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