Monday, February 20, 2012

Moving to Australia Part III: We Have Arrived

View Part I here and Part II here.

Three days. Three days in Australia is all it took for me to get bitten on the neck by a spider. How stereotypical can you get? That’s like coming to Canada and within 72 hours you're having maple syrup fed to you by a beaver (wow, that really didn't come out the way I intended). By the way, where the bite is concerned I’m not joking around. This is what my neck looks like:

The thing latched on in the middle of the night and woke me up. I have no idea what it looked like, but here’s an artist’s rendition:

Yes, I’ll admit that I’m not 100% certain there’s spiders out there who have flames on their abdomen, but you can be damn sure that if there are you don’t want to be bitten by one.

Obviously other things have happened since getting here. For instance, we’ve tried to get a home. That’s pretty much the end of the list of things we’ve done: I got bitten on the neck by a spider, and we’ve tried to find a place to live. Do you have any idea what it’s like trying to find a place near the University right when school’s coming back into session? Not fun. All the trekking around the city does give you time to make some observations though. Here’s some for your perusal:

Weather: Sydney is hot and muggy. It is not dry. All of the locals claim that this summer is different than the rest, but in actual fact it’s sunny during the day, then there’s a monsoon at 6pm. And I’m not sure that this year is actually an anomoly. Everyone we’ve spoken to who isn’t originally from Sydney agrees that it rains here way more than the locals claim. So it’s damp and hot and pretty much perfect Paul sweating weather. That said it’s fantastic when the sun is out. Eat it, northern hemisphere.

Walking: We’ve walked over 50km around town in 5 days, including 17.5km in one day. That’s what happens when you’re suddenly poor, need to find a house, and have no knowledge of the area you’re in. I’ll also refer you to my point above about sweating and note that I don’t have access to laundry services. Fortunately I brought every item of dry-fit I own, however I’ll probably have to burn them before the week is out.

Lesbians: This is purely a commentary, so don't get your knickers in a twist people. I couldn’t care less how your brain is wired for humping. But apparently the Newtown region in Sydney has more lesbians per-capita than anywhere else in the world and wow can I believe it. Not the place to open a salon. Just sayin’.

My phone: This steaming hunk of kangaroo turd is my new phone:

Look, I’m not a diva or anything but I had an iPhone. Now I have to use this echoing soup can to talk to people? It makes me sound like T-Pain.

Fridges: Rental units don’t come with fridges! What the hell! People lug their fridge around to every place they live and just cross their fingers that it fits the new apartment, I have no idea why this is the case. I can’t even hazard a guess. I am bewildered.

Our Bags: It’s probably about time for me to harken back to my first post in this series and explain why my hands were shaking. Well, it’s not the spider bite. It’s not the yard sale, the car exportation, the flight, or all the walking. No, it’s a completely avoidable thing: Our bags. You see, Erika and I decided that we were going to get bags that fit our full allotment of space and weight for the flight. Fortunately, Samsonite sells this tidy little number:

Works great. In the photo. You want the reality of what travelling with this bag is? Well here you have it:

Every time I dive into the thing it’s an expletive soaked tirade. By the way, we’re currently staying in the catholic dorm on campus. I want fresh socks and inside of ten minutes I’ve taken the auditory virginity of half the girls in the hallway. I cannot stress how much I hate this bag. And if the pure use of it wasn’t bad enough, try carrying the thing. Look at the photo one more time… there is no shoulder strap. These things hold 25kg of luggage each and you have to drag the bloody bag around by the handles. The best part is that my back is so bad that I can’t carry just one. If I try to it off-balances me and wrenches my spine 6 inches to the right, so instead I’m stuck carrying 110 lbs. of clothes and anger every time we change locations. This was particularly delightful when we moved to our current home, given that the pedestrian entrance is 250 meters from the front door! I finally settled on looping my forearms through the handles and basically running until I couldn’t carry them any further, then stopping and trying not to cry. It was the best.

So this is a) why my hands were shaking, and b) why we need to find a place as soon as humanly possible. The prospect of carrying those boulders around again when we get kicked out of here genuinely crushes my soul. But hey, I’m a positive guy right?

Take care everyone.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for clarifying the shaking hands. Based on your experience so far, I'd suggest you stay away from the water. If that's not possible, don't go very far out and absolutely don't do anything that gives you the appearance of a seal...

  3. Sorry to hear about the spider bite. It might help your back to buy two or three cheap suitcases on wheels if you are planning to stay a while.

  4. Do spider bites make you unusually pale after too?

  5. It was probably a flying fox. Otherwise known as the fanged cats with leathery wings that suck your blood and shit acid.

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