Bonjour, new Aussie
ARMAND Bouvier only intended to spend a year in Australia when he arrived in Perth in 2007.
Last week at a ceremony in Cairns, he became an Australian citizen, with the right to forget the words to the second verse of the national anthem and scream “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” in a French accent.
A native of France’s second-largest city Lyons, Mr Bouvier spent six months in the world’s most isolated capital city before hitting the road.
After four months doing the south-east Australia crawl, he landed in Port Douglas and realised he had arrived in paradise.
Mr Bouvier said becoming an Aussie was “a big achievement” but he had been in Australia for so long now he felt more like a Port Douglas local these days than a tourist.
“I love the Australian culture,” Mr Bouvier said. “It’s a real melting-pot. “People from everywhere bring the best of their home country.”
Although he intends to travel more around Australia, Mr Bouvier said he wanted to return to Port Douglas.
“People are very welcoming,” he said. “You learn to relax very quickly.
“I like the fact that everyone knows each other, and just about everyone’s happy to be here, including the tourists.”
After several years managing a local restaurant, Mr Bouvier is leaving to spend six months in Melbourne.
“When you live in paradise, you can forget how beautiful it is,” he said.
However, Mr Bouvier admitted there was one element of Australian culture his palate simply couldn’t get used to.
“I still can’t eat Vegemite,” he said.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie: new citizen Armand Bouvier