Thursday, 5 March 2015

Dear Australia

Dear Australia,

I recently wrote a letter to the United States of America but I’ve just realised that I haven’t been in touch with Australia for ages. I last came to the big island down under way back in 2005; that’s ten years ago.

Anyway, how are you all doing down there?

Are you still trying to play cricket?

And rugby?

You’ve got a long way to go to reach the high standards of England, but I truly hope you keep trying. Beating Australia at sport is sweeter when you really try.

During my last visit, I tried my best not to upset you guys but I may have failed. It was quite badly timed on my part because England had just won the Ashes again and I found it difficult not to gloat. We stopped off in Hong Kong on the way to Australia and when I encountered a bunch of Ozzies in a lift in the hotel, I simply couldn’t resist mentioning cricket.

“My God! You’re a bladdy POM!!” said one woman, before her husband tried to make excuses for your cricket team’s total ineptitude with pathetic statements like “We let you win.”

This brings me nicely to my first point:

Why on earth do you call us “Poms”?

I have done some research on this but it seems that the origin of the word has drifted out to the ethers of time. Some people say that “POM” is an acronym for “Prisoner of (Her) Majesty”. say that it is short for pomegranate because, apparently, our pale skin colour matches that of a pomegranate when exposed to the sun down there. I can vouch that this might be a possibility as its damned hot on your side of the world.

Now I don’t mind being called a Pom to be honest. I have looked up some derogatory terms for Australians but because each and every one of you is a close friend, I won’t stoop to such depths of name calling.

I’ll just refer to you as Ozzies.

The one thing I like about you guys is that we share a similar sense of humour. I know that I can chat with an Ozzy and exchange meaningful banter without any offense. On the contrary, I think we both thrive on it.

Because we’re all mates together, I have a confession to make. I really worry about you guys.

When I was there, I discovered that you share your immense country with the most poisonous monsters on the entire planet.

How did that happen?

When I was there, I was on constant red alert for snakes and spiders. My first day on a beach in Port Douglas was marred by the fear of a crocodile racing out of the sea to grab my leg and drag me beneath the waves. I stepped back from the sea, watching the beautiful sunrise with half my mind on the undergrowth in case an eight-legged freak leapt up and sank its toxic fangs into my arse.

One thing is for sure, I didn’t walk into the sea – that would have been suicidal. The thought of encountering a box jellyfish, irukandji or blue ringed octopus put paid to any ideas of sampling the delights of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef.

I discovered that even the bloody platypus is venomous!

I did get the chance to cuddle a koala though. What a lovely creature that is. The one I held was very clingy, which made it awkward for me to smile, as my photo was taken, mainly because the creature smelled as if it had just had a monstrous shit.

Koala: "You stink as well, mate!"

Still, I can’t complain.

I did visit some great places; Port Douglas, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney with lots of great places between Brisbane and Sydney, including Hunter Valley where you tried your best to get me drunk on your fabulous wine.

I even tried Vegemite, or as I like to call it, Marmite substitute. Next time I’m Down Under, I’ll bring some Marmite with me, just for you guys to try. I bet you don’t like it.

I particularly loved Sydney, despite scarying myself shitless climbing the giant coat hanger dangling over the harbour. Even that was amusing. The banter between the Brits and the Ozzie guide was, as you would expect, light-hearted and funny. The two American’s in our climbing group didn’t get the sense of humour, especially when the Ozzie guide addressed the group saying:

“So we have a fairly mixed bag of people; four ‘Stralians, four Poms, two from Japan and two Americans. Sorry about the Americans, guys.”

The Americans laughed but then frowned because they simply didn’t get the humour. I heard one of them say:

“Did he just insult us? And what’s a Pom?”

I would have explained but I was absolutely shitting myself.

I should have listened to the advice of the cashier at the start.

“I’m scared of heights,” I said.

“Well leave your fear on the ground,” she said with a smile.

One other thing; whenever I go to America, I’m often asked whether I am Australian.. I certainly don’t sound like an Ozzy.  You’ll never hear me referring to a dunny or a didgeridoo and the words “Fair Dinkum” will only ever cross my lips when I am trying a poor impersonation of you guys.

