Friday, 27 May 2011

The Land of Oz

I live in a rather rural area. This means for the most part it is very quiet during the day and night except for the soft scratching and scurrying done by frogs, crickets, cicadas and so on. Usually I look out my window to see big blue butterflies fluttering past or maybe some little birds flitting about. It sounds poetic but this is what I’ve grown accustomed to and I rather like it.
Recently, sulphur-crested cockatoos have made it their business to fly around my house all day long. I have no idea where the heck they’ve come from but there’s nothing quite like seeing thirty or forty of these pretty things glide over the house and onto the horizon. Again – this sounds lovely... as long as you are deaf. Have you ever heard a cockatoo? They sound like a chainsaw full of rocks or a really rusty (and I mean barely can move kind of rusty) iron gate. Magnify this by thirty or forty and you can imagine my frustration. Watching television has become a contest between me and the cockatoos. They’ll start squawking their heads off so I’ll have to turn it up, so they turn up, so I turn up until all the poor neighbours can hear is “SQUAAAAWWWWKK!! PREVIOUSLY ON “HOUSE”. SQUAAAAWWWWK!!” If you’ve never heard a cockatoo then I suggest you find one and listen to it.
Now that I think about it... there are few Australian animals that are pretty, sound nice and won’t hurt you. In fact, pretty much everything in Australia will kill you. You can’t take one step without being attacked by eighty different types of creatures that will result in painful, painful deaths.
Don’t despair. I’ve been living here my whole life and I haven’t been killed. Mind you I never go outside and I live in a plastic bubble... but I digress.
There are ten of the most deadly snakes in the world – seven of them live in my state. Comforting? Where I live is exceptionally hot and right next to the beach but you must be a fool – who I will pity – if you even consider taking a dip in that cool blue water. We’ve got two different types of jelly fish that will rock your world in horrific ways as well as sharks and saltwater crocodiles. Don’t be fooled though. You can’t swim in rivers either because – lo and behold – saltwater crocodiles can swim in fresh water. Snap. There’s some statistic like you’ve got more of a chance of being hit on the head with a coconut than getting attacked by a croc. Which means our trees will try to kill you too.  
What else have we got? Spiders, snakes, goannas, cassowaries, cane toads (mostly just disgusting) and then there’s the sting rays. Never thought they would have been deadly until poor Steve Irwin got the barb treatment.   
Now that I think about it... is there any Australian animal that won’t harm you in any way? Hmm... I guess koalas are the example everyone is thinking of. Sure they look cute but they have claws and chlamydia. And they’ll probably pee on you too.
This isn’t doing much for the tourism of Australia... maybe we need an ad campaign that won’t freak everyone out... like “See Australia! But from a safe distance” or “Visit Australia and get attacked by its beauty”. No wait... I’ve got it.

Hope to see you visiting soon!

1 comment:

  1. This post did not help. I was so excited about my visit and even bought a travel book about Australia... and then I read this post and realized that all I have in store for me on my visit is getting peed on, stung, torn up, and murdered by the Australian wild-life... and I thought the steep stairs in all those cathedrals in Europe would be my downfall.