Yahtzee's Australia Journal (Chapter 2)
Tuesday, 11 November 2003
Yesterday I tried my first meal at KFC. It
was extremely manky and will no doubt turn out to be my last. I also patronised
a shop that sold this bizarre stuff that’s like a cross between jelly and ice
cream, and that was a slight improvement, even if it did have the texture of
something from the special effects department of the Alien films.
I have finally succumbed to sunburn. My
arms wear the pink of undercooked meat. I could do with some of that Salvo,
Thursday, 13 November 2003
Apparently the Salvation Army actually call
themselves the Salvos, and indeed do so in their commercials. “Thank god for
the Salvos”, they say. What a bunch of tossers.
Life’s been pretty quiet here at Chez Me
lately, with little in the way of new experiences to report. Sarah had to go
down the dental college to get her missing tooth (with agonising pain) looked
at, but beyond the waiting room’s fascinating shade of blue there’s not much to
say about that.
Today was Ros’ birthday (she’s one of the
housemates), something neither I nor Sarah knew until it was pointed out to us
fairly late in the day. Apparently she had been wearing the necessary
information on her shirt, but then I’m a sensitive fellow and I don’t stare at
women’s chests much. We went down the local supermarket and bought some stuff
for her, and by that I mean I bought some stuff. And I bought some
groceries, too. If I wasn’t around I’m sure everyone would just fall apart.
Anyway, we ordered some pizza for the occasion,
and it’s saying something about my current dietary habits that four slices of
pizza was the best meal I’ve had in ages.
Friday, 14 November 2003
You know what’s weird? The toilet in this
house has two flush mechanisms. One for ‘Full Flush’, and the other for ‘Half
Flush’, presumably for those occasions when you can only manage half a poo.
Sunday, 16 November 2003
Funny how I have written an entry on the 38th
minute of an hour on two separate occasions. There must just be something about
this particular time that makes me sufficiently bored.
Sarah took me down to see Chinatown yesterday, which is easily marked
by the pagodas and the roofs and those funny red pillar things whose real name
escapes me. You’ll know what I mean if you could see them. Anyway, we had a
look around the market. Specifically I was looking for a nice hat to keep the
sun off my neck, but my brain is so large and prodigious that every hat I try
on is just too small for me, and sits stupidly atop my gigantic head like a
little bewildered duck. I’m not so much wearing them as I am standing under
them. Anyway, we surrounded ourselves in the marvellous Oriental culture, then
I had a sausage roll for lunch.
Yesterday evening was Ros’ birthday party,
where in the spirit of enquiry I got myself rat-arsed for the first time in my
life. My metabolism, unused to such abuse, saw me staggering and slurring after
about three beers. Apparently my performance left Sarah convinced I was putting
it on, so much was I the picture of a clichéd drunk. Anyway, I sobered up after
a few hours, and woke up the next morning a bright and fresh daisy while
everyone else groaned and clutched at themselves.
Sarah’s emotions have been up and down like
yo-yo lately. She goes from crabby one minute to tickling nuisance the next.
It’s those darn hormones again.
Tuesday, 18 November 2003
Here’s an interesting fact: Australians
have no one- or two-cent coins. If you ever require any in your change, the
shopkeeper rounds up or down depending on what’s more convenient. Fair enough,
you’d have thought, since the cent has virtually no value, but take careful
note of that word ‘virtually’. I’m no economist, but even I can see that there
must be millions of pennies disappearing into the ether what with all the
transactions going on in a large city on an average day. Probably hundreds of
thousands of dollars each year, and where does it go? The government, my
friends, the government. Fortunately, I have faith in elected representatives
and believe they will spend the money sensibly. I also eat gravel and read at a
Over the last few days I have been
attempting to explore the city on my own. I usually hang onto Sarah’s
coat-tails like an awkward child, since it’s easy to get lost in a place like a
big city, but it’s time I became slightly more independent. So yesterday I went
looking for a McDonalds. There’s a sign at a bus-stop not far from the house
saying “McDonalds! Next right!” Of course, when they say ‘next right’, they of
course mean ‘and another right when you reach the end of the road, which is a
really long way when you’re on foot, har har.” Took me a while to figure that
out. I went a little way down the road, figured I was being misled, and thought
about giving up. Then I backtracked and went down a side road, where another
sign said (seriously) “McDonalds! Don’t give up! You’re so close! Turn right at
the end of the road!” So I didn’t give up, and went all the way down the long
road (uphill, I might add) where I looked to the right and saw those tell-tale
golden arches, just as I was getting bored of playing the colder-warmer game
with road signs.
