Sunday, May 31, 2009

This isn't the one more post mentioned in the entry below. Just thought it should be included for the semester.

Originally Published in the Sandwich Enterprise, April 2009

"At Home in Australia"

It is a borderline rite of passage that the young adult comes to lament their homeland. The hearty majority of human organisms find themselves, by the age of twenty, deeply longing to break away from their past and all that it entails, and the most logical way by which to do so is generally perceived as the abandonment of the site of upbringing.

This is true even on beautiful Cape Cod, as its youthful emigrants often speak of the slowness and boredom brought on by the peninsula, particularly outside the summer season. I know this because I experienced this and often heard and made the very same complaints while breaking from the Cape three years ago.

Having spent a month now living, studying, and loving life half an hour outside of Perth, Western Australia’s capital, I have developed quite a strong appreciation for my original home. This is not a result of homesickness and a longing to return to the familiar. Instead, this is because I am coming to realize how similar the Cape and Australia actually are.

Cape Cod is a fascinating region. Or, as they may say down here, “We live in a bloody wicked place” (note the shared incorrect use of the term wicked, though I grant that us northeasterners are certainly more keen to use it as an adverb than an adjective).

I understand that the United States and Australia are cousins historically and share a Western base philosophy. However, the Cape’s likeness to the land down under is much more concrete. I see it first in the beach lifestyle. Both areas can be defined more by what they allow for leisure than by what they accomplish in productivity. On Cape Cod and in Australia, the populations are proudly willing to pack themselves away and indulge in a day at the water’s feet ignoring the calls of life left behind. More tangibly, the shared affinities for surfing, snorkeling, fishing, and sunsets are clear similarities.

Along similar lines, the love of the land is a shared trait despite existence in entirely different quadrants of the world. Australians, perhaps as a result of the world’s pollution creating a hole in the ozone directly overhead, are quite conscious about maintaining a clean environment. And why shouldn’t they be? The country is a beautiful one with incredible images to turn the head at every available locale, just like the Cape. Cape Codders and Aussies are both quite likely to take advantage of the beautiful geography they’ve been gifted with. And despite their American status, it is evident that Cape residents do care quite a bit about the land. Take the CapeWind argument, for instance. The greatest controversy on the peninsula in the last few years features adversaries on either side whose primary concern it is to keep the Cape and Islands beautiful, albeit while arguing from entirely different mindsets.

The attitudes of the people from the two spots are also comparable. Comparing the personalities of the Cape to everything past the canal does present a very sharp contrast. Sure, you’re going to find your grouch cashiering at Staples or the occasional bad attitude at the body shop, but our peninsula is far more laid back and pleasant than Worcester, Boston, or even Rhode Island. Aussies are world famous for their happy-go-lucky attitude, and I am grateful to have been brought up in an area that similarly values play as at least equal to work and is happy to go with the pace of the day rather than attempting to control it.

I currently only have a couple more guaranteed months as a Cape resident, and until about a month ago, this excited me profusely. However, I have come to see how valuable it is to live in a region that simply enjoys the thrills and beauty of living life. While it was likely inevitable that I would at least temporarily swear off the Cape, I am happy to realize the fortune we all have in experiencing it day by day.


I would really really really like to do a blog entry that is about a night out and all its absurdities, a "Fear and Loathing Down Under" type of thing. However, I have relatives that read this and would love to run for public office some day, so I am going to just do a quick tale that highlights one scene from last Saturday night.

"How'd we get ourselves into this again?" Josh asked.

"I don't know," I said. "Boredom?"

"Yeah but, it was so organic. Just out of nowhere pub crawl. No discussion even, it just happened."

"What's that noise?"

"What?" Organs blasted from somewhere. "Oh. That noise. Damn." Deep ominous organs that could only be enveloped within a cold Saturday night.

We were nearing Clancy's and our minds were not quite clear. We turned the corner on the outskirts of Fremantle's main strip and the pub sat before us just down the street, on the left. Directly opposite on the other side of the street stood in gray stone a large church, medieval in its appearance. It was not the church you see built in American suburbia today, red bricked and inviting. This was a church that could only have developed more than a century ago in order to set straight a penal colony that happened to play home to a prison ranked amongst the most notorious in the history of the British Empire. This was the kind of church that exemplifies why people don't go to church anymore. The church was horrifying.

