Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Proud to be Aboriginal

The indigenous people of Australia – more commonly known as Aboriginals – likely came to this continent on a land bridge from New Guinea somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago – though some estimates place that figure closer to 70,000 years ago.  For tens of thousands of years, Aboriginal culture flourished on the continent without any contact from the outside world, but things changed in 1788 with the arrival of the first Europeans.  Many of the effects of European settlement on the Aboriginals parallel the very same things I learned about Native Americans in school growing up in the United States.  The Aboriginals, much like the Native Americans, suffered widely from European diseases to which they had no immunity.  This lead to sharp population declines.  Moreover, they were forced from their lands and had to compete with better armed and more technologically sophisticated European settlers for valuable resources.

I admit that I knew very little about Aboriginal history before moving to Australia.  What little I did know came from two sources.  The first was a movie called Rabbit Proof Fence which I saw back in 2002.  The film is based around two Aboriginal children who are forcibly removed from their homes by whites and then escape to make their way back to their native home by following one of the many long rabbit-proof fences which stretched across Australia.  This movie depicted what we now refer to as the Stolen Generations – groups of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their homes as White Australia thought it would be advantageous for them to be away from their birth parents and native cultures.  There’s obviously much more to it than that as many Australians will tell you, but for the sake of this being way too long, I’ll leave it at that.  My second source of information about Aboriginals prior to moving here was from Bill Bryson – my favourite travel author who taught me much about what to expect when I arrived.  In his book about Australia, Bill Bryson tells the story of some Australians who he met on a long train ride across the continent.  And while the details of his conversation with them are fuzzy (and I can’t be bothered to grab the book off my shelf and thumb through the pages to find the reference), the general gist was these Australians said to him that schoolteachers in Aboriginal communities have to feed the students because Aboriginal parents take their government checks, line up at the liquor store right when it opens in the morning, and blow all of their money on booze with no money or resources left to care for their children.  I thought this seemed harsh, but I really didn’t know the situation.

And then I arrived in Australia and the situation before me didn’t seem too far off.  I lived on the border of Surry Hills and Redfern for my first 14 months in Sydney.  Redfern is known as a dodgy neighbourhood mainly due to the Aboriginal housing projects that exist there (and thus high crime rates).  I wouldn’t see Aboriginal people too often, but when I did, they generally appeared in one of three scenarios:  (1) begging for money on Crown Street – though I must admit that they were a bit friendlier than normal homeless begging for money, possibly because they were almost always women (2) walking drunk around Redfern (Aboriginals, not me) – which I experienced on two random occasions including once when I was heckled a bit (maybe heckled but not completely sure as words were slurred and I couldn’t quite get what they were saying, but I assume it was heckling from the tone) and (3) a very angry Aboriginal man knocking over signs and potted plants at the local shopping centre.  Needless to say, I was beginning to see what those Australians who spoke to Bill Bryson were seeing.  I one day saw an Aboriginal man on a public bus months after my arrival.  He was wearing a business suit and I was completely shocked by it.  I was as equally surprised when I saw a clean-cut and well-dressed Aboriginal family at Myer, our big department store, sometime later.  So, I thought, which way is it?

My online research and TV viewings confirmed that reality was (sadly) probably more toward Mr. Bryson’s book than I had wanted to believe – at least for the largest chunk of Aboriginals.  Life expectancy is over 10 years lower than for non-indigenous populations, and Aboriginals are likely to have more health problems.  Poverty is a major issue (household incomes are 40% lower than their non-Aboriginal counterparts here) and some statistics show crime and incarceration rates as greater by a factor of 10 or more.  Aboriginals have lower educational outcomes, minimal political representation at the federal level (only two Aboriginals have ever served in the Senate and the first ever Aboriginal was just elected to the House of Representatives), higher tobacco use rates, and a much larger problem with alcoholism.  That last one – the alcohol – is a major stereotype of Aboriginals in Australia, much as was suggested in the book.

In my experience here, Australians tend to be a bit more overtly racist and xenophobic than Americans – maybe because Australia has a much shorter history of diversity than America does (I’m not a sociologist, so don’t shoot me if you disagree) – but everyone seems to put on their Politically Correct Hats when it comes to Aboriginal issues despite what people may say behind closed doors.  In 1992, Prime Minister Paul Keating delivered the Redfern Address – an acknowledgement of the injustices committed against Aboriginal people by those of European-descent over the short history of the country – and in 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd went a step further and issued a public apology to the members of the Stolen Generations.  The Aboriginal flag (as pictured at the bottom) was adopted in 1971 and is commonly flown next to the Australian flag on most buildings.

