A few months ago when I had just sent my university application, I suddenly realized that I knew nothing/zip/nada about Australia. I tried to redeem myself, but a quick Google search revealed that most people aren’t too interested in things like Australian history or politics – there is, however, a huge interest in Crazy Ways To Die In Australia. Some of my personal favorites include:
- Being eaten by a saltwater crocodile
- Being eaten by a shark
- Being eaten by killer mosquitoes
- Being eaten by your friends if/when lost in the bush without food or water over an extended period of time
To hell with it, I thought, and decided to postpone reading up on Australian history. Instead I watched hours upon hours of the wildly entertaining reality show Bondi Rescue online. I immediately added another likely cause of death to my list:
- Being on Bondi beach. DEATH TRAP.
Here’s the thing: I’m not a very fearful person. I love rollercoasters, I’ll gladly jump off planes and cliffs, one of my favorite hobbies is to watch scary movies in the dark by myself. I don’t worry about plane crashes, snakes, serial killers. But all of a sudden I was introduced to something much more menacing… rip currents. I’ve never been anywhere where rip currents are common. Quite frankly, I’ve never had to offer them a thought.
The thing that freaked me out after my 72-hour Bondi Rescue marathon was that sometimes people drown in Australia. And not just tourists who literally don’t know how to swim. Yes, yes, I know – people drown everywhere. But it became suddenly very clear to me that even I – immortal, invincible I – could drown in Australia. I started obsessing about rip currents (not to mention sandbanks! Spinal injuries, anyone?) Finally my once-so-patient friends said to me, Enough with this! You will not drown nor break your neck in Australia. Get over it.
So I did.
Mostly because the alternative (being scared of beaches) would kinda put a damper on my Australian adventure.
I have to say, Bondi Rescue – you really accomplished what you set out to do. If it’s one thing you wanted to teach me it was the importance of swimming between the flags. You will not find me venturing outside of the flags. Mission accomplished; my hat’s off to you.
In other news, here’s an actual way someone nearly died in Australia:
”(17 September 2000, Queensland, Australia) Six young men and women with no sailing experience were rescued from an stolen luxury yacht after drifting into a pier only 400 metres from its mooring. They had intended to sail around the world, and had packed all the essentials; 60 cans of baked beans, 1000 condoms, some liquor and cola and a library book on navigating by the stars. Lucky for them they were caught, as police report that “they had no fresh water and no food other than baked beans.” The would-be sailors have been charged with unlawful use of a vessel. We can all be glad that at least with 1000 condoms, they weren’t planning to breed.”