Wait! Where'd you go?
Well, if my best friend Denise is any indication, I must be pretty
scary! She could only put up with knowing me for about a year and a
half, and now she's gone about as far away as she possibly could.
She's gone to explore Australia, the land of shrimp on the barbie,
Bruces and Sheilas, and Aussie Rules Football. Check back once in a
while for status updates, and if I get any interesting notes from her
I'll post some of 'em!
Note: With some browsers on some machines, you may have to
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properly. If the colours seem odd, it's probably you.
Sometime in late 1996: Denise
decides she's going to Australia, tells her boss she'll be leaving,
and sells her car.
Sunday 26 January 1997: She
loans her cat to a friend for safekeeping.
Monday 3 February 1997: Away she
goes! Denise hops on a plane and takes her friend Joyce along with
her. I think Joyce got a seat rather than being checked baggage or
anything like that.
Tuesday 4 February 1997: This day
basically doesn't exist. The flight crosses the International
Date Line (I've never tried it, but I think it's a phone sex thing
for people with accents) and a whole day vanishes, just like magic.
Actually, more like a tax-deferred retirement savings plan; you get
it back later. I guess they must have a warehouse somewhere where
they store all the days people lose across the line, and they'd
need some spares as well for the people who go the other way first
and get a free day for a while.
Wednesday 5 February 1997: After
being in the air since two days ago, the plane touches down. Freedom
Friday 14 February 1997: I got a
postcard from her. Apparently the weather in Oz is much, much nicer
than it is here. The people are wonderful, the beaches are great,
the sun is shining, and she's having a blast. Meanwhile I'm stuck
here in the snow and cold weather. Hrmph.
Sunday 16 February 1997: Finally,
after almost two weeks, she hooks up to the Net and checks her email.
It's beyond me how anyone can live that long without Net access. She
must really be roughing it!
Monday 24 February 1997: Denise
in Queensland and declares "I have found Paradise."
Monday 3 March 1997: Just got another
email update. She's hanging out on a beach on
off the coast of Queensland, and trying to get a job as a bartender on
a bar that's right on the beach. Like that counts as working? Some
people just can't handle a real job, eh?
Tuesday 11 March 1997: Cyclone
Justin was threatening to attack Magnetic Island, so Denise wandered
back to the mainland. Justin then decided he was going to aim for the
mainland rather than Magnetic Island. Will Denise escape or will she
get run over by a cyclone? Oooooh, don't you just love a cliffhanger?
Wednesday 12 March 1997: Tomorrow
morning, she leaves for
for a three-day wilderness adventure. Cape Tribulation is the most
northern part of Australia's east coast and is mostly rainforest.
Weather update: Justin has been downgraded and is keeping well off
Sunday 16 March 1997: Denise
just returned from her Cape Tribulation safari and says "It was
absolutely breathtaking. A jungle, virtually untouched by man.
Only one road in, 2 hostels, and one General Store. It is the
only place where the Reef meets the Rainforest. It was extremely
lush, and dense. I felt like I was in land of the giants ... the
spiders were the size of my hand, and there was some kind of hard
shelled beetle the size of my palm eating a banana on the
counter where I checked in! The plants were 10m high the trees
about 40m with amazing canopy above."
Wednesday 19 March 1997: Flying
off to Darwin.
Thursday 10 April 1997: She's
bartending at a bar called Moose's Place in Darwin. It holds about
1400 people. So if you're in the area, drop by; I'm sure she'll
be the best-looking bartender there. And probably the only
one with a Canadian accent.
Thursday 22 May 1997: Just a
quick update. She's still in Darwin and having a great time.
Tuesday 27 May 1997: In typical
Denise fashion, she snared a promotion from bartending to being in
charge of promotional activities! She's gonna stick around in
Darwin for a few months, and then continue her tour of Australia
later in the year.
It's late autumn, almost winter, down under. For Darwin, apparently,
that means 25C in the morning, 30-35C in the afternoon, and no rain.