So why am I blogging about this topic now?  Aboriginal people make up less than 2.5% of the population of Australia, but nearly a third of the population of the Northern Territory.  And before I went to Alice Springs, I received many warnings.  Indeed, crime rates are high in Alice Springs – mainly due to the Aboriginal population – and Aboriginals, as I was told on several occasions, are pretty much free to go anywhere on anyone’s land (even private land) due to Native Title Acts.  So, if an Aboriginal person wants to swim in your hotel’s pool, they can.  If they want to sit on your hotel patio, they can.

The taxi driver from Alice Springs Airport to our hotel advised us to take a taxi anywhere we went even though our hotel was a mere 700 meters from the centre of town – no matter day or night.  Hotel reception said we’d be fine walking to town during the day as long as we remained aware of our surroundings.  Scary.  And as soon as we walked out of our hotel, a little Aboriginal boy – maybe 4 or 5 years old – all by himself – walked right by us and just wiped his hand across my friend’s jacket – as if it was his own.  That would have been unacceptable anywhere else in the world.  But not here.  Indigenous people lined the main street of Alice Springs – just sitting around doing nothing –and when we went to check out the river, there were a quite a few people sitting in there too (as I mentioned in my last post, the river was completely dry).  Everywhere we went in Alice Springs, there seemed to be Aboriginal people just chillin’ – and when we arrived at the Ayers Rock resort a few days later, there were natives running around there too.  I say “running” because we saw quite a few unsupervised Aboriginal children just running and playing around the resort facilities and around the rock itself.

And just like in Greece and India, there was a serious lack of deodorant going on.

We didn’t see a line of Aboriginals waiting outside the liquor store in Alice Springs (as more than one person told me I would see), but I don’t think I actually saw a liquor store and I’m very glad that stereotype didn’t have the opportunity to materialize.  On a similar note, three days later when we were at the Ayers Rock Resort, we were told that we had to present our room keys or our resort resident permit in order to purchase anything from the bar.  There are only three groups of people out at the Ayers Rock Resort which lies in the middle of absolutely nowhere:  (1) tourists (2) “residents” who are the resort workers and (3) Aboriginals.  So the laws were obviously designed with one specific group of people in mind.

There is a massive push to improve the lives of Aboriginals, but there also comes with it much criticism that Aboriginals aren’t doing enough for themselves.  This I can see to an extent.  I watched a long news report last week which featured a prominent Aboriginal professor who said that the current means of assisting weren’t working and that we needed to create newer, modern, more inventive, and creative ways to help the Aboriginal people realize their true potential – like through reality TV shows designed specifically for Aboriginals that would inspire them to do more with the resources they have (i.e. a renovation show which features ways Aboriginals can easily and cost effectively improve their homes).  This was met with praise by both Aboriginal and non-indigenous Australians.  It was also met with harsh criticism and resentment by both Aboriginal and non-indigenous Australians.  One or two of the Aboriginals interviewed in the report depicted this professor – this Aboriginal professor – as a traitor.

From what I’ve seen and read, it appears Aboriginals harbor resentment against non-Aboriginal settlers or culture as evidenced by the “Invasion Day” protests every year on Australia Day.  Aboriginals are proud to be Aboriginal.  Other Australians are proud to be Australian.  But will Aboriginals ever really be proud to be Australian?  Do Aboriginals even consider themselves to be Australian?  Probably not.  I think there’s a sporting chance that peace in the Middle East will be found before the aforementioned Aboriginal problems are solved.

So what’s my conclusion to all of this?  Well, I don’t really have one yet.  I’m still new here so it really isn’t my place to judge.  How to best address the problems that Aboriginals face is… certainly not for me to determine.  (Wait, for once I don’t have an opinion on something?  Who knew?)  In lieu of some insightful recap, I’ll leave you with the educational tidbits from the previous paragraphs as well as this picture I snapped in Alice Springs:

Maybe one day that sign will read “Proud to be Aboriginal AND Australian”.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Go Ask Alice (Springs)

This blog is all about Alice!

No, no.  Not Alice in Wonderland.

