I remember when I was little, the idea of visiting all the BIG things (banana, pineapple, sheep and various other edibles) was one of the most exciting holiday trips that a kid could have! Getting into a car, having a huge road trip to try and collect photos at various oversized pieces of fruit was somehow more exciting than... well, anything!
Of course, it always came with the long hours in the car... getting a touch carsick after reading in the car... and lots of stops for toilet breaks and snacks. Stocking up on oily chips and burgers... to be ready to empty it out a little while later on the side of the road (or inside the car...).
Anyway, now that I'm an adult... my kids (and nephews and nieces) are obsessed about the BIG things! On this last trip to Australia, we visited the Big Banana on the way coming back from Queensland back to Canberra. So, it wasn't really a special detour... but it was a special stop, which turned into a lunch break!
Somehow, when you are an adult... things seem a little bit different. I'm sure that it isn't me that has changed... the Banana is now more touristy, with the gift shop selling banana themed trinkets to catch the eyes of the children and the overpriced and relatively low quality bistro sucking in the hard earned dollars of the captive parents. I'm sure that it wasn't always like that... when I was a kid, it was all ABOUT THE BANANA (definitely no rose tinting here!).
No "Big Thing" is complete without a huge opening ceremony and commemorative plaque to
highlight the donors of the pork-barrelling mark the special occasion! In case you didn't notice and were a touch confused about what the big yellow thing was in front of you, and were afflicted by a case of temporary illiteracy... reading the plaque would tell you that it was the Big Banana... funded by the Banana industry and the Tourism Board in Coffs Habour... so definitely a monument to the entrenched industry (aka vested interests) local people and community.
"Big Things" are now a form of artistic expression unique to Australia.
Sigh... as a musician... this does make me die a million deaths inside. I will take a deep breath and move on! This is a fun travel post, not a crazy ranting "artiste" post!
However, there is some saving grace INSIDE the Big Banana where there is a little sort of museum where the meat of the fruit would normally be (the banana is hollow and you can walk through it...). I guess that is an artistic metaphor for the "meat" of the Banana Experience being inside, where the "meat" of a banana would normally reside (PhD topic there...)?
It's actually quite interesting reading about how the Banana was envisaged and then eventually constructed. After all, it isn't like these modern days where you would just take a normal banana and then pump it with radiation to mutate it into a GIANT BANANA! In those days, life was much simpler... you had to make do with chicken wire, paper and cement.... not even LASERS.
This is what a cross-section of a Banana looks like... it sounded more impressive when it was talking about x and y axis and intercepts and all of that.... goes to show how a bit of Quantum Relativistic in Many Worlds Interpretations of Hyper-Potential Nexii 'Woo' talk can go a long way to impress a lay audience. Lucky that doesn't happen these days...
... please note that this is the ASSUMED cross section of a Banana. Some further research is required...
It is really quite amazing the amount of memorabilia that has come out of this particular big fruit. However, the most interesting thing that I noticed was that in all the photos... the Banana is not surrounded by a gift shop and a huge food kiosk... I knew it! Capitalism ruined the Big Banana... it really used to be all about the Banana!