Isn’t it great when your friends from overseas decide to come chill in your home country? It’s the best of both worlds: you get to hang with your friend but they’re the one who has to fork out the money for airfares! Before planes have been boarded and all the wrong clothing packed, you jump on the computer to plan the epic adventures you’ll be taking them on.
It’s all going well until they actually arrive in the country and start asking perfectly reasonable questions about your country and you realise you know fuck all about where you live.
So I’m an awkward tour guide. I love the idea of wandering around the city, spouting out random facts and quirks about the streets of Sydney. But unfortunately it doesn’t quite go down like that. It’s more along the lines of, uh you know I’m not really sure what that is… or when it was built… or why there’s people taking photos of it. Look at that blue sky though! Isn’t that… something.
Tip: When taking on the honorary role of ‘tour guide’ to your friends when you’re too cheap to go on an actual tour, perhaps do a little research.
The thing is though, I really enjoy showing places off to my friend al la tour guide style. Just not the typically touristy things. I love the personal side of things. Because nine times out of ten when I’m messaging my overseas friends, I’m sitting on my back porch in the sun. Or down the road shopping at Aldi. Or wandering around my local shops before a work shift. I can’t tell you any historical facts about the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge but I can tell you there’s a patch of grass at the bottom of my street where up to 20 cockatoos consistently gather for unknown reasons.(They’re plotting something…)
Straight from the source (aka, I interrogated my friend for the purposes of this article): being shown around by a friend versus a professional tour guide removes the pretence of being interested in everything they have to say. So let’s gloss over the fact my friend admitted he finds me boring and tunes out… When you’re just wandering around with your friends, there’s an informal tone about it all. It’s very casual rather than spouting generic city facts all the time and following a strict path. And you know, it’s often the littlest things that amuse or capture the attention of foreigners – like skinks or double decker trains.
I may not be a great tour guide and my friend may not walk away having learnt anything (factual) about Australia but I couldn’t call myself a true Aussie if I didn’t check the most important boxes of all:
- Vegemite – he eats it on toast every morning now.
- Tim Tams – demolished the packet I bought for an afternoon cup of tea. I got two…
- Kangaroo steak – It’s very satisfying to cook and eat after an actual kangaroo growled at us earlier that day.
- Fairy bread – it will be eaten and he will enjoy it.
- Lamingtons – they will be made from scratch. Unlike that Natalie Tran person.
But if there’s one thing I’ve definitely learnt, it’s how truly bogan my vocabulary actually is.