The Karen Files

The first thing that tried to kill me in Australia…

What could it be, you wonder? A snake? A shark? A croc? No, it was…

A croissant. Seriously. So before I explain what I mean here, I’ll tell you a little about how the last 24 hours have been.

So, at around 4ish PM yesterday I wasn’t feeling all that great. I made a mental note that from now on, if I have a bad first impression of a place, I won’t eat there. The problem with that is that I’m in a city… and I have a bad first impression of almost every food place. Big cities generally seem kind of dirty. It wasn’t terrible though, I was just a little queasy, but I was still going to go to the pub crawl that night. Then I got a call that the pub crawl was cancelled (I think because of the bad/rainy weather). So, no big loss… I just decided to stay in.

I got to know two of my roommates pretty well. One of them was from England and the other was from Korea. The English girl was doing the same work/travel program as me, and we were talking about how everyone in the hostel was… well, not exactly very friendly. They all stuck to each other and didn’t seem to want to meet ‘outsiders’.

I was glad to hear that someone else felt the same way as I did. I had thought it was just me, maybe because I was the only American (that I know of) who was there at the moment. I was disappointed because I always heard about how friendly everyone was in Australia. But here in Sydney, people haven’t really been overly friendly at all, especially in the hostel that I’m staying in. My roommate said that she was talking to other people who had been to Sydney and to other places in Australia, and they all said that Sydney was the least friendly place in the country.

So after we had a bit of girl talk, we tried to go to bed around midnight or so but the young guys in the room next to us were having a hugely noisy party. I mean, they were LOUD. You actually aren’t allowed to drink in the rooms of the hostel, but they certainly were. And you could hear everything they were talking about. One guy was saying how he was going to cheat on his girlfriend because he wanted to “get laid” that night. And then 3 or 4 girls came by and I could hear the flirting. “What’s your name?” “Rob…” “REALLY? WOW! My name is Robbin!”

Anyhow, eventually I was able to fall asleep. I woke up at 7 or so and went down for breakfast. Now here is where we come to the part you all have been waiting for. So, my normal breakfast at the cafe connected to the hostel is a bowl of cornflakes, coffee, orange juice, toast, and a croissant. I should have gotten up and left when I found that black hair in my coffee cup… but I thought “no I’ll just eat the cereal and croissant and have my coffee at Starbucks instead.”

I ate the cereal, and started on my croissant. I had eaten most of it and I was just taking a sip of orange juice to wash it down when suddenly I realized that I couldn’t breathe… and I couldn’t swallow… and I couldn’t talk. I started freaking out just a little and I got up, and I still couldn’t breathe or swallow. I walked out the door to the cafe into the connecting hostel where I saw one woman and I tapped her on the back and held my hands up to my throat (the universal choking sign) but she just said “Hi!” And smiled at me. This was going nowhere. I still couldn’t breathe or talk and tears were streaming down my face and I started getting even more scared. I went up to the reception desk and did the same thing, my hands around my throat in the choking sign. They looked at me and were like “are you ok? Whats wrong?” I’m sitting here, not able to talk, not able to breathe, and they are doing NOTHING. They just keep asking me if I’m ok and asking what is wrong but I obviously can’t TALK. I’m thinking “Oh my god how do I make them understand that I can’t breathe?!?!” Luckily, I was finally able to swallow that piece of croissant that was lodged in my windpipe. The two guys were still looking at me like “are you ok?” and in between taking in deep gasping breaths  I say “I was choking!” and they say “Oh!”. Isn’t that nice? “Oh!”. I went back into the cafe to get my purse that I had left while I was searching in vain for someone to HELP me, and then I went upstairs to the lounge to sit down and calm myself a little from my near death experience. One of the guys at the reception who didn’t know how to help me came up and asked me if I wanted some ice cream. But I didn’t.