"That explains it," Josh said.

"Quick," I said. "At once, we must move to the bar."

"No," he said. "Let's go in." Josh took a few steps towards the church, whose sounds permeated throughout a night laced in sin, across the street to a crowded bar and around the corner past the young women whose skirts were more revealing than some bikinis. In spite of the noise, the church was dark. No lights shone from within and no lights shone on it.

"No," I said as Josh took a couple more steps. "No, no." I turned on my heels to begin following him. "We can't go in," I said.

"Nonsense! How could we not?"

We began nearing the threatening building and the deep cries of the organ and of all the souls in purgatory drowned out my complaints. Suddenly, on a particularly long and melodramatic note from inside, a massive light flashed in front of the church, lighting it in its entirety.

Josh and I turned to one another and without a word turned away and made our way to Clancy's.


Also, this week, I watched my American friend Mike play didgeridoo in the city and make a bunch of money and be commended by Indigenous people for his prowess on the instrument. There was something very cool about that and I enjoyed it immensely.

One more blog post to come before this thing undergoes some major changes and becomes a means by which for me to talk about things other than travelling.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Bucket List

The movie referenced in the title above stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. This blog post, on the contrary, stars only the written voice of yours truly and is not about the stuff I intend to do before I die but rather about the stuff I intend to do in my last three weeks in Australia. Yes, it is strange to see that typed out before me, but this semester is very much so nearing its completion and in three weeks I will board a plane and travel to Boston via Sydney, LA, and Phoenix, the exact reverse of my trip here. Meanwhile, I have only one exam remaining on the schoolwork tracker, meaning that I essentially have copious amounts of free time. This is good, because there are things left to be done.

I aim to visit the Fremantle Prison within the next week or so. This prison was home to convicts for nearly 150 years, closing in the early 90s, and was for some time considered one of the most ominous prisons in the British Empire (which, I hear, the sun never set on). Being in a country that was, if we allow ourselves to marginalize the marginalized, founded as a penal colony, it seems quite prudent that I spend some money to go to jail.

Riding a camel has been a priority for a couple of months now and I've been very slow to act upon this desire. However, there is said to be quite a petting zoo within striking distance by public transportation wherein a camel ride is quite doable. Hence, I will do it. I also understand that in this petting zoo I can feed kangaroos. This sounds like a worthy type of thing to put myself towards.

I want to jump off a cliff again. In order to do so, though, I am banking on this weather getting better. It is cold here in Australia these days as the seasons march towards winter. Jeans and sweatshirts are the usual attire. At night, when outdoors, I shiver.

I want to go to the aquarium to see fish. I want to go to the casino to throw money down the drain and enjoy every second of it.

There are said to be some sweet museums in the area. The art museum is supposed to be pretty cool, the Freo Maritime Museum is said to be one of the more distinctive spots of the city and has a shipwreck gallery, and the history museum also seems muy caliente. I was thinking of a better word than cool. Muy caliente is the opposite of cool. Literally and figuratively, perhaps, unless you think it is cool (figuratively), in which case I can't really dispute that due to the subjectivity of the phrase. In a literal sense, though, muy caliente and cool deeply oppose each other and would give each other the middle finger if placed opposite one another in a jousting arena. I will get to each of these museums before I leave.

Finally, I wish to visit the grave of Bon Scott, the original lead singer for AC/DC. I don't like AC/DC very much. However, a quick scan of Wikipedia tells me that when East Coast Australians travel the country, they make a point of ending their trek by visiting said grave. Bon Scott was a favorite son of Freo (via Scotland and Melbourne), doing great things with his early life such as being a delinquent that nobody thought was a good person. Then he made some of that rock n roll music and people loved him. Then he partied to hardy and died in London one night. After that, he was buried and now has a grave. I'll visit this grave in one of my final days here to pay homage to the Australian tradition of doing so.

