I love hot-air balloons, there’s something magical about them. Quirky surrealistic shapes floating in the calm cool dawn, the notion of defying gravity in the most basic of ways, the unexpected way the burners’ raucous noise charges through the peaceful air, the sense of timeless floating, the absence of power yet the presence of grandeur. You find yourself thinking of drifting peacefully along above the anchored earth, absent from it yet still part of it, smelling the intense and sharp morning , watching the oblivious go about their normal waking routine. It pulls at you and it looks so slow and easy that it’s something you think you could almost do yourself (and someone has).
I jumped in the car this morning to go over and have a look at the hot air balloons in town for the yearly regatta. I was early, it was dawn, I wanted to see them inflate from their folds of material and see the burners charge up and watch that moment when they change from being part of us on the ground to lift off and become part of that unknown, up, up there.
I couldn’t get there.
The Canberra Marathon is happening this morning and is around the lake. The entire circuit, Commonwealth Ave, Northbourne, the Parliamentary Precinct, is blocked to traffic with pedestrian access only. The balloons are on the lake shore in front of Parliament House, right in the middle of no access. There was no way for me to actually get to the area with the balloons. I would have had to find somewhere to park, I really don’t know where in that zone of very restricted parking, and walk a few kilometres there and then back. It could be done, but why should it be this way? Why wasn’t there an access route for people who wanted to go see the balloons?
Didn’t someone, the person who authorised the road closures, think? Didn’t the department that authorises the permits for both the events use its nous and realise it wouldn’t work this way?
It’s a broken record that we all play over and over, but why oh why is our public organisation so dishevelled? Why do we put up with it?
Why didn’t someone, someone or anyone, put their hand up and say, “This isn’t the best way to organise events and we should give the citizens the best way so let’s change it.”
We should give citizens the best way.