We went to the footy (Australian Rules Football) last Friday night and G showed Zanny how to kick the ball.

Even though she was barefoot, she rocked (of course).

Almost as remarkable--I seem to have managed to figure out how to post a picture right within my posting, instead of each picture being a separate post.


That is, of course, a photo of my sister from her arrival in Sydney. We were trying to post it to her newly created blog, but it showed up here instead. Rather than deleting it, I'm leaving it for all my readers to enjoy (since most of you know her and/or are related to her).

I've loved sharing my new home place with my sister. I'll have time to post more in a couple weeks when she leaves for Peru. Right now, I want to spend my time with her and not in front of the computer.

Maybe I'll get a few more pix up soon, though. Of course, comments always stimulate me to find time to write more! (Thanks, Mom!)
Out on the town with some Irish blokes in Sydney Posted by Hello
Zan puts her feet up on the way back to Katherine. Posted by Hello
Zanny on the beach in Darwin! Posted by Hello

Culture and Sports Festival

This weekend we went to the Barunga Sport and Cultural Festival. This year was the 20th anniversary of this event. Indigenous people came from communities across the Top End, while tourists and white Katherinites also came out.

Communities brought teams for footy (Australian Rules Football), basketball, softball, and athletics (foot races).

The spear-throwing competition required the men (there were only men) to hit a small wallaby-sized box 50 meters away. The spears are long and light with substantial heads and are thrown using a spear-thrower. I wish I’d taken a picture. It was a very difficult task, as nobody got a really good hit and a lot of attempts were made.

Kangaroo tale and damper (campfire bread) were for sale, as well as baskets and paintings. There were lots of other stalls with items like hotdogs and fried chicken and steak sandwiches. Clothing stalls catered to community tastes: hats with sports team logos, brightly colored dresses, clothing with Eminem, Snoop Dogg, etc.

On Saturday evening we watched the Red Flag Dancers and a number of bands from various communities before retiring to our tents. We camped on the school oval (sport field) with lots of others, black and white. It was a nice communal feeling to look across at all the tents and small fires lighting the dusk and make our way to ours.
A spear thrower from Ngukurr. Posted by Hello
The Red Flag Dancers in motion Posted by Hello
The Red Flag Dancers between numbers. Posted by Hello
Our camp. R, G, S, L. Posted by Hello

Big Lizard Hunting and More

Justin spent the week at Pigeon Hole. He was driving along with an older woman (B) in the passenger seat when she spotted a goanna stuck in a tree about 20 meters off the road in the bush. Justin stopped and B and three younger women (probably teenagers) went to capture it. Although it was somehow trapped, it was still alive and goannas have nasty claws that help them climb trees. This goanna was about five feet long, perhaps a bit longer. They caught it and eventually killed it by bashing its head, then roasted it.

Much of Justin’s time was spent driving around to various culturally significant sites (Dreaming sites), while some of the younger women documented them with camera and video camera. The younger women and little kids with them were then learning language related to the stories from the older women. Justin took written notes. Here’s a photo of him working out there.
Justin working in Pigeon Hole. Posted by Hello
J�s last night in Katherine--what better way to say goodbye than pizza at the Den? Nothing like this in Viet Nam or France. KW, J herself, and R.
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K, Justin, M all smiles. It is not really that people were pleased to see J go, just that her presence brings smiles to our faces.
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Almost as good as a petting zoo

Last Sunday (or was it two Sundays ago?) Justin, KW and I rode our bikes about 30 minutes out of town along the gorge road. We had a leisurely brunch on the patio at Kumbidgee, overlooking an artificial yet pleasant billabong.

On the way back, we stopped to meet some animals.

The pictures really tell it all, I think.
Greedy goose! Posted by Hello
Lilypads, ducks, outback view. Posted by Hello
Making friends. Posted by Hello
Always look 'em in the eye, says mama. Posted by Hello
Camel with attitude.
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KW and her favorite cow (note the Brahmin hump, but the black-and white coloring not usually associated with that breed).
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Walking home from BBQ at R�s place on Sunday evening, we saw this small bushfire.
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Speargrass 2005

The weekend after the gorge kayak trip we went camping at the remote and still-in-development permaculture/organic farm of a couple, L & L, near Pine Creek.

The occasion was C’s birthday and she decided the event would be a festival called Speargrass. It had all the markings of the first of an annual event:

an odd and interesting assortment of people spanning at least three generations and several nationalities, a roasted pig, a hot tub (water heated in a drum over a fire), fire twirling, singing around a campfire, fire-jumping, lawn-bowling, swimming in a billabong, a water-slide on the lawn, a dip in a bit of river that looked perfect for crocs, a climb up the hill behind the house for a glorious view of the area, precarious (but ingenious) and not-too-private toilets, a driveway so rutted, tortuous and bumpy that it made the 3k seem like 30 and made arrival at the house all the more exciting. Did I mention lots of great food?

Next year I might do a solar cooking demonstration if I can get a ride in a car big enough to carry the solar cooker! (Our cooker is largishand the box type; Justin and I rode with R & J in R’s tiny car—we were up to the gills and weighted nearly to the ground, so there was no room this year.)

Here are a few photos.
A rare picture of both of us. The 12-year-old we were hanging out with wanted to take our picture at the billabong.
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The billabong.
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R, J and Justin at the top of the hill.
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L&L�s goats also climbed the hill.
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Interesting gum tree with red peeling bark.
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A view from the hill. Note the bushfire smoke. Posted by Hello
A waterlily in the billabong.
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