2001-05-19 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

As Edward Albee wrote in his play, The Zoo Story, "Sometimes it takes a long distance out of one's way in order to come back a short distance correctly." Sometimes it takes going a long distance to gain and advance a new perspective on one's life. I just returned from an intriguing journey down under to Australia, and while I told myself that I would keep the beauty of this majestic land a secret (so that not too many people go there
and spoil it!), I just can't stop talking about it to anyone who will indulge me the opportunity!

The intention of my trip was to attend a conference in Brisbane; but from the moment I touched down in Sydney, I was immediately impacted by the graciousness of the people. Their beauty seemed to only mirror the beauty of the country. They go out of their way to help you in any way they can. I can equate their hospitality to that of the old south in this country or in Ireland. The people are very natural, unhurried, and without affect. The entire population of Australia is merely that of a city like Los Angeles, with vast amounts of land uninhabited and undiscovered. One gets to really feel the vastness of something so much larger than themselves. There really are such creatures as wallabys, kangaroos, and koala bears that roam wild and free. The birds have their own sound that is quite different than any sound I've ever heard! Whether it's the cliffs of Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef (that extends for 1000 miles), the coral, the opal mines, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, or the wildlife of the outback, it will be the people who endear themselves to you. Although it is a 21 hour flight, and one should only attempt to travel it first class, it is an easy time for Americans to travel there. The dollar is worth just about double; therefore Americans are most welcome and one can really splurge with ease. The language is the same. A kind of blend of British/Brogue which is unsurprising as England sent many Irish there and many ran there to live in exile. I was most impressed by the quality of life and the quality of the people. It's as if being nice and polite is their national religion! Although their standard of living is lower than ours, they seem to have everything. What they don't have is a lot of crime, or pollution, or graffiti, nor do they have any homeless. I don't know what it is, but we Americans have such an arrogance about ourselves. It's part of our character. We don't have time to be nice and helpful. Those that ask of our time or help are often held suspect in their motives. Being there in this far away land made me gain a different perspective. How long the impact lasts, I don't know; but I hope it will last a while...or at least until I return again!
***John Baxter, Independent Party District Leader and Candidate for the City Council race, will begin televising an open forum on Sunday afternoons at 3pm at his theater on Beach 116 Street. The intention of these open forums will be to acquaint and involve community residents with issues new and old, and those issues that just seem to stay the same. John has done a lot of research and hopes to inform and educate the public so that they can make wise choices in this much contested city council race. He also plans to host a debate between all city council candidates. It will be moderated by a diverse panel. Stay tuned.
***Butchie McBride stopped me on the corner recently as I was going into Pickles and Pies. He said, " Hurry call 911!"

I asked, "Butchie what's wrong? Do you need an ambulance?" I called an officer over who was getting out of his squad car.

The officer asked, "What's the matter Butchie?" and Butchie replied, "Officer, you have to arrest that guy over there. He stole my bottle and then smashed it on the ground!"

Only in Rockaway folks!   


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