The part of the world I live in is great for all sorts of reasons; surf, lifestyle, sun, people and… big things. For obscure reasons, I recently did a tour of big things in my area. For the record, these included the big; Banana, Prawn, Knight, Avocado, Pie, Redback Spider, Pineapple, Macadamia, Cow, Shell, Pelican and Lawnmower, yes that’s right, lawnmower.
So, what was the highlight of this adventure? Well, there were in fact, many highlights. Sadly (or not so sadly) big things are closing down at a great rate. Ballina’s Big Prawn is just a shell and the Big Stubby, so fondly remembered by visitors to Tewantin, has made way for development. The closure of the Big Pineapple was breaking news on my journey. A local newspaper displayed a sad picture of a family who had driven all the way from Sydney to go to the Big Pineapple, only to find out it was closed. I guess they just turned around and drove all the way back again.
The Big Macadamia is next to the Big Pineapple, but it is hard to find. After much searching, we saw its peak, protruding over the forest like a lost Inca temple. This intrepid traveller trekked down through long grass for a closer look but got chased out by a tractor-riding guard. You can’t buy excitement like that.
The Big Banana is fabulous in a totally kitsch and, it has to be said, slightly kinky way. I felt like I might have lost my way and ended up in a Kings Cross sex shop. Is there really anyone out there who buys plastic moulded boxes to protect their bananas? How could you pull one of these out in public, without feeling like you were making an inappropriately raunchy statement? As Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but usually…
All these big things gave me a nostalgic yearning for the 70s, a time when kitsch was big, when we were happy to be amazed by the view from the top of a pineapple’s crown, when a ride on a train through a banana plantation was the height of excitement.
Ah, the 70s; kaftans, flares, and strange food, but that’s another story.