I sold my car several weeks before I headed to PNG for a gig, substituting my own apathy toward public transport for the kindness of friends, only to realise how much I needed my own legs.
I’m breaking a sweat from J-walking across Grafton Street.
For the first time in a few mild months, I am reminded that this is the tropics.
The feel of humidity rising in the morning leaves a lot to be desired as I get caught in the mid-Friday-morning sun darting into Rusty’s for the ritual coffee and samosa.
Friendly nods between the frenzied buzz give way to warm murmurs interjected by the whizz-shhhhh of the coffee machine at Billy’s.
Flippy-floppy thongs slap hard against concrete followed closely by the clip and clop of a heal and a shoe.
Someone mentions in passing that it looks like ‘it’s going to be a hot one’.
But I can’t tell if they were talking about the coffee or sun.
I notice the first signs of redness beginning to show on our melanin-deficient brothers and sisters who have ventured a bit too long without sunscreen.
The morning streets will soon be a buzz with tropical professionals zipping into air-conditioned hideaways of the next cafe to avoid unsightly sweat patches.
But the weather this time of the year is temperamental.
The rains do poke through humid blue skies on the odd occasion, cooling streets and shrinking sidewalks.
It lingers long enough to make us yearn for more sheltered walkways. But it stays away long enough for us to forget we need them.
The indecisive weather is part of the lifestyle. A short walk from the Esplanade to Cairns Central would attract an unwarranted public baptism by either precipitation or perspiration.
I call on a thought to distract myself from the rising hunger as I wait in the samosa line.
How is it that our city stops short of catering to our tropical lifestyle?
Why does my daily commute to work have to involve navigating patches of sweat?
We praise the outdoor tropical lifestyle, yet accept, and think it normal to spend the better part of the week inside air-conditioned cubicles glaring through double-glazed tinted panes.
This is the disjuncture of our existence that evades the public forum, but one that concerns us all.
This may be about to change.
I bite into my tamarind sauce topped samosa to settle the hangry morning monster in my belly.
Taking advantage of JCU’s agenda on pursuing research with a tropical focus, the JCU TUD Lab will pursue important questions concerning the livability of tropical urban environments. A feat warranted by a State of the Tropics report that claims close to 50% of the worlds people will live in the tropics by the middle of this century.
After having the Cairns Regional Council’s Tropical Urbanism vision applauded at the state level, this TUD Lab would mark an important milestone for thinking about tropical planning and urban design in Cairns, if not the world.
Maybe there will be some respite from the heat soon.
- RamblingsOfAGlobalCitizen (blog)
The winds of change
bristling in the breeze,
leave all trace
of yesterdays behind them.
When cyclone winds
arrive in tandem.
– Hans Lee-
There is a lot to say about change in our part of the world, it happens when we least expect it but faster then we would have otherwise anticipated. It’s the curse of the orchestrated laissez faire lifestyle we enjoy in the Far North Queensland.
Though little doubt can now be cast upon our little city in the north that the winds of change are blowing again. Some may even argue at gale force.
There is just that much happening around Cairns that anyone who wishes for the past would be sourly disappointed that Cairns is growing up fast. Images of the once thriving fishing port are a distant memory as we continuously (re)define ourselves as an eco-tourism friendly region – or perhaps something more.
Flurry of Optimism