Neil Beggs traveled to Australia in May-July, 2006.

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He sent some notes back to his folks and friends.

May 11th

Hey! Just giving you all an update. I'm fine, so is everyone else. that was my half-assed update. Hope you liked it! ;) so anyway, have made some observations about differences in culture that I probably should have known before I came. Such as, cigarrettes cost 10.50 and have a large picture of someone's cancer-ridden mouth on the back AND front of the pack. The picture really is quite disturbing, and I can so why so few people smoke out here.

Also they have different birds (yes I knew that). I'm just saying this because I didn't think about all this entails. They all sound so weird....oh well, there are Cockatoos just flying around free, too....that one really messed with me, because I had no Idea they traveled in packs. The first time you see a pack of wild Cockatoos and hear that screach they all have, you know you're not in kansas (or colorado...same difference) anymore.

yeah...so the first day I was out here I saw the the largest spider I've ever seen, and I thought to myself, "oh, good. I'm gonna be mauled and eaten by Australian Spiders". I haven't seen one since, but that's probably because he knew I saw him, and he is waiting for me to put my guard down before he attacks. I feel his eyes.... There was also a spider that I distinctly saw jumping. I think that it should be illegal for spiders to behave like this. Jumping spiders should be banned from evolution. It's quite possibly the single scariest idea ever. not that I'm scared of spiders. I just don't think they should jump. anyway, I guess my point is that I enjoy the natural beauty out here when it isn't plotting to kill me.


Neil in Sydney

One of the main differences I've noticed is the lack of gas stations (or "petrol stations" as the locals say) and cars. They actually use their public transit, which is hard for an American to grasp, because we consume over half the world's oil and people on the buses are usually the ones that can't afford a car or lost their licence (no offense, Rory). But Alicia (my cousin, for those who don't know her) tells me that there are, like, 5 gas stations in all of the A.C.T. (Canberra....Australian Capital Territory) and Canberra is about the size of Colorado Springs, so we aren't talking about a really small town. The lack of gas stations also marks a lack of convenience stores, which of course, marks a lack of crappy burritos to eat at 3 in the morning. so, The Australians need buy more oil barrels so I can get diarhea. (just a hint of irony)

Anyway, I always try to have someone with me when I'm buying something because I still have problems with the accents and idioms. You'd think it wouldn't be a problem, and basically it wouldn't be if they used the idioms and accents seperately, but seeing as how I'm the one visiting, I can't really complain about their accents. That would make me sound too american, and we all know how much people love Americans in this world. Even so, they understand me just fine, which is why this is kinda frusterating. There has been plenty of Culture leakage from America to Australia, but you would have to come here to understand how little the opposite is true. A good example of this is the Australian football. It took me hours of just staring at the television just to understand what hey had to do to score, let alone any of the rules. Actually I understand it minimally now. It's kinda like what would happen if American football and Rugby threw up on Soccer and soccer got pissed off and tried to stab them both in the leg.

Well, there is more but this letter is already large enough, so I luvya, and I'll try to write soon

luvyabye neil