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In a Sunburned Country Quotes

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In a Sunburned Country In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
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In a Sunburned Country Quotes (showing 1-28 of 28)
“It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. ...It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as the players-more if they are moderately restless.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“As the saying goes, it takes all kinds to make the world go around, though perhaps some shouldn't go quite so far around it as others.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“Australians are very unfair in this way. They spend half of any conversation insisting that the country's dangers are vastly overrated and that there's nothing to worry about, and the other half telling you how six months ago their Uncle Bob was driving to Mudgee when a tiger snake slid out from under the dashboard and bit him on the groin, but that it's okay now because he's off the life support machine and they've discovered he can communicate with eye blinks.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“The people are immensely likable— cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging. Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Life doesn't get much better than this.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“[Australia] is the home of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluru to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world's ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures - the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish - are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. ... If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It's a tough place.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“I'm quite certain that if the rest of the world vanished overnight and the development of cricket were left in Australian hands, within a generation, the players would be wearing shorts and using the bats to hit each other, and the thing is, it'd be a much better game for it.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“No one knows, incidentally, why Australia's spiders are so extravagantly toxic; capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of overkill. Still, it does mean that everyone gives them lots of space.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“But don't worry," she continued. "Most snakes don't want to hurt you. If you're out in the bush and a snake comes along, just stop dead and let it slide over your shoes."
This, I decided, was the least-likely-to-be-followed advice I have ever been given.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“Perhaps it’s my natural pessimism, but it seems that an awfully large part of travel these days is to see things while you still can.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“Australia is mostly empty and a long way away. Its population is small and its role in the world consequently peripheral. It doesn't have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn't need watching, and so we don't. But I will tell you this: the loss is entirely ours.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“[About Uluru] I'm suggesting nothing here, but I will say that if you were an intergalactic traveler who had broken down in our solar system, the obvious directions to rescuers would be: "Go to the third planet and fly around till you see the big red rock. You can't miss it." If ever on earth they dig up a 150,000-year-old rocket ship from the galaxy Zog, this is where it will be. I'm not saying I expect it to happen; not saying that at all. I'm just observing that if I were looking for an ancient starship this is where I would start digging.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
tags: humour
“Dogs don't like me. It is a simple law of the universe, like gravity. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never passed a dog that didn't act as if it thought I was about to take its Alpo. Dogs that have not moved from the sofa in years will, at the sniff of me passing outside, rise in fury and hurl themselves at shut windows. I have seen tiny dogs, no bigger than a fluffy slipper, jerk little old ladies off their feet and drag them over open ground in a quest to get at my blood and sinew. Every dog on the face of the earth wants me dead.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“I don't wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players - more if they are moderately restless. It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
tags: humor
“In the morning a new man was behind the front desk. "And how did you enjoy your stay, Sir?" he asked smoothly.
"It was singularly execrable," I replied.
"Oh, excellent," he purred, taking my card
"In fact, I would go so far as to say that the principal value of a stay in this establishment is that it is bound to make all subsequent service-related experiences seem, in comparison, refreshing."
He made a deeply appreciative expression as if to say, "Praise indeed," and presnted my bill for signature. "Well, we hope you'll come again."
"I would sooner have bowel surgery in the woods with a a stick."
His expression wavered, then held there for a long moment. "Excellent," he said again, but without a great show of conviction.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
tags: humor
“It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“…a waitress came out and plonked in front of each of us a small standard terra-cotta flowerpot in which had been baked a little loaf of bread.
"What's this?" I asked.
"It's bread," she replied.
"But it's in a flowerpot?" She gave me a look that I was beginning to think of as the Darwin stare. It was a look that said, "Yeah? So?"
"Well, isn't that kind of unusual?"
She considered for a moment. "Is a bit, I suppose." "And will we be following a horticultural theme throughout the meal?" Her expression contorted in a deeply pained look, as if she were trying to suck her face into the back of her head. "What?"
