Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Alphabetical Tourist: Australia

It's taken me a long time to reach this destination on my virtual journey because the research has been hard. I'm absolutely astounded by the wealth of information that I know about this country . Honestly - it's on the other side of the world and I'm more informed about it than I am about some of the towns in Devon. Honiton, for example. I know it's famous for lace and antiques but beyond that... je ne sais pas rien as they say in French lessons down under A bit poor considering its only about twenty miles up the road. But Oz - there's weird wildlife I know a plethora of facts about bush tucker, peach melba and fusion cookery, didgeridoos,  Bruces and Sheilas, shipment of convicts, Aboriginal art and how expensive it can be, surfing, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru that isn't the black girl in Star Trek who indulged in the first on-screen inter-racial snog with Captain Kirk, novel slang, cricket, slip slop slap, Neighbours, INXs......... The list goes on and on. I'm even aware that there's a large Italian community there since a friend's latin love rat escaped there after racking up eye watering bills on her credit card.

Photo by Sanjay Ach
Anyway in order to expand my knowledge I firstly decide to see what I didn't know about koalas.  That's when I got diverted by Tingha and Tucker.  But this photo has drawn me back.  Isn't this guy the cutest?  And this is how koalas spend most of their lives.  They're only awake for about five hours of the day and of those three are spent chewing eucalyptus leaves. It looks like God, as an apology, for making this creatures life so mundane tried to make amends.  Male koalas have a bifurcated penis with two ends and yes, females are blessed with two lady gardens each.  You might think that this would make for a plethora of twins but not so.  These are very rare, with the first set being born in captivity only as recently as 1999.

When I got onto exploring Australian art I realised that I didn't know it all at all!  Of course, that adopted English treasure, Rolf, whose paintings are respected in their own right and now sell for mega-bucks.  But in my shameful ignorance I believed that aborginal art was a genre consisting entirely of paintings of dots and lizards.  However, the most famous artist of indigenous origin is Albert Namajira who was classically schooled and a landscape painter extraordinaire.  Sometimes information like this challenges my preconceptions about the habits of others and for someone's who's proud of my liberal stance,  I hang my head in shame.

Did you know you can ski in Australia?  Well clever clogs here did thanks to conversations that I had with a Aussie psychotherapist that I used to work with.  Sally, if you read this I hope life is good!  But of course the nation is famous for its sunny climes.  Slip slop slap was an advertising campaign of the 1980s designed to encourage measures that countered skin cancer.  Slip on a shirt, slop on the sun cream and slap on a hat was the message that caught the attention of an entire nation.   What I hadn't realised was that the message had been extended.  Now people are additionally urged to seek shade and slide on the sunnies.  Whatever next.  Sip to stay sweaty or stay in the snow perhaps?

1 comment:

  1. My goodness, you took me back today with 'Tingha and Tucker the two little bears!'
    Love from Mum