International Writers Magazine:
Tab's Australia Tour 2008
- Part Two
Ok, this is what
I know about my adopted home so far:
First of all
this place is absurdly massive! It has 6 States, 2 territories and
4 surrounding waters; The Northern Territories (Darwin), West Australia
(Perth), South Australia (Adelaide), The Australian Capitol Territory
aka "ACT" (Canberra, hence the capitol), New South Wales
(Sydney, the first city founded by foreign settlers), Queensland
(Brisbane), Victoria (Melbourne, where I am now) and of course lets
not forget the Island Tasmania (Hobart).
Between the Tasman
Sea and Coral Sea lies the Great Barrier Reef (the largest in the world),
under the Tropic of Capricorn is the Indian Ocean, and above it the
This is the 6th largest country in the world, though considering the
size it still has a pretty low population (of humans) just under 20
million to date. It does however hold the most insects, amphibians,
animals or oceanic wildlife; home of the poisonous spiders, venomous
snakes, the viscious sting of jelly fish, the sharp bite of a crocodile
or shark, Australia hosts the worlds most dangerous creatures alive.
Some of them remain a scientists' infinite mystery as to how they have
survived in these severe climate conditions for so long. Many species
even date back to millions of years ago and are, as of yet, still unidentified.
There is a line across from Queensland to Victoria that dates back 60
million years, known as The Great Diving Range, which has been found
to preserve the oldest fossils and ancient rocks in -you guessed it-
On a less feared and more adored note, cute animals that outside admirers
can witness in the wild are kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, foxes and
possums as they leap and frolick in abundance all over this land, (though
sadly make for frequent roadkill I have often found and in some towns
are considered otherwise as pests these days). Much to my dismay you
won't see a wombat or dingo crossing the street, though the signs do
warn you of the possibility. Magpie birds are the most migrated over
Australia. They are back and white and always hang out by the side of
the road which I cant quite comprehend (are they hitchhiking?)
They are also known as the swooping bird, as they will peck you from
behind, but never if you stare at them. Strange bird is an expression
for a reason after all.
This is the first and only Island to start off with criminal ancestors:
Back in the 1700's before British explorers came to so "claim"
this inhospitable desert, criminals were sent here and escape was certain
suicide. This new found soil was vast and strange and completely surrounded
by the sea, so of course who better to test the waters than prisoners
who were reasonably easier to discharge, should anything go wrong on
the voyage. Shipped here on a continent that was completely misjudged
for its seasons, they had to survive a long and rough journey and learn
to co-exsist with indigineous people who were ancient themselves and
wary, perhaps not the most friendly either. The prisoners who were mostly
just petty thieves aged from as young as 8 years old to 80 had to make
a new life where survival conditions were extremely harsh and unforgiving.
Not one of these new settlers came prepared with any knowledge on agriculture,
farming, medical requirements, nor really knew how to fish or bulid
adequate shelter!? Who knows how many actually managed to live during
that time and how many blood lines passed through, it was only when
the States and coasts had final given names that more people from abroad
came to see this far off curiousity. So it goes without saying that
Aussies sure love their criminals seeing as their foreign descendants
derived from prison. Ever wonder why Chopper Read is so famous?
In headliner news, new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has currently made
history with a public speech and apology to the stolen generations of
the Aborigines that had their children taken away from them for decades
throughout the early 1900's. The Indigineous people have been residing
on these shores for centuries prior to any white mans foot setting path,
and thus way before Captain Cook unabashedly came to confirm this discovery
and put it on a map. This atrocity on their culture has since stopped,
but now just a small gesture to say sorry has made a heartfelt impact
on these lost families.
It wasn't until 1970's that any non-European immigrants were allowed
entry or citizenship. Asians were killed by thousands for mining the
white mans treasures, so were banished along with other nationalities.
Today Australia is very multi cultural and bilingual.
In the recent past Australia has sadly lost two very dedicated and beloved
icons: The late, great Steve Irwin who taught us about snake bites and
wrestled crocs, stung to death by one of his beautiful creatures he
protects. And younger yet the risen star and extremely talented actor
Heath Ledger has caused heartache to fans and family that are still
mourning his shocking death by (accidental) suicide. I heard of theses
tragedies everywhere, though didn't even know Anna Nicole Smith had
died till now, and that was ages ago? (You can see Heath Ledger this
summer in the new Batman movie)
There has been an on going, supposed drought here for a decade and will
continue to have water restrictions for another. However from what I
have observed it hasn't been completely disciplined. Unless you find
a way to monitor a 10 minute shower, Im going to go with the rule
that you just should not.
LIFE IN MELBOURNE
To inform you of what nonsense I have been going about, let me refresh
I last left off saying I was living in Byron Bay and desperately looking
for a job to stay. Uh yeah, about that...it was a great idea and a nice
stop over for a few weeks, but, the prices are far too incredulous and
the season at the time was horrendously slow, so work was extremely
scarce. Therefore I had to go where the business was, and that was to
head towards a more populated destination. I really loved it up there
and wish I could have fulfilled my conquests to kayak with the mystique
of dolphins swimming around me, or to learn how to surf better on those
magnificient waves, or drive up to the unfathomable beauty of Whit Sundays
and Surfers Paradise; but unfortunately things don't always go your
way. Therefore I have not yet made it up to Queensland either, as initially
intended. However, now I can revisit Byron and my adventures missed
on my way up later.... Just like I said earlier in the trip, it's an
open plan, I'm going to let whatever happen, happen, and go with the
flow and enjoy any endurance in the meantime. I've still got until November
to live out these opportunities whilst here.
