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Today's quote:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The only death we experience is other people's

Ray in January 2007 sitting at the cash register in his Kuranda junk shop

Thinking back over my past trips to Cairns, Cooktown and the Atherton Tablelands, I emailed Regine Bergmann of Australian Property Connection in Cairns who during my first visit in 2003 (and again in 2005 and 2007) had shown me several properties in Kuranda.

We had a common acquaintance in Ray Mullins who ran a second-hand shop in Kuranda Village. Ray owned several properties in and around Kuranda and the Tablelands and planned to build a block of apartments in the Village. He had spent half a lifetime in New Guinea and we shared a common knowledge of many of the other expatriates and local identities. We used to talk and talk while he tended to his 10-cent sales and I spent time in his two-computer "Internet Café". That never stopped him from charging me every last cent of every last minute I spent on his computer but I didn't mind as in time I came to appreciate his dry sense of humour and his grumpy outlook on life and I asked Regine to give him my regards:

Hello Regine,
looks like you haven't got many Kuranda properties for sale. Anyway, we are still down here at "Riverbend". I hope you are keeping well! if you see Ray in his junk shop in Kuranda, say hello to him from me. Has he built his units in Kuranda yet? He and I are both slowly running out of time so he'd better hurry!

I didn't have long to wait for her reply:

Hello Peter,
Nice hearing from you and for as long as you enjoy yourself, that is all that counts. Prices are down here at the moment, but are already going up again. Ray Mullins ran out of time, he passed away a few months ago, only aged 62. Peter, it was nice to hear from you and maybe one of these days you will visit Cairns again.

How sad to hear of Ray's passing! And he was younger than me! Well, Ray, here's my last tribute to you. I've always enjoyed our little talks about everything and anything but especially the world's woes and wickedness. Kuranda won't be the same without you!