100 Places of Emotion

Places of emotion

100 Places of Emotion

What emotions does this place evoke?

McMurdo Station

McMurdo Station

Twentieth century, 1956

McMurdo represents one-fifth of Antarctica’s total population, with much infrastructure, some of which can be seen in our chosen image taken in 2006 from Observation Hill. The photograph shows lots of black rock, white snow, and grey frozen mud. It is peppered with sheds, shipping containers, a port, various communications domes, storage for 42 million litres of fuel, and a decommissioned nuclear power-plant.

McMurdo is located three thousand kilometres directly south of the bottom of New Zealand, near where the Ross Sea meets the Ross Ice Shelf. It is built upon a small rocky outcrop called Ross Island. All of these creative names were given by British explorer James Clark Ross in 1841 during the first charting of the territory. Antarctica remained unseen by human eyes until sighted by a Russian expedition in 1820, and it took another 75 years before a team of Norwegians actually set foot on the frozen continent. This late material entry into global history was not due to a lack of physical size, for at around 14,000,000 km2 Antarctica is larger than any country in the world, with the sole exception of Russia.

McMurdo station was founded in 1956 by the United States government, and became the biggest settlement in Antarctica, with the capacity to house 1,258 residents in summer. At that time, they enjoy a daily mean temperature of –2.8°C (January) under a never-setting sun. The population plunges to in winter during months of darkness where the mean daily temperature in August is a cruel –24.6°C, and only a few people stay.

The continent is frozen under an average two kilometres of ice, and is surrounded by thousands of kilometres of stormy, dangerous oceans. Ross Island is very mountainous and has an active volcano standing a massive 3,794 metres above the frozen sea. A nearby smaller dormant volcano makes up for its sleeping state by sporting the name Mount Terror.

McMurdo Station is included in this list of 100 Places of Emotion because of its extreme location on the edge of the vast, frozen continent. The isolation and severity of the environment has provoked much philosophic musings and emotional description. Werner Herzog’s documentary, Encounters at the End of the World, vividly captures a number of the eclectic and eccentric people that that have been somehow drawn to live in such an extremely remote location. Populated largely by scientist and technicians, the Station routinely deals with blizzards, months of endless darkness, or a spinning un-setting sun. That humans can live in such a harsh environment shows how adaptable we can be, at least when supported by large amounts of power inputs from a high-tech oil-fuelled industrialism.

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Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo

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Soy Plantation, Ituzaingó Anexo

Soy Plantation, Ituzaingó Anexo

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Lady Musgrave Island

Lady Musgrave Island

Enduring, c.6,000 BCE, with white settlement in the nineteenth century

Coral flourished for thousands of years off the north east coast of what is now called ‘Australia’. It grew up from the shallow sea-floor forming a vast structure — the biggest ever made by a living organism — made up of over 3,000 reefs stretching over 2,300 kilometres. This most exuberant expression of life, an incredible diversity of colourful beings, includes hundreds of types of hard and soft coral, ascidians, bryozoan and other oceanic invertebrates It includes thousands of species of fish of all shapes and sizes; mammals such as whales, dolphin and dugong; reptiles like turtles and crocodiles; and hundreds of species of birds. At the southern end of this structure lies a particularly reef which pushed a small 14-hectare part of itself up above the high-tide line. This patch of dry reef was used by fishing sea-birds to rest. The birds began leaving faecal matter, which in combination with ground coral, began to build up the island. The birds carried out seeds in the digestive systems which grew to become trees. An entire island composed of coral and bird poo emerged from the reef.

Lady Musgrave Island was named after the wife of a colonial administrator. Long before then, the Aboriginal people from the Gureng Gureng country called the island Wallaginji, meaning ‘beautiful reef’. Europeans first came into contact with the island in the nineteenth century, and soon set about devastating it. Shortly after charting the territory, they set to mining guano from the islands in the 1890s, and introducing goats which ruined the vegetation. The Australian military used it for bombing practice during the Second World War. In the 1970s, the devastation started to turn, with the goats being systematically eradicated as part of conservation drive. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and World Heritage Site was established soon after. Since then, the vegetation has made a strong recovery. Presently, the coral cay is a popular destination for recreational sailors seeking shelter in its picturesque lagoon, and day-trippers coming over on a power catamaran. There are spaces for forty campers on the island, with a composting toilet, but no fresh water.

