I’m going to try to write more regularly; it’s just difficult to create a schedule because I never know from day to day when I’ll be preoccupied. I guess traveling is that way.
Although, more than traveling I’ve just been hanging out with new friends in Perth. Yesterday was Australia day so while my current host, Kristen, worked on a mountain of psychology paperwork I fought the crowds and went snorkeling at Mettams beach.
The fourth of July has nothing on Australia day. Australians get rowdier, start drinking earlier, and take their characteristic friendliness to the utmost level. While snorkeling I met a middle-aged man who, upon hearing my “accent” (what?!?) took it upon himself to show me all the cool areas of the reef. He named fish for me, caught me a starfish, and shared an apple with me on the sand later.
I love Australians.
After this, I grabbed lunch at the marina and Kristen picked me up to go barbecue hopping. The first was mellow, and the record-defying heat suddenly turned into monsoon-like drizzling. Word of advice; do no drink Emu Exports. Nastiest beer I’ve ever tasted. It’s a joke here, the only day they drink the stuff is on Australia day. Yuck yuck yuck.
Kristen’s parents had given me a bottle of wine, just for keepsies (they like me) and another for the parties. We broke that sweet nectar out at the second BBQ.
Which was so much fun!
Being a vegetarian can make BBQs a bit awkward sometimes, and I usually have clif bars stashed in my purse. This time I’d brought trail mix. But there was no need! Our lovely hostess had made six of the most elaborate and delicious salads ever; my plate looked like a rabbit’s wildest fantasy. Bliss.
The sky was getting angrier but we loved it. Ever since I’ve arrived here Aussie’s have been telling me how unusual the weather has been. It’s been getting more humid every year, and the past few days we’ve found ourselves in a heat wave. Over a hundred fahrenheit everyday, and then the storm last night? Absolutely wild.
A number of us forsook the fireworks over the river for dancing under the lightning. Favorite moment; coming back from the bathroom to the dance “floor” and one of the guys flailing his arms in exagerated dance movements and shouting, “Are you excited?! Get excited! You’re in another country! Dancing in the rain on it’s national holiday!”
It’s Friday now, and this weekend is shaping up to be an excellent farewell to Perth before I leave for my first wwoof host, which happens to be a free-range chicken farm. (Guilt-free eggs!) I’m going camping this afternoon until tomorrow afternoon at Wedge Point, a place you have to four-wheel drive to get to. Saturday evening is a girl’s Hen party, which, because she is Australian I was invited to. Sunday we are snorkeling again, going to church at night, and wandering around Kings Park in the city just afterwards. First and foremost I need to retrieve my hired bike from Brooke’s house, (which is a bus to a train to another bus away, except that a Canadian-turned Australian at the party last night offered me a ride to the last bus station), ride it to the train station, take train into the city, return it, and bus/train/bus back to Kriten’s.
You need to know something interesting about Australians, something I’m planning on elaborating on soon; (my ride to the station is almost here)
Australians travel. They’re almost expected to. While in America it’s perfectly acceptable not to have a passport, Australians can’t fathom such a thing. They spend their gap years in the UK, the spend holidays in Bali, they road trip all over their country. They take a more relaxed approach, it seems, to this whole young adulthood thing than Americans do.
I have a friend who has no real career aspirations just yet. All he wants to do is explore. However, his sense of responsibility and moral obligations to his family prevent the kind of traveling he would like. His trip to Europe, a relatively tame excursion in lieu of say, certain Australians who have biked around Vietnam, practically broke his parents’ hearts. They want their boy to be a successful business man.
Because he loves them and doesn’t want to break their hearts, and because he cannot invest in a lifestyle he doesn’t feel, the boy feels stifled and stagnate. He isn’t doing what he loves and he isn’t doing what they love.
Is this right? How are we supposed to maneuver through our twenties fulfilling cultural expectations without even experiencing other cultures? Are we that positive we’re doing it right?
More later. More pictures too. Probs of Wedge Point.