At 9 o'clock the next morning Matthew and I had orientation with the company who was helping us travel. Orientation consisted of us and three four other individuals who were doing the same thing we were. We tried to make conversation with the other but no success was found.
In orientation we learned the do's and don'ts of Australia, set up our bank accounts and tax accounts and finally received our SIM cards for our cell phones. Overall orientation was a great experience that gave me an extra ounce of confidence to conquer the country I was in.
When we got back to the room we figured out who the guy in the underwear was. His name was jack and he was from England. Just as we had begun to get really comfortable with Edward, he was off to his next adventure and Jack took his place. At first Jack was hard to take. With Edward we were the ones who knew everything, we had to teach him English and the ways of the world it seemed. Jack was different though, he had been traveling in Australia for 13 months so he knew what he was doing. He knew how to get around, how to avoid fees and what SIM cards were for. It seemed almost at first that he was a know-it-all but after getting to know him I decided otherwise.
Our first good chat with Jack took place on the beach. But before I get to that, I have to switch gears and introduce another new character. After a brief introduction of Jack, we were all standing around getting ready for the beach when the door opened and in walked a lady much older than us with two suitcases and a backpack. She looked uncomfortable and immediately asked which bed was number 3. I pointed to bed number three and the boys sat staring like they didn't know what to say. She apologized for having so much luggage and said she would be getting rid of her larger suitcase soon. While I watched her fret about I decided I couldn't be patient any longer.
“Hi, I'm Haley!” I stuck my hand out and all at once she lifted her eyes to my face for the first time and a huge smile came across her face. I could physically see her relax as she shook my hand and told me her name was Maria. She was actually a very beautiful woman. No make-up of course, but soft black hair pulled back in a bun, beautiful brown skin and eyes to compliment it. She was probably in her mid-thirties and had been in Australia for the past five years, working in Sydney. Her home was New Zealand and I had lots to talk with her about when I heard that. The guys introduced theirselves and for about ten minutes we all bombarded each other with the fast questions that lead to friendship.
After a bit Maria told us not to delay our plans and that she was going to get rid of her suitcase and repack her things in a backpack. So with that cue, Matthew and I headed downstairs and across the street to the beach and Jack said he'd be there shortly after he booked his next flight.
Conversation with Jack was so polar opposite of conversation with Edward. You can definitely sense the country of origin in people when you talk to them. Americans are egotistical, Kiwis are overly kind and warm, and Brits, well Brits are similar to American but not quite as self-focused. I couldn't put my finger on it but there was an air of pride, sophistication and integrity in Jack, and I think that is due to him being English.
After a bit of introduction conversation got really interesting. The three of us sat there on the beach, looking at the waves and discussing all sorts of big world power stuff. Jack wanted to know what the hell Trump was doing and what we thought about the whole ordeal. We analyzed his strengths and weaknesses and said even though he is a wild card, we really don't have another candidate that's much better. We talked about how much power comes with the American President and how scary it would be to get the wrong person in there.
Matthew explained how America had become a “sissy” country in that we let everyone mooch off of us. We give welfare to anyone and everyone. We let in more immigrants than we can physically hold. We tell no one no and Obama has made this trend even worse than it was in the past.
Jack found it interesting that the royal family was a common tabloid spectacle in American literature. We told him about the royal wedding being 24/7 news in the states and he thought that was a bit odd. To them the royal family is respected but not celebratized like they are in America. He said the English are more focused on their actual government and what laws are being made. Apparently the Queen has absolutely nothing to do with anything government related until it comes time to declare war. Similarly, he found it interesting that though our government runs through a huge system of checks and balances, our President had the final say in declaring war and also all the power for national defense. Again we talked about how scary it would be if Trump were to become president and someday have one of his hot-headed moments that could potentially lead us in to an unnecessary war.
I found all of the discussion between our countries very interesting. Even the history of our countries and were similar. I told Jack we were pretty much family since Americans originally came from England. We all thought this was interesting and it actually led into me finding the answer to a question I've pondered for several months now.
When you look at America, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries you find that the history is very similar. America was inhabited by Native Americans until the white Brits came and took the land and called it there own. Australia was inhabited by Aboriginals until the white folk from Britain came and stole the land and called it there own. New Zealand was originally inhabited by the Maori until the Englishmen moved them over and called it there own. So my question is, when the heck did white people from England wake up and decide that 1) the world was theirs for the taking, 2) there way of living was superior and 3) they were the most sophisticated society.
I've asked this question to a handful of people and never found an answer until a Brit himself finally gave it to me straight. The answer was simple he said.
The Industrial Revolution.
In the early 1700's the British went through the industrial revolution and quickly became the most powerful country in the world. They were also the world's leader in technology, manufacturing, and economic development so therefore they were more sophisticated, powerful and therefore superior. Shortly after that you'll see that the courageous explorers left England in search of other lands to conquer; hence America, New Zealand, Australia and dozens of others.
