Archive | March 2006

Toilet secrets

25 March 2006

Waiting at the gate of the airport I was thinking: “Which door do people choose when they have to go to a public toilet?” Do you too make a greased lightning calculation of which of the 2, 3 or 4 available toilets statistically would be the cleanest? Do ‘the Other People’ always take the middle door? Or just the door most near by the entrance door? So, the most near by one would be the dirtiest toilet. Or do all Other People think that way and then all flock to the farthest door, so that all farthest toilets are the most used ones?

The times that I’m not paralyzed by the quick calculation, is when I see a toilet for the disabled. Because I suspect that most people are afraid to use it. Out of courtesy, out of duty or because of their cleaner morals ­čÖé Or perhaps because using a toilet for the disabled is stored in the same brain-box as using a parking lot for the disabled. We were brought up that you will be fined if improperly using that parking, so automatically the whole territory of the disabled became trespassing for the undisabled.

Sometimes ‘the big progress’ looks like carried too far to me. At the airport in New Zealand you need to close the toilet door electronically.
There was a queue for the 2 available toilets. The mixed gents and ladies peeked into a dark hallway, where a red and green light completely random went on & off, on the gender-free doors. Every few seconds an electronic voice shouted out the same stinging message: “Through closed uf … kgggg, tsk … Button!”

toilet secretsOnce inside the spacious toilet room I stared to the smooth sliding door without the possibility to lock it … Ah, at the doorpost I could press a button. No, two buttons!
Hmmm, first I needed to translate and understand the manual. But in the meantime I pulled down my pants, because with the long queue in mind I wanted to do my business asap. But now I was too far away to press the buttons, so I rely on my wits and quickly pressed the red button. Red hardly could be any different than CLOSED, isn’t it? Red is forbidden access. Red means STOP or danger.
Sitting on the loo, or rather hanging above -because sitting is dirty- I saw a flashing green light above my door. Oh no … so my door is open???
Well, the entire amount of people has seen me entering this door, so I trusted on nobody would going to sit beside me. Apparently I had to turn OFF the green light by pressing the green button …
A wonderful outgrowth of technological advances. What the hell is running in the minds of the creators of this? Was he trying to achieve saving time in such a hectic environment like an airport? For a moment the memory of the old-fashioned slide-lock just makes me melancholic.
At least I stopped trying to understand the instructions yet. That was the best time-saver.




And more Brisbane

14 March 2006 (Australia)

and more brisbaneIn the late morning we do some walks. The beaten tracks; such as the botanical garden, the South banks and a mangrove-boardwalk along the river. I hope ever to become an early bird, so that I will be able to see these beautiful things at sunrise, when there is nobody on the street and for a while you can imagine you are the only living soul in the city. For a moment wading through the empty, silent, warm pool and see those strange mangroves in the magical morning light.
For a night owl this is an almost unattainable time of the day.

and more brisbaneOne of the forms of public transport is the City Cat; a catamaran crosses the river at high-speed, zigzagging from jetty to jetty. You can use it all day for only five Australian dollars. For us tourists this was a perfect way to spend the sun-drenched afternoon; Sitting in the wind on a fast boat, stepping off, checking out some neighbourhoods and stepping on again.

A very wide river runs through Brisbane. Ten meters from the edge a bicycle-path with a length of 2 kilometers is floating in the water.
and more brisbaneVia┬áth├át cycle track and a lot of other streets, we walked to the gallery area to do some research in advance, because … well, you never know.
Like in all big cities, the neighborhood with the galleries is located just off the center. We only visit one of the top galleries, looking for paintings that are similar in price and size to mine. And yes, my concurrents are existing! So there must be a market for. I almost know for sure selling over here will be easier than in New Zealand. Not easy, but easier.

Ai … another point of consideration to add to the list with allurements … Unprepared a seed is planted.




