— CNP

Brisbane

The first semester of my little acting course has come and gone and I’m now enjoying the wondrous novelty of a holiday … in Brisbane.

More specifically, in the West End of Brisbane because, let’s face it, “Bris Vegas”, as it’s known, is really just an oversized resort town. Never mind, i get enough big-city arts and culture in Melbourne thank you very much and i’m quite happy to laze about in a backyard with a book and the sun on my face.

Went for a road trip down to Byron Bay yesterday. Some of my companions decided that Tropical Fruit World sounded like a good spot to rest at on the way down. Marked on the highway by an enormous avocado, Tropical Fruit World is all that Tropical Fruit World could be. It has a bevy of golf-carts from which Amex-waving tourists can view the orchards without scuffing their Salvatore Ferragamo loafers. It has an artificial lake with row boats. It has a museum of sorts and 40 minute fruit tastings at $10 a head. But, with entry priced at $29.50, i was forced to view all this from the wrong side of the mango-coloured main gates. We did, however, get to wander through the Tropical Fruit World tropical fruit stand, their nod to the common gift shop, i suppose, where we bought a big bucket-load of avocados for $5 and grabbed a rather delish custard apple.

The man at the Tropical Fruit World gift shop noted that “Asians always try filling the avocado buckets too high”. This was one of three defamatory references to “Asians” i’d heard within 24 hours … geographical conflation of bigotry or a national tendency? Responses are welcomed by the Moresby Institute of Social Studies.

Anyway, having left a trail of squashed mango, paw paw, pineapple, passion-fruit and several other suggestively shaped tropical fruits behind us on the road back to the highway, we continued on our way south. Arriving at Byron, we wasted no time in hitting the white sands and clear water that draw the chic and not-so-chic alike. It being the middle of winter and all, there were only a few dedicated surfers and red-faced Dutch tourists around but the off-season quality was undeserved. The entire celestial dome was a precious azure and the frequent waves rose as though they were the coastline’s vanity mirrors before crashing over the soft, rich sand banks, depositing their bubble-bath foam over the arms of we wading few. (Ha! i love writing crap like that) I caught up with Cameron, a class-mate from VCA, whose family lives just outside Byron and we discussed grand ideas while being pummelled by the surf.

I stayed at the beach for hours, leaving only to enjoy a treat of fish and chips and a cool beer. Come sunset and the cool winds that had been negated by the sun forced me to re-clothe my salt-encrusted self. Up by the rocks the hippies had come out to play to the setting sun. The polyrhythmic tones of African drums intermingled with the gentle invocations of the gurners who surrounded them. The tribalistic behaviour seemed called for as the enormous expanse of sky stretching south from the northern peak of Mt Danger showed a remarkable range of colours. Rust red ranged into yellow, green, then light pink and blue, mauve and indigo. It’s so nice to get out of the office.

See the photos.