While the interior thirsts for rain, the northeast and north coasts get more than enough rain, as much as two hundred inches a year.
Much of the wildlife of Australia is found nowhere else in the world the platypus, the wombat, the koala, and the kangaroo. Speaking of the koala bear, the advertising symbol of Qantas Airlines since the mid-1950s, the bear has had some bad press. The minister for tourism called the cuddly living toys flea-ridden, rotten little things. If picked up, he said, it piddles on you; it stinks and it scratches. Koala bear defenders quickly leaped to their defense. A newspaper headline read, Minister Mocks Marsupial, and pointed out that the little animal helps lure a million tourists to Australia each year. Another koala bear champion conceded that since koalas eat eucalyptus leaves exclusively they do tend to have bad breath. Their calm, sluggish nature may result from the oil of eucalyptus leaves, which breaks down during digestion into a muscle-relaxing-drug in other words the koala is perpetually stoned.
Rail travel buffs can enjoy a twenty-five-hundred-mile ride between Sydney and Perth, a ride aboard a first-class train that is billed as one of the great rail journeys of the world.
Typical Australians, usually of English or Irish stock, regard themselves as egalitarians and down to earth. They own property, think of themselves as middle-class and are politically conservative. The men emphasize masculinity, sports and somehow equate copius beer drinking with these traits. Male friendships tend to be stronger than friendships between the sexes. They are generally fun-loving, tolerant and have a strong sense of justice. They take the side of the underdog, even to the point of believing authority is always wrong. Even so, the typical Australian is well aware of his or her social station but enjoys putting down the person who has climbed too high.
The language is English, the pronunciation Australian or strine. bonzer blok is a nice chap. To yabber is to chatter. chappie is slightly perjorative term for a male. Fair dinkum can mean oh, really?, honest or that’s the truth.
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