And, no.  Not Alice from the Brady Bunch.

Yes!  It’s the most famous Alice in Australia… Alice Springs!

Alice Springs, or just Alice as most people call it, is miles away from Sydney.  In fact, it’s miles away from anything and everything.  Located smack dab in the middle of the continent, the nearest big city is Adelaide – a short 17 hour drive south.  Or you can try for Darwin – the capital of Northern Territory, where Alice resides.  Darwin is a quick 18.5 hours north.  Yet, with a population roughly 27,500 strong, Alice Springs is the most sizable city (town?) in the middle of the country – really the only city in the middle of the country.

When I say that Alice is miles away from anything and everything, it’s not just distance.  It’s really everything.  Like coffee.

Most Sydneysiders would cringe at this sign.  No skim???  No soy???  Where are we?!?!?  And don’t even get me started on the beer laws.

No heavy beer in the morning, but go ahead and knock yourself out with a light beer at 7am.  And if you want to wash that beer down with a glass of water… well, you’d better hop in that car and head south to Adelaide.

Alice Springs is known for three things:

The first:  being a gateway to the natural wonders of the Northern Territory.  The main draws of the middle of the country are Uluru and Kings Canyon.  As the only city in the region, Alice is a hub for tourists visiting these sites.  Both Uluru and Kings Canyon are super close – each over 6 hours away.  Huh?

The second:  Aboriginal art.  The Northern Territory is home to the highest concentration of indigenous people – and I’ll touch on that in another blog post.  As such, Alice has heaps of Aboriginal art galleries.  Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures in the galleries but I did snap a photo of this rubbish bin (garbage can for my American readers).

Notice the Aboriginal dot painting on the bin.  All bins in Alice have these types of paintings.  You can buy similar paintings in the galleries for a few thousand dollars.  No kidding.  I opted to buy a tie instead.  It has dot art on it.  I’ll get more use out of it and it only set me back $39.  Oh, also, there is public art.


The third:  being a complete shithole.  That’s right.  Alice is a complete shithole.  You can ask pretty much any Australian and they’ll tell you how it is.  My boss warned me before I went.  He was there for approximately one day a few years ago and vowed never to go back again.  And he was staying at one of the fancier hotels!  There are quite a few problems in Alice, including many associated with the large Aboriginal population – which I’ll explain in a later blog which is sure to garner criticism or agreement from many.  On top of that, Alice is in the middle of nowhere, there’s really not all that much to do, it’s hot as fuck in summertime, the crime rates are sky high, and there’s an abnormally randomly high percentage of lesbians (and you know that gays and lesbians get along as well as a pack of dogs and a three-legged cat).  It’s unsafe to walk around at night and we were also warned not to walk too far DURING THE DAY.

For me, I didn’t mind Alice… for a few hours.  It was something completely different.  But if I had to spend another day or two there, I’m pretty sure I’d want to do to it what the Americans did to Hiroshima.

Just to give you an idea of how crappy it is, I present to you two exhibits.

Exhibit A:

This is the Todd River that flows through Alice Springs.  The Todd River is… dirt.

Exhibit B:

Many cities in Australia have sister cities, and Alice Springs is no exception.   But while Sydney has San Francisco, Melbourne has Milan, Brisbane has Abu Dhabi, and Adelaide has Austin, Alice Springs is… stuck with some city in Afghanistan.

The city, called Paghman, is allegedly a popular tourism hub in Afghanistan as it has pretty rural scenery and tourist activities nearby.  Also, about half of the city has been destroyed by war.


That makes Darwin’s sister city of Anchorage, Alaska seem pretty frickin’ amazing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gay Rights in Australia

As I mentioned four posts ago, I popped in for a tour of Victoria’s Parliament while I was in Melbourne.  Parliament wasn’t in session at the time, but there was a special Youth Parliament taking place.  The annual Youth Parliament brings together 16 – 25 year olds from all over the state of Victoria to debate issues and pass legislation.  Subsequent research into this revealed that all bills passed by the Youth Parliament are given to Victoria’s actual Parliament for review.  Over the course of 25 years, a surprising 20 bills from Youth Parliament in Victoria have actually been passed in the regular Parliament too.  More surprising is the nature of some of these bills.  They range from the fairly mundane – banning soft drinks in state schools and nightclub safety reform – to things that you would never guess:  over-the-counter availability of the morning after pill and the introduction of victim impact statements.  Those are serious topics for a Youth Parliament to take on and pass, and to be the catalyst for the State Parliament passing is pretty impressive.

