Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wanna know what shits me?

Too bad.

It's the Australian Labor Party.

But why? I hear you ask.

First of all, Public Transport. I have always been and will always be, if not in practice, a devotee to public transport. A slut for it, even. Melbourne (and indeed Victoria's) public transport has been left to rot by the State Government since well before the Kennett Government hastily (and against the advice of its consultants KPMG—or was it Ernst and Young? I cannae remember) privatised our "public" transport system. Then the do-nothing Bracks Government decides we need faster rural rail services. Fuck yes we do. And so, after spending millions and millions of dollars, they speed the rural trains up by between one and seven minutes for THEIR TOTAL JOURNEYS to regional centres. Like, what, seven minutes faster on a four-hour rain journey is anything for ANYONE to write home about? And then they decide to the pinch the VFT name and attach it to these so-called "very (not) fast trains. These aint no TGVs or Shinkansen. They're not even fast, let alone very fast.

And so, now, I have it on first-class, reliable authority, that the Bracks Goverment has, as its main priority in its 2006 Traffic for Melbourne "blueprint" that the main initiative planned is a tunnel under the cemetary from the Eastern Freeway to Citylink. Aussie Goverment's love their tunnels. Big, fuck-off spends on engineering projects that falsely bolster their economic figures and placate the so-called "aspirational" voter in the outer suburbs. To where there is no public transport, because 10 years ago there were only cattle and sheep living there. So, I asked my source, in December when The Age was carrying on its hoo-hah about PT, "what initiatives have Mr Bachelor and his cronies, erm advisers, got in store for us public transport users? There have been heaps of great ideas in the paper." I said. And my source replied: "Oh, we won't be doing anything on trams or trains. There are no votes in it. And it would cost too much."
"And a fuck-off tunnel won't?"
"It will placate those voters who were pissed off with the eastlink tollway thing"
"But what about the future of the city and it's liveability and all that? You know, more tunnels, more cars, more petrol, higher petrol prices, more pollution, more people"
Rio, Buenos Aires and Santiago all have better public transport than we do, and their standard of living is about half of ours at best. God this shits me.

And more, I concur with Shaun Carney, as ever, in his Saturday column. What is it that the ALP can't see? Stacking their numbers in the house with Union reps is a good thing? While less Australian workers join unions, more unionists join the ALP. And unionists are surely about as respected as real estate agents when it comes to honesty, integrity and good intentions. There's a reason no-one else wants join the ALP. It's because its a hotbed of skullduggery and backstabbing, where merit and ideas are thrown over for obsequiousness, backstabbing, and an idolisation of the nastiest and most devious political animal this nation has ever seen. No-one trusts this slimy, weaselly man, and yet Labor's Right can't see it. They revile him in public, but fawn over him and his "electoral success" (read: shrewd manipulation of a spineless media) behind headquarters' doors. Why else would they not run on his blatant and repeated lack of honesty—never ever a GST, I believe in Medicare, NON-CORE PROMISES, weapons of mass destruction, children thown overboard, PETER FUCKING REITH, no knowledge of the AWB Saddam kickbacks, the list goes on—at every moment they have? Why not? Because they're run by a pack of faceless "officials" wouldn't know a policy it it kicked them in the face. Who send their preferences to the rightist Family First instead of the leftist Greens, and in the process end up electing not just a Victorian fundo to the senate, but an extra Lib as well. Who care more about internal numbers than economic numbers.


And, while I'm at it, Kim who?


I can't believe I wrote a post about Brazil and forgot the main thing: Caipirinhas. Man oh man, these things rock. After the first sip has acclimatised one's mouth to the cachaça that it. And that's definitely one of those sour-y squint-y too strong-y alcohol-y effects. But once you're past thhe first sip and the limejuice and the sugar are starting to mingle in your plastic cup, and the ice starts a-melting, yeah, that's the spirit. And the drink 'em everywhere. At the wedding, they had a dedicated caipirinha bar—lime, passionfruit or strawberry to choose from. But believe me, there's no reason whatsoever to pass up the lime. The sour acid masks the cachaça flavour in a way no strawberry ever can. And I'm aint no passionfruit man But, hey, you gotta try everything once (except murder and incest, that is). (oh, and ploughing into a group of rural teenagers in your car).

So, after a whirlwind tour of Hee-oh, we had to hot-tail it back to BA. As you all know too well, my kinda town. But it also meant a period of mad flight times, like a 7:30 Rio-BA departure, meaning we have to leave for the airport at oh, 4:45 am. Pitch black. And then spend a woozy day in a rainy BA, feeling fairly shite. But enjoying ourselves nonetheless. Even seeing some tango at the Armenian Social Club in Palermo Viejo. And following yesterday's early morning rise with anothery—this time the 8:15 to Lima.

And the Cuzco. The Andes. Cold. Wet. History. And some fo the best masonry I've ever seen. A city full of these min cars whose brnad I can't recall, all mini like their stoic, broad-faced drivers, these solid, stocky coffee-coloured people who look as though they have been chiselled from stones themselves.

What with altitude sickness, yes, it does exist, Cuzco was a place the put the feet up and relax. Snooze. Drink hot chocolate. Visit the odd cathedral. Snooze some more. Read a little. Plan our itinerary. Eat alpaca (yum!). Drink pisco sours. Peruse silver. Deny the hawkers. All jolly good, old fashioned fun.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A distant memory

I'm still tyring to figure out how to upload my quicktime movies, so in the meantime you shall all have to content yourselves with more stills.

Style icon Buenos Aires: the Peugeot 504

The view from our hotel:


Brazil: The wedding


How's that for a start?