October 17, 2005

Alice Springs

I pictured the middle of Australia being a really hot desert... WRONG! I happen to arrive durring day-after-day of clouds and downpours. Although it has prevented me from seeing the best sunsets and made my decision not to rent a bike today, the gray skies still bring out the luminosity of the brilliant red earth and bright lime greens in the grass.

This is the place to buy Aboriginal artwork, there are so many galleries. One woman named Minnie Pwerle is 95 years old but produces really attractive paintings. She mostly uses body art patterns mixed with bush melons in bright orange and yellows or blue and purples or pink and oranges. Colours very different from the traditional ochres that are found all over this area.

Part of the trip yesterday was to Ochre Gorge, a huge, long wall of colours from white-light yellow-deep yellow-orange-green-red-purple... it was amazing! The softest colour was the yellow that worked just like chalk pastel. I want to say ochre, but this word describes this whole variety of colours that all contain iron oxide. The more iron, the redder and darker the colour. I quickly snapped a million pics as we only had a few minutes to look around. I could have stayed all day using these natural pigments for my paintings!

The landscape was truely amazing and you could easily spend a week seeing all the formations in this transit town that people usually only stay for a night or two. Australia broke off of Antartica and South East Asia and New Zealand broke off of Australia. A huge sea used to sit within the middle of this country which formed the mountain ranges and strange rocks of mixed sand and stone. Along with the rain and wind and moving earth, the ground has shifted upwards and carved through by the main river systems. What remains now are huge flat valleys surrounded by lines of mountains and rolling hills, gorges and gaps, cliffs and waterholes. The cross sections of earth are revealed so you can see the way the land has rose and fallen. Slats of rock point in diagonals, layers form curved arches and caves and everything is mish-mashed together at odd angles. Sometimes the earth moved an entire 90 degrees, showing vertical wedges, like at Ochre Gorge.

And some beautiful wildlife: a Rainbow Bee Eater bird (so colourful!), a Comorant (maybe?) duck (all black with a white beak), a Rock Wallaby (like a miniture kangaroo) so cute and furry, but can apparently rip through your flesh if it's cornered, yikes! No snake or spider sightings yet, yay! P

1 comment:

  1. jenniferd1:00 pm

    Hey there! Aaron says watch out for wallabies, and koalas too. They can be evil if they ever stop being drugged out on eucalyptus! I won't be in Melbourne at all, alas. Just Sydney and Adelaide on the 27th. You'll have to tell Aaron you love Melbourne (the sworn enemy-city of all Sydney-ites!) He will like to hear that, hehehehe! I will be thinking of you down under even if I can't see you!