One of the first friends I made at university was from Australia. In fact, there were two of them; one from Sydney and one from Perth. I had no idea they were Australian at first, in fact they might have been the first Australians I ever met.
They were quite nice and we immediately became friends, talking about our home countries and why were in England. Even though we hit it off, my interest in Australia was only marginally peaked after these encounters. The main effect was that I began to regard Australia as an actual place. Before, it existed as that country/continent with a famous opera house, Cate Blanchett and koala bears. Suddenly, the land down under took on a whole new life. This was a country with people, cities and good coffee. It was a bit exciting to say the least.
London is populated by Australian cafes; let’s call that my second introduction to the land down-under. Remember when I had the best latte of my life at Kaffeine? Or got a flat white at Lantana cafe? I should be thanking Australia for that.
So, thanks Australia. You’re pretty cool.
Then, I decided to continue making my way through Bill Bryson’s prolific canon with In a Sunburned Country. Now? I’m itching to jump on the next plane to Australia.
Bryson’s writing is, as usual, highly enjoyable while managing to be enchantingly informative. You can tell that he himself enjoys the country immensely. Perhaps that’s why there seems to a noticeable lack of laugh-out-loud funny remarks.
I rarely audibly laugh when reading; except when reading Bill Bryson that is. Making acerbic comments on Americans, British weather or hiking, his humor is one of the few kinds that I get; however there was virtually no point in this book when I wanted to burst into guffaws.
Bryson’s infatuation with Australia is infectious. You will find yourself planning a theoretical trip. You will begin googling the cities he goes to. You may even decide to read more books on Australia. He describes the country and conveys what it feels like to be an environment so different to what many of us are used to beautifully.
The book takes place over two trips of his to Australia—one alone and one with a friend—each of which focuses on a different aspect of the country. Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects about the country is the great disparity between the coasts and the interior. Bryson never ceases to provide the reader with new awe-inspiring facts about Australia. You will never ceased to be amazed.
Simply put, the book may not be the most hysterical of Bryson’s travelogues and I do believe that at least a minor interest in Australia is a pre-requiste for reading, but the story fantastically captures the awe that is Australia.
Have you ever been to Australia? Would you like to go?