So, that is my story. The crocs didn’t get me yet, but the croissant nearly did. Seriously, that was one of the scariest things I ever experienced. I’d compare it to something, but honestly, I don’t have to. It’s like choking on a croissant in front of a bunch of people who are just staring at you and asking if you are ok. It was like, 45 seconds to a minute where I couldn’t breathe or talk. And it wasn’t what I thought choking would feel like, it was just… well, scary. I remember thinking “Well, maybe in Australia they have a different choking sign?” But it’s called a UNIVERSAL choking sign for a reason! That means it is supposed to be familiar to everyone in the UNIVERSE (Or planet at least, I guess I wouldn’t expect any aliens I could meet to know, since they might eat and swallow out of their knees instead of their mouths/throat).

For some reason… croissants have always been a little bit of a problem for me to eat. I don’t know why, but occasionally I find that it is hard to swallow them. It was just never so bad that it dissuaded me from eating them. It’s ONLY croissants too! I don’t know why, but I think I’m going to avoid eating croissants for a while. Even though they are so darn good.

Anyway, I think I’m officially sick of Sydney. Haha, as just I wrote that line, the music that currently playing is “We gotta get out of this place! If it’s the last thing we ever do!” That’s how I feel right now about Sydney. I can’t wait to get out of this place. So I think, after surf camp is over (I come back a week from tuesday) I’m off to another place that will hopefully be a little nicer to me.

And now, as I’m signing off, the song that has come on is “Highway to Hell”. I really hope this isn’t a bad sign for me!


  1. Try not to let this bad day ruin everything for you. I know. It’s easy for me to say. As far as the unfriendly people of Sydney, sometimes it takes some people a little longer to warm up to strangers. If anyone can bring out the best in people, you can. Keep the faith.

  2. I have a friend in Sydney.. you want me to hook you up? I’ve obviously never really met her.. but she’s cool and likes good music- so that can’t be a bad sign right? She said she works right across the street from the masonry throw up place! *lol*

    Anyhow.. hope you are feeling better- and step away from the croissants- just say NO!

  3. Like I said before, my dear, NO MORE CROISSANTS – at least not while you are in Australia!

    Miss you hon!

  4. I’m waiting for “The second thing that tried to kill me in Australia…” (Oooh, sounds like a song title). Seriously… that story freaks me out. I can’t imagine what was really going through your head as you were going through it – especially with NO ONE helping you. That’s like my worst nightmare. Jeez… Glad you’re okay. Just take it easy. Be careful. Chew slowly and only swallow small portions.

  5. i’m so glad your ok. mom told me what happened before i read this blog and i almost started crying :-(
    i can’t imagine how scared you must have been!!
    no more killer bread, k?

    miss you!!!!!

  6. You almost started crying?? Don’t you feel that is a LITTLE dramatic Lisa??
    Anyway, hope you are having a fantabulous time in surf camp…hopefully the weather isn’t as bad as it was before…call me when you can!

  7. NO STACY!!! i was pms’ing too, so my emotions were more wacky then normal :-p
    SHOVE IT!!!

    SURFS UP DUDE!!!!!
    can’t wait for the next update :-)

  8. HAHAHA When I was reading Lisa’s comment I was thinking “crying?! Sheet what a sissy!” and then I read Stacy’s and busted out laughing. Prob going to be fired now. If I do, I’ll fly out there and meet up with you! I can even teach you to chew b4 you swallow. It will be great! Now you can say “carbs kill” and mean it! Hope you have fun at surf camp and you can teach me when you get home. Ps of course the British girl is nice, we all are!

  9. **Sheesh, not sheet

  10. HA FREAKIN HA!! :-p

    sorry if i have concern and emotion for my sister’s wellbeing!!!

    it just goes to show how dangerous a croissant really can be….


  11. Hi Karen,
    Sorry to hear that the locals were not very helpful. You should try and get to some rural areas where they don’t put beetroot on the burgers or serve croissants for brecky, come on mate your in oz not France. Up the coast you will get great seafood.
    Cheers and hope to see you soon.
    Karen from oz.

  12. Okay…I need to ask…I have seen several people refer to the word “oz”…what does that mean???
    Is that supposed to be short for like, Ausi??
    Please advise.

  13. oz, as in wizard of OZ! DUH STACY!!!

    ;-p LOL

  14. Lisa, you are so weird

  15. i’m weird? stac, you must have UP DOG :-p

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