ARM­CHAIR TRAV­ELLER

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

Fan­ta­syHomesintheCity: This ur­ban spin-off pre­miere of the pop­u­lar Fan­ta­syHomes­bytheSea se­ries looks at to-die-for digs in Lon­don and Paris. Sun­day, 7.20pm, How To.

TheZoo: Be­hind the scenes at Auck­land Zoo with the de­voted keep­ers and their furred and feath­ered charges. Mon­day, 5pm, Nine. Su­san Kuro­sawa nu­mer­ous bent pipes. A wrecked chim­ney wrapped in rat­tling gal­vanised iron func­tioned as a nest for ravens. The court­yard be­low was il­lu­mi­nated by search­lights. Dis­con­nected wires waved in the wind while dogs howled in the dis­tance. Chrome-yel­low cur­tains were printed with scenes of trop­i­cal Samoa or Tahiti that shud­dered in the icy draughts. I stuffed the Fi­nan­cial Times around the gaps in the win­dows to stop the worst of the win­ter gales, an at­trac­tive pink bor­der fram­ing the in­dus­trial view.

The en­tire com­pound was sur­rounded by high steel fences. Dur­ing heavy rain a mys­te­ri­ous white foam would emerge from the down­pipes and flood the en­trance. Light switches were re­versed in func­tion, where on was off, hot wa­ter taps pro­duced cold wa­ter and vice versa, door locks would un­ex­pect­edly lock counter-clock­wise, wardrobe doors slowly drifted open, win­dows would spon­ta­neously fall out of their frames, lava­tory pa­per shred­ded half­way through the roll. (The lava­to­ries them­selves were marked with mys­te­ri­ous sym­bols to sep­a­rate the sexes. They are pow­er­fully sug­ges­tive and stim­u­late pruri­ent thoughts.)

I re­alised with a start one day that the trop­i­cal cur­tains in my room had been hung up­side down. I be­gan to be­lieve I had stepped through the looking glass hand in hand with Alice. This is an edited ex­tract from ACoun­tryintheMoon by Michael Mo­ran (Granta; Allen & Un­win, $39.95). Su­san Kuro­sawa’s De­par­tureLounge col­umn re­turns at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

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