Sometimes it’s good to find out how the other half lives. I never knew what sheltered lives we lead here in our little corner of the world.
Friday, I had the opportunity to meet up with an aunt who was visiting from Australia. I haven’t seen her for more than 35 years, which is when she and her family left South Africa for Australia. She was one of my favorite aunts growing up - a straight-talking Irish nurse who caught the attention of one of my dad’s brothers during his travels. This week she came and spent a couple of days with my sister who lives in and I was thrilled to see her again.
Needless to say, it was a great time of catching up and sharing of photographs. However, one of the photographs caught me by surprise – it wasn’t anyone I recognized and I was a little taken aback by what I saw, which was a little too racy to share here. All I can say is when I saw it I did think to myself, “Wow, when I asked what everyone has been doing over the years, I really didn’t mean to get that specific.”
Anyway, when I asked about it, my 70-something aunt told me it was a picture she took in the town of Kalgoorlie, Australia, while touring a brothel. OK – it had to be like you would see in one of our old cowboy towns right? Something like a replica of a saloon from way back when - a museum construction maybe? Nope, this was a working brothel. Turns out, Kalgoolie is an old mining town in Australia where the brothels have found a great way to maximize profits – working brothels at night and tours for the curious during the day. No wonder Australia has an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.
The photograph I asked about was the madam showing some poor volunteer on the tour some of the special apparatus in that particular room. My aunt told me the rate for the tour was $25 (Australian). The nighttime rates, however, were much higher. A room rate ranged from $400 to $1,000 depending on your particular preference. The only room she wasn’t allowed to take pictures of was the bondage room.
My aunt, who lives in Perth, started her trip in Australia, touring the town of Kalgoorlie before heading to the USA for a visit with her son in Houston, Texas, and then on to my sister and I here in Georgia.
No doubt she found the lifestyle in Grayson miles apart from that in Kalgoorlie - in more than just distance.
An interesting link: An interview between a visiting journalist and a brothel business owner in Kalgoorlie who also serves on the city's town council.