Journey Planning

Living in  Brisbane is enhanced by knowing how handle public transport, but in the Cassowary Coast there isn’t any to handle so I am seriously rusty about how to do it.  So settling in well has meant rediscovering how to navigate it.

The internet makes it relatively easy to journey plan your trip by rail, bus, ferry and walking. You go to this site Journey Planner and plug in where you are and where you want to end up and it gives a number of options to consider and maps for any parts you have to walk as well as the cost (travelling in off peak times is cheaper.)  You can even go to google earth and prewalk the area.

There are lighted scrolling signs, labelled platforms, timetables at bus stops,  and audio announcements to further help you in your journey, as well as some kindly Brisbanites who don’t mind answering questions.

The next key to public transport in Brisbane is the Gocard, and knowing how to swipe it at the railway station and on the buses.  I’ve learnt that you need to swipe on at the start of the journey before you get on the train and as you leave the station, you must swipe in and out of all transport as this calculates your cost for the journey!

Another cool thing is that when you have your gocard you can top it up and protect your balance by registering your card, but don’t forget to write down the number on the back of your card in case you lose it.  I thought I’d lost mine, and went to shift my balance to another card, and realised I didn’t have the number written down anywhere!Luckily I found it or as well as my deposit for the go card I would have lost my travel balance.

The other day I made an honest mistake and thought I had to swipe on when I was on the train because I had done that when getting on the bus.  Eeks.  The station master was lovely and said, ‘not to worry, you can’t do much about it now, just swipe on the next piece of transport you get on, but don’t swipe off when you leave the station today or your journey will be out of wack.’  So we did and that was all cool.

I reckon it is good to take a gocard pro with you (not always possible) and ask specific questions at the ticket stations (which are not open on the weekends in some of the smaller stations because there are gocard and ticket machines everywhere not actual people.)

One thing enjoyable about a new city is finding new things to photograph.  In Brisbane there are leafy suburbs and then there are more industrial ones. We went to Milton and if I was writing that into a novel I’d add to my writer’s notes that it  should smell of the Castlemaine Brewery.

Many of the stations have a mural which you can look at as you stop and pass the stations.

I have been on the lookout for painted traffic signal boxes on every trip.  Walking Brisbane makes it easier to take a photo, than take one from a moving car whilst your partner is driving.

So there you have it some simple tips to using public transport. My next adapting- to- new- home- project, is to navigate the interesting cultural and arts groups and find some to join as well as exploring more of the diversity of  Brisbane.  I am on a bit of a budget until I find some bread and butter work, so can’t really head off everyday, but can make the most of each trip I am able to do, and each group I am interested to connect with.

The great thing about mastering navigating the  public transport is it will help my confidence in job searching, as it will be a while before we can afford to run a second car.

 

(c) June Perkins

Driving City and keeping a challenge small

trafficImage Credit: Greg Neate Creative Commons some rights reserved

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will know that I have been a bit wary of driving in Brisbane.  So much so that I just didn’t drive at all for our first few months here.

You will know that it took me many years to finally obtain my licence  and I have only had it for a few short years and that my PNG Mum has never obtained her license.

You may not know that I felt like all my ancestors were with me the day I got my license.  It was a big deal!  I was doing it for my Mum as much as myself.

I have loved having a license and being able to stretch my horizons with the freedom it brings.  I especially enjoyed shopping without all the family in tow!

I think part of the problem with me driving in the city is that I learnt to drive in the country.  I just wasn’t sure I could safely cut it on city roads.

A dear  blog reader did say,’ you are just making a bigger obstacle for yourself June, just do it,’ and so her voice was in my head a lot in a positive way, saying ‘ you can do it!’

So yesterday I took the plunge, and began to drive again.

We started by dusting off the driving cobwebs with a  Sunday afternoon, simple back street drive,  on flat roads, through a countrified surburb.  Some how I ended up driving past a prison,  a mental hospital, and a lot of large kangaroos.  I had no idea where we were going as we were just driving for the sake of driving.

I negotiated lane changing and merging on small roads, past lots of roundabouts.  I paid particular attention to being even more watchful on the road, and using my mirrors.  Lots of my country drives were highway single lane, straight into town.  Really simple!  It’s not that you are not paying attention to the road, it’s just that there is so much less that can go wrong.  Driving around town in the country was very simple as well.

I did okay for my first city drive, but then I didn’t do anything too complex, next time I will build on that.  It might be a slow adjusting process, but I think I will work the most on lane changing safely as I just haven’t had to do that much at all , and our suburb is super hilly so I have to do a lot of hill driving practice till it becomes second nature.

The best thing about Sunday was lifting the chip on my shoulder and hurling it off into the bush! I look forward to the day I feel confident to drive and navigate my new home, but am happy to have taken the first wheels in that direction.  Many more driving adventures to come, starting with the simple and building to the days of complexity, like some of the wet season driving in the North, now that was a challenge!

 

(c) June Perkins

 

Art singing and dancing in the Streets

2014-05-07 2014-05-10 001 008
June Perkins – photograph of power box Brisbane

Art in the city, not shut away in galleries, but everywhere you look.
It’s on power boxes, telegraph poles, railway station walls.
climbs onto walls and alleyways.
chalked, painted, sprayed, and poster papered.

It’s murals with messages from Martin Luther King
everytime I used to catch the bus in Marrickville
I’d see his face with an Aboriginal flag behind it.

