Monday, February 4, 2008
Friends keep saying to me, "I can't believe you're moving to a third world country for a year." Not only am I moving to a third world country, I'm traveling in one right now. That's right, here's a little known fact: Australia is a third world country. You're probably saying to yourself right now, "That's not true, Ben. Australia is definitely a first world nation." Well, that's what I thought too until I got here yesterday. Two points of evidence to back my case:
1. When I landed yesterday it was downpouring. My friend Emma who picked me up at the airport told me straight away, "Sydney doesn't do well in the rain." Doesn't do well in the rain? That's an understatement. The streets here are flooded and I'm pretty convinced there is no sewer system in Australia. Mom & Dad, skip ahead to Point #2. On top of that, Emma's car doesn't exactly defrost. Her windows (the front and back windshield, driver window and back passenger windows--my window is a garbage bag) were completely foggy. I could barely see five feet in front of us as we jumped onto the highway. As we drove to Emma's place she pointed out where Sydney was...in theory. The tallest building I actually saw was three stories high.
2. There's no high speed internet here! I feel like I'm in fourth grade dialing-up Prodigy in Brad Shron's basement. I've tried to check my email multiple times but was told the internet is very tempermental here. Here? As in the whole country? Well, it turns out yes. I'm now typing, thanks to jet lag, at 5AM and have already been kicked off twice. At least in'Nam--an official third world country-- they have high speed wireless internet.
A few quick additional thoughts:
During my six hour layover in Hong Kong I decided to get some reading done. The gate areas were a little busy so I went to the quietest, most comfortable place in the whole airport...a men's bathroom stall in an empty terminal (No, Dad, there was no Idaho Senator waiting in there). While reading a chapter I heard someone come into the bathroom and begin to hum. The humming continued and continued. Clearly disturbing my reading time, I put the book away, powdered myself with Gold Bond (I had been traveling for over twenty hours at this point and wanted to feel fresh) and went to the sink. Waiting for me there was a Hong Kong International Airport Custodian....who apparently works part-time as a bathroom attendant. He stood over me as I washed my hands and handed me a paper towel. "Hi, how are you? Where you from?" he asked me as he grabbed my semi-dry hand and shook it. "I'm from New Jersey," I said thinking I had American written all over me with my LA cap on. He stared at me with a blank expression. Clearly he had never heard of heaven. "I'm from New York," I corrected myself. "Oh, America!" He smiled from ear to ear and shook my hand even tighter up and down...and then I think offered to convert money for me. The point is, if all Asians are this nice to me--willing to shake my hand after reading a couple chapters in the bathroom--I'm gonna be in pretty good shape.
I'll wrap up this entry with a congratulations to all my friends who are New York Giants fans. I can't believe Eli actually delivered. Unbelievable. Although technically I didn't see the game I did share in the most exciting part of it. Upon arriving at Emma's place I called my parents. I told them I was safe and sound and asked who won the Super Bowl. This is a word for word transciption of what happened. Dad: "The game isn't over. The Giants were winning but the Patriots just came back. The Giants though are pretty close to the Patriot's endzone with under a minute left. Ohhhhh!!! The Giants scored a touchdown!" CLICK. My Dad hung up on me. I guess he's not missing me that much.
P.S. My goal is to attach a picture to every blog entry I write. However, please refer to the lack of internet in the early paragraph which makes it impossible to hook up my laptop. Oh, one other problem: I bought the wrong adapter at the Apple Store for my laptop. I blame Jamie Shapiro for this. Shaps, you had one responsibility: help me get an adapter. You failed me. You failed me.