Must be rough! Particularly for yacht racing, which is her latest
Tuesday 10 June 1997: The bar
where she works is having a promotion soon where patrons can win
tickets to the Silverchair concert on the 20th. Since the latest
Silverchair album is called Freakshow, they're having a freak show.
And that includes the staff, who will be body painted and wearing
all kinds of odd clothing and stuff. If anyone's there, tell me
just what kind of mischief Denise gets up to :-)
Tuesday 24 June 1997: She's no
longer working at that bar. She decided she wanted a change, so now
she's managing the lobby bar at the Beaufort, which apparently is a
five-star hotel. So in her escape from civilization, makeup,
high heels, and stuff like that, she's working in a place where she
has to be civilized and wear high heels and makeup :-)
Monday 21 July 1997: After
discovering that five-star hotels tend to have snobs in them
(and I'm not referring to the clientele), Denise has changed
jobs yet again. She's now working as a consultant, rethinking
everything about how her client (a printing shop) runs their
business. From stationery to brochures, from policies to
procedures, all that jazz.
Monday 25 August 1997: Your
humble correspondent has recently returned from a fact-finding trip
to Australia. Dee shares a two-bedroom flat with a backpacker from
New Zealand. Her flatmate ("flattie" in Australian slang) has a
shaved head. So do many of their friends. Denise is, to a large
degree, responsible for this. If you see a twenty-something person
with a shaved head wandering around Darwin, chances are it's her
Tuesday 2 December 1997: After
going incommunicado for about three months, Dee has finally surfaced
again. This time, she's in Braidwood, which she describes as a
"big town (not)" just outside of Canberra, where she'll be
spending Christmas with a friend's family. On 28 December,
she flies to New Zealand, and on 19 January she'll return
home to Toronto.
Monday 19 January 1998: She
comes back home to Toronto.
Saturday 24 January 1998: Can
you believe that she waited five days after coming home
before even calling to say hi or to ask how her cat
is doing? Hrmph.
Monday 9 February 1998: Dee starts
her new job. Life is starting to get back to normal.
Saturday 28 February 1998: Dee moves
into her new apartment. Only one more thing left ...
Sunday 8 March 1998: She gets her
Miscellaneous list of things Denise has done
- Got kicked out of a bar (don't worry, I won't tell why :-)
- Sailed the reef
- Horse riding
- Pulled by horse's tail through lake
- 4x4 driving safari
- Sheared a sheep
- Learned how to throw a boomerang
- Chickened out of a bungee jump
- Played a didgeridoo
- Mud fight during a cyclone
- Gone swimming with crocodiles in Kakadu National Park
Dictionary of Australian Slang
Cool bananas: Cool
Dag: Shit on sheep's ass
Dunny: Outhouse, toilet
Flattie: Flatmate ("flat" being the word they use where North
Americans would use "apartment")
Freshies: Freshwater crocodiles - the kind that don't eat
people unless really provoked
Get it in ya!: An Aussie toast, comparable to "Bottoms up!"
Grog: Booze, beer
Heaps: Tons, loads, lots
How ya going: How ya doing
I'll see you when I'm looking at ya: See ya later
Joey: Baby roo
Jug: Pitcher of beer
Mate: Friend, pal
No worries: No problem, OK
Pot of beer: Small glass of beer
Roo spotting: Looking for skippy
Salties: Estuarine (saltwater) crocodiles - the kind that eat
Schooner: Large glass of beer
Shagged if I know: Fucked if I know
Skippy: Roo (kangaroo)
Slab: 24 beers
Spot on: Right on, cool
Stuffed olives: A sexual act involving two breasts and a penis
Stuffed up: Screwed up
Top mate: Best friend
Insult of the Year award: "You're the product of a load that should
have been swallowed!"
For more Aussie slang, try
Places to Stay, Things to Do
You are visitor
since sometime in July 1997
- PK's Jungle Village in Cape Tribulation: "Where I stayed.
- The Woolshed Char Grill & Saloon Bar in Cairns: "Where I
get drunk every night :-)"
- Oz Experience: a bus pass aimed at backpackers and
adventure minded travellers. See also Kiwi Experience if travelling
around New Zealand.