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Subject: NEWS FLASH: Coppertone City Slicker to the Rural Ranger Rue!
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 09:48:51 +0000
From: -= Aussie Allen Kanga Rue =-

G'day from Byron Bay! (and continued in Brisbane)

Hey folks! Here I am again here at a hippie beach resort town called Byron Bay in Northern New South Wales (it's a state). I've been beaching all day including reading, body surfing, and babewatching (whew who!) I hear we're having a terribly warm winter at home in Philadelphia. Well, they're having an extremely weird weather summer here too (it changes about 4 times a day!). I tell you Australia once again - Australia has too much sun! It's much closer to the hole in the ozone layer and man - can you feel it. When I go to the beach I try to get into the shade. After 3:30 I can't stand the intensity of the sun reflecting off the water. It kills my eyes. I get it just takes some getting used to.

Oddly enough Australia has more tanning clinics than I've ever seen in the United States. The government sponsors tanning centers because prolonged sun exposure here is really dangerous.

Yesterday I learned how to surf. I paid about 13 USD for a four-hour surf class and I was quite proud of myself. I managed to stand up and "hang-ten" about four times! Surfing is a lot harder than it looks and I imagine it's harder here in Australia because of the tough currents. The water just wants to rip you around. All of us newbie surfers got beat up by the water and waves yesterday. One of my buddies Dan and I were comparing bruises. Yup, there were a lot of wipeouts! Am I going to do it again? YOU BET! Even more, as a free gift for my labors, I signed up for the surf trip at a Kebab shop and got a free kabab for lunch the next day (and it was a great tasty filling Thai Chicken wrap- YUM!)

You may recall from my message last week that I was disappointed with the huge similarities between chief Australian and US cities. Well, I've taken care of that! I'm going to work on a cattle station out in the bush (at least that's my hope). I'm on my way to the state of Queensland to attend a 5-day agricultural course at Stonybridge Farm. After this course, I immediately will be whisked away to a farming job in the outback. I really want to ride horses and round up unruly animals. Yup, city slicker Rue is now going to become Ranger Rue!

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It's a new New Day and I'm continuing this email! Now I'm here in Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland! Yes! I feel like I'm right back home in Philly here. The streets are dirtier, the people jaywalk more, and there's a lot of classical architecture. I've only been here a few hours, but I already like it's charm! I'm always impressed by sidewalks that aren't plain ordinary cement slabs and this city is completely full of them. All the pavements here are made with fancy shaped bricks or anything other than cement (at least in the center city)! You can't say, "Step on a crack, break your mother's back!" Oh well, I'm sure the kids have other games.

You know, I really feel at home here when I hear R&B playing! I don't know why, but I really feel like rap and R&B are "all American". One day recently I heard the "boom-boom" cars crusing around in Sydney and felt for a moment that I was in the USA. By the way, Australian cars are a little bit smaller on average than US cars, but they have SUV's, jeeps, and all the same gas guzzlers found at home here.

Am I getting homesick? NO WAY! I came here to get away from home! I don't want to feel at home!

Valentine's Day was fun here in Australia. Optus, the mobile phone giant here had FREE MOBILE PHONE TEXT MESSAGES from 7-10AM. So I woke up at 8:30 and starting sending flirty messages to all the Aussie swing dancing girls I met in Melbourne. I scored my first official date here, but it's planned for August with a fine lass named Adele! We're going to see a footy (Aussie Rules Football) match come this August. (okay, you can say it doesn't count because you never know what will happen, but . . .) At that time I was living in a travelers' house called "Sleeping With The Enemy." Well, I wasn't sleeping with enemies, but in a room with two sweet Irish lasses. Anybody that knows my past will know I have a special fondness for the Irish and this time it was no different. The gals and I instantly clicked. They felt so comfortable with me they would get changed right in front of me. (!!!) I shared with them my stories about my first Irish love and they rationalized their behavior like this... "It isn't as if he hasn't seen a pair of Irish boobs anyway" The Irish are so laid back and have some great wit! I can't begin to tell you some of the other bold and hilarious things they said! My other Irish social butterfly housemate Dermit would get drunk and repeat for me his same excited story about one of his mates back in the US that was coming to Australia to visit over and over again as if he didn't just tell me the same thing 20 seconds ago. It as hilarious! My one housemate Heidi (Tara) bought me a flower and all of the housemates flowers it was really cool. Our whole house went out later for a night at the Roxbury. The Roxbury was a trendy bar with a live band. The bar threw us out at 1AM (it was Thursday) and we were the only people in the streets. I learned some new games to play in and out of bars and had a great night bonding with my housemates! However, I left them all for something new and extremely different (weep weep).

SO... after a cool hippie beach weekend, tomorrow I am off to FARM school to learn about agriculture and living out my working experience here in Australia. FARMER AL!!!! Can you believe it? (that's a rhetorical question) Yeah, I'm going to be singing "She thinks my tractor's sexy... It really turns her on... she's always staring at me ... when I go chugging along" I may be out of communication for some time with the world, but I really have no idea. I've tried to purchase an astrology book so I could learn something about the stars. There's a lot less pollution here, so the night skies are great. When I head into the bush I imagine the skies are going to be incredible! When you're in the city sitting at your desks imagine Farmer Al out there plowing the fields, riding horses, feeding the pigs: E I E I OH!

At first when I came here I started swing dancing and looking for Information Technology jobs. Then I thought to myself: you chicken! you're trying to be secure by being the same person you were at home. You came here for new experiences. The rest is history . . .

I have(had) three opportunities here in Australia for jobs. Today a man called me back about a bakery job in Sydney that I interviewed for last week. I turned it down today. I turned down a late night job at the Internet cafe back in Sydney that I liked so much. I DID NOT WANT TO BE THE SAME PERSON I WAS AT HOME! Three months working on the dell in the outback. I know what you're thinking: better him than me!

So here's the lineup for my 10-months here:

In the past month here I've met many fun people, visited a lot of cool places, seen three large metropolises of Australia and have nine more months to enjoy more! NOT BAD FOR A BOY THAT GREW UP IN THE SLUMS OF KENSINGTON, EH?

I wish all of you wonderful people the very best back at home! I promise to behave the Allen Permagrin way and make everybody proud back in the U. S. of A! Until next time . . . Enchante!

CHEERS!
Allen :) :) :)

Don't fear death so much, but rather an inadequate life - Bertold Brecht
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Allen "Kanga" Rue - the Australian travelling extraordinaire