The power of the internet

Musing today on the difference the internet has made to everyday life.

This trip for instance. We hit upon the idea of flying into Perth, buying a car, and driving to Sydney just about 4 weeks ago. In the span of 4 weeks we’d researched what car were available at various car dealers around Perth. We’d found an apartment to stay in whilst in Perth, we’d learned of a little place just south of Margaret River called Hamelin Bay, and found a house to rent for a week.

And we’d researched the logistics of driving the 4600 or so kilometers from Western Australia to Sydney, including figuring out where to stay each night, what accommodation was available (often a choice of one small motel, or nothing in the more remote parts of the crossing), and booked rooms for every night between WA and the Eastern NSW border.

Its even more amazing to think that when we left Oz 11 years ago, much of the information we looked up would not have been available via the web. Neither car dealers or the small business operators who own and run the house we’re in in Hamelin Bay, or the motels across the Nullabor would have had a web presence. It is a sobering thought as to the pernicious presence of the interwebbynet.

Scooby Doo! We love you!

Simon: What is this?
Naomi: What’s what?
Simon: This car. This stupid car. Where’s the Cadillac? The Caddy, where’s the Caddy?
Naomi: The what?
Simon: The Cadillac we used to have! The Bluesmobile!
Naomi: Traded it.
Simon: You traded the Bluesmobile for this?!
Naomi: No … for a microphone.
Simon: A microphone? [pause] Okay, I can see that. But what the hell is this?
Naomi: I picked it up at the Mount Prospect police auction last spring. It’s an old WA Department of Agriculture Subaru Outback. They were practically giving them away.
Simon: Well thank you, darling. The day I get out of England, my own wife comes to pick me up in a Subaru.
Naomi: You don’t like it?
Simon: [pause] No, I don’t like it.
[Naomi: jumps the car over an opening drawbridge]
Simon: [impressed] Car’s got a lot of pickup.
Naomi: It’s got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters, so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say? Is it the new Bluesmobile or what?
[Simon tries to use the car’s lighter, but it does not work; he throws it out the window]
Simon: Fix the cigarette lighter.

Naomi: It’s two thousand, eight hundred and thirty two miles to Sydney, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Simon: Hit it.

Fig you!

Moreton Bay Figs are bloody spectacular. The buttress roots spreading out below the canopy seem to flow from the upright of the tree like liquid streams, frozen suddenly into organic shapes. A native of the East Coast of Australia, this beautiful specimen is firmly rooted in Perth’s King Park, overlooking the Swan River.

That’s a load of Black Swan

On my last Wednesday in England the Thames River was mirror still, with a low wisp of morning mist hanging over the surface. A glide of eight swans moved silently through the water, with the graceful stillness that swans have whereby no movement is apparent above the water line. It is almost as though they are being moved on sticks from below. The ephemeral beauty of the Windsor white swans is one of the defining sights of England in my mind and will be missed. The Spring cygnets with their dusky grey and brown fluffy feathers. The jossling gaggles of birds crowding for the attention of a birdfeed laden tourist. The grace of a solitary pure white bird, its wings cupped in a heart shape, moving with the slow flow of the stream.

In the Eighteen Hundreds the idea of a Black Swan was an anathema. To call “Black Swan” was the equivalent of calling “Bullshit”. So it is with a certain rightness that just days after my last sight of the white swans of the river Thames, I am standing on the pier next to a coffee bar called The Lucky Shag (named after the bird, not the sexual exploit), overlooking the Swan River. And watching black swans glide by.