Brisbane

12 March 2006 (Australia)

brisbaneWe have arrived on Friday in Brisbane. My in-laws were knocked out after a full day of traveling. Auckland/Brisbane is only 3.5 hours, but like everywhere in the world for an international flight you need to check in at the airport 3 hours in advance, after an equally long journey by car before.
Frank and I have more energy and appetite and want to stay & play outside for as long as possible. It is 25 degrees and the lady at the hotel desk explained the eateries could be found across the river in a sort of park.

brisbane As far as we can judge in the dark, Brisbane is beautiful!!!!! And clean. The park is richly decorated with palm trees and there is a large ‘artificial’ beach with air heated chlorinated water, mini-lagoons and boardwalks. You can swim for free at any hour of the day or night. It is dark (the pictures are from the next day), but it is pleasantly lit and there is a peaceful and fairy atmosphere. Fantastic!

I always forget to bring some item in our suitcase. To keep the tension alive, I refuse to make a proper list. Last time it was a classic one; toothbrushes. Nothing to bother because you can buy them in every night shop. This time I had forgotten a more difficult piece; the battery charger of the camera!
Since the arrival at the airport I was complaining that we urgently had to buy one, but Frank likes to live dangerous … he thinks there is nothing more fun than making a picture on the last drop of gasoline.

brisbaneIn contrast to New Zeeland, there is an extensive network of public transport. The first day was for family visits, but Sunday we went by train to Underwater World in Mooloolaba. But just THAT day there was a strike going on! Instead of 1 hour we did the trip in 4 hours …
The same applies for the return trip. So we have had plenty of time to think about whether we could live here …
* Yes, because Brisbane is the nicest city we have visited so far in our lives.
* No, because a large part of the year it is too hot.

At first glance Australia seems to be a lot more Americanish than New Zealand. Both socially and in their appearance reminiscent of the pastel colored Florida. The social parable appeals less to us, but in detail the groomed appearance of Brisbane and Mooloolaba is delightful. Even the high buildings are not too ugly. Everything meant for public use, is made of good materials; hardwood, stainless steel which is cut in fancy shapes and decorations. Tiles, planters, fences, staircases and fountains; everything looks equally chic. No plastic or molest-proof and graffiti resistant stuff.
We noticed that the men -although closer to the equator than in New Zealand- are all neatly dressed in long pants and that all women are -without any exception- try to at least ‘make something’ of their appearance.
Well, not for nothing New Zealanders are bullied by the Australians because of their … well, their countrifiedness.

(more Brisbane)




Promises

8 March 2006

promisesLast Saturday my father returned to Whakatane from his private tour through the North & South Island. Dutifully he had written his diary and closely followed the recommendations of the Lonely Planet guide and daily emailed his Dutch girlfriend who’s living in South-Africa. He never had been on holiday for such a long time and now was desiring to his own couch, a stack of fresh Dutch magazines & papers and craving his used brand of chocolate.

After we had brought him to the airport, of course we also planned a visit to Fisher’s gallery. These days I’m already getting irritated as soon as we are approaching Parnell Road.
But … the gallerina plunged me into praise and brought up -on her own initiative- the ‘is-there-life-after-the-exhibition subject!
The one and only sold painting was now owned by an important collector ‘who got the right friends over’ (oh yeah, every artist knows that wear out record) and gallerina’s plan was to organize a group exhibition in 2007 with a number of surrealists or other ‘ists’ that fits my work.
Or should I look the other way? That I fit their work?

Anyway, an exhibition will be accompanied by some more fanfare and ballyhoo than this ‘Summer Salon’, which was given ZERO publicity according to me. She said that when I have finished a new painting, she could mail a picture to certain customers and if there was a gap between the exhibitions this year, they could hang my work in between.
You understand that I was fine with this handful of promises and I was a lot less fretful.
Because of our job as entertainer for our guests, currently my easel is catching dust.
First we will accompany Frank’s parents to Australia for 5 days.