Lady Musgrave Island is included in this list of 100 Places of Emotion because of it is an exquisite but potentially tragic example of a tiny tropical island — at once surrounded by beautifully clean waters that teem with abundant marine life, and under ecological threat. Unlike continental islands, the island is largely composed of coral, making it an otherworldly place for terrestrial visitors. The island’s fragile future is reflected in a troubled past, with much environmental degradation since European colonisation. The possible future of the island is anticipated by the 2006 bleaching event when a vast track of around 800km of the Great Barrier Reef died due to high water-temperatures resulting from global warming. Some of the most vivacious and diverse ecosystems in the area were reduced to slime-coated bleached skeletons. While Lady Musgrave was not harmed in this event, its future is unsettled. On the mainland, 115 kilometres west of the island, lies Gladstone, one of the world’s largest coal exporting terminals, with around 50 million tonnes of the substance passing through the port. A sense of possible loss hangs over the island, giving it a kind of precarious beauty, with its splendour potentially to be reduced to ruins by the human toxification of the atmosphere.

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Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

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Sigmund Freud Museum

Sigmund Freud Museum

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Espace Léopold (European parliament)

Espace Léopold (European parliament)

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Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow)

Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow)

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Estádio do Maracanã
 (Maracanã Stadium)

Estádio do Maracanã (Maracanã Stadium)

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អង្គរវត្ត
 (Angkor Wat)

អង្គរវត្ត (Angkor Wat)

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Athabasca oil sands

Athabasca oil sands

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La Biosphère de Montréal

La Biosphère de Montréal

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Cayman Islands Monetary Authority

Cayman Islands Monetary Authority

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Estádio Victor Jara

Estádio Victor Jara

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天安門 (Tiananmen Square)

天安門 (Tiananmen Square)

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广州塔
 (Canton Tower)

广州塔 (Canton Tower)

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中山陵
 (Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum)

中山陵 (Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum)

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Foxconn’s Science and Technology Park

Foxconn’s Science and Technology Park

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长城 (Great Wall of China)

长城 (Great Wall of China)

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Hacienda Nápoles (Pablo Escobar’s mansion)

Hacienda Nápoles (Pablo Escobar’s mansion)

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Memorial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara

Memorial Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara

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Chutes Wagenia
 (Boyoma Falls)

Chutes Wagenia (Boyoma Falls)

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Ciudad Mitad del Mundo
 (Middle of the World City)

Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World City)

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الهرم الأكبر بالجيزة
 (Great Pyramid of Giza)

الهرم الأكبر بالجيزة (Great Pyramid of Giza)

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سد اسوان
 (Aswan Dam)

سد اسوان (Aswan Dam)

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National Museum of Ethiopia

National Museum of Ethiopia

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Onkalo käytti ydinpolttoaineen loppusijoitustilaa (Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository)

Onkalo käytti ydinpolttoaineen loppusijoitustilaa (Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository)

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Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave

Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave

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Tour Eiffel
 (Eiffel Tower)

Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower)

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Berliner Mauer
 (Berlin Wall)

Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall)

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European Central Bank

European Central Bank

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Exarcheia anarchist quarters

Exarcheia anarchist quarters

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Althing parliament

Althing parliament

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Dharavi district

Dharavi district

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Ganga River (confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers)

Ganga River (confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers)

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Tulip Data Centre

Tulip Data Centre

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Monumen Pancasila Sakti

Monumen Pancasila Sakti

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Palm oil plantation

Palm oil plantation

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Freeport Grasberg mine

Freeport Grasberg mine

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Azadi Square

Azadi Square

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Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange)

Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange)

32th century BCE

This image is of the artificially lit inner-chamber of one of the oldest and best-preserved passage tombs in Western Europe. This Neolithic and pre-Celtic structure is 5,200 years old, and as such predates the Pyramids of Egypt by 600 years and Stonehenge by 1,000 years. Each year on 21 December, which marks the winter’s solstice, the tomb is lit naturally by sunlight — weather permitting! The meaning of the triple spiral or triglyph carved into the rock at the very centre of the main tomb, remains a powerful symbol; its significance remains shrouded in mystery.