I got to watch a few minutes of the Youth Parliament debate surrounding university housing for rural students.  It was a bit of a snooze-a-palooza and my interest in Youth Parliament was quickly fading, but then our tour guide told us that the youth overwhelmingly passed a bill in favour of same-sex marriage earlier that day.  Why didn’t I go on the morning tour?!?!?

Australia, like most countries in the world, bans same-sex marriage.  Overall, however, gay rights in Australia are far ahead of most countries and definitely far ahead of the United States. 

Blood donor laws in Australia prevent gay men from donating blood if they’ve been sexually active in the past year.  The US bans gay men from donating blood if they’ve been sexually active… ever.  Immigration laws were synced to allow Australians to sponsor a same-sex partner for residency as early as 1985, gays were allowed to serve openly in the military in 1992, and many federal laws were amended in 2008 to provide greater equality in areas of inheritance, taxation, etc.  A comparison to the US:  Americans still can’t sponsor a same-sex partner for residency even if they are legally married in one of the US states that permits same-sex marriage, gay soldiers are just now allowed to serve openly next month, and no federal laws recognize gay couples whatsoever.  As in the US, same-sex adoption laws vary by state (some good, some bad) as do discrimination protections.  But unlike the US, all states and territories in Australia actually have discrimination protections in their laws.  On the flip side, you can still be fired from your job for being gay in 29 US states.

Another major difference in gay rights in Australia is the lack of an audible, hateful opposition.  Of course, there are plenty of crazy Christian groups in Australia which are against gay rights, but they don’t seem as loud, as bitter, or as hate-filled as their counterparts in the United States.  There’s no visible National Organization for Marriage (which is really a misleading name) in Australia, and nothing really similar to the Family Research Council to spread a bunch of vicious, filthy lies and propaganda to the most ignorant amongst us.  Also, there’s not really a Fox News equivalent for all the dumb people to watch, so that helps too.

On a similar note, there is also a lack of highly visible individual politicians who preach hate speech against gays.  Yes, the leader of the Liberal Party (Australia’s confusingly-named right wing party equivalent to the Republicans), Tony Abbott, made a comment last year that he felt threatened by gays.  News reports surrounding that comment were either negative (as they should be) or neutral at best.  I haven’t really seen a situation where a politician or candidate – even on the conservative end of the spectrum – has really been a vociferous opponent of gay rights.  Even the craziest of the crazy politicians in Australia – like Pauline Hanson – are usually far too busy being racist to make time for anti-gay rhetoric.  And in this country, the masses seem to come around and those people only get 2.5% of the vote.  In America, the masses rally behind them and those loons get to make a legitimate run for the Presidency – hate-spewing dipshits like Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Michelle Bachmann for example.  Those three and many of the other candidates running for the Republican nomination are nasty bigots and there should be no place for them in politics (or in society for that matter).  Oh, I’m sorry.  Did I say nasty bigots?  I didn’t mean that.  (Skip to the next paragraph if you’re averse to strong language).  What I meant to say is Tim Pawlenty is spineless prick with the personality of an oak tree, Rick Santorum is a lying asshole with the same level of compassion as a festering bowl of dog snot, and Michelle Bachmann is just a plain old cunt.  I could say a lot worse about Mrs. Bachmann, but I think the “c” word is a more-than-fair and surprisingly generous assessment of her character given her silent approval (or not-so-silent approval maybe?) of the harmful “reparative” “gay-to-straight” “therapy” that her husband dabbles in.  I take comfort in knowing that all three of the aforementioned candidates are going to burn in hell for eternity.  Yay!

Anyway, moving on.

Now that Australia has established many basic gay rights and lacks an overly-vocal opposition, the discussion here has turned to same-sex marriage.  Marriage is strictly a federal issue in Australia, but four states and the Australian Capital Territory have enacted partnership registries or agreements that apply to same-sex couples.  The other two states and territory rely on a de facto definition which applies Australia-wide and gives same-sex couples living together for more than one year many or most of the legal protections associated with marriage.  The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has reiterated that marriage should remain in the realm of heterosexuals only despite the fact that she herself is an unmarried atheist living in sin with her long-time boyfriend.  How does that work?  And just when we thought that maybe she was stating her opposition because it was the party’s platform and that after the Labor Party National Conference in December she would change course and promote same-sex marriage if the party passed a resolution saying so, she came out and said that she will continue to oppose same-sex marriage even if the official party platform were to change this year.  Seriously lady – what is your fucking problem?

