We made a decision to comeback to see the little towns the next day.
After a fast check in, a little confusion of who wants to sleep on which bed, we finally all felt tired and hungry. Going to a restaurant was out of the question and the untouched lunch in the esky was a real saviour. However, we soon decided to see at least some part of the chosen town’s nightlife. In five minutes we were strolling alongside the ocean via the Beach Terrace towards The Surf Club and back via the Mooloolaba Esplanade. The fresh air from the ocean re-energised us very quickly. We felt great and looked forward to exploring the late opened shops with the souvenirs or fashion garments. The first day of our short trip seemed to be perfect, well almost…
Yes, if I would have seen this picture somewhere else in the world I would just nod my head and feel sympathy for the poor kids that are exploited by their parents to make money from street entertainment. But seeing it here, in Australia, made me feel very disturbed, frustrated, ashamed and even angry. What the hell is going on in Mooloolaba? In a matter of just 400 metres we saw three different types of street entertainment performed by very young kids; I would say they were aged from 9 to 12 years. It was almost 9pm and they didn’t look like they were just about to finish.
The first was a tired looking tiny girl who was playing on an electronic keyboard with the money box in front of her, filled with some small change. The second was a boy who was sitting in the front of the money box and hand written advertising of how he can put a Rubik Cube together in just 2 minutes. The third was a girl with an electro-guitar playing something unfamiliar. The most disturbing part was to see how all of them didn’t look at the passing by people, they were not interacting with the public and I could clearly see the expression of awkwardness on each of their young faces. This disturbing picture of child exploitation was above my understanding and acceptance. I made a mental note to myself that I will never again go to Mooloolaba because of what I saw and how it made me feel. “I need to rest.” – I said to my friends and we went straight back to the Motel…
The next morning, after a light breakfast and strong cup of coffee we were ready to drive further North to see one of the best and the biggest produce, craft and art markets in Queensland (over 500 stalls) – Eumundi Markets. Five dollars for the full day car park was a definite bargain compared to Brisbane parking prices. The huge but peacefully moving crowd created a very exciting, warm and welcoming atmosphere. Everyone bought something: an authentic ring made from shell – $5.00, a pink long blouse – $20.00; a plant incorporated in a wooden log – $20.00; a big carved wooden salad bowl – $15.00 and the most expensive item was a CD “TRANSPORTA” (an instrumental album with distinct Australian flavours of didgeridoo) by Matty James – $25.00. Matty James, a multi-instrumental musician was giving a soul and body moving live performance right there, and that was priceless. We loved it! Thank you Matty!
Yes, the Eumundi Markets is truly a great place to visit. We spent more than three hours there. We felt happy, satisfied and ‘fulfilled’ with locally produced food – yummy!
The town of Montville via Mapleton was awaiting our curious souls and the rain was just about to start. Playing a cat and mouse game with the rain, we turned onto the Nambour- Mapleton Rd from the Bruce HWY, but as soon as we stopped for a short break at the Kanyana Park Lookout, the rain caught up with us, covering us up with all its mighty power. However, we weren’t disappointed. It is not every day that you can stay on the top of a hill and see how the wall off the water is coming towards you through the valley below. It’s a rewarding experience and the girls happily finished a half of the bottle of red with cheese, crackers and the fruit leftover from yesterday’s dinner at the Motel.