December 7, 2007
Delightful friends, i gotta say that .. That infamously strange hotel experience was not the sum of my travel time in Cairns, nor did it epitomise the overall joy and usefulness.
As well as working for the community engagement project, hosting an online conference session and presenting a work project at the adult learning australia conference
.. i went SnoRkelling on the Reef!
Yay for SnoRkelling! On my birthday i went to Green island and dived headlong into the reef. Covered up in a huge lycra body suit to protect against the stingers and lice, i gazed in bliss at the totally gorgeous, wondrous underwater panoramas. Mmm, delicious and delightful. Yum. i could have snorkelled all night, um .. day.
Cairns is a beautiful place, especially when you get out of town. Rainforest, reef, tropical rivers .. my time was a bit too work-focussed, so i was mostly indoors and in the city.
i’ve never seen a city beach more abandoned .. perhaps because of the “Beware of Crocodiles” signs. One person walking on the beach in ten days. Thousands strolling along the promenade.
Amazing history panels. Turns out there used to be a fabulous beach with stunning sand dunes, but dredging in the 1930′s destroyed all that. Need for shipping channels etc. (Are you paying attention, Victorian govt? no, i guess not.)
i also caught up with the very amazing Avril Duck who is a theatre director up in Gordonvale. Avril used to live and study in Melbourne; she’s preparing for a play in 2008 focussing on the experiences of local parents. The other week they had a reading on the radio. Sounds good .. perhaps i can post a copy here.
And look, i carried a book around with me the whole week (yes, that book), and i was often wearing my iRiver mp3 player, with wires hanging off me everywhere. In very many places people glanced at me with no suspicion whatsoever, just the friendly happy-go-lucky Cairns vacant gaze. Lovely place .. i’d go there again.
thanks for reading,
December 3, 2007
Other online comments have included Andrew Bolt’s suggestion: that any hotel ejecting a reader of Flanagan’s novel is a sane and cultured place. To back up his controversial (outright rude) claim, the columnist dipped into the book’s preface which contends (in a literary way) that Jesus was “the first suicide bomber”.
okay, i admit i had some issues with that beginning too (wasn’t sure whether to take it seriously), and it took a while for Richard’s style to grab me. But i persevered with the novel, and found it a very worthwhile read. Challenging and insightful, it echoed many powerful themes for me. A good story.
i’m not sure that Andrew read the whole book. i think the preface may have been too morally outrageous for him. Or too politically correct. (“it’s so PC to attack JC.“) Or something.
His readers take the bile much further: “Pillow over the face is a good solution for people who take the first page of this book seriously. After that, a shotgun is acceptable.” (from ‘MareeS’ – does she mean me or bolt?)
But then he let the pillow / shotgun comment through. Ouch.
What am i doing reading bolt’s readers anyway? Publicans and punters in Cairns have nothing on these folk. Am i completely mad, a Glutton for Punishment? Stop it, right now!
(imagez: thanks so much for jesus says .. by RobertFrancis, and text hope u can handle it! by foTommEn, both creative commons licensed images at flickr)
November 22, 2007
Jon Faine asked me if Cairns was competing to be the most ignorant, rednecked place in Australia. i said it was in the running, but that this was just one pub. Let’s not go overboard with the generalisation, i tried to imply.
(But respectfully. Faine is one superhero.
(Link to interview below
Before i state that abusing people (and their cities) because of their behaviour isn’t always helpful, i’d like to add that Sydney is still in the lead for that competition, after the Cronulla riots of 2005.
A couple of people getting kicked out of a pub really doesn’t compete with that.
When you add in all the dog whistling coming out of another NSW town .. Canberra, then Cairns isn’t in the running at all. Did i say Canberra? Maybe the messages of fear and suspicion, of hatred and social division, have been emerging from Kiribilli all along.
So lets leave Cairns out of it. Cairns is a beautiful city full of wonderful people. So is Sydney. Wonderful people that deserve all the safety and first-rate public education we can muster.
Don’t shoot Brasilians because we think they look Middle Eastern and carry a backpack on the Tube. Stop blaming minorities for our global imbalances.
Elect governments that are far less committed to spreading social division and fear like honey on toast (just to conceal their out-of-balance economics).
Fund public education properly, so that people have a clue about how to live in this world.
.. but i might have a copy if you missed out. Okay, here’s a listening device:
powered by ODEO
Thanks for reading.
(thanks kalandrakas at flickr for “how to pray the japanese way“; abc images used without permission)