sewer serenade

the aussies do have a sense of humor. at least that’s what we thought when we came across this historical marker along the lake in our neighborhood the other day. it’s like a sign saying, ‘on this date in 1926, we started pouring raw sewage into the river.’

now i could be wrong. to be honest, i didn’t do my due diligence as a journalist and even bother to read the fine print (or even the headlines). if i had read it, i might have found that this is an architectural and engineering triumph or some such, so better to be a good journalist and not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

the kangaroos have already stopped being a novelty. they’re everywhere, lying around under trees, cluttering up the golf courses.

gotta say they seem very sweet, and unperturbed by passing humans, but the natives warn they do have a vicious kick. the main concern everyone tells us about is having one hop out in front of your car while you’re scooting about at 100kph (or 130, which is 80mph). such encounters are so common that auto insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for roo hits.

Sister cities

out walking in the neighborhood the other day we discovered the beautiful beijing garden nestled alongside the lake. turns out beijing and canberra are sister cities, and the chinese built this stunning arch to commemorate the friendship between the two peoples. the entire garden is a work of art.

it’s quite fascinating to learn the crucial role china plays in australia, and how a disruption in this ‘friendship’ is affecting normal life here. first, an authority on the subject told me today that there are now 1.2 million first generation chinese living in australia. that’s in a country with a total population of 25.5 million. my source, who is a senior china expert in the australian home ministry, says that number includes hundreds of thousands of chinese students who have come to study in australian universities, many of whom have chosen to stay on.

of course china is the big player in the indo-pacific region, and is working hard to increase its influence by many means, not all of them above board. australian and other officials have expressed concern that china is taking advantage of free press and free speech laws in western countries like australia to keep up a stready propaganda stream aimed at ethnic chinese in australia. this is in great measure to keep them in touch with the government narrative, thereby preventing them from being influenced by local news and information sources. at the same time, beijing works hard to prevent its own people in china from hearing news from outside, thus keeping a lock on the domestic narrative.

we’ve also discovered that supply lines from china have been slowed noticeably, causing a scarcity of chinese goods that stock the shelves of australian stores. for instance, we discovered a severe shortage of trek bikes when we went shopping today. treks, like many big brands, are all made in china. the slowdown is clearly china’s retribution for australia’s aggressive posture in demanding that china be forthcoming about the source of the corona virus. beijing reacted furiously after canberra led the international push for an investigation into the origin of the virus

the weather’s been colder the past week than during the two weeks in quarantine. the low tonight is expected to be -1 degree celsius, or about 30 fahrenheit. so we’ll expect ice cubes in the pool. even so, the afternoons have been gorgeous, nice swimming and running weather. the local say the canberra mountains are green this spring in a way they haven’t been for a long time. they say the winter rains have been the best they’ve been in decades, after something of a drought. so the place is blooming beautifully. we who don’t know any better think it’s just going to be lovely weather all the time, but we’ve been warned that in a few months, it’ll be 45 degrees celsius, or above 110 degrees fahrenheit. great fun.

now back to the sewer.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s