Saturday, November 23, 2013

Back from the Desert

I'm back. Well, not quite. But I'm getting there.

Physically, I'm in a mining town, an hour's flight away from Perth. Mentally, I'm back out bush, reliving days, hours and seconds.

I'm back. Tired, bruised and humbled. Over 4,000 km crossed in two weeks, and I feel years older.

This is what I've been up 

In the last fortnight, I've felt thrilled, annoyed, happy, helpless, proud, hopeless, satisfied, over-strained, trapped, lonely, supported, limitless, overwhelmed... And that's just a portion of the spectrum.

I've learned a lot, not all of which was enjoyable. But I guess there are benefits to learning from your mistakes. It doesn't always feel nice, but – in the end – it's all for the good.

I don't know what to expect. Back to reality. Being back, I'm afraid life will be boring. 

But am I back? Or was I back when I was back there?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013


A lovely, untranslatable word that pictures me.

Just to paint the picture, here's an example:

Working out bush, I get a lot of flat tyres. Burnt country, tree stumps, and bingo.

Not one gets – I get. Because it's pretty much only me who gets them.

And after six days of driving around, bush-bashing and changing tyres on a daily basis, today was the first day I managed to go without one.

So proud. Everyone celebrated.

Until I got back home, that is. Or almost there. Dropped one of my clients off, started driving home (it's about 50 m) and had a flat tyre.

Baksuz, baksuz.

The view of the day

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Desert life – or at least a glimpse of it

I'm out bush for three weeks. One week's gone by, I'm at the end of the second one, and there's still one coming up. If I was asked to sum it up in a couple of words, it would probably be: full on.

Don't get me wrong – the experience is priceless, but the stakes are high, too. It takes everything out of you: your energy, strength and sleep, but also your ignorance, attitude and prejudice. You're deemed to change your views, your ways and your approach – at least if your aim is to make it.

I'm sure lots of whitefellas passed through here and headed out with the first light. It doesn't amaze me that people are hesitant to share their lives, thoughts and emotions. But at least it's all transparent, and you pretty much know where people stand. It's not always pleasant, but that's what it's like.

Even just getting a glimpse of the life (even as a total outsider), I can see how hard life is here. It really takes everything out of you – but it also rewards you in many ways. When you go into the store and everyone greets you by your name; when kids yell after you when you're leaving and asking you to stay; when you wake up in the morning and everyone's waiting with smiled on their faces...

Simple life.

The view from a giant Kurrajong tree

A hilltop view

Catching (or helping catch) a goanna

Desert sunset

Formations that were once covered by the Ocean

The Mountain Devil (ngiyari in Ngaanyatjarra, the local language)

Lake Rason, a salty lake in East Wongatha

Friday, November 8, 2013

'Inside Australia'

I had enough time to take a detour on the way back from my last bush trip, so I finally checked out Lake Ballard. It's always on the way back, but I rarely have any free time – which luckily wasn't the case this time.

Lake Ballard was chosen by Antony Gormley, the internationally-acclaimed British artist, as the site for a major environmental art installation which he titled “Inside Australia”. Gormley had been commissioned by the Artistic Director of Perth International Arts Festival to produce the work in celebration of the Festival’s 50th anniversary in 2003. 

'Inside Australia' comprises 51 metal figures, dotted across seven square kilometres of the salt-encrusted lake bed. Each of the sculptural figures, both male and female, are the result of 3D laser scans Gormley made of Menzies residents, and he refers to them as ‘insiders’. It's apparently completely obvious which sculpture represent whom.

The place is quite eerie in a way, and it makes one wonder how people have been moving and walking and surviving...

Small hill, big hill, insider.

Desert dwellers. Lake Ballard, WA.

Desert dizziness.

Up for a walk?

Differences are obvious.


Morning Coffee

Survey – done. Coffee – ready. Report writing – hit me.

Morning coffee at an oasis.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Daily Pinch

Moving to Australia pretty much changed my life. It's funny when things you dream of come true.

Just like the day I passed my final exam. Or the day I graduated. Crossed the street and had a cup of coffee. Just like any other day.

It hits you later on. And then you kind of forget what it felt like. Especially nice things, which sucks, because you remember the bad ones a long time.

Waking up every day to the song of parrots puts things in a different perspective. Days may be long, hard and too hot, and weekends may be busy, cloudy and too short. But I remind myself – not every day, but whenever I can – of where I am and what I do.

I saw this new series on the TV, and it made some feelings stir up inside me. This incredible awe and cluelessness, respect and admiration...

I walk on the same sand people walked on 50,000 years ago. I work with some of the last people to have walked out of the desert, I learn new ways – but the ways that have been present for tens of thousands of years.

Makes you think of your high school history lessons, doesn't it? It makes me remind (and keep reminding) myself of my new life...

Google it, watch it, share it.


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