Thursday, May 24, 2007

Out of the Woods

DSCF1416.JPGHere are some fresh Austro-Paraguayan faces. There's Florence Wood, Rodrigo Wood, his wife Carmen and son Brian. Rodrigo is a most agreeable Para-Aussie. He invited me to a special annual event hosted by Las Damas de Britanicas. A special curry dinner was cooked for nearly two hundred guests to celebrate those of Anglo-Saxon descent. While there were many English looking faces, certainly their energy on the dance floor seemed more towards the Latin end of the genetic spectrum. By the end of the evening Rodrigo was goading me to join him in some choruses of Waltzing Matilda.

I must say, it felt good to be Australian in this setting. Any sentimentalism about national identity back home (in Australia) seems too easily recruited to political or consumer interests. It's just too easily and ready-made. But on the other side of the world, deep in the heart of South America, Australianness seemed like an exotic flower. Could we even imagine a universal Australianness, appearing in all cultures, emerging with an innocent voice, blinking, happy to see things anew?

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