Daydream nightmare

How could the hor­rors of Septem­ber 11 be real when we are in par­adise?

Central and North Burnett Times - - EXPLORE - Trav­el­ling Tales with Ann Rickard

OF ALL the un­for­tu­nate days to travel to a tran­quil Queens­land trop­i­cal is­land there could be none less pro­pi­tious than Septem­ber 11, 2001.

As I drove to the Bris­bane air­port early on a sunny spring morn­ing to be­gin a mini break on beau­ti­ful Daydream Is­land, I couldn’t be­lieve what I was hear­ing on the ra­dio.

I re­mem­ber lean­ing for­ward in the car to get my ear closer to the ra­dio to take in the in­com­pre­hen­si­ble news.

At the air­port I raced to the lounge to see what more I could glean from the tele­vi­sion... but it was early and the news was scant.

As soon as the flight was up in the air the cap­tain came on to make an an­nounce­ment about “this sad day”.

But he was re­fer­ring not to 9/11 – the full im­pact was still yet to hit – but to the de­ci­sion to close down Ansett Air­lines.

He was in the cock­pit of an Ansett flight.

Later that day as the dread­ful news emerged and the Ansett demise was pushed well off the front page, I stayed in my ho­tel room on beau­ti­ful Daydream Is­land glued to the tele­vi­sion.

The hor­rific im­ages were so com­pelling it was im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve they were real.

I sat on the edge of the bed, lean­ing for­ward to­wards the tele­vi­sion to gasp loudly in hor­ror with ev­ery­one else around the world.

Then I would look up from the ghastly truth on the screen and out the win­dow to the daz­zling blue of the Co­ral Sea fringed with sway­ing palms.

It was the most bizarre of times in all my long and many trav­els.

How could such hor­ror be? When I was in such a peace­ful, pretty, safe lo­ca­tion?

The con­trast of the tele­vi­sion im­ages against the trop­i­cal har­mony out­side was so shock­ing it made ev­ery­one on the is­land fee­ble with guilt.

For­tu­nately, I went back to Daydream a few years later to revel in its warm trop­i­cal wel­come and to ab­sorb its beauty with­out guilt.

But I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber the dis­par­ity of those ap­palling tele­vi­sion scenes to those of great splen­dour out­side my win­dow.

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