Ms. Gillard refuses to allow what Australians call a “conscience vote”.  Unlike in the US, members of Parliament in Australia are usually obliged to vote with their party no matter what their personal belief is.  In a conscience vote, they can do just that:  vote with their conscience, even if it goes against party platform.  The politicians are being spineless and turning into American-style politicians – just playing a game to stay in power rather than actually trying to accomplish something for the greater good.  Labor is afraid that they will lose support from some of the more socially conservative blue collar workers that historically have made up their base.  But at the same time, they are losing some of the more progressive contingent of their base to the Greens – farther left on the spectrum.

But despite all this, marriage equality is coming along in Australia – much quicker than in the US.  There is a big push for it at the moment, with the Greens wanting to introduce legislation in Parliament (again) and six of the eight Labor Party state or territory conferences passing resolutions in support of same-sex marriage.  With that, adding marriage equality to the official party platform at the Labor Party National Conference in December is looking good.  Also, most recent polls find that nearly 70% of Australians are in favour of marriage equality.  70%!  That’s huge!

So, Australia is almost there.  Almost.  I bet it happens next year.  And when it does, it will cement my belief that I have moved to a superior country.  So, to all of the politicians down there in Canberra, I say this to you:  grow a pair.  And to Ms. Gillard, who is so adamantly opposed to marriage equality:  you’d better change course soon before I have to compare you to Michelle Bachmann.

Nobody wants to be compared to that cunt.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Am I An Immigrant?

I decided to pop into the Immigration Museum while I was in Melbourne.

Much like the United States, Australia is a country of immigrants.  With the exception of Aboriginal people, everyone here has ancestors from somewhere else.  Over 9,000,000 people have migrated here throughout the short history of the country.  That’s an incredible number for a country with just over 22,000,000 people.

Even more massive is the percentage of foreign-born residents of Australia.  That figure is 25%, making Australia the country with the second highest percentage of foreign-born people in the world.  The highest percentage is Luxembourg, but it really doesn’t count because it’s surrounded by other countries and all of the foreign-born there probably came a whole five feet from Belgium to settle.  And that whole lack of a border due to being in the EU also helps.  So, really, Australia totally has the highest percentage of legitimate foreign-born.

Take that, Luxembourg.  Pish.

The museum details the lives of immigrants and the waves of immigration from around the world – starting with the British Isles and spreading to other countries as immigration laws started relaxing in the middle of last century.  Indeed, Australia has massive populations of Chinese, Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese, Indians, South Africans, Filipinos, Macedonians, Lebanese, Germans, and more.  And don’t forget the Kiwis!  Those pesky Kiwis…

As I walked around the exhibitions, I began to ponder my own situation.  Am I an immigrant?

I did move here from another country, so I suppose that I’m technically an immigrant, but it just doesn’t sound right.  The word “immigrant” has an image associated with it:  generally a poor person from a poor country who comes to a new, rich country to have new opportunities, more money, and a better life.  Immigrants are poor.  And don’t you have to spend a ridiculously long time on a ship AND contract scurvy in the process to really be considered an immigrant?  My dad’s family came to the United States roughly 400 years ago – a voyage that probably lasted months across the water from England.  And surely there must’ve been scurvy and lots of it.  My mom’s family came from Eastern Europe nearly 100 years ago.  And they probably spent at least a week or two on a ship before landing at Ellis Island – and that’s only after walking roughly 1,200 kilometers from their town in present-day Belarus all the way to Hamburg, Germany.  At night!  WALKING!  Oh, and both sets of my family probably didn’t come with much.  Now those were immigrants.

I, on the other hand, spent 19 hours on two jumbo jets surrounded by on-demand movies and all the cute, gay flight attendants I could stare at.  And I had shit with me – a laptop, camera, two suitcases, lots of pretty Australian money, food, vitamin C, etc.  The closest hardship to scurvy was merely some stale, recycled air.  I was flying through the air over the world’s largest ocean for a few hours rather than sitting on a rat and scurvy infested ship that probably reeked of feces for weeks.

Also, I wasn’t poor.  Immigrants are poor, right?