Anyway, I miss you guys – your beer, the banter, the weather, the beaches, the strange town names (Bong Bong, Humpybong, Jimcumbilly, Mount Buggery, Poowong to name but a few). And I love your openness and honesty.

One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was how an Australian steward on a QANTAS flight dealt with a stupid passenger. I’ve seen two passengers do the same stupid thing, i.e. stand up to get something out of the overhead locker when the plane was about to race down the runway to take off. The first was on a Cathay Pacific flight; the second, as I mentioned above, was on a QANTAS flight.

On the Cathay flight, the lovely stewardess, still strapped in the seat, shouted in the nicest possible way:

“Sir, sir – excuse me sir. Please sit down! We are about to take off.”

The result was that the fool ignored her and almost brained himself when the aircraft accelerated.

On the QANTAS flight it was a different story.

The steward, a typical Ozzy bloke, told it as it was, screaming at the top of his voice:


The idiot sat down immediately. We were sitting right next to the steward and chuckled.

“STREWTH!” he said, still angry. “WHAT A PHARRKING MORON!!”

I loved that.

Anyway, I hope to see you all soon, when I can claw enough money (and patience) for the lengthy flight to the other side of the world. We have a few other places to visit first, but one day I’ll be back, hopefully when we’ve just kicked your arses at cricket again.

In the meantime, here are a few photos I took of Sydney:

And finally,  here’s a song for you:

I bet you've never heard THAT before.

Yours sincerely,

Plastic Mancunian


Elephant's Child said...

Always happy to get a musical education from you.
Another explanation for the term Pom is that it is rhyming slang (using that fruit again) for immigrant. We did get rather a lot of ten pound poms. Some of whom grew to love us.
And our bitey beasts aren't that bad. Really they aren't.

River said...

It's pronounced Ozzies, but spelled Aussies. I've tried Marmite and you're right, I don't like it. It used to be sold in supermarkets here, but I haven't seen it for a while.
Love the song and of course I've heard it.

DrB said...

Oh Mr PM,
Please stop by Melbourne, if you ever set foot downunder and don't forget the red centre Uluru, no crocodiles or sharks at both places.
I will bring you to a nice vietnamese restaurant to try some roos and crocs.
Of course, you have to visit Singapore to break your long flight.

DrB said...

BTW, I like both vegemite and Marmite on toast with avocado or eggs, they taste similar to me. But I love Bovril, so not surprised if I come down with mad cow disease in 10 or 20 years.

JahTeh said...

Good Lord, Plasman, it's Aussie.
And I'm surprised the country was ever colonized, everything wants to eat humans, there's not a plant nor bug that doesn't want to sting or stab us let alone the things that walk or crawl. Almost the number one poisonous thing in the sea is the Box Jellyfish and we have so many we could be accused of breeding biowarfare weapons.

I applaud your climbing of the Bridge because nothing in this world would get me up there.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

To be honest, I didn't actually see any biting or stinging monsters.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I actually saw some vegemite in a supermarket here. I much prefer marmite though. It's one of those things you either love or hate.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi DrB,

I would love to come to Melbourne. We have an Australian friend from there (he's lived in London for years so really he's a Plastic Pom).

I've eaten roo and croc before. I wasn't too keen on roo but I would try it again.

And I've been to Singapore twice - it's a great place.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi again DrB,

I love marmite on toast with eggs too. In fact, I've just had it for breakfast.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi JT,

Box jellyfish fill me with dread - just the thought of them.

Rest assured I will never ever ever climb the bridge again.




Jackie K said...

We Aussies have found the solution to living with all the dangerous fauna: We stick to our cities and suburbs and don't go anywhere near the bush!
Be sure to visit Melbourne next time PM, you could include a photo of...our arts centre spire? A tram?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

Avoid the bush at all costs, then I guess is your advice.

Are you sure that poisonous monsters don't make it into Melbourne?




H2B said...

Pandora Behr said...

I really don't think you should be talking about cricket at the moment PM...what with the World Cup and all - or should I not mention the war?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Dearest DrB and Pand,

That'all teach me!!

You can off people you know (and entire nations!!).