Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Australia 2007

I am in Australia for the first time since 2004. Access to internet is patchy so mail is not being checked and blogging not being done. This is nice. Australia is an interesting place with much having changed in my hometown, Toowoomba since I last spent time here in 1999. The economy seems to be booming, but there are many empty shop premises. One quater of those working are working as casual labor. Many new large cars are on the roads, but there are many poor looking people walking the same streets. Diversity seems to have increased with many nationalities and cultures represented everywhere.
Yesterday we visited the state museum and art gallery in Brisbane. Much floor space was devoted to indigenous cultures but they were presented in a very traditionally ethnographic way. Objects in glass cases, videos of traditional dances and food gathering. Vague references to the 'problems' of the past. A large display concerning the 1967 referendum for Aborigitnal and Torres Straight Islander citizenship spoke of preset day inequality but did not go further.
On the streets of Brisbane the influence gained from Australia's proximity to Asia is really present and it makes for a vibrant and interesting street life. Great food, amazing shops and engaging crowds.
Ill try and get some more impressions of Australia 2007 on this blog over the next few weeks but It may have to wait until later as I am busy just being here.