Shark Week is Apparently EVERY Week in Australia

The problem with planning your vacations far in advance (well, the problem with XFE and I planning our vacations far in advance) is that it gives one of us plenty of time to hyperventilate over any news story coming out of that vacation location.

For example: My wanna-be-Crocodile-Dundee-boyfriend XFE and I are going to Australia in March for my 40th birthday. One of our “fun” activities is going to be scuba diving, which I’ve never done before. But being an extremely risk-adverse drama queen/mild hypochondriac, I’m convinced that this “fun”-tivity will not end well.

In fact, if it’s anything at all like our attempts at skiing over the years, it will end with one of us lodged in a snow bank (or perhaps in some coral, to make this analogy work in a diving context), producing copious amounts of snot-crying and shouting profanity at her loved one, who just happens to be a much better skier (and, probably, because that’s always the way things go, a much better diver). We don’t ski much anymore. And by much, I mean at all.

"I told you I wasn't ready for the green slopes! I'm a bunny slope only!"

Widely reported stories like this do not help. According to the Washington Post:

 Shark hunters set baited hooks off Australia’s southwest coast on Sunday hoping to catch a great white that killed an American recreational diver in the area’s third recent fatal attack.

Let that sink in for a minute. THIRD recent fatal attack. Not a one-off. Not some weinie messing with the shark getting what he deserved. We’re talking Sharks Gone Wild off the Australian coast, and I’m just a big piece of floating chum in a fetching floral bathing suit.

"Don't mind me. I'm actually not very tasty at all. Kinda tough and stringy, really."

“Scientists have warned against an overreaction to the third fatal shark attack off Australia’s southwest coast in less than two months. Australia averages a little more than one fatal shark attack a year.”

Oh, really? You don’t want people to overreact. Well, well. Let me stop OVERREACTING THEN. When the average number of shark attacks goes up by 300% (wait…math…dammit, is that right? Somebody check my work) in a mere two months, I think it might be time to overreact just a tiny bit.

“Barbara Weuringer, a University of Western Australia marine zoologist and shark researcher, urged against a shark hunt, saying there was no way of telling which shark was the killer without killing it and opening its stomach.

“It sounds a little bit like taking revenge, and we’re talking about an endangered species,” Weuringer said.”

Listen, Babs: It’s a LOT like revenge. And I for one am Down. With. It. Let’s cut the damn sharks open. Where I come from, you shoot first and ask questions later. If poor, innocent, non-killing sharks don’t want to find themselves filleted on a beach, they better find a less incriminating place to hang out. And stay away from the humans. Consider yourself warned, Australian shark population.

“Barry Bruce, a marine biologist and great white expert, said it was unlikely that the same shark was responsible for all three fatalities.

“A more plausible explanation is that this is the time of year when sharks move along the coast, and there are undoubtedly multiple sharks out there following this exact pattern,” Bruce said.

Wow, Barry. That is incredibly reassuring. So I don’t have to just watch out for one rampaging, blood-thirsty shark, but three? Awesome.

"mmmm, get in my mouth!"

“But a southwest coast-based diving tourism operator has called on the Western Australia state government to kill sharks that pose a threat to humans.

‘The nuisance sharks, the problem sharks that move into an area and are aggressive, should be dispatched to remove the risk of future attack,’ Rockingham Wild Encounters director Terry Howson told the AP.

Howson has been campaigning for government action on sharks since one of his tour guides, Elyse Frankcom, was injured in a shark attack last year.

“It’s absolutely hurting the tourist trade,” he said. “Australia is getting a name for itself as being full of dangerous animals.”

Damn straight, Terry! Also: Not going to sign up for a tour with you since you don’t seem to have a way to protect folks from getting attacked by sharks. I’m sorry, I know it’s not fair. It’s not you, it’s…..actually, yes, yes it is you. And you’re little shark friends.

I will admit, however, that these shark attacks have been taking place off the far western coast of Australia, which we’re not going to. Nevertheless, sharks can swim and they’ve got plenty of time to get all the way to the east coast by the time I arrive in March.

Actually, maybe I shouldn’t be encouraging the government to hunt those sharks. Those fleeing sharks might decide to go someplace else where people aren’t (yet) threatening to gut them. Like the eastern coast of Australia. Shoot! This is how my best-laid plans always backfire. I’m definitely going to make sure I bring my homemade shiv to the beach in Australia.

Just think: there’s only 4.5 months more for me to stress and kvetch about my upcoming dream-vacation-of-a-lifetime.

Also: There was a damn 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Turkey. Which is where we’re going in January. Awesome.

 

 

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Making the Case for Travel Karma

Crap. So I actually heard about this story yesterday morning while I was getting ready for work. But then, I got distracted by armadillos coming to DC. Because if anything can distract me from fears of my impending death, it’s a cute armadillo.

A woman from Australia died in a New York helicopter crash. I know what you’re thinking, “Poe, what does that have to do with you?” Well, let me tell you.

Exhibit A: This woman was from Australia. We’re going to Australia next year.

Exhibit B: This woman flew half-way across the globe to celebrate her 40th birthday. We’re going to Australia to celebrate my 40th birthday.

Exhibit C: This woman was on a helicopter tour purchased by her partner-in-life. My partner-in-life XFE insists that this is a “gift.”

Exhibit D: This woman was terrified of flying. I’m terrified of being suspended in the air with nothing underfoot. And falling. Very terrified of falling.

That looks like a very long way to fall. Oh, but there's the road and cars to break my fall, so that's reassuring.

Exhibit E: This woman has been described as a “personality and a half,” and “a tough-as-nails, hardworking woman with a heart of gold.” I’ve been described in decidedly less glowing terms, but similar sentiments, with saltier language.

Exhibit F: This woman used to own a bar called Madame Fling Flong on a King St. We live near a King St. and I would definitely drink at a bar called Madame Fling Flong.

So as you can clearly see, I’m in danger. The parallels are UNCANNY. Basically, I’m worried about some sort of travel karma. Australia, the country, is going to kill me in some sort of blood payment for this poor woman dying on U.S. soil.

Just remember, I posted it here first. Australia + Poe = Revenge Death. Now, who will take Petunia when I’m gone?

You better keep the feedings coming, lady.

 

Having a Cold is Such a Drag

I had a cold this weekend, which wasn’t fun. Then again, colds never are. (Sidenote: When people say “Don’t come near me. It’s a horrible time for me to get sick,” I just want to know, is there ever a good time to get sick? Are there any days when you wake up and say, “Yep, pretty light week. This would be a good time to get sick?”)

I was especially bummed to be hit by the typhoid/yellow fever/plague because I had a very fun weekend planned. And it involved a bachelorette party. But not just any old bachelorette party – about 11 of us went to a drag queen brunch! With boas! And mimosas! And glittery men who look prettier than me on my best day! Pretty much my idea of heaven, really.

None of these festivities were conducive to me lying on the couch, thrashing and moaning about how sick I was (am), and how I was probably going to die (still could happen), and please take care of Petunia when I’m gone, and don’t get another girlfriend when I die, just build an altar to my memory and never love again.

But, instead, I put on my sparkly big girl pants and soldiered through. I know, I know, how very brave of me. Angelina Jolie isn’t the only saint around here.

And Holy Tucking Tape, am I glad I did. Not withstanding the great and ongoing debate over whether the drag boobies were the result of a prosthetic breast plate or actual implants, here are:

Top Things I Learned at Perry’s Drag Queen Brunch

1)      J Lo and Shakira never go out of style. Sorry, Gaga. You were not invited to the show.

JLo

 

2)      People will take their children anywhere. (There was a 10 year old at our show and an even younger looking tiny person at the second show. Sketch, parents. Sketch.)

3)      Fried items on a drag brunch buffet are a pretty safe bet. That may just be true for anywhere.

4)      Don’t drop your breakfast sausage on the ground. Those queens will make fun of you for reals.

q&a

5)      Cheap hot pink feather boas will make a mess everywhere. Including in your delicious $10 Bellinis.

tables turned

Oh, here’s a few more. Everybody got boobies on their head.

rihanna

Miss S. showing them queens how it’s done. You betta work!

Sara

The whole tipsy crew. (minus two. We think they stayed on to work at Perry’s or something)

crew

Anyone else have an eventful weekend? Are you a big baby when you get sick or a stoic soldier? I’m guessing if you have kids, you can’t be quite as self-indulgent as I am. More importantly, what color are your sparkly, big girl pants?