Two Yanks Downunder

A blog about the experiences of two Americans on their first visit to the fabulous continent of Australia

Friday, September 29, 2006

Trip to the Kimberley



I have not yet decided how much to say about our trip to the Kimberley. We have been asked not to write in a place that people from the school are liable to access, so I will probably post a few non-specific images and leave the narrative for private journals. In the mean time, everyone should know that we are back safe and sound and except for a burned hand and a pulled back muscle (mine) there were no incidents.

The view out the airplane window was astounding and will post a few of these images also. (Some are not the right color, I believe, but since I had no way of remembering exactly what colors we saw I am posting them according to what the computer thinks is the right color balance.)



The landscape seemed to change every 2 minutes and although we had cloud colver on the way up. The way home was clear and we got to see many different and incredible landscapes.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Don't forget us while we are Up North

Tomorrow (Friday afternoon) we go away with the students to the Kimberley up North - so there will be no posts for about 6 days. We will be out of communication range as we get the opportunity of a life time to spend some time in the bush with an Aboriginal community.

I'm sure we will have much to say when we get back!

Wednesday Footy

The Program had a great success today when our CSB/SJU Footy team had a chance to play Australian Rules football against a local Aboriginal College named Clontarf Academy.



For more photos and details see www.csbsjuaustralia.blogspot.com , but I just had to put a few photos up because it was such a great occasion.

Here are Dave and Dan preparing for play:



And here is the whole group afte the game.



Mom and I decided to go out to lunch to a little Indian restaurant that was less than 2 blocks from home.



We watched a swallow flying around as we ate. There were a couple of nests across the street under Gino's eaves, so Wendy naturally had to take a picture:



The food was good and reasonably priced and the outing gave us time to get all our other errands done before a meeting about Broome with Simon and Wendy's appointment to watch the "Yankeroos" play footy. On our errands we saw this woman and her poodle. The poodle had dreadlocks in both its tail and head hair. (I wish I had a shot of its face.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Monday Errands



Yesterday we had an interesting experience. Mom and I had errands to run and were at the Chemist because she had been given the wrong test strips for her diabetes tester. A 25-35 year old young man was in line ahead of us. He was an interesting looking man who almost had the air of the street about him, but he was clothing was unsoiled. He had clean fingernails, and dark clothing that had just a whiff of shoddiness about them. He did not smile and was neither overly skinny nor well-built but looked scrappy without being wiry. We watched as the druggest brought him a little plastic cup of a dirty ale colored liquid with an accompanying regular sized plastic cup of water. The druggest rummaged through a large book, checked off a name as the man consumed the liquids at the counter. Of course what we had seen was the dispensing of methadone, somethiing I had read about but never seen before.



The rest of the day was uneventful. Mom went out with Margaret for the afternoon and although I had wanted to be virtuous, I did a few errands, but mostly lazed around. I had hoped to paint but after I finally decided upon my subject, there was not enough natural light, so I turned to making some necklaces instead. In the evening we watched CSI and The Closer and
went to bed after a nice relaxed day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pictures for my Family

Members of my family have been asking for images of this and that. Here are some of these and those:

I don't think this really is a kangaroo, but here it is anyway.



This is the little bird that has built a nest on our patio. It has a hanging basket nest and is probably a honey darter.



This is Wendy in her Hair wrap.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Caversham for the Birds



Well, it turns out that there was more wildlife in the park than we even imagined. They let these wild monsters wander around outside the cage!



Mom spotted this one on a stump.



The variety of birdlife was incredible. I know the ducks are nothing uncommon (even though they are beautiful.)



The miner (myna) bird is a bit more out of the ordinary!



This is a quokka - rodent found on Rottnest island in the vicinity of Fremantle.



This is a quoll - a very jittery nocturnal animal that I managed to catch at his dish.



These are one of the many varieties of parrots that are native to Australia.



Black swans are the State bird of Western Australia.



Can you believe I found another owl picture?! (Yeah, of course you can!)



These parrots are very brightly colored and fly around wild.



