Sunday, December 28, 2008

One Thousand happy customers

It's nearly the end of 2008. Time really flies. And so have I.

I started this blog on 27 September, after my family and I landed in Australia. We landed here on 18 September, with 6 large suitcases and a credit card loaded with some of the funds that resulted from the sale of our house in Namibia. (Or “Nambaboonia”, as I lovingly refer to it at times...)

In the meanwhile, two of my three vehicles in Namibia have been sold. The third one is still standing with a Used Car salesman in Windhoek. (Or is that useless...?)

Fortunately we had enough funds to survive the first few weeks, and after I started working, we have never really had problems with money. We are renting a house, and at the end of January we will be moving to another house closer to the school, and closer to the CBD.

I have not yet considered buying a house, as I first want to apply for Permanent Residence. At the moment I am here on a so-called 457 working visa, which means that as long as I still have my job, we can stay here for four years.

I want to stay for longer than that, and intend to become a citizen of this great country. At the moment I am still a supporter of the Springboks and the Proteas, but once I am an official citizen, I wil reconsider this issue.

Anyway, that was just some background information for all the new faces that I see hanging around here.

What I actually wanted to say was that within 3 months, I already have reached a visitors total of 1000. Where all these people come from, and how they got here, I don’t know. But, I wish you all a wonderful 2009.

Hopefully you’ll start to send me money for every time you read posts here. Won’t that be great?

Thanks for checking out my site and for reading all my nonsense.

As they say Down Under: “See ya later”...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why I hate public toilets

One of the things I hate the most in life is to go to a public toilet. Going for "Number one" is fine (for a man), but that "number two" visit is awful.

At work we share three cubicles next to each other. Great.

When you have to occupy this vile enemy territory, the first thing you do is to check out the surrounding environment. Cubicle in the middle is the worst - it is surrounded by other cubicles. Cubicle number three is next to the wall urinals - people can see your feet from that side. Number one is against the wall on the other side of the "middle throne" - best option by far.

The worst possible scenario is to be forced to go to do a number two at cubicle number two (the one in the middle), with occupants already inside the others, surrounding you like the Arab countries surround Israel.

You walk in, and the next scenario unfolds. Check out the toilet seat. Some asshole might have left it all nice and wet after his last visit. Yep, it happens. All too often. So, even before undoing your pants, you grab toilet paper and wipe off that rim. (That way you also confirm that toilet paper is indeed available in this cubicle.)

The other problem that you might encounter at this stage, is the effect of the aromatic distribution of air in this cubicle. Even though it has bottom and top exits for air, the lovely aroma of the previous customer is still attacking your nostrils with a violence that only a wild animal can understand.

You can now finally start to undress and flop down on the throne.

Now, if the cubicles all had walls that went from floor to ceiling, this would have improved matters. But they don't.

So, everything you do is audible to the guy next door, and vice versa. They can see your feet, and you can see theirs. But this is the least of your problems. It's nothing compared to all the sounds - a cacophonic orchestration of the most violent kind. Why they cannot just give us floor to ceiling walls, I don't know. Maybe it's just me, but man I hate listening to other people do Number Two, and even worse - I hate the fact that they can hear me!

Some noises are just plain unavoidable at times. Your body has some basic functions, and it has to do what it has to do, if you know what I mean? But some people make the weirdest noises while they're doing it. I've heard some strange groaning noises coming from the cubicle next door. Now, it's one thing when your body makes some noises due to "waste products leaving the treatment plant". But you should be able to keep your mouth shut under all circumstances.


Yikes, by this time I pray hard for the guy next door. There must be something really wrong there. I feel embarrassed for his part. Like I said, maybe it's just me, but this is a private matter and I don't want to hear about it, and I definitely wouldn't want you to hear me doing those groans.

Even finishing off is an embarrassment. If the guy next door hears you rolling down 60 meters of toilet paper, he thinks you're destroying the environment. Especially during these natural down-to-earth private moments - you're supposed to think about the planet, you're not supposed to be viciously consuming the last tree from the Amazon.

Finally, everything is back in place, the shirt is tucked in and the belt is tightened. Flush and go - try to exit while no one else is exiting at the same time. You do not want to find out that it was your boss groaning like that next door. I don't want to know who it was, and I sure as hell don't want him to know who I was.

Now comes the hand-washing. (For those of us who do it.) After washing your hands, you normally have two options of drying them: the wall-mounted hairdryer, or paper towels. Everybody knows that these stupid hairdryers never work. They always stop long before your hands are dry, and once you decide that your hands are dry, they keep on running for another two minutes. This never fails.

At least the dryer makes enough noise to drown out the groaning (and other background noises) in the area.

I hate public toilets.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lets go to the beach

Sunday was one of those lazy days. Or so I thought, earlier during the day. We slept late, and decided to skip church for a change. I was just getting relaxed in front of the TV, watching re-runs of Dharma and Greg, when the wife decided that we needed to "do something".

This comes from the Branders-bloodline. They cannot sit still, they always need to "do something". It is utterly sinful to spend your day reading a book or watching TV, or - heavens forbid - sitting in front of the laptop all day, blogging.

But this is why I married this lovely thing - she's got a liveliness that I love. And all my children inherited that property. They like being busy, doing physical stuff. If I didn't marry Celesti, I would probably have ended up sitting in a dark room all day watching TV with my laptop on my lap and the fridge within arm's length.

So, we started getting ready to "do something". But I had to decide what the "something" was. There were a few options: go to a park, have a barbie or picnic, or go the beach and do the same.

After getting everything packed, and everyone covered in sunscreen, we headed to the beach in our trusty "Province blue" Commodore. But we first had to stop at IGA to get a chicken.

We stop at the beach, and select a nice undercover bench and table next to the slides. Anica runs like a wild animal, and climbs all over the play pen screaming. We meet another South African couple who have baby twins and also came here to have a picnic.

The wind is blowing, and we try to finish our chicken before it blows away. The magpies are watching us for crumbs. I spot some large cockatiels in the tree just above us. The birds here are massive, I am always surprised by their size:

There are signs around the park that say that this is an alcohol-free area. This is because the young hoons made life really unpleasant, and now alcohol has been banned from family-friendly areas like this one. While we were sitting in the park area, two cops came by on blue police quad bikes. (Or “squad bikes”, as my old CEO Dokta Vaino Shivute used to say). They check everyone, and inspect the premises to see if anyone is bending the rules.

A while later, however, this did not stop a guy with a pesky dog to sit and sip his beer on the grass. This guy was wearing a t-shirt with the large words “fuck terrorist” on it. Not my kind of guy, especially in a family setting. Luckily he had only his one beer, and then took his dog and his fat wife (or “partner”, probably?) and left. Eish, you get weird people in the world...

The wind was blowing like crazy. There is no way I would want to swim in weather like this.

But this did not stop my children. After we devoured the chicken, we headed down to the beach, with the wind howling around our heads.

Celesti and Anica tried to hide behind a towel while I kept an eye over the two crazy kids in the water.

When I finally managed to get Michael out of the water, we headed back home - tired, full of sand, and feeling good.

What a lekka day. Must do it again some time.