To answer my question, I headed to the Immigration Bridge the next day with Kei.  The Immigration Bridge details the immigration patterns to and populations in Australia from nearly every country around the world.  Along the bridge, each country has a glass plaque with its name and immigration details etched into it.  Here is the one for the United States:

It’s a bit difficult to read, but a close-up of the etching reveals that there has been a wave of American immigrants to Australia from “1970 to date as professionals and business migrants”.

Holy shit, Paco, that’s me.  I am an immigrant.

When you think about it, I moved to Australia for many similar reasons that many immigrants from third world nations move to the first world.  Those reasons just have a different twist to them.  I may not have been poor or come from a poor country (though, a few more years of the way things are going and Americans may be fleeing to prosperous Mexico for relief), but I did come here knowing that salaries in my field are significantly higher.  Opportunities were a part of it too – especially getting international work experience to further my career.  Politically, I have more rights and protections as a gay person in Australia than I do in the United States, and the quality of life is better here too.  Ok, so the US wasn’t really all that bad, but I do get more vacation time in Australia, work more reasonable hours in Australia, and I’ll be eligible for free healthcare next year.  No more worrying about losing health insurance if I lose my job.  So while the reasons may not be so desperate or so extreme, they do parallel the reasons that many or most other immigrants flee their native lands in search of greener pastures abroad.

But still.  I’m an immigrant.

Fine.  Make that a million… and one.

I feel poorer already.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Riding A Rhinoceros On A Skateboard

The architecture, food, and bars in Melbourne aren’t the only things that Melbourne has over Sydney.  There’s another critical element that makes Melbourne the world’s second most livable city:  the transport.

Melbourne has a plethora of transport options.  Don’t have a car?  Tired of walking?  Grab a bicycle:

If you must drive, you can always take Batman Avenue:

Batman Avenue.  Hehe!  It’s just a few blocks over from Superman Street and it intersects with Robin Lane.  Is this Melbourne or Gotham City?  (That was a joke.  There’s no Superman Street in Melbourne… at least not one that I’ve seen.)
But if you must drive, beware of the hook turns:

See!  I wasn’t lying in my original Melbourne blog a few weeks ago!  These hook turns are ridiculous.  You stay to the left just to make a right.  Weird!  But there is a reason it is done that way.  It’s done that way because of these:

Trams!!!!!  Fun!!!!!

Melbourne has an extensive tram network that goes all over the city.  Trams are generally easier and quicker than trains for short trips (though trains run too) and you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic (though some lines actually do run in the same lanes as cars, so that sort of defeats the purpose).  I rode the trams for the weekend I was there and I must say that I am now a tram master.  Learning how to use an unfamiliar city’s public transport can be daunting, but it was so easy in Melbourne – especially with a tram network map on my iPhone.

But the trams come with their own dangers and annoyances.  Just as drivers have to beware of trams when making ridiculous hook turns, pedestrians too face their own dangers.  What do pedestrians face?


Rhinos on skateboards.

As in rhinoceroses on skateboards.

Lots of ‘em.

Just like in America, there must be plenty of stupid people in Melbourne – or maybe just lots of people who get too distracted on their phones to look where they are going.  There has been a string of people getting hit by trams, including one as recently as late June when a woman apparently either ran right in front of a tram or was trying to hop on when it was moving and was dragged underneath.  She was killed instantly.  A news report stated that “the woman sustained horrific head and abdominal injuries and could not be resuscitated.”  Awful.  To better educate the public about the dangers trams present to pedestrians, Yarra Trams created a new marketing campaign involving… rhinos on skateboards.


Would you want to get hit by a herd of 30 rhinos on skateboards?

I sure wouldn’t.  But I will say that the marketing campaign is a totally genius idea.  After all, it caught my attention, and that’s hard to do for something that doesn’t involve food.

I think that is what Melbourne is missing:  real rhinos on skateboards.  Maybe then it would be the world’s most livable city instead of number 2.  I mean, wouldn’t you move to a city that had a random rhinoceros herd on skateboards roaming around the city, serving and protecting by scaring the masses and speeding up the effects of natural selection that we as a species try so hard to stop???  IT WOULD BE SO COOL!!!

To better illustrate the comparison between trams and rhinos on skateboards, Yarra Trams created this advertisement:

A rhinoceros on a skateboard?  I'd ride that.