For some reason, I had expected
Whatever it was that had built up
But it wasn’t just a long trip this time... for some reason, I was sick for most of it. As I waited in the Townsville airport to fly to
The city itself
After a very short nap on my first afternoon, I set out to wander around the city a bit before I was set to meet my friend, Nick (from Brisbane) for dinner. On the maps, the city seemed really large and spread out. But I found that everything was much more compact than it looked. It didn’t take us long to see everything. On that first evening, I saw the cool old buildings you’re meant to see in
The next day we met up again in the mid-morning with a set goal—to find this Engels exhibition. We went to the museum where it was meant to be and found nothing. We wandered through another museum’s display in the same compound and likewise found nothing. The closest we got was a display about the textile industry (which Engels worked in for a bit in
The thing that really struck me about
But let’s be honest, the thing that really affects me the most (now that I live in the tropics and have acclimatised to 34 degree days) is the weather.
Finally, I was given the impression that
I was surprised at how small the conference was. I could tell by the schedule that it would be small, but compared with the major international conferences I went to in December, this was tiny. Probably 50 or so attendees. Less than a quarter of these were visibly students—most were men with grey beards in their 50s and above, and many were staunch Marxists. Now I’m obviously not opposed to the arguments of Karl Marx. I think his critique of capitalism and of the state is a fantastic starting point for understanding complex power relationships. But people who believe so strongly in one single doctrine without ever considering the other options kind of put me off. That said, I met a few really interesting people. And my paper went pretty well—the other presenter in my panel couldn’t make it, so I had 90 minutes for myself. I expected to finish after about 45—50 tops—but my 20 minute paper generated enough questions and discussion to take up an hour and 15 minutes. And more importantly, people seemed to think it was good.
I don’t actually have any photos of food from my trip, even though I ate a fair bit of it. Blame Nick—we ate together and I felt awkward pulling out a camera to snap food when I was with him. Breakfast was free in the hostel (tea and toast), though after a few days I crashed Nick’s accommodation for brekky because they at least had fruit and soy milk for the tea.
Dinner our first night was, as I said, at the Bay Horse Inn where we had two vegan pies. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Nick had gone vegetarian at the beginning of the year, so I didn’t have to feel like such an inconvenience when it took a while on the first night to find a restaurant with vegan meals. After the first day, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to find non-vegan restaurants with a significant amount of cruelty-free choices on their menus. We didn’t actually get to any vegetarian places (
There was a Thai place that had nearly half of its menu dedicated to vegan choices like Mock Chicken with Cashews or Aubergine and Tofu with Basil and Chilli, like we got. We also found a pizza place with a vegan mozzarella, aubergine, olive and sun dried tomato pie, which was really yummy. There was the Chinese place where we got Asian Vegetables in Black Bean Sauce and some yummy Sweet and Sour Tofu. And for dinner one night we visited the Curry Mile where we had veggie versions of Rogan Josh and Bhuta curries.