Sunday, December 30, 2007

Old bridges in Australia

In my blog, I write one day about major themes such as Australia's future submarines, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto [who, I've just learned, used to be in the same class for foreign students as my Australian cousin Peter Hakewill at the Institute of Political Science in Paris] and all kinds of issues. Then, the next day, I'm submitting a lukewarm article whose title evokes bridges. Certain readers might be surprised or disconcerted by my eclectic behavior.

Please be patient. I'm merely working, as unobtrusively as possible, on my Google image. As I've already indicated, in my article entitled Identity issues [display], the Google folk appear to be scratching constantly their heads, trying to figure out what my Antipodes blog is all about. Now, this is a most pertinent question, since Google is displaying oriented ads on my blog site, and their ads are supposed to reflect what my blog is all about. Sometimes, Google's robots seem to sense, quite rightly, that my daily preoccupations might have something to do with Australia... which is, after all, a keyword that sticks out like a proverbial sore thumb. On the other hand, like certain members of my family in Australia, the Google robots don't seem to have assimilated or accepted various otherwise-obvious facts:

(a) The Antipodes blog is really concerned, not with my birthplace of Australia, but with my adopted land: France.

(b) I've been living in France for most of my adult life, and I persist in loving life in France, which has become for me, not only a gigantic legend, but a myth. Like Joan of Arc, I now hear voices...

(c) I'm a grave and no-doubt incurable victim of the Francophile virus, which has attacked me particularly in the intellectual region of my being. For me, in the Cosmos, there's France... and then the rest.

(d) Linguistically, there was Egyptian, Greek and Latin (with a little bit of Hebrew thrown in for the fans)... followed by French. Alongside this linguistic diamond, English was a magnificent chunk of flint, particularly with Shakespeare. Since then, as a worldly touristic and business Esperanto, the flint has disintegrated into porous rock.

(e) My ex-wife, children and dearest friends are all French.

(f) I dash to my mailbox each morning in the hope of receiving the final official document from Australia [a long-awaited stamped copy of my birth certificate] that will enable me to be gifted with the most profound but purely symbolic and superficial honor of my life: French citizenship!

OK, let's stop all this shit talk about France. The subject that I wish to tackle in the present article [since I know that Google is watching over my shoulder] is bridges: old Australian bridges. No hurry, because Australia has the habit of holding on to its antiquated infrastructure. Within the normal lifespan of an Australian, you're not likely to be surprised by the proliferation of new bridges, road, railways lines, etc. That's the charm of my native land. Nothing new under the rainbow...

First, there's the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which will shortly explode into New Year fireworks:

Then there's my home-town bridge across the Clarence in Grafton:

Finally, in this short touristic coverage of Aussie bridges, there's Bawden's Bridge over the Orara River, in the murky shadows of which I was apparently conceived on a tepid January afternoon of 1940 by a randy male named King Skyvington and a female named Enid Walker, otherwise known as my dear and fabulous Dad and Mum.

OK, Google, it's now up to you. I suspect that you're going to conclude that I'm attempting, through my Antipodes blog, to lure unsuspecting citizens of the world into going out to Australia and settling there. Fair enough. That's partly true. But they should be warned. Watch the Sydney fireworks on New Year's Eve, with no risks of danger, and cross the Clarence River, if you must, by means of the decrepit bridge of which we are so fond. But beware, dear tourists, of becoming romantically bewitched under Bawden's Bridge over the Orara, and using it as a backdrop for procreation. Its bizarre waves are capable of giving rise to un-Australian offspring who might be enticed by antipodean lands such as France. Weird creatures such as me.

Now, let's see how Google is going to react to this article about bridges in Australia.

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