Something the Australian tourist board won't ever tell you about is flies. Down under is absolutely crawling with them. Mostly not big ones, like the blow flies that can really drive you nuts on a hot English summer day. No, not those...bush flies. Millions of them...billions of them...trillions of them. Everywhere you go, there they are . Just walk down the road, and within seconds the things are all over you. Something I learned very early on was bright clothes are like magnets to flies. Much better to adorn yourself in something a bit on the duller side. Of course this is the opposite to what you would like to wear in the brilliant sunshine that W.A. is famous for, but it is a trade off between overheating and looking like a sticky fly paper all day. In fact the bush flies are known locally as sticky flies, because you just appear powerless to remove them. Brush them off, and one second later they are back where they started. Try and swat them, and they are always one millisecond ahead of you. If one could hear them, you'd swear they were laughing at your pathetic efforts to evict the little darlings. It can make eating out a bit of a nightmare. I distinctly remember buying a kebab in a town named Scarborough, and electing to eat it outside within the café's forecourt. Within seconds I'd regretted my decision, since I was now sharing my lunch with a large group of uninvited guests who would not take 'No' for an answer. Eventually I gave up with it, since much as I like sprinkles on ice cream, black crunchies on my kebab leave a lot to be desired. This does not necessarily apply when you are right on the coast, for the constant breeze tends to keep the things at bay, or at least moves them about a bit. Try a small distance inland though and you're in big trouble. It is absolutely imperative not to leave any food laying about even for a second, for you can just kiss it goodbye. Fishing on the river banks was quite an ordeal, for the moment any bait juices were exposed to the open air, it seemed like every flying thingy within a 2 mile radius would descend upon me. Some of them bite as well! Whilst visiting one of the large dams outside of Perth, we sat down by a viewing platform to enjoy a small picnic we had brought with us. I was feverishly fanning the insects away from my sandwich when a larger one landed on my leg and gave me one heck of a nip. When I looked down he'd actually drawn blood. Didn't half hurt as well. Swiping it off my shin, I was just starting to winge to my friend about my painful wound when, blow me, he landed on my other leg and bit me again. Stuff that, I was out of there and back in the car in seconds, and it even tried to follow me in there till I wound up the windows. I didn't care how much of a wuss she thought of me, I'm not going to become a lepidoptra's lunch for all the tea in China. I don't want to put people off of visiting Australia, because it has many wonderful things going for it. But it is important that one understands that flies are part of Oz, there is no getting away from it. I suppose it comes with the territory of all hotter climates, and you simply have to put up and shut up since there is nothing you can do about it. Ask anyone who's visited any part of Africa. I suppose after my friends 32 year sub-continent apprenticeship, it doesn't bother her that much. One consolation is most homes down under come with fly-screens as standard on all doors and windows, so once inside the irritation goes away. Certainly puts paid to trying to sunbathe anywhere, for you are constantly fanning the wretched things away. Probably natures way of stopping us paler skinned variety getting fried by the searing rays from the Aussie sun.

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