After discovering this mind-blowing secret we realized the sun was gone and the wind was turning chilly so we made our way back up to the hostel after making a quick trip to the liquor store, of course. When we made it to the room Maria was rearranging her suitcase again and getting rid of lots of extra weight. It's funny because when we first got to the hostel Matthew and I were somewhat worried about leaving our entire life of belongings in a room with two other strangers. Matthew even went so far as to lock his bag each time we would leave the room.
As it turns out, hostels are probably the safest place for you belongings, in fact you're more likely to gain stuff than to lose it. Everyone is either limited to a backpack or one large suitcase; both of which have to surrender to the airport weight limit. That being said, no one wants to gain any more stuff, they only want to give stuff away. While at the hostel we watched lots of people leave stuff behind in our room; bottles of shampoo, magazines, books, illegal paraphernalia and towels. Maria seriously wanted to lighten her load so she left us with a portable radio, a poker set and sure enough, an entire suitcase.
Jack cracked open a beer and handed each of us one as well. The guys had a nice chat with Maria while I cleaned up for dinner. Matthew said Maria asked him quite a few questions about Americans carrying guns. Already we had been asked about this several times. Australians, New Zealanders and French citizens could not carry guns so apparently we were the odd ones on this topic. Edward had been amazed to hear that Matthew had three guns of his own. He wanted to know why someone would need so many guns and Matthew had to explain that shooting was fun and hunting was a sport. Apparently Maria and Matthew's conversation went something like this:
“So ya'll just carry guns on you whenever you want?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Oh my. So you literally walk around with like AK-47's strapped to your back and stuff?”
“No, no, no, no. We carry small guns, like hand guns and stuff.”
“Oh, okay, so you can't just walk around with a Bazooka shooting things?”
“No not at all!”
I hate that I missed that one. When Matthew told me we had a pretty good laugh.
For dinner I had been promised Sushi, which is one of my all time favorite meals. Matthew said he had had it a few times but wasn't huge on it. Jack said he enjoyed it but hadn't had it that much either. Thanks to my friends back home, I was an expert on the meal. Maria wanted to stay in the room so Matthew, Jack and I walked down the stairs and around the corner to a hip little sushi joint. We sat at a bar with a conveyer belt in front of us. Small plates of sushi went around and around just in front of our noses. I think they were hoping we would grab a few extra plates so they could charge us a few extra bucks. Luckily, we didn't fall for it.
I ordered a fire dragon roll and an avocado wrap. The guys asked me how I knew what was good and I said it was simple. You read the names and the ones that sound fun normally taste pretty good. They laughed and Jack ordered the same thing I did. Matthew had a California roll and a tuna roll. Then Jack ordered an Asahi, which is a Japanese beer. I had learned to love Asahi with sushi and much to my surprise I had found it at the liquor store we stopped in just before heading back to the hostel. I was so excited to find it that I bought it with the idea that I would enjoy it with my sushi. Somewhere in between the liquor store in the hostel it hit me. How was I going to enjoy a store bought beer with sushi that was at a restaurant? I felt silly but the boys laughed and I drank my beer anyways. When Jack ordered it I told him that was the one I had just finished drinking. He said he didn't realize it was the same beer. He thought he had made a random selection.
I asked the guys if they'd ever had saki and they said no. I told them it was a rightful passageway that all sushi eaters had to pass at some point. They believed me and let me order a bottle. I explained that saki comes in a small glass bottle and is served with shot glasses. It is a Japanese rice wine that can be ordered either hot or cold.
When the waitress brought the bottle to us I poured the guys a drink and made a toast to new adventures. We all three drank to the toast and the guys found the drink quite enjoyable. The sushi was amazing and we all had a lot of laughs at dinner.
After dinner we went back to the room and hung out on the balcony. Jack introduced us to a foreign DJ called the Avener. It was surprisingly really cool music that fit the mood well. After a bit Jack asked me what kind of music I liked. I said anything from the 60's or 70's and that included my all time favorite band, Fleetwood Mac and also The Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin and many others. Matthew chimed in and said he enjoyed the Beatles.
Jack was pretty pleased with our style. He said he also enjoyed Fleetwood Mac so he played “Go Your Own Way” for me. As I was humming along to the lyrics it occurred to me that Fleetwood Mac was a British-American band. I verbalized this thought and Jack appreciated the comment. We then went on to discuss that many of our favorite bands had British-American roots. The Stones were Brits, Pink Floyd was too and so were the Beatles. The next song on Jack's playlist was sung by the Police, another great example of this.
Everywhere we have gone so far I have been amazed at the music. Every one knows the same songs I know and a huge majority of them are written and recorded in the United States. Jack was the first person we had met that came from a country that actually contributed to the global music scene.