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Andy’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 12 Jul 2006

Location: Perth, Australia

MapDONE WITH THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD:
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I’ve left the land of Oz. I had a blast! It was the right place to start my travels - the most expensive and the least taxing. The whole country seems designed for and by backpackers. I know of no other country where they cater so much towards ‘our kind’, a thought that was hammered home by a 10 foot advert for squeezable Vegemite with the tagline “Squeeze one into your backpack!”

Three things i will miss about Oz:

1) Learning about Aboriginal culture. As my masters thesis partly revolved around the subject of different cultures inhabiting the ‘international’ this was always bound to be high on my list.

2) The sheer amount of backpackers you meet! From every race, colour, creed and nationality. though there are an awful lot of Brits, Swedes and Canadians.

3) The ease of travelling. No language barrier, wel worn trails and generally a safe environment.

Three things i won’t miss about Oz:

1) Number one is undoubtedly the conservative and prejudicial nature of much of the population outside the large urban capital centres. Racism, homophobia, sexism are all endemic. This is not to argue Britain and other countries are not susceptible to such regressive tendencies, but in Britain, for better or worse these traits are not on the surface.

I could name numerous examples i encountered where people referred to aboriginal people as ‘darkies’, collectively disparaging them as thieves and asking me why i wanted to go into the centre of the country where “they are everywhere” as if some sort of plague. All this in crowded yet quiet areas. No one spoke up.

2) Paradoxicaly the ease of travelling in the country. Its nice to have a challenege now and again, be it having to communicate through ad hoc sign language (don’t ask how i’ve been inquiring where the toilet is - lets just say my thighs have been getting a workout with all the squats!) or deciphering how to get to a destination that involves enough changes that one needs a calculator to work out the equation.

3) The type of backpacker who will only eat steak and chips and treads all over a foreign culture like a rubbish filled drain. You all know the type

So that was my Oz adventure. Stay tuned for Asian antics galore.