Coming Second

We’re convinced that Australians and Americans are the same thing – sure their accents are a bit different, and their countries are in different hemispheres, but there are waaaay too many similarities to them. Remember I wrote that nobody ever remembers who came second. Well, that isn’t quite true.

In the table of “Countries clearing most native rainforest”, Australia comes second, behind Brazil. So this nice eco-warrior earth-mother image that Australia shows off, isn’t really true – they’re bulldozing the countryside faster than any developed country in the world.

And in the “World Obesity Tables”, we were surprised to see that Australia came second too, behind America. Now, when I heard that America was the most obese country in the world, I wasn’t at all surprised – we’ve all read the stories of people being trapped on toilet seats by their weight, and airlines charging obese people for two seats. But Australia – that’s the home of Bondi beach, healthy BBQs and Kylie Minogue. That image doesn’t go with Australians being obese. But since we got here we can believe it. It’s not through eating too much food – which is America’s problem – it mainly seems to be because Australians drink beer like Sarah drinks tea – gallons of it from the moment they wake up in the morning. Their first reaction to anything is “Strewth – chuck us a stubbie” (A ‘stubbie’ being a can of beer, which looks the same size as a normal Coke can, but seems to only last 20 seconds in an Aussies hand).

And Queensland seems more like America than anywhere in Australia – arriving in the Gold Coast from New South Wales was like arriving in Las Vegas. The road went from a normal two lane road into an 8-lane motorway (complete with ‘car pool’ lanes), and having seen one McDonalds in 800 kilometres, we then saw 8 in the next 20 kilometres. And given that Queensland is where all the rainforest is (or was) they must be the ones driving the bulldozers through it.