NIMBIN should be put on the top of the US President’s proposed Australian itinerary, according to several prominent people.
Legendary Australian adventurer Dick Smith joined Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell and Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone speaking out in defence of Nimbin’s cultural significance following Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers’ tongue-in-cheek comments last week about leaving the infamous town off his preferred presidential itinerary.
However, Dick Smith, who was spotted window shopping in Nimbin on Monday, strongly recommended Mr Obama put the hippy town on his to-do list.
“If he just goes to Sydney he’ll be stuck with boring blokes in suits with no charisma, whereas in Nimbin he’ll meet some true Aussie eccentrics,” he told The Northern Star yesterday.
“The US has a huge debt at themoment and they could save a fortune staying at Nimbin’s backpacker hostel for just $60 a night.
“They could fly the President’s 747 into Ballina and I could chopper them up from there.”
Jenny Dowell chipped in saying she would love to show the President around Nimbin.
“I could take him on a tour of the candle factory, and for a swim in the council pool,” she said. “We could put him up at the council’s caravan park and he could have a choice of great coffees at the local cafes, but we’d recommend he skip the cookies.”
The Nimbin Hemp Embassy has been using the US President as its ‘cannabis poster boy’ since his candid response to the now mandatory ‘inhaling’ question put to most modern leaders.
He had famously said: “I inhaled frequently. That was the point.”
Mr Balderstone said Nimbin residents were unaware of the Tweed itinerary controversy, despite national media attention, although many had hoped the President could have planned his trip to coincide with Mardi Grass.
“As one president to another, we certainly wouldn’t expect him to inhale this time, but we’d love him to speak at Mardi Grass,” Mr Balderstone said.
The Hemp Embassy is planning a protest trip to Canberra with their ‘big joint’ to encourage President Obama to speak to Kevin Rudd about the benefits of medical cannabis to the nation’s health bill and its crime figures.
Responding to the comments, Mr Villiers has since reconsidered Tweed’s position.
“We always work closely with neighbouring councils to promote tourism and if Dick’s willing to pick them up from the airport then we’re all for it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Smith said he often visited Nimbin and felt quite at home with the apparent number of ‘fellow helicopter enthusiasts’.
“They put notices in shop windows telling everyone when the choppers are flying over. It’s just great to see blokes with long beards who are as interested in helicopters as I am.”
By Dominic Feain