Little Lizard in My Backyard! (Anybody recognize the Dead Milkmen reference?) Posted by Hello
'Roo Tracks: Can you see the tail print? Posted by Hello
Ginger in the garden in the early morning. Posted by Hello

Double Entry Woes & Photo Request

Sorry for the messy double entries where the photos and their commentaries are separate. The pictures get posted through Hello, which allows either an above- or below-picture caption, but not both.

In the past, after the photos were posted by Hello, I would go edit them through Blogger, just like I edit my written posts. Apparently that doesn't work anymore because after I added further commentary, the pictures were no longer available. Weird!

But I can't really complain since it's all free. And you can't really complain either because it beats the heck out of what we did when we lived overseas before, right? (Namely, send a roll of film home every few months and ask y'all to circulate it.)

So! I'm kind of longing for some photos from the other side of the ocean (any ocean). If you've got digital pix, you could email them to me, or if you're feeling adventurous, go to Hello and you can send me pictures without emailing them. If you've got regular pictures, you can put them in the regular mail. Just remember to mark the envelope "Pictures! Do Not Bend!" as our postal delivery person bent in half a calendar to make it fit in our mailbox!
For those who've never seen me in blue eye shadow... Posted by Hello
Camo Couple Posted by Hello
A Happy Trio Posted by Hello
Justin and R Bonding Posted by Hello
Justin as MC of Food Contest Posted by Hello

Fine Foods Posted by Hello

A Whole New Look

Well, it seems to be up and running, so here are a few selected photos from Saturday's party. Enjoy!

Fine Foods!

The jelly (Australian for 'jello') with whipped cream (from a can, of course) in the foreground was my creation. M's rice crispy treats with mini marshmallows are behind. Yumm....?

Camo Couple

You can see that we had quite a coordinated ensemble. Unfortunately, you can't see my silver purse which matches my shoes. Posted by Hello

A Happy Trio

Justin, me and M. You wouldn't know that I haven't worn eye shadow for almost 20 years, would you?

Justin and R

A picture of male bonding and friendship. Posted by Hello

Justin as MC

Posted by Hello

Comment Problems?

I've heard from a couple people that they've had difficulty posting comments to the blog. I'd like to know how big a problem this is.

If you've been unable to post comments, could you please email me? Thanks.

Caravan Rubbish?

On Saturday we attended a birthday party for L. The theme was “Trailer Trash Bash” and appropriate costumes and finger foods were encouraged.

Why is it okay for a bunch of white mostly left-leaning well-meaning middle class folks to make fun of the white rural poor? (“Okay” in the sense that despite perhaps some twinges of discomfort, we did it anyway, and had fun doing it.) J, M and I got fully into the spirit of the thing, hitting the opp shops (opportunity shops AKA thrift stores) in the morning and cruising the aisles of the supermarket for suitably fresh-food-free foodstuffs in the afternoon.

As I thought about costume and food, I was assuming that Australia’s “trailer trash” culture would be similar to America’s. Upon arriving at the party, I found the participants all putting on Southern American accents.

R was surprised that I didn’t realize that “trailer trash” specifically meant “American trailer trash.” When I said, “Surely, you have trailer parks, too!” he said, “But we call them ‘caravans’ and we call ‘trash’ ‘rubbish’!”

We talked about other potential party themes: Middle-Class College Grads, Posh Snobs, Poor Aborigines, New Age Californians, Dim & Self-indulgent Rock Stars, Taciturn New Englanders, Obsequious and Inscrutable Asians, Religious Fundamentalists. Now, how did that list make you feel? Were you offended by all of the categories? What makes you wince the least? Which party can you actually imagine attending?

I was going to post party pictures but Hello/Picassa is having problems again, so I'll try posting pix later. Sorry!

Glorious Darwin!

I haven't had a chance to tell you about my trip to Darwin last week. I went up with M and F, a linguist formerly employed at the Katherine Lang Centre and now working on her doctorate. It was a car swap thing where F had a car and needed to get a different one in Darwin, so M offered to drive one back. I went along for the ride.

Darwin was fantastic! The highlights were the two outdoor markets we went to. The Saturday market at Parap was huge (maybe any size market would look huge to me at this point, but it was a lot bigger than Chico's market and Darwin is not bigger than Chico). There was lots of fresh tropical produce--fruits and veggies--and lots of great hot cooked Asian food and smoothie and lassi makers and a couple of plant stalls. Then there were textiles, sarongs, dresses, etc. and arts and crafts like homemade soaps and hammocks and shoes and great witch hats that looked like they were made out of bark. I mostly just stuffed myself on yummy food at that market, bought some nice cards and a small gift for my sis (sorry, sis, haven't sent it yet!).