As we got ready to leave the bats were waking up and dining on fruit left by their keepers.



This was a lovely bird in one of the free flight cages.



The birds nested all over the cage. Here we se the rare kangaroo bird at rest.



I'm not sure what these large rodents are but they come in grey and red and a are a bit skittish.



They have large tails that they use to protect themselves and they swarm across the lawn.



They don't make a lot of noise and seem to take things pretty easy.



And they multiply like... See the little baby?



So that is what we saw at Caversham. We had to struggle to find the right roads home but managed to get home faster than we got to the park. We were all tuckered out and happy to get home.

Got owls?

I'm not sure why (perhaps it was because they were awake) but I seem to have been obsessed with the owls on this trip. perhaps it was hearing barking owls make "woofing" noises that started us down that route, but the owls were alert and fascinating.



And how can a photographer pass up a shot like this?



Okay, now I know this is not an owl, but it is a gorgeous blue-winged kookaburra.



Awww....



I wish I could remember which was which kind of owl. We saw lots of different kinds. I think this was a masked owl.



This was probably the barking one.



I should also mention that the landscape of native plants was also breath-takingly beautiful. I know I sound like the typical over-enthusiastic American with all the excessive epithets, but it is an inspiring landscape- so different from the one we know at home.



This was a bustard, intently involved in a mating ritual while his companion ignored him completely. He hooted in a bass profundo way and swaggered while she (unimpressed) continued to forage for food. (Sounds too tempting to comment upon, doesn't it!?)



This is a glossy ibis rom a cage with many Thick-knees and pigeons.



Reptiles are under-represented at the park, but there were a few in cages both in the open and in a mini-reptile house behind the wombat pavillion.



We also passed the red fox sitting and waiting for dinner.



The dingoes lay out on a rock and got a rather excited when the rather excited male emu was chasing the female around the cage.



As you can see this one was planning a family already. The eggs are an extraordinary green color.



Oh, what's that? A kangaroo?



Oh, no, it's a wallaby. Stay tuned for kangaroos.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Caversham Wildlife Park Again

Since I know that my Mom loves wild animals (She went to Kenya on a photographic safari for goodness sake and she's the one that inspired me to feel that way) I thought it would be a great idea to return to Caversham so that she could enjoy the animals too. So today we bundled ourselves off in the campus car (after spending the morning watching "Bad day at Black Rock") and headed for Caversham. As usual we made a couple of unplanned detours, but actually this getting lost led us to a wonderful field of wild flowers that was well worth the frustration of not having any idea of where we were.



We headed to the park and decided to check out the wombats as soon as possible, so rather than starting with the kangaroos, we headed through Southeast Australia toward the wombats.

It was a day of rodents and owls. There are many cages with some of the less springy members of Australian fauna. (i.e other things besides kangaroos that are interesting to look at.) For example here are some cute little rodents all curled up to sleep during the day.



Since we got there in the afternoon, some of the bats were beginning ot stir. By the time we left in the evening they were up and feeding, so I got to see a completely different set of animals this time around.



Of course it was hard to resist taking pictures of some of the more colorful birds again.



And even though I swore I would remember what this was - I now have no idea whether this is a poteroo, a padmelun or what!



On our way to the wombats via the Koalas, we passed many cages of animals from the Southeast and Northeast. No that is NOT a kangaroo, but some kind of wallaby (I believe).



Of course the Koalas never get any less cute, so we HAD to stop and say hello - pet them and photograph them endlessly. It was always a case of wanting to take just one more picture.



Some were just settling down for a nap, looking quite self-satisfied and content.



The attendant told us they could be quite active, but this was definitely a slow time of the day.



These younger ones were watching the people watching the Koalas.



Of course we got distracted by the Tasmanian devils, so we stopped and looked at these scary little guys. Their jaws lock in place once they chomp down and if they get you, they pretty much become a permanent part of your anatomy!



We finally did get to the wombats and here is Mom petting the wombat.



The next part of our blog will concentrate on birds (oh yeah, and maybe some kangaroos!)