La Boheme Explained, Trip to Antarctica and Savage Garden

Considering it was a miserable evening weatherwise there was a good attendance to listen to our three presenters.

Alanp-RobJ-ChrisMAlan Phillips, who has been a great supporter of the Storytellers and generally contributes one or two stories each year, opened the proceedings with his own special interpretation of La Boheme – ‘La Boheme Explained’:

“The main chic is a bird called Mimi – her real name’s Lucia which I think must be like Lucy… how it got to be Mimi stays a mystery; Luce would have been more plausible. She lives upstairs and sews and makes fake flowers. The poor bitch has got a shocking cough – a real rasping bark of a thing. I had it picked for an advanced case of TB right from the start. I even gave the missus a nudge and said, “This sheilah’s not going to make it past Act 1 – check her out with the binos, she’s as white as a sheet.” Ridgey didge I did!
But she’s not a bad looking sort and I can see why Rodolfo gets to fancy her even with all that barking.”

El President Rob Johnson who has recently returned from Antarctica, via South America, gave a glimpse of some of the highlights of his trips with some photographs and video footage (carnival band music and kayaking up to whales). His adventures in fact started in 2010 when with a mate from UK they decided to explore South America in a number of small bites and have done 3 trips to date. Trip 1 was travelling from Santiago and a bus trip across the Andes to Mendoza (Spanish style town & great restaurants). They visited Buenos Aires en route. The main purpose of the first trip was fishing and photographic proof showed they were pretty successful up near Concordia, north of Buenos Aires. Further travelling to Chile, down to Patagonia, then finally to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the World.

Trip 2 was in 2012 after the London Olympics. The travelled from Bogota, Colombia and other spots then off to Mendoza to watch Argentina v South Africa.
Trip 3 was from the tip of South America (ship and flight) to King George Island. All sorts of activities were available; snorkelling, diving, kayaking, visiting penguin colonies. Rob told of a scary moment one day when a leopard seal with big tusks gave Rob and his fellow kayakers a little too much attention. Rob wore a ‘dry suit’ when kayaking and he likened actually getting into it similar to a good yoga workout! They ended up in Lima, Peru where we saw evidence of some splendid seafood and a good wave, then off to Machu Picchu (as you do).

Alan Phillips then read Chapter 1 of the ‘Mosman Bunyip’, a quirky masterpiece sure to be a best seller if it ever gets published! Listening to Alan detailing ‘Ferdinand’s Fire Breathing Tips’ kept everyone amused.

Local author Chris Muir finished the evening talking about his recently released book ‘A SAVAGE GARDEN’ – inside the Congo’s secret wars and one man’s battle to save the child soldiers who fight them. Chris spoke of his book being based on real people and real situations that he had experienced in his travels around Central Africa. He has seen the worst aspects of humanity and how generation after generation believe that food grows on the back of trucks. We heard about Chris regularly facing guns and horrendous life changing situations. A lesser man would have gladly walked away never to return to Africa but somehow Chris has been lured back time and time again. The underlying message of his book is ‘hope’ for a better educated Africa. He so desperately want there to be an intelligent revolution rather than a bloody one. Chris expressed his view that withdrawing aid may well be the saving of the people. There is such apathy and laissez faire attitude that they don’t stand up and look after themselves. His first hand experiences were quite an eye opener indeed. Time limited questions to Chris but no doubt all the answers are in his book so buy it!

Thanks to Alan, Rob and Chris for a most entertaining evening.

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