I am trying so hard to think positively down here, to appreciate what’s around me, but the Aussies make it pretty hard because they do some completely ridiculous things.
Having recently moved, I’m without Internet service at home for a bit til we figure which company will rob us the least. Cause down here, you can’t just get simple, unlimited service for like 40 bucks a month. No, here, you sign contracts for everything, including meted out Internet service. The best deal around is 50 gigs for 50 bucks (25 gigs during normal hours, and 25 gigs during hours in which only junkies are awake), which is really 25 gigs for 50 bucks, with a minimum one-year contract. Oh, and if you break said contract, you’re still liable for the monthly cost! Out-freakin‘-rageous. Same goes for mobile phones and land lines. But mobiles are a two-year minimum, so if you exit early, you could only WISH for a measly $150 cancellation fee like in the States. No, you exit early, want to change providers or leave the country, you’re liable for the whole schebang. Brilliant. For big biz.
Here’s more bang-your-head-against-the-wall stupidity:
- Some public places have a little wall-mounted air conditioning unit that is trying furiously to keep the place a nice, dehumidified 70 degrees…but the same places have no front doors in summer…it’s all alfresco, all the time. Ohhhhhkayyyyyyyyyyy.
- Some have air conditioning, but if the sun isn’t shining, they don’t put it on, despite the fact that it’s summer and there’s 98% humidity. Go figure.
- The country is crying out for “skilled workers” aka, educated professionals. Yet they still give 15- and 16-year-olds the choice to drop out and work then, or continue to grade 12. Tell me, how many 15-year-olds are going to choose school over the chance to quit?
- There’s an epidemic rate of young, single mothers. Yet the government pays about $5,000 a baby, and provides welfare, medical coverage, and unemployment. Hmmm.
- Cursing, boobs, and gore are fair game for public TV here…they don’t hold the sex back for cable payers only. Check out Underbelly, which is like The Sopranos for Aussies, but on public TV. We’re talking f-bombs, killings, and T&A from 8:30pm. And they wonder why their teens are so ill-bred, so aggressive, so promiscuous, so intoxicated, so violent, so offensive.
- They pay virtually everything weekly. WEEKLY! No wonder why they don’t have time to legislate the pregnant teens better. Everyone’s too busy paying their bills. Can you imagine paying your mortgage, utilities, rent, phones, Internet, what-have-you…every. Bloody. Week?
- The concept of “The customer is always right” does not exist here. Want something on the menu, but with a slight variation (like can I get that gyro meat on a salad?)? The answer is a clear and definite NO. They don’t customize and they don’t improvise. Or is that improvize and customise? Geez.
- As if grams, kilos, milliliters, and metric bullshit isn’t complicated enough, the Aussies don’t use their conventions consistently. In print, some refer to height measurements in centimeters, others in feet and inches. And telephone numbers are all over the map. Sometimes they appear as 0411112222, sometimes 04 1111 2222, sometimes 0411 112 222, and believe it or not, there are still different variations I’ve seen. It’s completely nuts.
But, again, the one thing I can give this big, wild island is the preponderance of excellent, inexpensive wine and champagne. So when all of the above starts to really get to me, we scrape our two-dollar coins together and buy a bottle for around $5.99, $6.99, and then everything seems juuuuuuuuuustfiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine for a time.