Monday, April 3, 2006

Laugh, Kookaburra — You Smug, Twitty Little Motherfucker Kookaburra

By traveling up the coast from Sydney to Townsville, we've finally made Australia look like Australia. High-rise apartment buildings and posh dance clubs are nice, but no more iconic to Australia than they would be Germany, England or any other country I've already been to. No, Townsville is a special place in that it abounds with what I want from my Australia.

Last night, our plane landed and my Aunt Judy drove us to her house. It sits on the edge of the city, in the kind of underdeveloped development where you'd expect people to live if they're used to rural digs. It sits in a forest of gum trees and brush and sticks and green. We're not to step outside without shoes on, Judy tells us, since some of the most deadly snakes in the world — full-fledged black adders, even — live in the grass. We sleep with the windows open, since the humidity just steams your body, even a body at rest, in a way that I can only recall Harper Lee even coming close to describing. To use a cliche, it's stifling. If I wanted to attempt something more flowery, I'd say the world outside is breathing, hot and wet, overwhelming this little house and seeping in through the cracks in the windows.

That statement doesn't seem like much of a stretch, however, when I note that as I type this I can hear a host of animals chattering and shrieking in the trees just in the yard. Frogs that sound like dogs, cicadas that sound like birds, and birds that sound like they're laughing, laughing, laughing at the funny American sweating through his underwear as he types at a computer covered in small moths that think the monitor is the sun or a fire or Jesus or something. The outside is alive, and it's making its way in.

If I wake up tomorrow morning, I can go see wallabies that just hop around in the fields while Judy and Tom walk their dogs. If we make it to the ferry, we get to see a place called Magnetic Island. And if this dial-up connection doesn't fail me, the best of my photos so far — Auckland through Sydney — will be posted on my Flickr page by the time you read this. Just images so far.

Context to follow shortly.


  1. gay your life must be.



    In case you haven't seen this yet I figured you might be interested. Since it's linked with the interrobang, you probably have seen it, but eh... what the hell.