Tour Tales

It's time for a quick round-up of tours of duty the length and breadth of good old Australia before I get back to petulant pianos and whatever else piques my interest. Overseas as well - Tasmania! Some seem scarcely interested in engaging in travel which doesn't involve passports and currency exchange. I'm good with both or neither, whatever comes my way. My travel is almost exclusively employment-based which changes its focus significantly. Experiences abound - but I am not on holiday.

Brisbane River Walk - putting the bogan in bougainvillea. 

Cute tents with incongruous proper doors and optional Sister Bertrille-able window flaps (Byron Bay).

Our accommodation is one step up - proper doors attached to cabins. My policy is that I have no intention (I canvassed various puns) of marrying performing with camping. I've drawn a line in the sand - no floors comprising sand.

Gumboots and brolly - this tent seems very lived-in.

Brisbane to Perth. I watched a fascinating feature film about a little plane icon following a green line. 

Two-fingered takeovers across the aisle.

What a comprehensive treatise for potential patrons to have to read through beer goggles. It is the first time I've considered the plural of 'dero' in its written form. Rules (and news) about Colour Gangs abound, yet I happened upon several chapters frolicking freely in the mall without impediment...

...wielding weapons...

...displaying territorial allegiances... 

...repeating coded rituals.

If there wasn't a law against these gatherings last week, I think there is now. Thanks, Mr Rabbit.

These Garland Ladies were an utter joy to watch, equal measures earnest and fun-loving. Captivating indeed.

Musically there were Morris Majors and Morris Minors, traditional British fare with an Australian twist. Like the dancing, imperfect but beautiful in its intent, flowing and relaxed, synchronized yet loose.

"Glory, glory to South Sydney."

The Garland Ladies posing for photographs. Their camaraderie and sense of fun lifted the dour spirit of this idle observer.

Making Morris music.

What's with the malls of this country? Every city's mall is perpetually being repaved. No sooner has the installation of fashionably small (or fashionably large) pavers been completed, then it all starts again. It's like painting the Harbour Bridge - but stupider. Locals and visitors are sentenced to being corralled down slender slivers of available promenade to continue to worship consumerism in all its glory, sensitively accompanied by jackhammers, bobcats and the searing sounds of concrete cutters. I demand a set of industrial earmuffs (since that's one thing I don't pack in my tour kit*). Those bloody big pavers obviously need to be made just a bit smaller. No matter how they're installed, the paved surfaces all seem to end up becoming dislodged, drummy trip-hazards in what seems to be no time at all. Who started this campaign to bitch about bitumen? I'm talking to YOU, Adelaide, Wollongong, Perth! To be fair, Perth's construction work was less about paving and more about placing seating where no one wants to sit. 

I've been down this path before, trodden this turf, to wit, yet another deja-view. I photographed the side of this very store (Albany) in 2007, amused by the odd mixed-business mash-up of a music and sewing centre. It's reminiscent of an incongruous laundrette and suntan centre I saw in St Kilda - kit in the wash while you're in the solarium - it almost makes sense. Fetch my thimbles, I'm about to thread my Theremin!

Albany's whale port origins are spouted in more ways than one.

Never again will I tolerate my bog-roll points flapping around in the wind.




For the dubious dabblers in graphology - who might be whom? In regional areas this is a common strategy deployed by all in the touring party. Often, it's not enough. Cleaners like to get 'the jump' on the day's chores and are seemingly befuddled by the notion that folk might not want housekeeping before breakfast (or at any other time) and readily ignore such efforts to request solace.

I'm such a good little 'be prepared' so-full-of-tour-tips-and-tricks-that-I-should-write-a-book Girl Scout, that I confess that my annotation is the one deploying a thick-nibbed marker.

Textas and sticky tape were not part of this kit. Yet behold, one of the oddest hotel courtesy provisions ever. A notepad and pen are certainly common, but how many times have I checked into a hotel room and instantly desired a pencil sharpener, paper clips, stapler (with extra staples) and a ruler? Well... never. 

"A pant" - is that a pair of trousers with 50% off?

And on that note, it's time for:

Cazzbo's Price Watch...

I'm testing a theory that the ratio between these stunningly-affordable Tasmanian op shop prices (versus Sydney) and the prices of local properties (versus Sydney) conforms identically.

"These prices are so low that the next land mass is Antarctica".


In Perth, witness scandalous prices on items that (to me) are only worth buying if they're available at Great Depression-style mark-downs... and even then I generally cannot countenance the gritty texture of pears!

Ditto this rolled-gold price for the humble sprout. To me, these types of vegetables are only worth buying if they're cheaper than everything else (am I missing something? Probably). Many suggest that sprouts are not worth buying at any price. Mining wealth is routinely implicated in such high costs. Here it is admittedly coupled with this being a CBD supermarket, where prices will exceed those in suburgatory in any city. With care, the parsimonious can still shop well (thus spake the Queen of Tour Thrift).

Enroute Perth to Albany, or was it Bunbury? Note that these are the tiny motel-style packets of cereal (so magical in childhood, such rarely-encountered miniatures). Twenty-five grams, people! The price per bubble is calculable.

The Perth Mint it ain't. This machine on Mock-Cockney lane invites investment of a gold coin to purchase - a gold coin. 

Relief - my instrument comes out gently, lid up. So many flights, every one a risk. That's life. The case is emblazoned with a sign: 'Dear Qantas humans - please handle with compassion'. It's just my way of coping, with the added paranoid side-effect that it might seem deliberately provocative to the baggage handlers on my various non-Qantas flights. All this presupposes that apes read. Oh well. So many flights, every one a risk.

On the very infrequent occasions that I'm able to travel without special-needs luggage, I suddenly realize I'm experiencing an odd and rare sensation at the airport - that of feeling almost relaxed. 

I was all set to enjoy my weekend until I spied this - one of the most bizarre misplaced apostrophes I've witnessed. Strangely, despite an apparently easy-to-edit white board, I didn't erase it - I must have been jetlagged.

* I do pack every type of earplug, at all times.

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