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On a Tuesday in August

On Tuesday the 10th I returned to Australia. I was there for half an hour and then I went back to Mexico.

I went to the embassy to vote, and to get told off.

After the lady printed up my ballot papers, she asked if I was registered with DFAT as a resident in Mexico City. I'm not, because I don't really see the point. If I'm not registered and the volcano Popocatepetl explodes and destroys Mexico City, my folks with call DFAT and they will say “Ah yes, your son is not registered with us. We have no information on his status at this time.” If I am registered and Popo goes boom, my folks will call and DFAT will say “Ah yes, you son is registered. We have no information on his status at this time.” If someone can give a single good reason refuting this, I'll register. If not, Mr. Government can just live without knowing exactly where I am and what I am doing. But anyway, when I told the lady I'm not registered, I got spoken to in a way I haven't been spoken to since early high school. A nice condescending “Do so, pleeaaase”.

I had noticed there were four other folks there voting, the first other Strayans I've seen here in 10 months, and when the lady led me into the voting room (they even have those poxy cardboard voting boothes) I asked if there were many Australians in Mexico. She said “Apparently there are. But I don't know because you don't register.”

Two things I have tried of late are pozole and pulque. The former is a kind of soup filled with cayenne pepper and paprika, and thus is the only thing I've tasted here that resembles what we get sold as Mexican food in Australia. It is the equivalent of the 2am souvlaki. The later is a pleasant tasting, slightly tangy fermented drink that is horrendously slimy. I've been told not to ask why that is, but the texture is singular, like having a layer of thin liquid over some slimy object that presses against your lips, like a frog trying to climb into your mouth. You get to the bottom of the glass and there is no frog.

An interesting aside; Mexican names are built this way: Given-name Father's-surname Mother's-surname, or in the case of a married woman Given-name Husband's-surname Father's-surname. This explains why everyone has 2 surnames and I would be corrected for using the second one, and why anyone with my name in front of them trying to sell me something would call me Mr. Raymond.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 20th, 2010 08:29 am (UTC)
Voting from Paris
I missed the deadline for filing my application for postal voting. I feel a bit guilty, but the first two weeks here were so hectic that it took me a while to register as being overseas (with the AEC, not DFAT).

Oh well, I have the pleasure of being registered in a safe seat. And the dismay of being registered in a safe liberal seat.

For whom doth the election poll?
It polls not for thee!
Aug. 20th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Voting from Paris
Sir, you need not register unless you are overseas for 3 years. You can just drop in at the embassy.

After that, if you don't change there are probably issues.
Aug. 22nd, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Voting from Paris
Really? I'm sure that the advice on the website for the Australian Embassy in Paris was that I had to register to avoid getting a fine for not turning up to vote back in Australia ...

Oh well. My seat remains a safe liberal seat, and the scary proposition of having Tony Abbott as PM makes me feel better about being overseas.
Aug. 23rd, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
And it could all happen again in a couple of months! Hopefully that doesn't happen.


P.S. I think a nation has a responsibility to protect its citizens abroad, but at the same time not spying on citizens' business. I guess if you don't want the government's services, then you have the right to exercise that choice. Just my two cents worth.
Sep. 10th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
We can but wait. It will be fun to watch.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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