffected by that post, and I like it. I will be laughing and swatting imaginary jumping spiders off of me all day!

Leslie said...

OK, seriously, this post was AWESOME. Because my husband and my Dad joke about this stuff all the time. They're both really well-read and they know everything. So they have all these weird conversations. One of the conversations they have is about how they have agreed to never go to Australia no matter how badly they want to. Because they are CONVINCED (and I'm literally QUOTING them here) that the minute they step off the plane, one of the deadly flying spiders will be gunning for them and they will be dead right there on the tarmac.

Then they watched an episode of Man vs Wild or something in Australia and that sealed their pact.

We really do want to go there sometime. But Brett is CONVINCED about the instant death standing next to the plane!!!

Michelle said...

LOL! I love it! And despite practicing a bit of CYA (cover your a*s), I *know* you're not joshing. I've watched many a wondrous nature show on Australia's nature, and it's darn scary. That said, if I could beam in the way they do on Star Trek, I'd make the trip. :-)

Marg said...

You are soooo going to be in trouble with Tourism Australia! They might as well bring back the ad campaign, "Where the bloody hell are you?", because nobody is ever going to visit here now!

Bunyips!!!!!!....I am still recovering from a Drop Bear attack, I was lucky.

You forgot to mention about the Magpies, we are not safe from bird attacks either.

However, there are still a few of us here in Oz that have made it to the grand old age of 30 without being attacked, poisoned, maimed or killed.

Elizabeth said...

I have no comment appropriate for the level of awesomeness that is this post. I mean, how do you follow an act that fabulous? You are my blogging idol. Cheers! -E

JKP said...

You got bunyip. We got bigfoot. Scotland has Nessie. Nepal has yeti. If we put them all in a room together, who do you think will win?

Crafty Girls Workshop said...

You forgot to mention the phantom kangaroos, which are actually linked on Wikipedia! We have some pretty big scorpions and mosquitos here in Texas. And walking sticks (some really large insect that actually looks like a stick), I've seen some that are probably four or five inches long! Although, that was a long time ago, they could be extinct by now. I'm sure you could come and visit our gulf coast, no worries, I'm sure the oil has killed everything by now. Sorry, had to say it! Oh and watch out for our crazy drivers!

Anna
Great translation by the way! Hilarious!

Janean said...

you are a HOT MESS! you had me going...i'm gullible, so sue me. LOL!!!! way funny.

a friend moved to Australia with his bride about two years ago and loves it.

Alisa said...

Thanks, now I can cross another item off my Bucket List.
OR! I could just leave it til last and then it won't matter if I get eaten by a rabid emu/koala/spyder/snake.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Mrs. P how did I miss this one? You know, you had me enthralled at "Taste like Chicken". I was terrified by the time I got to the basketball sized spiders and swore I was never ever ever going to Australia. Then I read about the emus. You may have overdone it a little there. I got the feeling I might be listening to an Aussie tall tale. You know what would have been REALLY funny? If you included DavidThorne in your report. hahaha. Maybe I'm the only one who would have laughed, though. You probably would have gotten an email....

AnnieO said...

Entertaining as always, but I was fully caught up until the bunyip! Thanks for the extreme adventure translation this week!

Baa-Me Kniits said...

LOL no-one is ever going to come to FNQ again!! I told my kids about the dropbears and they still talk about them ;-) That and me having eyes in the back of my head that can see thru walls and round corners (they just twigged to that one and they are 9 and 7 Bugger!) Brilliant post...I have a photo of an iced VoVo on mine and that took some explaining!