Monday, March 16, 2009

March break travel tip: Get down under from $5.99!

Two things happened last week that had my normally clean thoughts going totally down under. I watched the movie, Australia, and I received an email from Quantas announcing some pretty fair dinkum deals to Sydney. Oh, to have room on my Sears card!

First, let me officially apologize to Nicole Kidman, for slagging her so often, because I thought she was awesome in this role. There, I said it. I also heard this movie was long and boring – but Hugh Jackman was in it – how bad could it be? Plus, I have never trusted a film critic since Forrest Gump, when I sat there in amazement praying for Forrest to choke on a box of chocolates so I could go home.

In a nutshell, Director Baz Luhrmann's campy vision of Australia on the brink of WW2 was an artsy delight. But, it was his treatment of the Aboriginal people and their Dreamsongs that captured my heart. To me, the relationship between the boy, Nullah, his land, and his people, that took this movie from good to really heartwarming. (Okay, okay there's a scene where Hugh has no shirt on and he's pouring a bucket of water on his sweaty self, and his muscles are smokin' and it gave me thoughts that went waaaaay down under, and I realized "hey, I'm not dead yet!")


I knew a bit about aboriginal Dreamsongs from the few months I spent traveling in Australia, but more from Bruce Chatwin's book The Songlines. Having spent a great deal of my 20's and 30's "wandering", the mid-section of the book "From the Notebooks" remains close to my heart today. It embraces "why man wanders" and is wedged between a wonderful ficticious journey through the Outback, and some philosopical queries Chatwin had about his own life. It sounds really boring and heavy, but trust me, it isn't.

If you have $5.99 and a couple of hours to kill, I encourage you to rent Australia. Jack was turned off by the romantic embrace on the DVD cover, but he would have loved it. If you have $10.88 there's a used copy of Songlines, in paperback, on I'd loan you my copy but I can't find it. (Maybe I left it in Australia, along with a few brain cells and half my liver). If you have $399 each way, get your ass to JFK and catch the Kangaroo to Sydney.