Newgrange derives its name from being part of the farmlands or grange, which surrounded a nearby Cistercian Monastery founded in 1142. Newgrange is situated in County Meath, very close to the River Boyne, which snakes quietly past. Mythologically the Boyne River is named after its creator and protector the Goddess Boann. She is reputed to reside in the area with her partner — the Dagda. This ancient passage-tomb is eight kilometres from the town of Drogheda, County Meath, which is forty kilometres north of the capital Dublin. Drogheda is a site of a massacre orchestrated by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. It is not far from the battleground where the Dutch King William of Orange defeated the forces of the English king, James II, in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. This battle consolidated Protestant rule on the island. Newgrange is also very close to the Hill of Tara, the ancient seat of Irish kings. In 1993 Newgrange, along with nearby passage tombs of Knowth and Dowth, became part of a complex that was designated World Heritage by UNESCO, because of ‘their outstanding cultural legacy’.

When the Romans conquered most of Western Europe in late Antiquity, they brought with them the Greek notion of logos, which was used to displace and suppress indigenous forms of mythos. Ireland is one of those parts of Europe, because the Romans stopped at Britain, where the subsumption of mythos by logos was largely unsuccessful. In the centuries that followed, the English colonial rule of Ireland, which has been ongoing now for more than 800 years, has included numerous attempts at the destruction of language and culture, dispossession of people from their lands and most importantly, any form of rebellion or resistance. When we engage with Irish storytellers such as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney, we find common themes and images such as an engagement with dark humour, rivers, spirals, the re-emergence of the feminine, the trinity, reimagining how to respond to cultural and linguistic devastation — all, at a number of levels, echo the chamber of Newgrange.

Newgrange is included in this list of 100 ‘Places of Emotion’ because it is one of the sites on the planet that shows the earliest formative activities of human engagements with the passing of time, with the relationship between life and death, and with the cosmos. Overlaid by a history of political struggle over sovereignty, Newgrange is a place where symbols of customary knowledge (now largely untranslatable) force us to reflect upon the interplay between the nature of communication, the landscape and social meaning.

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Wailing Wall

Wailing Wall

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富士山
 (Mount Fuji)

富士山 (Mount Fuji)

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広島平和記念公園
 (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park)

広島平和記念公園 (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park)

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KazTransGas pipeline booster compression station

KazTransGas pipeline booster compression station

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Zapatista Outreach Centre

Zapatista Outreach Centre

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Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Plaza of the Three Cultures)

Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Plaza of the Three Cultures)

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Djemaa el Fna

Djemaa el Fna

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Nauru Regional Processing Centre

Nauru Regional Processing Centre

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Sagarmatha/ Chomolungma
 (Mount Everest)

Sagarmatha/ Chomolungma (Mount Everest)

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Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral

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Redeemed Christian Church of God

Redeemed Christian Church of God

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Port Harcourt Refining Company

Port Harcourt Refining Company

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Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

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Orangi Town

Orangi Town

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Panama Canal

Panama Canal

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Kokoda Trail

Kokoda Trail

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Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu

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Auschwitz-Birkenau

Auschwitz-Birkenau

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Winter Palace

Winter Palace

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Kigali genocide memorial

Kigali genocide memorial

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Great Mosque of Mecca

Great Mosque of Mecca

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Hira, the cave of Muhammad’s revelation

Hira, the cave of Muhammad’s revelation

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Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves)

Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves)

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Kenema Government Hospital

Kenema Government Hospital

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Sandton Mall

Sandton Mall

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Robben Island Prison

Robben Island Prison

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Panmunjom, Joint Security Area

Panmunjom, Joint Security Area

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La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

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Large Hadron Collider

Large Hadron Collider

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Yarmouk Camp

Yarmouk Camp

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Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater

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Lumpinee Boxing Stadium

Lumpinee Boxing Stadium

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Provincial government building and post office, Sidi Bouzid

Provincial government building and post office, Sidi Bouzid

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Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

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Bwindi National Park

Bwindi National Park

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Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport

