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The Oz Journals - Entry Three

 article about I come from a land down under
Well I have been here a little over a month and it still amazes me. I
saw a cockroach today as I was walking into the lobby of our building
that was just slightly smaller than your average compact Japanese
imported car. This was not a first for me, as I had come across one
before that was the size of a Volvo station wagon, but that one was on
its back wriggling its spindly legs in the air in its death throes.
What could have killed it? Another huge insect ? Perhaps a June bug the
size of Mack Truck? Insecticide? It would have to be an inordinately
large can of Raid. Who knows?

Everything seems larger here.
The sky seems bigger but with fewer clouds and more stars at night. The
place is noisy through the day with living things. Crows flap about
from palm tree to palm tree, cawing in a peculiarly human manner that
is reminiscent of a colicky infant. There are parrots and cockatoos
that fly around here the way sparrows and pigeons do at home. Imagine
going into a pet store and seeing pigeons and sparrows for sale as
pets. Now there is an idea. Those birds would seem exotic to your
average Aussie.

R. has mentioned that I ought to be wary of
spiders, as there may be many breeds capable of doing me some harm. I
ran out of the toilet last week in panic and informed her I was not
alone in there..

" It's a daddy longlegs , you wussie", she derides. " surely you have those at home?"

"Course we do. I was just checking in case your version was lethal. Better safe than sorry."

guys are fine. Don't step on them. They eat other insects . It's the
redbacks you gotta look out for. They give you a nasty bite." She
informs me as she reaches past me to close the lid of the toilet and
flush it. She looks at me. I know this look.

"I forgot !" I tell her, lying. "I had to make sure about that spider didn't I?"

I am not lying about this next bit. Get this. The toilet water spirals
down the drain in the OPPOSITE direction to ours when you flush here.
It's the truth. Ask anybody who has ever been here. Don't ask me why. I
think it may have something to do with the proximity to Antarctica.
That would be the only thing that makes sense.

The television
news has been bouncing back and forth with reports about the death of
the Pope and the tragic demise of nine young Aussies from the RAAF, who
perished when their sea king helicopter fell out of the sky and blew up
on hitting the ground in Indonesia. Amazingly, two individuals survived
this horrifying event.

They were there to lend aid to the
earthquake victims. So what is more worthy of my attention? The passing
of an antedeluvian git, who, through his influence and sheer stupidity,
probably set man's progress back at least a hundred years, which is
about as old as he was when he popped his clogs? Or the lives of nine
selfless heroes, their young lives cut short in their prime while
flying to lend aid to perfect strangers in need? The Pope, had he
lived, may himself have paid a visit to the earthquake victims of
Indonesia (the Catholic ones, anyway) but that would only be to take
what little money they had to fill his coffers and to tell them not to
use prophylactics or they will go straight to hell.

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