Are tourist expectations shrinking like cane fires?

Submitted by Webmaster on Tue, 19/07/2005 - 09:31

I am slowly becoming a people watcher. It is important to record people how they are and for this reason, I take photos of people doing what they do, without them knowing they are being photographed. Some people may think that this is unethical; however my understanding of the ethics of this situation is that people in public places can be photographed. Your face and my face are not copyrighted images and people have the right to look at your/my face and photograph is when it is in a public place.So it was that I was driving to Smithfield in the early evening, when I saw a crowd beginning to build on the far side of the highway. It is always curious to me when tourists gather around events so small that I would not consider them worth a second thought. In this case the event was the burning off of the trash blanket. Fires in standing cane are rare these days as nearly all cane is harvested green. The leafy tops of the cane are now left on the ground after harvesting to suppress weeds and protect the ground from erosion. However, the trash blanket can make replanting more difficult and can harbour pests, so it is sometimes burned before the next crop is sown or emerges from the roots of the last crop (ratoon cane).Trash fires at night can be quite spectacular as the produce a substantial bright orange 'mushroom' cloud. The mushroom cloud is created when the farmer lights all sides of the field at once. As the hot air rises from the fire, cold air is pulled in from all sides. The flow of cold air increases rapidly, driving fire inward and creating a blast of hot smoky air at the centre of the field that forms into ‘mushroom cloud’. The fire shown here was in the late afternoon and was certainly not spectacular, unless you had never seen an uncontained fire in your life. When the photos were taken, there were ten parked cars and dozens of people standing and watching. Cars on the highway were slowing down as well.These scenes effect me as when such small things are attractions worthy of quarter of an hours attention, I wonder if the peoples lives were deprived of natural beauty or contact with the land. When I was young, I looked for crocodiles or goannas – today’s kids get excited about gecko’s. I am not really happy about this change and have fought many battles against it – some successfully. There are opportunities for first class local attractions everywhere and the main obstacle to protecting and presenting them to locals and tourists is getting them recognised. I think the people of Cairns deserve to live in a first class environment.   To such an end, keep watching these pages as it is our intention to present international and local perspectives on all the living attractions that Cairns has to offer.Ed.Photos: Japanese tourists videoing the event, the line of cars and a 'mushroom cloud' distorted by the sea breeze.

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