Crikey…the end of another festival

Its time for us to leave Brisbane and we’ve had such a wonderful time here that it’ll be hard to go! The Queensland Poetry Festival was a real mix of artists and artistic styles and we’ve enjoyed ourselves so much and are very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to add to the mix. Our show went down really well and had an amazing response from the audience. We  met so many people who were interested in what we had to say. Many of them have notions of coming to Ireland in the near future – we’ve inspired them!
Anyway never mind the poetry, the big news this week was that we got to go and see Australia Zoo – Home Of The Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin – Crikey!!! I was so excited, I was like a little kid at Christmas. (What’s new ya say!) Unfortunatly we didn’t get to see Steve but we had a great time at the zoo anyway. We even got to feed an elephant! It was brilliant. We just missed the time for getting our photos taken with a koala bear so that will have to go on my list for next year! (Those of you who are aware of the list willl be pleased to know that I’m getting through it rightly!)
Brisbane has just been lovely for us. Gordon has family here and we’ve been welcomed in too like long lost relatives.It’s really made the trip for us. The only sad part about this portion of the trip was that we had to say goodbye to PhatBob and doing the show without him was definitely strange. But we’ve managed and now we’re heading off to Cairns tonight and we’ve got a show there tomorrow….a poets work is never done! The weather up there is meant to be fab and I’m hoping so cos at this rate I’ll be coming home the same shade of translucent that I came out here!

Ayres Rock

On Monday we went to Uluru. I mean you can’t come all the way to Australia and not visit the big rock! It is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. It’s huge – you see it on postcards and travel shows but never really comprehend how huge it really is! It’s massive! You can see it for miles as you drive up to the entry point where you pay and get your guide books. The book tells you the history of the rock and how it is a special spiritual place for people. It also asks you to respect that and there are certain areas you can’t photograph or are not allowed to enter. There is also a place where you can climb the rock although they ask you not to as it represents an important ritual for the ancient people (when their young boys climb it to become men) and it is also very dangerous. After reading all this in the book we were stunned to arrive at that place and to see people clambering up the rock. They’ve even had to put up a handrail because so many people were climbing and injuring themselves. Talk about a lack of respect. It put me in mind (in a weird way) of all the trouble we have at home around the twelfth and the right to walk or not walk in certain places. There’s a poem in that somewhere!
I’m so glad I went to see it. It was a four hour drive out and we got to spend two hours there but it was worth it. The drive out is mad cos as far as the eye can see its just desert and a few trees. It really was the middle of nowhere. It was quite strange to be in the middle of nothing for such a long time. It was like being in a weird American horror road movie!
Ayres Rock is one of those places that its impossible to go to and not feel something. Wether its a sense of your own mortality, the wonder of the world or an awareness of your own creative spirit. Each of us had a wee moment. Each side of the rock you walk round is like entering a different world, different plants and the tone and texture on the surface of the rock changes with each step. It is amazing! I also think it’s the quietest the five of us have been since we arrived in Oz – there was a lot of respectful whispering going on! We got some cracking photos too which I’ll put up here as soon as I get them off the camera!
On the drive on the way back, it was really dark and the only lights were the reflective signs on the side of the road. We could see Kangaroos waiting at the side of the road. Thats when a lot of them get killed cos they get mesmorised by the car lights and try to leap into their path! Luckily we avoided hitting any roo’s which is good cos we would have lost the insurance money on the hire car!!! And also the poor roo!!
All in all I think that was another perfect day!
We’ve arrived now in Brisbane and competed in the slam last night, which the five of us got through to the final round, PhatBob won overall, Chelley came second and Jenni came fourth. All in all a great night for the Belfast Poets! PhatBob, Gordon, Ellen and I are guesting at another heat of the slam tonight, which is a two hour drive away and I think we get a 20 minute slot in between performers. Should be good craic!