Last Days in Paradise

Or not quite Paradise, as it’s been raining every afternoon, but that isn’t a bad thing as Oz is going through the worst drought in history. However it is lovely to be home again, and mum and dad haven’t even started driving me crazy yet.

After 2 weeks in Brisbane, doing my research at the State Library (which was a very impressive building), and hanging out with my sister and her two kids, I boarded the night bus to Armidale, which contained all of 7 occupants. Before we set off the bus driver cautioned us, ‘Now, the toilet on this bus is DOWNSTAIRS, so be VERY CAREFUL. The bus is moving, so you be careful going down them stairs.’ Meanwhile, sitting to his left was an Aboriginal woman with only one leg (the other was a metal rod ending in a shoe), and he kind of glanced to her for confirmation and said, ‘You right?’ and she nodded, and got off at Toowoomba anyway, so she didn’t have to worry about navigating the stairs.

At home I have been reading (finished Robert Drewe’s ‘Grace’ which was a good read but disappointingly superficial), eating, watching TV and writing. Life here is not so slow so as to have almost stopped, but it’s getting there. I’m not raring to go back to England, but I’m resigned to it, and so I’ve been attempting to make myself feel better by thinking of some of the good things about England. Here is my concise essay on cultural
comparisons between England and Australia:

Things I Like About Australia

My family
My friends
Sunshine/weather in general
Friendly, laidback people
Good coffee
Fresh, cheap Asian food
Fresh fruit and veg
Outdoor eating/drinking
Plenitude of healthy eye candy (esp Asian)
Aussie chocolate, esp Freddo Frogs and Caramello Koalas
Egalitarian society
Good shopping boutiques

Things I like about England

PG Tips pyramid teabags
My brother
My friends
My job
My flat
Columbia Road flower markets
Support for the arts
Excellent universities and academic resources
The British Library

Things I don’t like about Australia

John Howard
Other fuckwit politicians who don’t look after our water and natural resources and who don’t give a rat’s arse about helping the Aborigines.
Obsession with sport, to the detriment of culture

Things I don’t like about England

Nonexistent customer service
Unfriendly people
English chocolate
Class divisions/social problems
Homogenous shops
Backwards about environmental awareness
Dirty streets – no pride in their country
Overpriced place to live
Bad, bad, bad coffee
Obsession with pubs and drinking
No outdoor cafes
No fresh fruit and veg

I think it’s obvious who wins, and who will always win.


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