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Sunday, 11 October 2009

roads less travelled - highways and byways

Once i had restless feet as i usually do, but this time the itch was just unbearable. I had to get out of the rat race or i’ll go crazy. So i drove around for a way out of this jungle of tar and machines and their toxic exhaust, realising quite guiltily that I’m actually contributing to the pollution. But i’m driving as part of my work delivering, so justifiable or not to the environment, that’s my excuse and i’m sticking to it.

From the Ipswich motorway i turned off to the Warrego highway towards Esk and Toowoomba. Some of the places along this old road remind me of the North Expressway from Novaliches going northwards to the homeland.
Farther along i espied what seemed like a patch of greenery beside a river. The signs looked good - green grass and landscaped features. But just a little ways on these ugly buildings suddenly confront me. It hit me that i came past here before. This place in Yeerongpilly used to be bursting with farms and grazing pastures with cattle and rolling paddocks. Now they’ve built these monstrous apartments and a sprawling tennis centre and blocked off all access to the riverbanks and its green meadows where i used to laze along. This is eerily similar to the feeling of loss during my childhood when all those areas around the bell church at the baguio city limit with la Trinidad, were built up and forever displaced a favourite swimming spot.
see 'metal firecracker' video below.

It seems like an endless highway but eventually i found what seemed to be a little used country road in Swanbank and just followed it along to see where it will lead me. There’s sinister looking electrical towers and transmission lines but i know that as long as i don’t go near them i’ll be fine - am just passing through. I eventually negotiated a series of rolling hills and found myself at the end of the road and a big sign that said ‘no trespassing’.

video: tomorrow is a long time

Feeling despondent i turned back to the highway and followed a road going up to a new settlement in the distant hills. The road is called Settlement Road but it actually just joins up one suburbia in Keperra to another sprawl on the other side in The Gap. I drive along anyway to see where it goes. Parts of the hilly range look like Quezon hill in baguio but still thick with trees. And although the ridges are accessible by car, the views are blocked off by thick eucalypt forests, which remain protected as nature reserves.

I retraced my tracks to the highway, drove along for a bit and found another dirt track at some foothills in Belmont. I drove up this gravel track which looked very disused and lonesome, but was quite appealing to my eyes. This track is reminiscent of the road to Mt Sto Tomas before the residential dwellings took over. I found out later that this is Mt Petrie and that there is a rifle shooting range just behind the tree lines on the northern slopes. I rushed out of there post-haste before some stray bullets found me. I did manage to sneak in some views of the urban sprawl extending in all directions to the hills and the bays.

video: the pilgrim in mt petrie

I continued my pilgrimage and found myself in a forest park on the edge of a mountain. Gap Creek Road links 'the Gap' with Kenmore Hills on the western edge of Mt Coot-tha. If you went on the hill road through Tam-awan out to Wangal from baguio to Trinidad, and imagined that that road was in its untouched pristine state, that’s pretty much like Gap Creek Road.

I did go through to escape the rat race, but I came out the other end to join another one. Oh well i’ll keep trying. So don’t wait up leave the light on, I’ll be home soon...

video: leave the light on

back to the rat race then.
video: metal firecracker

Driving around and seeing the purple jacarandas in bloom this early in spring was therapeutic. It was a balm that soothed the simmering anger that i'm feeling right now.