Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The land down under

I adored it when ‘Men At Work’ sang I come from the land down under… at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics.  We got treated that night, too, by an all-singing-all-dancing ensemble with Kylie Minogue performing Dancing Queen, and a fabulous set by ‘Midnight Oil’.  Everyone in the stadium was on their feet and you’d have to have been dead not to enjoy it.

I think Australia’s more rugged than wild or dangerous, but the map and quotes below sent by a mate this week made me giggle. 

(Sorry about the Steve Irwin and Dannii Minogue digs… probably tall-poppy syndrome.)

The set of questions and answers accompanying the map were (apparently) posted on real Australian Tourism Websites.  They are reputed to be the actual responses by officials with a good sense of humour or low tolerance for the drastically ill-informed…

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (from the UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (from the USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (from Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia ? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (from the UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (from the USA)
A:  Af-ri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe.  Aust-ra-li-a is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not... Oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (from the USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (from the UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do....

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (from the USA)
A: Aust-ri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is… Oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (from the UK)
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (from Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (from the USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-mer-i-ca which is where YOU come from.  All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (from the USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them.  You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (from the USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (from France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (from the USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.

If they did reply this way you couldn’t blame them, could you?

Near the height of my fifteen minutes of fame from Neighbours (but after I’d stopped receiving direct income from it) I remember being asked by a mob of hyperventilating fans in London “OMG, OMG what are you doing on the tube?”
“Oh, well, my helicopter is in for repairs” I replied, expecting to be teased in return.

“Right” they said nodding their heads knowingly… until one bemused admirer added “but why didn’t you take a limo instead?”

I wish.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.  

I come from a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover…

Classic Aussie talent: 

New Aussie talent: