Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Off the grid, surrounded by zombies

Spending the last two weeks traipsing around the land of Queens, days so full and busy with new cities to navigate and GPS voices to interpret, it became clear to me (after returning to normality) that time without the noise of the internet and TV is revitalising. 

In day to day life, there are certain things I can't help but digest; animal fat, caffeine and digital noise are my daily staples, only one of which I feel any guilt over - usually after wasting my time on the comment section of a mainstream article.

I'm well aware that no-one stumbling on to this post will give a rat's sphincter what I did on my time off, but it's necessary to tell a couple of stories to set the context of my thoughts. It was a fun-type of busy and I didn't miss the internet at all.

For those of you not in the know, Queensland is looked upon by other states* as the drunk and unashamedly bigoted and corrupt uncle of Australia. Nonetheless it is strikingly beautiful - clean beaches, an awe-inspiring, albeit slowly dying wonder of the world and much more to offer the millions of tourists it attracts each year. We were suitably entertained. 

One our way to clap and cheer the sad, enslaved animals at Sea World, we were stuck on a bridge, the city traffic strangled by an event that made no sense to me whatsoever. Half of the roads had been reserved on that day for a strange, shuffling mob of zombie-like creatures with numbers on their stomachs. 

Dude, have these people not seen Happy Feet?
There are many things that make no sense to me, marathon running is just one of them. Stuck in a driver's seat, with nothing else to look at, it struck me that these people who were either walking, limping or jogging past did not look like they were enjoying themselves at all. I could drag out the ol' 'marathon runners do not look like healthy human beings' stereotype, but that is besides my point. If you're going to put your joints, ligaments and muscles through 42 kilometres of bitumen-pounding stress, I would think that you'd either be having great fun or at least have a very good reason for punishing yourself, like raising money for sick kiddies. 

I certainly have some mild admiration for the super-humans that ran the distance in a little over 2 hours, but I still don't get why they'd put their bodies through such punishment for chance at a piffling $15,000 first prize. Strange.

I'll put it down to something that will continue to bemuse and baffle me - the list is getting quite long, which is probably a sign of age.

A few days after Sea World, we took the kids to see the animals' happy, blissfully ignorant relatives/comrades in the wild.
cute little humpback, chillin'

This is whale for "thanks for not impaling and flaying me for scientific research" 

The contrast was striking, even after taking into consideration the sea sickness. 

After enjoying much that QLD has to offer, we piled into the car and drove the 3,300 km (2,050 miles) home. Four long days of driving at speeds of 110-130 km per hour is unavoidably draining, but having stable blood sugar levels definitely helps. 

It is amusing when people claim diets of any description will provide benefits ranging from cancer cure to x-ray vision, but my ability to concentrate and lack of fatigue was impressive. I hazard a guess it would not have been that way if I'd broken my fast on a bowl of cornflakes and orange juice. 

Maybe there's room for an e-book targeted at truckies entitled "improving your long-haul stamina, without amphetamines".

Or maybe I could have driven in the dark without headlights if I'd eaten a no-fat vegan-tofu smoothie. Unfortunately that type of research is poorly funded and my house lacks willing participants.
Free trivia - ducks love steak and salami
* I willfully admit that my part of the country is considered the intellectually disabled cousin who everyone tries to ignore but finds a way to gate-crash the party, get shitfaced and wiggle his nob at the hostess.