On my last day, I'll go to Little Creatures and watch the sun go down over the harbour and perhaps order a pizza. Pizza is a great thing and this is recognized universally.

Then it'll be good bye to the Commonwealth of Australia and hello to a demanding two days (though technically one thanks to time zones) of travel and the United States of America. Common means common and wealth means wheel. Somehow this comes out to "for the good of all," although I think if you just kept it as wealth and didn't go to wheel, that would make a whole lot more sense. I learned this from good ol' Janice Dudley, my Australian Government lecturer. She believes thoroughly in creating a Bill of Rights for Australia and breaking away from the Monarch, and she also thinks men are awful beings while women are the greatest beings. Except for the Queen. She thinks the Queen is a slut.

Monday, May 18, 2009


text/writer/fault line/author/story

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Quick Word

In a week wherein I have done little more than homework and my social life has consisted primarily of taking trips across the street to the service station to acquire junk food in hopes of a break from said homework, I would like to take a moment to express the excitement I feel from 12 timezones away as a result of both the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics and their respective playoff runs. They have resulted in a beard. It is still a weak one but it is the best I've ever had. Baby steps. I will be awaking at 7 in the morning to watch both games tomorrow if the website I have found is to be believed with regards to workability. It must be some kind of energy in Boston at the moment to be extending this far.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Leftdate Rightdate Downdate Update

Hello again to all. Here I am preparing a blog entry. In this blog entry I will speak of some of the things I have been up to of late.

ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) Day was approximately 2 weeks ago (this converts to 2 American weeks ago). What happens is at dawn across the Commonwealth of Australia, the people of the various cities get together solemnly in parks and listen to speeches and watch wreaths be placed on monuments. It is like Veteran's Day, only Aussies tend to take it seriously. It was a bit of a cultural experience, as they say, to watch Perthlings honor their fallen soldiers after an all-nighter and amidst a beautiful sunrise.

By the end of that day I began to feel very run down and that manifested within the next couple days as legitimate sickness. I had another cultural excursion when I visited a hospital to get me some drugs. Note: It was very similar to an American hospital. I had tonselitis but not the kind where they cut stuff out of your throat. It was the kind where you swallow antibiotics for a week and then feel better. This happened and I was glad it did. I enjoyed being sick, as I watched several movies, drank tea frequently, and got out of having to give a presentation (though I had to give it yesterday anyway). However, it was a week essentially spent in my room which is really a waste of time while traveling and hence I am glad it's over. In any case it recharged me.

IFSA is a pretty expensive program to travel with and I am always keen to be hatin' on the man, but after this past weekend I have nothing but gratitude, as we have very much gotten what we paid for. Last weekend, the 6 of us at Murdoch as well as our 3 peripheral characters at UWA took off down south to Margaret River which is WA's surfing capital of the world. We went there for rock climbing and abseiling and spelunking and cave exploring though. It was an incredible time wherein I had to push myself to do things that made my knees sort of weak and that made me happy while also providing shots of adrenaline that tend to excite given their nature. We stayed in an incredible lodge where I used a Queen size bed (I took advantage of this by sleeping diagonally) and at night we played Jenga. Margaret River, 3 hours south of Perth, seems reeeeeeaaaaaaally cool (I do think an exploration of it could easily result in my declaring it my favorite spot I've been to so far) and I think I'll make an effort to get down there without guides and for a longer period of time before leaving.

My workload is starting to overwhelm a bit. This weekend I have to make a movie. I have a paper due next Friday. The movie isn't due until June 1 but after I shoot this weekend there is a ton of work that will go into it even still. I also do not yet have my lines down for a bloody play I am in in 13 days. I have a test a week from Tuesday and I have an exam on June 3. Actually now that I've typed that all out it's not that bad. The paper is the stupid part though there is a lot of info. on the topic I am doing so that is good. The good news is that the June 3 exam is the end of schoolwork and my junior year for me. This will leave me with 12 days to have fun and enjoy my final days in Australia after schoolwork has died before I return to the United States of America and the H1N1 Continent.