Melbourne is a pretty damned phenomenal city! It has everything you
need and has well planned transit systems to get around from suburb
to centre and back. The trams are efficient and frequent and take you
everywhere, though are considerably dangerous as they hold their lines
on the same streets as cars which, to someone who isnt familiar
with the rules, namely me, you tend to run for your life quite often.
They also have horse carriages and bike lanes, never mind the street
parking which can be chaotic nuisance. Passengers get off in the middle
of the road and must be overly cautious of oncoming traffic that does
not always yield to pedestrians. Ive seen some hard core road
rage and screaming matches, have nearly been bumped a few times myself
and have already witnessed a gruesome accident of a woman getting smashed
by a hit and run motor cyclist who sped off while her legs were dangling
like spaghetti out of her pant hems. She was just stepping off the tram
and will never take another step again.
There is entertainment here every night and bars stay open late. Drinking
is obviously a huge Australian courtesy, (not a privilege,) as the legal
age is 18 years old so the pubs are plentiful. There are the generic,
standard watering holes that serve the same goddamned beers on tap,
but otherwise if you seek out in hidden alley ways, roof tops, behind
office buildings, you will discover a glorious array of the most unique
and authentic crevices of which to socialize in style or to get
intoxicated in comfort -or to get trashed and shit faced! Thankfully
in Melbourne there is a lot of work to be found, especially in my field
as it has some of the worlds best restaurants and bars. I have
never seen so many brilliant establishments that still manage to have
a good vibe, unique atmosphere, decor, promising quality food, extensive
wine lists not all wine is Shiraz in this region - and fancy cocktails
fantastic recipes for your pallet -with consequences for your
liver. There is so much competition in this place that every venue strives
to be the best, theres no half assed establishment
There are numerous musicals, plays, comedy events and concerts of all
sorts going on here, for this I am giddy and over zealous, making a
long list of have to do's.
In one month I have already seen over 40 artists (music is an essential
part of my life) all within 3 concerts and 2 music festivals! Recognized
names such as Catpower, Ween, Iron and Wine, Sinead O'Connor, Galactic,
Xavier Rudd, Clap your hands and Say Yeah; I even scored VIP tickets
to the bat-head-biting Ozzy Ozbourne! *except didn't meet the Sabbath
front man himself, though did have a beer with Sevendust backstage.
The music festivals made for hectic fun and short lived road trips to
Meredith at the Golden Plains where firemen came and sprayed you with
their hoses because the sun was too harsh and burning your flesh, and
to Portsea at an old, natural quarrantine station in a lovely seaside
town with extravagant bays and beaches.
They were absolute highlights no doubt, got to camp out in the trusty
van again, bask in the sunshine absorbing various talent and guzzle
whack loads of tinnys (Aussie slang for canned beer.) I have been very
lucky in this respect.
The fashion in this particular part of Australia is extraordinary. Yeah
the cool kids all wear the same shit, tight black jeans or flouro (since
when does fluorescent become cool again?) but the style and statements
passing you in the pavements is like a catwalk. Now I know big labels
and industries cater towards Europe and the likes of New York, but Melbourne
could definitely do a Zoolander walk off. We just had a huge media event
filled Fashion Week, in which I regretfully realized I had a free ticket
to one of the shows only after it was fucking over!
I have found another job by now, the old fine dining pub did not give
the hours in my favor so, of course I am still struggling and getting
rather fed up with this broke bullshit! But I have accomplished to have
my own room at last (first since my days of couch surfing, shared mattress
on the floor or hostel bunk hoping from August, mind you) and new full
time work that's more ideal. I can feel a little more settled now and
have a bit of a regular routine. So now I can get back on my high horse
and save to go to travel this land again. I think I will stay here in
Melbs and suss it out a few moths more as I cannot get bored any time
soon, and then we'll see about those dolphins! In the meantime, I'm
going to work hard and enjoy my temporary life here, a city where bats
fly over head at dark, with beaches, vineyards and forests just a two
hour drive away, what more could I possibly want from a place? Of course
the Nullabour Plains or wet lands sound enticing, but we will see
Lets not for get I'll have my drivers license back in a few months too!
Take care and no worries mate!
© Tabytha Towe April 21 2008
tabythat at hotmail.com
of OZ Part One
Thailand nearly a month ago was extremely surreal and rather hard to
let go of. I was still stuck in Thai mode for a few days until I realized,
abashed and confused, that shit, Im in Australia!
Alone in Macau
'How does it feel, to be on your own, with no direction home,
like a complete unknown' - The Rolling Stones
Adventure & Turning 25-Tabytha Towe in Thailand Part Three
If you didn't know any better or have enough common sense it is
easy to get ripped off.
Oh what a day! Hanging out with my girl friends nude on the
beach, I cant think of anything better.
More Life Journeys
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.