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            <<  Brisbane, 6-Jul-2013  >>

Welcome to Queensland!

Surfers Paradise aka My Hell, skipping the rest of the famous Gold Coast and surprisingly neat Brisbane

From Murwillumbah I finally headed north from New South Wales and crossed the border with Queensland for good, leaving the vicinity of Byron Bay way behind me. Because of the day trip to Queensland with Irene and Olga I already knew that there was no real reason to stop on the Gold Coast, because it was just exploited tacky resort-like kind of place. Just out of curiosity I stopped in Surfers Paradise, the most developed and touristy resort town on Gold Coast. I just wanted to see how much I would hate that place, and no, it did not disappoint :-)
Monumental sky scrapers reaching up right from the beach, Louis Vuitton and Versace stores, fake boobs jogging around Ė welcome to Surfers Paradise (as far from any surferís idea of paradise as it can get). I stopped there just for one hour, had breakfast on beach, walked around a street or two and left. But here is one thing to be said. While Surfers Paradise comes as close to my idea of hell as possible, when speaking about place to spend holidays, I can sort of imagine living there can have certain good aspects. The full infrastructure of large city (despite the fact that it actually has less than 20†000 citizens its downtown is like that of at least 500†000 city), many cafes and bars and all the buzz of the summer town, combined with the beach right in front of the downtown, yes, I can imagine that living there could be OK, if I was the kind of person who loves plain commercial lifestyle. Luckily, or sadly, you be the judge, Iím not that kind of person, and even less and less by every day of this journey, so no I couldnít stay there. I would dry there like starfish on sun light. But some others might live long and prosper. Not me.

After Surfers Paradise I headed straight to Brisbane, bypassing the whole rest of Gold Coast.

Brisbane. What a surprise! I like you baby!
Maybe itís because of the fact that itís ďwinterĒ (think freezing 22íC and sunny), or because of the fact that Brisbane is not directly by the sea (I always thought that Brisbane was super beach town, when you look at that world map it looks like if Brisbane sits right on the water edge, but in reality it does not, and I only found that out in Byron Bay), but Brisbane was simply real, authentic city, almost void of travelers. Unlike pretentious Sydney and working-hard-to-be-cool Melbourne, Brisbane is just Brisbane, practically quiet city on banks of a slow flowing river, lacking the crowds of German speaking teenagers. I hardly saw any foreigner in the city other than me. Thereís not too much to say about Brisbane, it has typical CBD with sky scrapers, towering over remnants of few colonial buildings, lots and lots of open air bars, restaurants and cafeterias, but somehow the atmosphere of the city was authentic and sedate. The river flowing through its center adds nice piece to that atmosphere. I suddenly felt, that Brisbane was the first city in Australia where I could actually live. Here I could even imagine working (again) in a bank(!), because the whole city seemed so stress-free and unpretentious, that the promise of relaxing dolce vita was lingering in the air. Yes, all my observations about Brisbane are extremely superficial, because I spend there only 2 days (compared with 3 weeks in Sydney and 1 week in Melbourne), but simply there was something about Brisbane which resonated with good vibration for me.
Apart from walking through the town and downing few beers while listening to live music during evenings, I went to Contemporary Art Gallery, which was primarily oriented on artwork of contemporary Aboriginal artists. See the pictures for couple of pieces and my comments on them, but here I want to make other observation. So, this place was displaying mostly contemporary Aboriginal art. Guess how many Aboriginal visitors I saw in the gallery? You guessed none? Damn right! The only Aborigines whom I saw in Brisbane (and Iím sorry to say this) were the junkies on late night streets of drinking district. Well, the intellectuals might think how art changes our lives, but itís obvious that it takes much more than erecting a gallery to undo the horrible impact of colonial and modern societies on the indigenous populations and their descendants. So far, my encounters with Aborigines sadly reminded my encounters with Native Americans during the US road trip. Alcohol and cheap fake Adidas clothes. No, I do not have any solution up my sleeve, itís just that I was thinking about this while walking through the Black Gallery, full of white people. I hope I will see something from the amazing Aboriginal culture once that I head into the Outback.

By the way, during Friday evening I was just walking through the downtown and suddenly I felt some overwhelmed with the good feelings, that I just lied down in middle of a small grassy area right in front of the city hall, got Bruce Springsteen blasting through my earphones and I just ďdancedĒ while lying on the ground, looking like some psycho in delirium, but it was pure 100% good energy moment. And just few minutes later, the goodness of the world just exploded when I found a stall with... wait for it, find it in the photos.


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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak