Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The other side of the world

In Australia, it is Tuesday and in the United States, it's still Monday.  This is mind boggling to me.  But I feel pretty excited every time I think about the idea that we are finished with Monday and you guys are still experiencing it. If time travel is possible, I think it might come by passing the international date line.

We really are in a whole other world here...I have no idea if the Redskins have been winning or the Steelers, or what happened since Michael Vick wiped the floor with Donovan McNabb at Fed Ex field...It hardly even feels like Nutcracker season although we're already two weeks into it...

And you probably don't know that at this very moment, five of the six Aussie states have declared a State of Emergency because of flooding.  (It has been raining for 9 days straight.  I have yet to see the rumored glorious Australian sun.)  You may also be unaware that the first day of Aussie summer is December 1st, so the rain is quite tropical albeit irritating.

Besides the rain, there is a SNIPER on the loose in the Gold Coast, Queensland (where I am).  He, (presumably a 'he,' since they haven't found or identified the shooter yet) shot three people in the last two days in various locations that Livvy and I have recently visited. Luckily no one is dead.

Also wanted to mention that Australia has been playing the UK in what seems like a Cricket tournament.  They seem to be playing in the only part of Australia that is not underwater and unfortunately lost today.  My experience so far says the Aussies are not used to losing...

There are 'heaps' of things to do in the Gold Coast when the weather is nice (which apparently is the 350 days of the year when I'm not visiting...) but when its raining, you had better like the people you're spending time with because there is really nothing to do but get a coffee and chat, or maybe shop, but be careful with  your money because the Aussie dollar actually snuck ahead of the USD last Tuesday.  (They don't tip here but food and everything else is inflated by about 10% to cover all that in a tax called the GST   The next things on our schedules have begun to sound like wishes: 'sunbake,' climb the Headland at Burleigh Beach, visit Brisbane Botanic Gardens, tour around Byron Bay ....all of these are preferably dry, outdoor adventures.  Since the forecast isn't looking good, and they are calling for more 'bucketing,' we are considering finding a good Aussie pub and drinking away the rest of the week.

Don't be miffed by my tone.  My hostesses couldn't be sweeter and the East Coast of Australia really is a tropical paradise.  They have birds as 'pests' that we have to go to a zoo to see and plants that we couldn't dream up.  I have met and spent time with possums, kangaroos, emus and koalas...I will have lots to report aside from the rain. 

The Aussies have been in drought for 10 summers, so while dismayed by the weather, just like we would, everyone here is saying, "This is out of the ordinary but we really need the rain."

Bill Bryson's Book In a Sunburned Country says, "You're totally at the mercy of the whether in this country."  I have found this comment to be most insightful since I arrived.

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