Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An Australian Holiday

As you, my loyal readers (all two of you--thanks so much for stopping by), may have noticed, I've been missing from the blog for awhile. Sorry for not posting more regularly recently, but life has been moving at an awfully quick pace outside the blogosphere and I've been endeavouring to keep up with it. This week though, it's all about relaxing and taking it easy on holiday.

On Sunday, which was Father's Day here in Australia (yet another difference between the USA and here. I've got to remember to wish my Dad back in the USA Happy Father's Day in June, and then tee my kids up with presents and cards for the hubby here in September. It can be very confusing at times. Anyway, back to my point...) the Handsome Australian and I bundled our children into a taxi at the very early hour of 5am and took a ride to the Melbourne Airport.

Once we arrived at the Melbourne Airport, we made our way to the Virgin Blue luggage drop off counters and checked our bags in for our flight to Brisbane, Queensland. Our time at the airport was really not that interesting except for the fact that not a single person--at the ticket counter or in subsequent security checks or at the gate for boarding asked any of us for any form of identification. I think that's the first time in a long time I've travelled on an airplane and not been asked to prove who I am and that my name matches my ticket. It was like a throw back to the 70s or the 80s or whenever it was that we didn't need our IDs all the time.

In many ways it was refreshing as everyone was totally friendly and didn't treat each of us like a criminal with something to hide (which I have to say is often the feeling you get as you travel through security in the USA). On the other hand, it was a bit disturbing because you think, "Well they let me through, who else are they letting through?" Yeah, a very interesting situation to say the least.

Nevertheless, we boarded our flight and arrived safely several hours later at the sunny Brisbane airport. Brisbane wasn't our final destination though. We stopped briefly and picked up our hire car (that's Aussie for rental car) and took a two hour drive north along the Bruce Highway to a well known Australian holiday spot along the famous Sunshine Coast called Noosa.

We've never been to Noosa before and this is only our second visit to Queensland. I've lived in Australia for 8 years now, but have done very little domestic travel in that time period. The Handsome Australian and I have made it up to Sydney and across to Adelaide and have driven through a lot of rural Victoria and we even went on a road trip to Canberra once, but that pretty much does it for my domestic travel here.

Last year, we brought our children up to Queensland just before Christmas time and we spent a week on the Gold Coast (which is a touristy beach area just south of Brisbane). During that trip and this current one, I've been confronted with the odd feeling of what it's like to be tourist in the country in which you live, but not in which you are from. Does that even make sense?

It feels odd being a tourist in Australia because we do live here, but we don't live in Queensland. There are a lot of people from overseas about the place and in my interactions with the locals, many of them assume that I've come for a holiday directly from the USA because of my accent. They are very careful about asking you though as they don't want to offend. This was my conversation with the man who runs our hotel and assisted me in checking in:

Hotel man: "Welcome to Noosa. Where have you driven from today?"

Me: "Just up from Brisbane in the car, but we had to fly into Brisbane first this morning."

HM: "So you flew into Brisbane from...?"

Me: "We flew into Brisbane from Melbourne this morning."

HM: "So are you from Melbourne?"

Me: "Yes, that is where we are from (this is the part that freaks me out because I have to say I'm from Melbourne. I don't really feel like I'm from Melbourne). We live there."

HM: "But not originally right?"

Me: "I know, you are trying to work out the accent aren't you?"

HM: "Yes, well I know it's a North American accent, I just can't tell if you are Canadian or American."

Me: "Texan actually (that's a Texas thing, we claim our state first. We can't help it, we are a proud people. Also, this tends to freak Australians out as I don't have a very typical Texan accent and most of them refuse to believe that I'm actually from there so I do love saying it for shock value. Yes, I am that easily amused.)"

HM: "How long have you been in Australia for?"

Me: "8 years now."

HM: "Have you ever visited Noosa before?"

Me: "No, we haven't."

HM: "Well you are going to love it."

And the niceties continued until all the administration of checking in was complete.

So I guess the point I'm trying to make is it's weird to feel like an international tourist again in a country where I've lived for so long and now consider to be very much my home and to be asked questions as if I am an international tourist.

So the identity crisis continues...


Crissy said...

Your blog is SO funny! I'm Australian (from Coburg) living in North Africa and I love the way you describe your experience of life in Melbourne! Your blog is a great distraction from house cleaning and thesis writing. Keep it up!

ina said...

I really enjoy your blog
Cheers from Maracaibo-Venezuela

suzinoz said...

Thanks for your comment Crissy. Glad to provide the distraction for you. Nice to know someone is reading this thing. Good luck with the thesis.

suzinoz said...

Thanks ina!

Nathalie said...

Identity Crisis...hmmm, something that I think a lot of Australians deal with. Not only do migrants coming to start a new life experience this; children of migrants who have different traditions at home yet are also Australian, feel Australian but don't always fit in. But when they go back to the "motherland" they don't fit in there either. I like to think of it as having a global identity, otherwise I'd be lost. The advantage is you can choose who you want to be when it suits :-) Play with it and enjoy it.

Annelise said...

Texans are an odd breed...the best of the States of course...but odd. :)