Goodbye New York

What a city! Dynamic, driven, in your face, and yet very human. We have experienced Harlem, Manhattan and Brooklyn – all very different. MKC, the Manhattan Kayak Company owned by Eric Stiller (Keep Australia on Your Left) and supported by Jules, Deputy Director and the one who keeps Stiller under control (ha ha), is just the most outstanding find where kayaking and stand up paddle boarding is available in the heart of Manhattan. Harlem, just up the subway from Manhattan is very livable. Brooklyn with its language diversity, trees, wealthy houses beside old apartment blocks, fruit and veg on the sidewalk is maybe a glimpse into the future for some cities.

Meantime back in Australia I am seeing the work of a fascist government, run by a psychopath, surrounded by psychopaths. These words are serious. What is happening fits the definition of both. It is appalling and very embarrassing. I do have to say that Australians are better than this. I will do my utmost to tell everybody that these clowns do not represent most Australians. For all our sakes I hope it is true, that we really are better than this.

America has been an experience, that’s all I can say, not good, not bad in an overall sense. Almost to a person Americans are at least as warm, open and helpful as Australians but you often have to get past the shutters. They are fearful, courtesy of a media that is influenced by an ex-Australian. What I like though, is that they expect you to be a wanker until they find out you aren’t, which hopefully they do, then you see the real American.

They are a belief based society though, whether it be God, political party, religion, the weather channel, whatever. It is hard to change a belief once it is there so maybe that is a reason that they have the highest number of climate science deniers in the world.

It has been a great privilege to be in this city for three weeks. The next big city I paddle through will be London. Sometimes I am in awe of what I have seen, sometimes it seems so blasé and insignificant. My mood swings between hope and despair. My enthusiasm for what I do does likewise. I want to come home to Australia but there is a job to do, and it will be done.