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Day 28

Out Pops Vanity

Statistics reveal that Aboriginal people have a tooth decay prevalence of 74%, while non-indigenous people have just 23%. In the early 1970s, the healthy condition of Aboriginal children’s teeth was seen as one of the rare advantages they had over non-indigenous children. No prizes for figuring out what little substance has increased in the communities over the past 35 years. 

 

This morning I rolled out of bed (I can actually say that and mean it for the first time in my life) and headed to the breakfast buffet on offer at the hotel.   I nodded to the table of 23 Japanese tourists and then weaved past a group of 4 bellowing Americans lathered in sunscreen, cameras at the ready and bright white sneakers poised to be caked in outback red. I scooped some poached eggs onto a plate, added some avocado and 2 slightly dried rations of bacon. I almost forgot that I was on a ridiculous diet as i briefly returned to what I normally eat. I righted the ship with a large glass of pineapple juice. I checked the label and saw that it was made by ‘Paul’s’ who are famous for their Iced Coffee here, so I knew I was in safe hands. Paul opened my throat and sent 60 grams or 15 teaspoons of tropical sugar cascading down my gullet to the waiting eggs below.

We then headed to the Alice Springs hospital which really should be a compulsory visit for anyone who got caught up in that Miley Cyrus video awards nonsense the other day. You want to know the real meaning of ‘tragedy’, take a left at Medic Ward East on level 2. We interviewed a man who was instrumental in teaching his community about good health but is now on dialysis himself. “It was too late for me” he said, “but the young ones have a chance if we stop the sweet drinks now.” The 250ml Iced Coffee with 6 teaspoons I bought at the hospital cafe on the way out somehow managed to taste bitter.

I then took to the skies and Qantas very kindly provided me with a set of headphones and 9 teaspoons of sugar via my tea, muesli bar and Multi V Juice combo. I landed and as often happens when you have been in the beauty of nature, a city seems absurd and quite surreal.

I went into a small restaurant, ordered a ravioli dish with a very odd hazelnut syrup type sauce (3 teaspoons) and chased it down with a Vitamin Water (22 grams or 5 teaspoons). As I sat and watched the world pass by and looked forward to getting home tomorrow to my beautiful lady, I had the first faint hint of vanity creep in. My body has changed, it isn’t how I normally wear it. I have never carried extra weight and even though its not much, with that weight comes a new set of thought sequences. It only lasted a brief moment though but it did give me tiny speck of understanding for what an increasing part of the population might go through. It also made sense of why the aboriginal women in the communities were so terrified of the cameras. “Dont show us like this” said one woman. We never did though, we were there to shoot the shiny items in the fridge that were causing all of the problems.

Tomorrow I head home another day done and the now familiar 40.

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