life in the tropics

Spring cleaning

Spring has sprung – well, it feels like it has for those of us living in the tropics and enjoying 27 degree days.

I’ve done some further rethinking about how I structure this here page – and I’ve moved the daily posts of links out of the “Curiosities” column and into the far right.

You’ll also notice some new little images in the footer which were fun to put together. I may move to styling all my images like little polaroids, but we’ll see.

If you’ve got more suggestions for tweaks I should make – hit me up in the comments. I’ve got a fair bit of time on my hands this week.

Life in the Tropics

“Life in the Tropics” is our tagline for tourism and relocation promotion here in the ‘ville. It’s one of those suitably generic lines that is meant to be partly aspirational and partly functional. I don’t like it. I do like life in the tropics. We have water, sunshine and temperate winters. And air conditioning. Suffer in your jocks Melbournians (literally).

There are plenty of bad things that come along with the good. When I moved here an ex-Townsvillian friend from Brisbane warned me of several of them. Lets just call her Donna. That’s her real name. She told me that if the crocodiles, stingers, tropical diseases, cyclones, or sunshine didn’t kill me – I’d probably die due to lack of water. She said “it never rains in Townsville”…

For two many years Townsville was known as Brownsville. See what I did there. Two instead of too. I did that on purpose. Townsville started receiving pretty regular rain, and looking green all round, for a couple of years before the rest of the world caught on. Townsville is actually nice. And we have secured water supply. More than four times the size of Sydney Harbour.

What we no longer have is the 300 days of sunshine we claim in our marketing material. There is no way that’s true. Well, it might be, depending on your definition of “sunshine”… I think it rained on about 90 days in my first full year here. And it has rained pretty regularly since.

But I digress. I can put up with that sort of hyperbolic description of tropical life from a jaded ex-resident trying to scare me. But when the same sort of thing comes from a Channel Ten reporter bundling all of those together in the name of “news” I get upset. It creates work for me for one, and number two – it’s shoddy reporting.

So reporters of the world – you can’t have it both ways. Townsville can’t be “brownsville” on one hand and a flooding tropical metropolis on the other.

I don’t even know why I wrote this post. But it was cathartic.

An ‘Ellie of a storm

EDIT: Looks like BOM have removed Ellie’s tracking image thing. So there’s no image for you to watch anymore.

That heading is bad. Really bad. If you didn’t bother reading to the end of my last post, and haven’t been listening to your local ABC today – you may not be aware there’s a cyclone coming for North Queensland. It’s no big deal. Unless you haven’t been in a cyclone before, then perhaps you should tape up your windows, fill your baths with water (unless they’re outdoors – then there’s a dengue risk), buy lots of canned food, batteries and candles (although you should read this first).

What I think is particularly funny about cyclones is what it reveals about the inner psyche of North Queensland. North Queensland is demographically bi-polar. A 50/50 split between “locals” (those who have been here all their lives, or for longer than 20 years) and us “ring ins” who are here for a couple of years of “career progression” only to pull up stumps and leave. Townsville has a massively transient population thanks to the army, the university and the mining industry. It makes for an interesting dynamic all year round – but particularly when there’s a storm brewing. 

There are two reactions to a cyclone’s impending intersection with the coast line. The understated approach, preferred by locals, where you insult “ring ins” for making a fuss. Point out “this is only a category one”. We’ve been through much bigger before. Pick up potential flying objects from your yard, and go about your daily business almost as usual. 

The other reaction is what leads to mile long lines at the grocery store and a region wide shortage of milk and survival equiptment. 

I subscribe to my friends Facebook status updates via RSS (which is pretty cool because it gets around the workplace Facebook ban) – and I’m thinking that I might collate responses to cyclone related Facebook status updates to use social networking to report impending disaster – that’s the done thing these days. What do you think Facebook friends/blog readers? Is this a horrible invasion of your privacy – I’m looking at you Leah and Stuss.

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