It’s pieces that make you think, smile, wonder remember nature.
Driving past telegraph poles to the Gold Coast
we catch nature wrapping itself around telegraph poles,
birds and trees just in case we don’t see the real
they’re there in art.
I would love to go back and photograph these artistic poles.

I think of the artists commissioned or perhaps underground ones.
What are their names?
Are their signatures there?
Is there a guidebook somewhere to tell me the story of the street art?

This street art tells stories – it’s symbolic and straightforward
it’s naive and surreal.
It doesn’t advertise, it’s an invitation to think, as diverse as the artists in the city.

And when street artists paint, what is going through their minds about the setting
their work will live in everyday.
Do they look at the trees, and the walls and reflect what is there
Or do they represent a dreaming beyond walls beyond the boundaries
of the city and the forest ?

I want to write a spoken word poem all about the street singing forart
and the art calling out on the street,
maybe it would be be performed by a pied poet walking the street with a busking guitar
with people flash mob dancing in the streets?

(c) June Perkins

 

P1070242
Image Credit Alex Aboud, Creative commons some rights reserved.

Alex Aboud, Creative commons some rights reserved.

Hidden Walks

Have been writing a few pieces inspired by photographs.
It’s important to write some of these down whilst I remember the emotions and places. How long will my memory last, how far back can it reach?

Following the Crow Song

banana field Banana Field in Tully Town – June Perkins

Every town, urban or rural, has the hidden walks.  These are the ones the locals know about and love.  These walks can be found in the oddest places.

They might be alongside a river, behind a school, near a local airport, through a school or field, down a road you found one day,  or up a hill to a street with the perfect view.

These are the places I love to walk and photograph with my family, because they are not so obvious.  Yet they are the places you come to know if you live somewhere for any length of time.

I loved that a rural town like Tully has banana and cane fields right up to the border of town.  I loved that when you headed around the streets walking you found small creeks almost everywhere.

It had a hidden beauty…

View original post 565 more words

The country heart opening to the city

 

2014-04-24 2014-04-24 001 022
A found creek near our new home

Since moving back to the city I miss that the country heart knows the families of the people the streets are named after, and always has the possibility of running into people well known when on a trip to the supermarket.

I found that like a security blanket, because everywhere I went there was nearly always someone known and trusted who would help you out.

I knew all the people in the stores and every outing to buy something came with a conversation.  I had so many friends so easy to drop in on, and they were all ages.  I loved some of the older members of the community who knew stories about so many things.

I could navigate my car trips very easily in and around Tully and the outlying townships, and drive by suburb, then cane, and banana field just outside the town.  The changing landscapes were interesting and sometimes we’d go on photography adventures to find hidden creeks that were beautiful to photograph.  Nature was so near.

The country wasn’t perfect though.  Sometimes that feeling of safety was interrupted and random things happened like someone trying to make us open our doors in the middle of the night when they were drunk or drugged and our car window being smashed outside our home in the middle of nowhere happened.  It hurt knowing that someone who knew us felt the need to do that.  We always thought we just got along with everyone.

But most of the time people have to be pleasant to each other as they are always going to run into each other, and conflicts need to be resolved.  There are some people who don’t understand that and treat people as if they can avoid them and they just don’t have a country heart.

The friendships I made there are some of the truest I have ever made.  They can be much harder to make in the beginning, but after time, a couple of cyclones, and even being a fellow mother trying to find a school community that makes your children feel at home, with very small choices, you find people and the place grow on you. I will never forget a mum from Kindy running up to me and saying, ‘you have to swap classes, the best teacher is this one, ‘ how right she was!

Yet, I struggled to find regular, fulfilling paid work to use my university education .  My occupations in the country were a patchwork of projects, the occassional consistent job and short term work I absolutely loved but which ended,  lots of voluntary work, and of course the bounty of being a parent who could become involved in the community.  One of my best memories is a parent/ teacher  race at an athletics carnival and the kids yelling out ‘ Go Mrs Perkins.’

There are possibilities in the city that suit the things I learnt in the country though.  The country was the place where I have found my writing and photographic voice.  It is a place full of artists and writers who want to be close to nature and part of vibrant community.

Now it’s a journey to try and relearn city life, and to find security in building new networks.  I am not there yet.  But I do find corners of green, people who care and want to assist me to learn how to be a city girl.

I have a country girls fears of the city, and a murder of a student at South Bank has had me worried,  but sadly there’s another back at the quiet community I came from.  Perhaps the whole world, city or country needs to build protection for all, so women, children, and men can truly be safe any place and time of day.

The first signs I have that the city can open its heart to us, are people who reach out to talk with us at the park.    An American with a basketball wonders what I am photographing and comes to ask me.

A small boy watches my son and the rest of the family playing AFL whilst his Dad is playing a community soccer game.  He comes and joins us.

I find the patches of green in the city, and love to come across a creek, and an inviting park with my family with me.

I don’t miss our old home when the cyclone season comes, because those butterflies as you wait to see how strong and which direction are horrible when you know what a large one can do.  I don’t miss the flooding, but I do still love our flooded in times as we had extra family time, and tales to tell.  I will always remember the canoe across the road.

I have to now take those first steps more boldly in our new home, just as my children are managing to do and add to my country heart, an openess to the city and the skills to navigate, use public transport, and connect with people.  Yet somewhere deep inside I can feel that my priorities have changed and will never be as they once were.

I have a feeling the country will call again.