We had an interesting journey with Belong internet. First, the courier left our package on the front doorstep of our rental, even though we had told Belong to deliver it to the local post office, as we wouldn't be in the country for another couple of weeks. Thankfully, our local pastor kindly picked up our modem before someone stole it. Next, Belong delayed our installation somewhat, so we rang up to talk to them about it. Every time we rang them up, the call went something like this:
"Hello, this is Yvette, and I wanted to call about--"
"Sorry, I can't hear you. I can't hear you - are you there?"
"HELLO, THIS IS YVETTE--"
"I can't hear you, sorry, I can't hear you, are you actually there?"
Ugh. We rang them up from two different phones, and every time we had the same result. This was because their phone line was being updated, apparently. (Is "updated" code for downgraded?) In the end, I complained in a comment on their Facebook page, which got a response very fast. And now we're connected.
In the meantime, everyone in town is eating watermelon, which I suppose is unsurprising as this is the watermelon capital of Australia, and they do have a massive model slice of watermelon at the front of town. (I keep wanting to take a picture with said slice, but because the melon festival is coming up, the local council is very protective of it. They've fenced it off with orange netting and even sometimes set a couple of watchmen/workers over it.) Watermelon was sixty cents a kilo the other day at the farmer's market, so I picked up a ten kilogram monster. I keep telling my husband we're eating so exotically here, with all the dragon fruit, rock melon, and watermelon. He pointed out that the word "exotic" implies foreign, but we actually live here now, so it's not exotic.
And because we live here, we've discovered that we've been eating watermelon wrong our whole lives. For a start, the locals told us that you have to get the round ones that aren't too big or too small. They should be the ones that have zero black seeds. Apparently, the football shaped black-seeded watermelons are a necessary evil with the breeding process, but they're not good to eat.
Well, blow me down, because until I moved here I have only ever eaten football shaped black-seeded watermelons. The Australians I was talking to on this occasion informed me that it was because those particular melons weren't considered good enough for consumption or even for smashing at the melon festival. So they sent them to New Zealand. This was, of course, a joke. But they still seemed pretty pleased about it, and I suppose it is kind of funny living across the ocean from a country that is consuming all the worst melons and remaining completely ignorant about it.
So, my apologies, New Zealanders: many of you have never eaten a proper watermelon in your lives.
I also bought some tomato plants this past week, and I planted them in three different places in the back yard. Unfortunately, four died miserable deaths. I couldn't even see them when I went out to water them the next time. I assume the sun just gobbled them up. The other four are still hanging on. I planted them in the shade. Who could know you could have too much sun?
Apparently, this is the perfect weather for snakes. Someone a kilometer down the road from us had a brown snake (an innocuous name for the deadliest serpent in the world) in their backyard the other day. It slipped away, but that means it (and its invisible cronies) are still on the loose. So I'm wearing proper shoes and socks out there, despite the heat.
In all honesty, you could pretty much believe yourself somewhere much more ordinary than Australia most of the time. Obviously, there are parrots and crows and the occasional fruit bat. But the only unusual things I see daily are skink lizards and flying cockroaches (I prefer the lizards). Now and then, you'll see a kangaroo at the Weir. But the grass has gotten so long where they graze that they're mostly hidden. And I wouldn't want to walk through it unless I magically transformed into Steve Irwin. I know I haven't seen any snakes yet, but I'm not fooled. They're definitely out there.
Although, I'm saying all this while our house still has some form of pest protection on it. When that wears off, I may see more unusual things. We went to a friend's place for dinner the other night, and they were talking about red backs (poisonous spiders that are essentially the Australian version of the black widow).
"Do you know, our house had a red back infestation before we had it pest treated? I was trying to put my USB into my computer and it wouldn't go in. And when I scraped out the port, there was a very sick red back!"
"That's not too bad. We knew some friends who had a red back infestation so bad, they were just dropping into the baby's cot, ha ha ha!"
I used to live in Victoria in Australia where we were told red backs could kill you, so don't go rummaging in any wood piles without gloves, etc. In Queensland, people don't seem to have that much of a problem with them. Still, I can't imagine myself cheerfully going "ha ha ha!" if red backs were dropping onto furniture in my house.
One day, maybe, I'll be a true Queenslander.
By the way, just before I sign off - you know those beautiful pictures of the Whitsundays towards northern Queensland? Apparently those are taken during winter. In the wet season over summer, you sometimes don't see the sun for six weeks. And you can't really go swimming either, because the stingers (box jellyfish) and crocodiles are out and about and looking forward to meeting you/preying on you. So I think we wound up in the right place in Queensland. I love it here.
But then again, we've seen nothing but sun for the past ten days!