i didnt realise how much i had gotten used to the friendly faces of the Ghost Town. as much as i was complaining abt townsville from the time i arrived – lack of efficient public transport system, lack of simple common sense with traffic light regulations, lack of human activities after 530pm, lack of decent mobile phone reception, lack of basic lighting along streets, lack of 24hr convenience stores, lack of dive shops, lack of multistorey carparks because there was a lack of multistorey buildings and lack of consumer-orientated products, lack of this and lack of that, lack of everything that this town lacked.
after travelling in the outbacks for so long, with no 21st century technology, arriving at Adelaide made me jump for joy. at the first sight of Hungry Jacks and Subway, a 4-bar phone reception (which meant i could turn on my 3G). “Civilisation!” i cried out. and a ‘gypsie’ replied, “or degradation, you mean” call it anything you want, but, the fact that you can get nice warm showers and clean toilets and beds with sheets and covers and good food does equate to a developed city. we had thai food that night. the churches were beautifully structured, the cars on the street were posh, i saw Mazda 3s and Audis and Merc……
what i didnt see was a warm greeting smile on every other person’s face. and i realised that in all the things townsville lacked, a nice warm smile and a pleasant unconditional greeting from strangers had made up for it all. and it occurred to me that what i had grown up to live with in singapore (the you-MYOB and i-MMOB faces) was not the way of life elsewhere and that in some obscure place in my heart, i have actually grown to enjoy the casual stranger-stranger conversations i have with ppl on the street or the sunday markets or the bus stations and traffic lights. i guess thats the allure of small towns. when you pass by someone, you actually look at them to smile. that was the reason why i loved Margaret River so much. and while i complain so much abt phone reception, all i need to do is change from Vodafone to Telstra. Enjoy the single story ‘shopping centres’ cos all we really need is in there anyway. I’ve got all the dive gear i need already, so incompletely equipped dive shops arent a bother anymore. ive grown to live with the public transport and inefficient traffic lights. and i just need to plan my shopping to ease of the lack of 24hr convenience stalls. but smiles from strangers, is something i wouldnt want to give up. 🙂
and i cant imagine the gross contrast i’m going to experience oncei step out of Changi Airport – back to the you-MYOB and i-MMOB faces of SG.