Australia – A Voice from Down Under (Part 1)

Three months after leaving New Zealand for my temporary stop-over in Australia I have much to tell. The things you would like to hear though may have to wait a little longer. I cannot give you definite dates for when I will leave, nor can I tell you how I am getting there. I can give you my current ideas, but just as they have changed from my first ideas, these too are likely to change until they are finalised.

So what has happened over these three months? Lots actually.

Working For Love or Money
As many or all of you are aware, my intentions upon arriving in Australia were to earn as much money as possible. That was right on track for the first week. Then God asked me to help my folks and best friend out. The money thing is not quite as profitable as I first expected. Helping out my parents’ business for four days a week is a real joy. I just don’t get paid for it, although dad has mentioned he would like to pay me something at the end of it all. This was my choice, not theirs, but it does not matter because I have total peace about it and know that my expenses to get to Argentina will be covered.

Shopping Spree
Now just because I am working without money doesn’t mean that I cannot spend it! Let me tell you how successful I have been!

Phone: Within two days of arriving in Australia I bought myself a fancy Nokia mobile phone with a camera and lots of gadgets. Of course this very “practical” idea allows me to keep everyones addresses and details in it. But the real clincher was that it works with virtually every mobile phone network in the world meaning that I could use it in Argentina. A recent discovery revealed that Argentina likes to be different. They use one of the only networks that don’t fall in the virtually every mobile phone network in the world” category!

Car: Next on my shopping list was a lovely new secondhand car. Not wanting a dud I thought I would see my best mate since he sells cars all the time. When he showed me my potential steed it was so cute I overlooked the deep cracks in the dashboard and the torn up gearshift boot. Driving off I was so proud that it didn’t worry me that the car smelled strongly of cigarette smoke. I was a little concerned though When fifth gear wouldn’t stay in. Turning the radio on eased my furrowed brow and on I drove, still thrilled at my new purchase.

As night encased me with my favourite song on the radio I didn’t mind that half of the instrument panel was in total darkness. After all that was the same half on which the instruments didn’t work so there didn’t seem to be a need to see them anyway. Fighting with the power steering as it attempted to jerk the wheel from my hands around some sharper corners did not dull my enthusiasm for such a wonderful new car either. Nope, I was thrilled to be driving it. My car was so good that even though it was leaking water I knew I wouldn’t have to check it because the temperature guage showed me it always ran cool.

It was only when I pulled up at a set of traffic lights with copious quantities of steam pouring out of the engine did I realise that my car may have a problem. It didn’t look serious though because the temperature guage was still showing it to be cool. Oh. That was when I realised that the temperature guage was the one that didn’t work. The local boat yard provided me with the 20 litres of water I needed to cool the engine and fill it up again. Some work with the spanners later stopped the leak.

Now I am driving my wonderful new secondhand car again and happy as can be. Yesssirrreee, my metallic blue 1987 Holden Astra is a wonderful car that I would recommend to anyone.

Books: After spending heaps already, I decided that there need not be an end to all of this fun. So I went out and bought myself a whole bunch of books to learn Spanish. “But you need them” I hear you say. Really? Actually, buying these books was against the advice of my private Spanish teacher and in reality I have only used one of them. So did I need them? No. Are they useful to me? Not while they sit unused. Why don’t I use them? Because the amount of learning I have to do between lessons is huge already and time is limited. But now they are “there” in case I ever do want to use them. A case of consumer-itis!

Bible: As my last gesture of purchasing, I downsized my Bible. I had a really good sized Bible for hitting people over the head with. It was the one size fits all version aimed at the “bigger is better” generation. It alone would exceed my luggage weight limit. Problem solved. I now have a little compact one that will fit nicely alongside the other bits in my hand luggage.

Healthy and Wise
So that was my spending. On material things at least. Next came healthy things. Only being in Australia for a short time I wanted to be sure I had checked out everyting that needed to be checked out and fixed everything that needed to be fixed before I left. As it turned out there was quite a bit to be done.

Teeth. They certainly are useful. I discovered how useful after a dental operation in my first week of arrival. The dentist told me that the reason food used to get caught in my tooth was because there was a hole big enough to hold all of my meal at once! I didn’t believe him until he drilled it out and I almost lost my tongue when I stuck it in the chasm that remained.

The nurse had prepared a wad of filling paste, enough for any normal patient with some left over. She didn’t understand. This was different. After two serves of paste the dentist wasn’t slowing down. The third used the last of the nurse’s wad sending her into a flurry of creating another one. At each serve of paste the dentist reached for my eyes grew wider. I understood the significance. A big hole takes three of these. I was now at four and still going strong. I thought he couldn’t possibly need any more. At five I thought it would be easier to use a cement truck. It couldn’t get more than that. It did.

Six serves and the nurse was looking worried again. I couldn’t open my eyes any wider and was worried about walking lopsided with the weight that was going into my mouth. Finally he stopped. The nurse looked more relieved than me. Perhaps seven months of loosing food in a tooth is a bit too long to wait.

More recently I was vaccinated against pretty much everything in preparation for Argentina. That involved big needles and big anticipation, waiting there until suddenly each needle was plunged into me, jamming me full of “stuff”. I am now protected from polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus and diptheria. I don’t know if it worked but my arms vouch for the effectiveness of the needles. They refused to move from my side for the whole day.

Over here there are many clinics offerring free (government funded) skin checks for skin cancer and spots. Good news for me was that I had better skin than my dad who was checked just before me. Bad news for me was that dad does not have very good skin. Good news was that the doc didn’t find anything suspicious. Bad news was that a mole has to go. Good news was that it isn’t a concern. So it was good news overall.

Next, after years of abusive eating I thought it wise to check and see if my body was mad at me for doing so. So I went to see a dietician. Now I can only eat rice, potato and meat. Something called an elimination diet. If my body hates me then this will show it up. Anything to do with food that affects my body shows up on this progressive diet that slowly reintroduces all the different types of foods. I am hoping this will restore the symbiosis between my body and me. For now I am in this for the long haul.