27.09.2010

You might be a big fish in a little pond

I had my expectations for Australia and Perth as everybody else. Home & Away, Bondi Beach, surfing, Crocodile Dundee, Steve Irwin, kangaroos, the outback and "shrimps on the barbie". I can feel this atmosphere here and it seems really nice for traveling, a holiday, but for living you get another perspective of things.

Did you know that almost all of Europe could fit the size of Australia (if you exclude the russian part of it). It's enormously big with a lot of uninhabited and dry land. Perth is the absolute most remote city in the world, over 2000km to the nearest city, Adelaide, or Bali in Indonesia 3000km. Perth reminds me a little bit of countryside towns in Norway; billy-boy racers, farmers, little to do, concerns about alcohol and drugs. That's just how it is unfortunately. 

But, I've experienced that Perth and Australia is more affected by drug and alcohol issues than back home. In this country, it's rare if you havent tried drugs. In Norway it's some kind of rare if you have, especially in small cities. Marihuana smoking and taking pills for partying doesn't float my boat, but I've seen lots of it when I've been traveling. In Australia, it seems normal for residents at young age to try it out. For elder teenagers, it seems like a natural part of partying or having fun, or just hang out with friends.

Alcohol is a big consumption by different people, but the indigenous people seems to suffer more from it (as in most countries. I also experienced this when I lived in Thailand) as I feel they're juxtaposed by the community and they drown their sorrows in alcohol. I don't see many aboriginals work or study, but they who do are good ideals. I get the feeling that they're still bitter about Europeans taking over their land for over 200 years ago, and what they really want to do is going back to their natural existence. But maybe that's just my perception when I never see them smile or live in a nice tidy house. 
Otherwise, they got liquor stores at numerous corners (even with drive-in), Sunday Sessions (drink early, instead of late, at Sunday so you're fit to go on work at Monday) and lots of alcohol promotions at TV and around. But, they have a pretty strict procedures about alcohol serving. At clubs, guards interrogate people before they enter, how many drinks you've had, where you've been and so on. If they see you had too much, they kick you out for an hour, suggesting air and something to eat. On posters you can even see suggestions on how much you should drink. One of my friends were even pursued by a guard for an hour inside a club, because the guard said he should watch him not drink for an hour. My friend thought he made a joke, since that could never happen back home.
To justify any country by the thoughts of alcohol is impossible. And the matter of alcohol got so many sides it's hard to debate. But, I just wish at some points, some people could choose other ways than alcohol, since it's often a springboard or an explanation to why feuds, family trouble and crime occurs. Unfortunately, some people aren't aware that they should or could make this choice. I've felt this feeling so many times when I've been traveling around watching indigenous people being juxtaposed by either government or westerns taking their land. Their culture are being changed by the pressure and not to the better or more richer.

Crime relates to drugs and alcohol. At night when it's dark, by that I mean from 7pm and out, I don't see people outside their houses. I'm used to see people in the streets for walking, exercising, talking and having fun at these times. There's actually NONE outside. And few houses use the outdoor lights, making every house a little bit creepy. They look like their left. Is this an issue related to crime? At Curtin University they even have their own security strolling the border of campus to make sure people are safe. I mean, is it unsafe to walk in streets at night? I read by newspapers that crime level is high. Robberies and stab projections. 

In every house we got high big fences to hide out the neighbours, or maybe it's for house robbers. Anyway, it's just weird looking at a small square garden, locked in by four walls and this is where you can relax in your fake nature. I'm used to a nice big garden with bushes as small fences, allowing the neighbours to get to know you, become friends. It's just obscure to me, the only thing we miss is a moat!

I don't feel safer by having high fences or security guards strobing the streets, I just get more worried of the facts that they are needed.


This is for me a big culture change. I've planned a long time to come here, and I really like staying here. I'm gonna be here for 1,5 year and every day is getting better than the other. People are so nice, talking kindly to you and are interested in the simple human being. My expectations don't fail to satisfy at all, cause I look at things objectively, but it's just different. It's just different...

Photo by K

4 kommentarer:

  1. Hei Kjetil, her tok du Perth på kornet, gitt. Har aldri kunne forklare det helt, men dette gav mye mening! Har lurt på om det bare var meg som tenkte at det er litt crazy her, men det er altså ikke bare meg.. Bare litt annerledes enn hva man hadde tenkt seg på en måte. Helt enig.

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  2. Kjempe innlegg Kjetil! Nesten like bra som http://rekerpaagrillen.blogspot.com/

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  3. Yes! kongeblogg. Reker eier kjetta lizzm!

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  4. Hei Kjetil,
    Jeg har bodd i Pert i nesten ti år nå og jeg gleder meg altid til når jeg kan komme meg bort herfra og bestøke den videre verden som ligger nordover.
    Spesiellt så synes jeg det er gøy å reise rundt i Kina - spesiellt å reise med tog. Se Kine tog filmen min her:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJG7DPPM-3A
    Til lykke med WA screen awards!!

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