And today I went up to the city centre,
took some exhaustive directions from my girlfriend, and explored a few shopping
streets, getting myself lost only three or four times. Brisbane’s a really eclectic city; there are assorted Asian people
everywhere you look, and every sign repeats itself at least six times in
various languages. They also have ‘Hungry Jack’, which is what they call Burger
King over here. I guess they thought Australians wouldn’t be able to relate to
a name like Burger King. Don’t see why. They call it Burger King in America, and they’re not even a monarchy.
I ate at a place called Red Rooster, which sells chicken-based fast food. They
gave me a scratchcard with the meal, and it won me a free coffee and cake at
some bakery exactly at the point I wasn’t hungry anymore.
Oh yeah. A couple of days ago, Sarah and I
found ourselves in the city centre after the sun went down. It’s extraordinary,
lit up like a Christmas tree. Spotlights run back and forth across the streets
to amuse the children, and city hall is lit from below, a haunting spectre of
ancient architecture among the loveless rectangles of modern eras.
In the Queen’s Street Mall at this point we
saw a little fashion show going on, demonstrating the latest fashions from some
arse-bandit extortionate clothes shop. To summarise, the current fashion is for
black and white patterns, and for men to wear their shirts unbuttoned just like
mum told us not to. I despise fashion in all its forms, but as was pointed out
to me, no-one was there to see the clothes. They’re there to see gigantic
chests and pert bottoms, and perhaps even sexy women as well (drum fill).
Tuesday, 25 November 2003
I haven’t been writing in my journal lately
‘cos I’ve been mostly worrying about one thing or another. I had to call my
bank to sort out the transfer of my huge amounts of savings to my Australian
bank account, because they needed to verify my identity or something. I’ve been
short on the old folding lately, having spent the last of it on rent. I am
currently subsisting on breakfast cereals, cheese sandwiches, beans on toast
and the occasional oven-ready meat pie. Yes, I’m so poor I can’t even afford
pies that actually tell you what kind of meat is in it.
I’ve been doing all sorts of random shit
lately. Sarah dragged me to Westend for yet another market and a little
festival which consisted mainly of pushing our way through gigantic crowds,
hoping not to spill any of my snow cone on them. We ran into Sarah’s mother
there, who gave us a little money to spend on decent food and invited us around
for dinner some time. Sarah’s always said she and her mum don’t get on, but
they seemed alright to me. Perhaps it was all an act for my benefit, and when
my back’s turned they maul each other like enraged merekats.
I saw ‘Dude, Where’s My Car’ last night,
and I have to admit, I was rather surprised. I was expecting a typical moronic
American teenage flick, but about halfway through we rather got the impression
that the writers had gotten bored and filled up the rest with some of the most
hilariously random cinema I have ever witnessed. Also, I am currently playing
Metal Gear Solid, which I found interesting, if only because of the strange
people you are in contact with who feel that flirting and giving lectures on
Alaskan wildlife are perfectly normal during tense stealth operations in enemy
SOME MORE INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT AUSTRALIA:
In McDonalds, all the burgers come in paper
wrappers. They have no Styrofoam boxes. I can only presume this is because
Styrofoam is such a miraculous and futuristic device that, if shown to most
Australians, would cause them to go into convulsions. I’m not saying they’re
primitive, but they do tend to show Everybody Loves Raymond a lot on TV.
Wednesday, 26 November 2003
There seem to be an awful lot of crazies
roaming the streets of Aus. Practically every day you can walk past St. George’s Square and find some
Christian droning at everyone, and today a small heavily-bearded man in the
middle of the Queen’s Street Mall was standing shouting at people. Just
yesterday some mysterious woman came up to me in the street, gave me some Christian
booklet about atheism being some kind of cult, and melted away into the crowds.
I also ran into my old friends the Raelians
at the Westend Festival the other day, the subject of an article of mine once.
They’re doing quite well for themselves, and it seems they’re in the process of
building their alien embassy, so good luck to ‘em. Batshit UFO cult they may
be, but at least they have never been represented by the Spanish Inquisition.
I’m having a little trouble deciphering
accents. Yesterday it took me a while to figure out that a Big Issue seller was
asking me to help the homeless; for a while I thought he was asking me to help