M bought a bunch of great clothes: a wrap-around dress, wrap-around pants, Thai fisher pants, a couple of sarongs for brightening up her room.

Sunday morning on our way out of town we went to another market at Rapid Creek. Again, very multi-ethnic, with most sellers speaking English with some sort of foreign accent: mostly Asian, like Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese, but also Italian, Dutch, Scottish. There was way more produce at this market and not so much of the other stuff, but still with some prepared foods. I had myself my third fresh-tropical-fruit smoothie of the weekend and bought a sticky-rice-banana-coconut-milk yummy wrapped in banana leaf to take back to Justin. I bought a lot of fruit and veg there, including a green coconut (for Justin) and the cooking greens pictured below. Anybody know what it is?

I also bought plants for the house and garden. I'll post pictures at another time.

Oh, and there was a cyclone warning while we were in Darwin. M and I returned to the hostel Saturday night to find a notice in our room that we should put together an emergency kit and directions on where to go if there should be an evacuation. So at ten p.m. we were down at the supermarket buying tinned tuna and candles. Overheard while waiting to check out:
local teenage boy 1: look at all the cyclone stuff at twice the price! (pointing to big displays of candles, flashlights, etc.)
local teenage boy 2: my mom has a video store and when there's a cyclone, she always gets super busy cuz people just sit at home watching movies. But then the power goes out and they can't watch 'em anyway! (he seemed to derive quite a bit of pleasure from this irony)
local boy 1: No way. We have a generator. I can still use my x-box when there's no power.

Just in case you were wondering what it'd be like to grow up in Darwin.

Mystery Green. Posted by Hello

Sunset Walk with Ghosts

Every evening when we're at Pigeon Hole we go for a walk and find ourselves accompanied by various groups of kids. On our most recent trip, there had been quite a bit of rain, and the track was still pretty wet (hence our getting bogged on our way out the next day, but that’s another story).

We walked down the thickly muddy road, Justin and I trying to step where our boots wouldn’t sink to the ankle, some of our companions (four or five girls between nine and eleven years old) purposely stepping into mud pits with their bare feet, making thick-soled mudboots, reminiscent (for me, at least) of the Creepers worn by my New Wave friends in the nineteen-eighties.

“Why do white people always wear shoes?” asked one girl.

“Because our feet are not tough,” I said, immediately wanting, though, to take my boots off and walk barefoot, but also remembering meliodosis, a disease caught from bare feet in the mud.

Justin said, “Every time I try to go barefoot, I hurt my feet and then I cry.” This cracked the girls up—I wasn’t sure if it was the thought of Justin crying or the thought of having such tender feet that was so funny.

After the sun had set, our companions suggested turning around because it was getting dark. I think I may have asked about animals that come out after dark, but it turned out to be devil-devils that come out at night.

One girl had seen a devil when she was a little girl.

“Were you afraid?” I asked.

“Nah. It was my friend. It was a friend-devil.”

A couple of the girls (they were always talking at least two at a time) brought up that the little sister of one of the girls with us “has a devil-devil. It is her friend.” I started to wonder if “devil-devil” was the same as what we might call an “imaginary friend,” but then they told the following story:

“See that red house there? Some people were sitting in there playing cards and a devil came in and stole beef from the freezer. The devil looked like [so-&-so], but it wasn’t her because she was over there on the other side [of the village].”

There was another story about a devil who—I think (neither Justin nor I was sure of the story afterwards as it was told, again, by several girls talking at once)—enticed a girl out into the woods “over there” (the girls pointed across the open field to our left) and made her cut her “arms” (wrists?), or maybe the devil actually did the cutting. The people had to go and bring her back.

“Is she okay now?” I asked.


Then we were at the turn-off where the girls were going back to their houses and we were going back to the school, so we all said good night.

Northern Territory map. Posted by Hello

Katherine area map. Posted by Hello

Detailed map of Katherine. Posted by Hello

Termite mound size perspective. Posted by Hello

Field of termite mounds Posted by Hello

Cows just having vacated the track for us. Posted by Hello

Vic River Xing. Posted by Hello

Gate girl. Posted by Hello

A bit of the track. Posted by Hello

Almost there. Posted by Hello

Pigeon Hole Community Posted by Hello

M and a chook Posted by Hello