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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tourist Tales From The Land of the Fat'n'Tatts

This is a fine time of the year to be alive in Launceston. The sun is shining, mostly, the birds are singing - now that we’ve fitted the cat with a seven-bell collar and moon boots – squadrons of bumblebees are wobbling about like stricken bombers over Berlin and … the tourists are in town.

I like tourists. I like their accents and finding out how they live their lives in other places. Unfortunately, my affection for tourists puts me in a minority in Tasmania. On the whole I think the locals would rather that tourists just sent the money and fucked off somewhere else.

They can’t really be blamed for this. Apart from their natural tendency toward xenophobia, Tasmanians have been exposed to the Australian Labor Party and, in particular, The Greens, who have ruthlessly capitalised on Tasmanian's inferiority complex fuelled xenophobia.

While Tasmanians, like the rest of the country, have no interest in what the ALP has been selling for past two decades – and who can blame them when the shop window has been stocked with the ideological equivalent of a 1970’s Kreisler TV and HMV radiogram complete with 150kg oak veneer cabinet – they have, over the past few decades, been more then happy to accept the free ‘money for nothing’ specials that have become the ALP’s stock-in-trade.
Lulled into laziness by 16 years of assurances that money could be had for nothing, the locals were easy tofu-substitute meat for Greens with nothing to sell but pipedreams.
Destroy all industry, they cried, and tourists will flock to give you money in exchange for a glimpse of unspoilt wilderness.

Sadly, just as the ALP fails to mention that disbursing free stuff funded by borrowed money entails the selling of children and grandchildren into lifetime debt bondage, The Greens conveniently left a couple of caveats off their ‘if you don’t build it, they will come’ mantra.
Firstly, just as trees would rather not be chopped down and chipped, tourists don’t take kindly to being fed fakes and fleeced.
Secondly, and more important, while The Greens whispered incessantly to the cringing Taswegians that the destruction of their industrial base would prove their superiority over the arrogant, they failed to mention that any tourist venture which dared suggest allowing a tourist to step of the asphalt would be implacably opposed by platoons of Green acolytes flown in from Sydney and Melbourne universities for the summer protest season.

It was the political equivalent of not just shagging the innocent virgin and wiping your cock on the curtains, but ripping the curtains off the window, flinging them at your victim and saying: 'wash those, there's a good girl'.     

The result of this ideological heist is that the top-end of the market is populated by enviro-wanks like Solis Louisville and Musselroe Bay, projects that garnered the better part of $12 million in the last State budget:

“The Solis vision is framed around the idea of a safe, happy and healthy community comprised of a series of varied activities …  held together by green fingers of landscape that are either remnant vegetation, extensions of the existing or restored landscape. Together they will create a clear, identifiable, vibrant, sustainable multi-function place known as “Solis”.

At Musselroe Bay; … The sense of true relaxation will only be enhanced by the knowledge that Musselroe Bay has been built and managed to enhance the local ecosystems, its footprint on the earth carefully contained.
It will be the project as an indivisible whole, a well-managed union of land, flora, faun, architecture and engineering, that will create its world-wide profile as a Tasmanian icon, an instantly recognised brand, a destination”.

Does anybody really think that when Sven comes home from a hard day’s banking in Geneva, he is greeted by an ecstatic Inga declaring that she has found a place built and managed to enhance the local ecosystems, its footprint on the earth carefully contained?

Do Chinese tour operators lure customers with assurances that they have found a community comprised of a series of varied activities … held together by green fingers of landscape that are either remnant vegetation, extensions of the existing or restored landscape?

Smothered in eco-babble designed to win a “social licence” from The Greens, these resorts are destined to be convention destinations for a host of publicly funded carpet-baggers, from wind-farm proponents (aka: union-super fund directors living high on Government subsidies) to UN-sponsored Socialist agitators disguised as NGO directors.

At the other end of the market, the end made up of middle class travellers with real jobs taking real holidays, the arrival of Sven and Inga is greeted with a roar of indolent indifference that must make them wonder why they bothered.
Don’t get me wrong; the locals don’t greet them with torches and pitchforks, but if they do lift a finger, it is more than likely only used to flick the prices of everything up a notch or two.

I know this is so because I meet many of them every day in the Cataract Gorge and City Park, and I am forever fielding questions like:
Why does the airport connector bus dump us two miles from our hotel and leave us standing on a strange street with a photocopied map?
Why, in THE supposed home of the ‘freshest food and the best seafood in the world’, does every lunch-time eatery serve nothing but burgers, chips and Dagwood Dogs?
Also, when we finally stumble upon a restaurant that serves ‘Tasmanian’ food, why is the service so shitty and the food so expensive?
Why is every shop that could provide us with a cooling drink or a light meal in Cataract Gorge closed on Australian public holidays?
Why, in Launceston’s premier tourist attraction, are the guides non-existent; the maps so shitty and the entire place virtually shut down after 5pm. even if it isn’t a local public holiday?
Why are there no signposts in City Park and why is the magnificent building in the centre of the park full of fucking hydrangeas, instead of being full of a café and information centre?

Finally. There is a certain farm north-east of Launceston that specialises in purple flowers. It caters to 65,000 visitors during its open season. Want to know how many toilets it has?
Men can choose between one bog and a urinal that can easily accommodate two anorexics. Hundreds of female visitors each day in high season can queue for one of two cubicles.
Why is it so?
The answer to these questions, Sven and Inga, is that while The Greens told us that you would give us lots of money simply for letting you be here; nobody mentioned anything about actual, you know, service.
Also, the ALP told us that we should get a king’s ransom for working ‘unsociable hours’ and if you don’t like it, you should have arranged your trip around our public holidays so, really, it’s your own stupid fault.
And - just between us - we have this massive inferiority complex thingy, that tends to manifest itself in a general dislike of anybody who isn't us because they might tell us we are hicks, or something.
Anyway, this is Tasmania, mate, so if you don’t like it just leave your money on the fridge and fuck off.
Oh, and don’t forget to tell your friends about us!