Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Alice Springs back!

I'll try to keep this short as I am up at 6 in the morning.

Please, please, please do not take anything negative about Melbourne from my last post. It's purely a matter of taste. My big regret is that I hadn't more time to give to Melbourne. Lit up at night it is a real jewel, particularly along the river, and I am sure if I had of gotten out more, it would have shown a wild side. As it was everywhere people were drinking wine, laughing and having a great time.

I went to the Casino last night and the walk along the Yarra River was very pleasant. The Casino seemed to have thousands of slot machines of the same make (unlike cherries, oranges, etc., I didn't quite understand these). I broke even. The steak I had too was very pleasant (the waitress's father's name was Niall too; what you learn, huh?).

This morning I had a flight to Adelaide. Self-check-in or not, dropping off the bag nearly prevented me getting to my gate in time.

My general impressions of Adelaide are of a very nice town. It has the wide, long streets to nowhere, but it also has a very comfortable athmosphere. I suppose the statistic of one restaurant for every thirty people helps. I could wax lyrical about Gouger Street, and Chinatown, but I'll just mention Ying Chow, an exceptional restaurant where I had steamed fish with Chinese ham.

Yesterday, believing I could get a flight back to Sydney from Alice Springs in time for Christmas, I booked a trip into the Red Centre and Ayres Rock. Some of the flights though were charging $770. Given that I cancelled my Fiji stopover, I thought maybe I could get a ticket as part of my round the world fare. A call to Qantas last night seemed to suggest I could, but I would have to go to a retail office to get the ticket issued. Today I got to the retail office, but things were not so easy.

Effectively there were no seats except business class and I was not allowed to upgrade. Everyone wants to get out of Alice Springs for Christmas. Hats off to Mike French, a rather large gentleman (whose family hail from Roscommon), the consultant who took on my case. He did a sterling job. In the end I managed to get a flight, but leaving on Sunday 24th. I guess I am going to get familiar with Alice Springs.

I finished, 'The Day of the Locust'. Although it is very episodic, it generates its power from the accumulation of dark events, erupting in a Bosch-like finale. Nevertheless I was expecting an event - a murder - that I think was added to the movie, but that didn't seem to happen in the book (I could be wrong). It's absence surprised me. Nevertheless this is tough stuff, and there is a bleak amorality to this particular Great American Novel that 'The Great Gatsby', for instance, cannot touch. The book though is much more than just a simple (a)morality tale. Its critque of the ordinary people of Hollywood is extraordinary and as applicable now as then. It is almost Marxist in its analysis of disillusionment in the face of the American Dream. An unsettling work.


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