"Will the main course arrive in a wheelbarrow?" I elaborated helpfully. "Will you be serving the salad with a pitchfork?"
"Oh, no. It's just the bread that's special."
"I'm so pleased to hear it.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
tags: humour
“We wanted proper outback: a place where men were men and sheep were nervous.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“Australians are the biggest gamblers on the planet – one of the more arresting statistics I saw was that the country has less than 1 per cent of the world’s population but more than 20 per cent of its slot machines”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“I would rather have bowel surgery in the woods with a stick. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“The taipan is the one to watch out for. It is the most poisonous snake on earth, with a lunge so swift and a venom so potent that your last mortal utterance is likely to be: “I say, is that a sn——.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“I am not, I regret to say, a discreet and fetching sleeper. Most people when they nod off look as if they could do with a blanket; I look as if I could do with medical attention. I sleep as if injected with a powerful experimental muscle relaxant. My legs fall open in a grotesque come-hither manner; my knuckles brush the floor. Whatever is inside—tongue, uvula, moist bubbles of intestinal air—decides to leak out. From time to time, like one of those nodding-duck toys, my head tips forward to empty a quart or so of viscous drool onto my lap, then falls back to begin loading again with a noise like a toilet cistern filling. And I snore, hugely and helplessly, like a cartoon character, with rubbery flapping lips and prolonged steam-valve exhalations. For long periods I grow unnaturally still, in a way that inclines onlookers to exchange glances and lean forward in concern, then dramatically I stiffen and, after a tantalizing pause, begin to bounce and jostle in a series of whole-body spasms of the sort that bring to mind an electric chair when the switch is thrown. Then I shriek once or twice in a piercing and effeminate manner and wake up to find that all motion within five hundred feet has stopped and all children under eight are clutching their mothers’ hems. It is a terrible burden to bear.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“What made this particularly interesting is that John Howard is by far the dullest man in Australia. Imagine a very committed funeral home director – someone whose burning ambition from the age of eleven was to be a funeral home director, whose proudest achievement in adulthood was to be elected president of the Queanbeyan and District Funeral Home Directors’ Association – then halve his personality and halve it again, and you have pretty well got John Howard.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“These neighborhoods went on for miles—just street after foot-wearying street of trophy homes, with big gates beside broad drives, patios adorned with Grecian urns on ornate plinths, and garages for fleets of cars. It was a stunning demonstration of the proposition that money and taste don’t always, or even often, go together. These were the houses of lottery winners, of retailers of the sort who appear in their own television commercials, of people for whom the words “Peppermint Grove” in an address would not be an embarrassment. I would not suggest for a moment that Australia’s nouveaux riches are more distant from refinement than the people of other lands, but the absence of a distinctive architectural vernacular in Australia does mean that people can take their styles from a wider range of sources—principally drive-in banks, casinos, upmarket nursing homes, and ski lodges. To see it massed over a spread of miles as in the western suburbs of Perth is certainly an absorbing experience.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“Suddenly we were in Hawaii—tropical mountains running down to sparkling seas, sweeping bays, flawless beaches guarded by listing palms, little green and rocky islands standing off the headlands. From time to time we drove through sunny canefields, overlooked by the steep, blue eminence of the Great Dividing Range.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“The Super Constellations took three days to reach London [from Australia] and lacked the power or range to dodge most storms. When monsoons or cyclones were encountered, the pilots had no choice but to put on the seat belt signs and bounce through them. Even in normal conditions they flew at a height guaranteed to produce more or less constant turbulence. (Qantas called it, without evident irony, the Kangaroo Route.) It was, by any modern measure, an ordeal.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“In January of that year, according to a report written in America by a Times reporter, scientists were seriously investigating the possibility that a mysterious seismic disturbance in the remote Australian outback almost four years earlier had been a nuclear explosion set off by members of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country
“I would sooner have bowel surgery in the woods with a stick.”
Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country

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