If we’re going to call ourselves a ‘world city’, we better get connected.
In my last column I gave the US of A a bagging because they couldn’t make a coffee to save themselves. But they do two things very well – communicate and preserve their history.
Free wireless everywhere, and I mean everywhere
The USA is wired, or should I say wireless. Everywhere from New York to Vegas had free wifi — in airports, hotels, coffee lounges and park benches!
But it gets better; charging stations were everywhere. The airports were full of them – columns everywhere for charging all means of communication from phones to cameras to laptops. In the airport waiting areas, there were free charging stations nearly every four seats. On one plane from Dallas to Vegas, every chair had a charging station. Signs read ‘courtesy charging – our way of keeping you connected’.
As a traveller this was fantastic for checking bookings, finding out information about which terminals we were coming in, transfer options, sending emails home and even putting my adventures on Facebook.
Then I got back to Australia and while waiting at the Qantas airport terminal in Sydney, I went to log in. Qantas graciously offered me thirty minutes — what the? Soon after, my laptop battery died. Not a charger in site.
On arriving at Brisbane Airport I saw three young French travellers sitting against a wall guarding a phone charging in a random plug they had found. I suspect they would have been moved on if they had been spotted.
So come on Brisbane, Queensland and Australia – with tourism up and if we want to be taken seriously as a progressive city and country, let’s get with the 21st century.
Preserving their history
I had the pleasure of going to several of the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC and boy do they do a good museum over there.
The two that really struck me were the American History Museum and the National Air and Space Museum. They had early vehicles from a 1903 Winton — the first car driven across the United States — to a Chicago Transit Authority “L” car; their early telephones and toasters, uniforms and airplanes; the Star-Spangled Banner, Washington’s uniform and more. They had their history preserved and presented in a glorious fashion from domestic to political life.
Which got me thinking, why don’t we?
Sure, a car your parents drove when you were a kid might not excite you, but in fifty years time, it will be a great attraction.
Kids today wouldn’t know how to use a phone with the old fashion dial on it or the old typewriters. How about the electric typewriter … what a bewdy! And I can remember my grandparents’ lounge room with the ashtray that spun and the old television set that weighed more than a sumo wrestler. Shouldn’t we be saving some of this?
What about the old real estate posters selling some of our well-established areas for a song. If we don’t see value in our past, we can’t expect the future to respect or preserve it.
If you don’t think it is interesting, I challenge you to go to the Smithsonian and tell me you weren’t enthralled.