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Westminster Abby

Westminster Abby

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British Museum

British Museum

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Gleann Comhann
 (Glencoe)

Gleann Comhann (Glencoe)

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Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

Twentieth Century

A great arching interface bends across one side of the control room, with hundreds of switches, dials, knobs, buttons, screens, and gauges. Blinking lights emerge from the aging metal desk and curved wall. Fluorescent lights illuminate the 3,000 white-clad staff who amble about softly in contamination-free white shoes. This is the main control room of the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This, Ukrainian plant’s first reactor, was activated in 1977, with three more coming online over the next six years. Each had the capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts of electric power, adding up to around 10 per cent of the country’s requirements.

A generation before this photo was taken, back on the 26th of April, 1968, at 1:23 in the morning Moscow-time, operators shut down Reactor 4 as a part of a power-failure test. There was a malfunction, an explosion, and the reactor suffered a catastrophic failure. Uncontrolled reactions and a raging fire lofted plumes of irradiated material into the atmosphere of north Ukraine. The blast killed two workers, and then a further 29 firemen and employees died of acute radiation poisoning. Around 4,000 deaths have been linked to the meltdown, along with the forced resettlement of around 350,000 people who lived within the 2,600 km2 exclusion zone.

Around four hundred times more radioactive material was release from the power plant than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Although, to put it differently, it was also about only 1/1,000th of the total amount of radioactivity release during the era of nuclear weapons testing. Nevertheless, approximately 100,000km2 of land was affected by radioactive fallout, particularly Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, as well as all of Europe, apart from the Iberian Peninsula which was spared owing the chance of the day’s weather.

The political fallout echoed around the world, with the anti-nuclear movement and environmental movements using it as a prime example of the dangers of nuclear power. The costs of the disaster are multidimensional and difficult to estimate, with a complex array of accident management, decontamination efforts, lost power supply, lost land, job losses, dislocated populations, health problems and neuropsychological effects. Whatever way it is cut, financial costs would spiral into the hundreds of billions of dollars. The clean-up effort is scheduled for completion in 2065.

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is included in this list of one-hundred places of emotions because it was the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear energy disasters. This event strengthened the push against nuclear power and spread awareness about the border-crossing nature of ecological catastrophe and contemporary politics, being seen as a symbol of globalization and risk. To this day, nuclear power is a controversial issue, with some championing the techno-scientific solution, often stressing its benefits over carbon emitting fossil fuels, with others deeply concerned about the toxic waste, concentrated power and possibility of catastrophic meltdowns.

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

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Wall Street

Wall Street

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Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

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St Peters Basilica

St Peters Basilica

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War Remnants Museum

War Remnants Museum

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Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

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Florin Drive, Rochester - the Wilson residence

Florin Drive, Rochester - the Wilson residence

Ww live in a town house with views of the river that will make you weep. The River Medway sweeps past our balcony, cold and dark at this time of the year, but always inspiring.

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The Big Banana Fun Park

The Big Banana Fun Park

While the banana growing industry has largely left the costal town of Coffs Harbour, the Big Banana gloriously remains. Built in 1964, the monumental fruit was Australia's first 'Big Thing', the leader in a trend which would see such other splendours arising across the great southern continent, such as the Big Pineapple, the Big Marino sheep, and who could forget the Big Prawn. Should one be privileged to actually visit the Big Banana in person, in addition to meditating on the human condition in the face of such an architectural wonder, such a lesson in classical restraint, one can also engage in a number of other banana-related activities at the attached Fun Park, such as laser tag, mini golf and ice skating. While some cruel-hearted people have decried the Big Banana as an 'eyesore', it is undeniable that somewhere, deep within the monumental fruit lies a kernel of truth about the desperate search for meaning in a postmodern settler-colonial context.

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El Panecillo

El Panecillo

An iconic hill overlooking Quito's historic center. A large Virgin Mary monument inspired by Bernardo de Legarda's artistic work sits on top of the hill. This was an important place for worship for the indigenous inhabitants of Quito prior to the Spanish conquista.

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Lawson Municipal Pool

Lawson Municipal Pool

A historic community pool set in a natural amphitheatre.

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