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Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Moruya Markets ...

... on the banks of the scenic Moruya River are always worth a drive, especially on a picture-perfect day like today. I picked up three interesting videos: "Jedda", "Hawaii" (based on James A. Michener's novel), and "The Best of 25 Years of Billy Connolly", all for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

And I found Eric Hansen's book "The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer - Close Encounters with Strangers" which immediately attracted me because it contained a story of Eric's two-month stay on Thursday Island only two years before I lived there myself in 1977. And, like me, he had returned to the island twenty years later (I did 28 years later - see www.riverbendnelligen.com/dearall28.html).

There was an instant meeting of the minds when I read this passage in his book, "After an absence of twenty years, I'm not quite certain why I decided to go back to Thursday Island. Long after I had left the place, it continued to call to me. Many experiences from this part of my life are far better left forgotten. My mind was filled with twenty years' worth of imaginary opportunities lost and gained. How profoundly different my life would have been if I had decided to stay. Some people say you can never go home or return to a place once loved, or recapture a friendship left behind. Time, life, circumstances and fate all have their way of changing who we are and altering beyond all recognition memories or feelings until they finally seem like part of a dream or an illusion. But I knew I had to go back to Thursday Island and I am glad that I didn't wait any longer than I did." My sentiments precisely.

Even his reasons for leaving Thursday Island twenty years earlier somehow mesh with mine, although I had not previously analysed mine as precisely as he had his. He writes, "Then one day, I suddenly left Thursday Island. It was beginning to feel like home and I knew that if I stayed much longer, I might not leave. I couldn't imagine my time on the island getting any better, and so I convinced myself that it would be a good idea to leave before the bottom fell out of the experience. It was as if I was afraid the circus would leave town or that the magic would dry up and disappear. For most of my life I have felt like a human magnet for the sorts of people and experiences that I encountered on the islands of the Torres Strait. For years, I was convinced that it was perpetual motion that opened me up and made me vulnerable and receptive to odd and unusual encounters. For years, this compulsion to keep moving kept me on the road." Ditto here. And here are pictures of those good ol' times.

We also met up again with "Auntie Judy" who had sold us a pup - literally! - back then in 2002 when we bought our trusty friend Malty from her. Judy, now already in her 80s, no longer sells dogs but all sorts of other bric-a-brac which gives her a small extra income as well as something to do. It was a happy reunion as we sat in the warm sun and reminisced about old times.


P.S. I was so taken by Eric Hansen's book that I have ordered one of his other books, "Stranger in the Forest: On Foot across Borneo", from Booktopia.