Thursday, May 15, 2008


I've just watched this very educational tutorial on Australian rules football.
With Pat and I heading off to Oz in less than three weeks, we are hard at the work of preparations, studying the lingo, past times and traditions of the biggest island in the world. Aussie rules football, if I were to compare it to games I'm familiar with in states, would be an amalgamation of football, soccer and basketball, with some hockey thuggery thrown in for emphasis. Matt and Marlys got tickets to a footy match, one of many activities that will occupy practically every minute of our four days in Melbourne.

I bought us a new Nikon digital camera (my first digital, not my first Nikon -- this one can do panoramas); I'm saving up New Yorkers and storing pod casts for the plane ride; I sent away for a Sydney guidebook (M & M will be our guides in Melbourne) and laminated street map, which we've been pouring over; I'm re-reading "In a Sunburned Country" by Bill Bryson, a hilarious accounting of Australia's history, present and past, with lists and descriptions of deadly beasts and wonderous sights; I'm watching Australian movies and practicing my Aussie accent; I'm scouring web pages with information on Aussie culture and language so I can be sure to use the phrase "fair dinkum" properly, and not sound like a Yank when I use the term of endearment, "mate" (I'm kidding, I probably won't say it even once); I've created an account on the travel website travellerspoint, to blog/share the experience with other wanderers (entries will also appear here); I bought new luggage -- my first matching set, black with white polka dots; I bought an electrical adaptor (Australia uses 3 tilted prongs); I've been amassing stuff that Marlys wants us to bring her, like candy bars for co-workers and the complete George Clooney DVD collection.

I just finished reading a bunch of comments by Aussies about what they think of Americans and America. Mostly they think we're alright in our own country but they don't always like having us in theirs. I'm not at all concerned about this. The last time I was in France I met an organic beef farmer in ahe small seaside village in Calais who despised Americans. He had been saying to his friend and my cousin all day that he didn't care whether I was family or not, he hates Americans, period. He had made up his mind he wasnt' going to like me. I recently looked at pictures from that trip and in most of them there's that short, balding beef farmer lapping after me like a puppy. He couldn't get enough of me, much to the chagrin of his wife, who gave me the stink eye all night.

I'm so excited to go to Australia! I've wanted to see the sunburnt country for a very long time. And planning is so much fun, I've already started thinking about my next trip!!

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