Puja's Adventures

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Day 16

I will never look at hotel staff the same way again. It is so bizzare to be living and working and socialising in the one place with people who havent left the property in weeks or months. Friendships that may take months to form happen overnight and one week feels like one month. Its really cool to hang out in peoples dongas and the convenience of having food cooked for you every night is so cruisy. Also having a bar 10m from your bed is another bonus, its so funny when we go in there after work, we own the place, its 80% staff hanging out there. Its lots of fun because there is no difference between a Saturday night or a Tuesday in our body clocks, so theres always parties for peoples birthdays or farwells. I've been working alot, sometimes 4am starts and finishing 14 hours later, othertimes only 6 hours a day. I've moved on from the cafe to the main kitchen, doing buffet breakfasts for the guests which are mostly Jabiluka miners on morning shifts. It's strange hearing and being aware of so much activism from Sydney Uni hippys about uranium in NT and now I'm feeding the devils themselves.
The gossip in this place is insane. There's nothing else to do so everyone knows each others buisness. There's one guy in his late twenties that has eight children (that he's aware of) to different women, and works his ass off, just to pay child support. There's a pathalogical liar cowboy who is convinced he has done all these amazing things, he's best mates with Steve Irwin, he flies hellicopters that come out from underground swimming pools. And a general manager that has more sexual harassment claims then fingers and toes combined.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Landslide in nepal


For those of you interested in what I want to do in Nepal, have a look at kishan's website for details of a recent landslide. The work we are doing with ECWZ is to essentially stop the street children population increase in Nepal. By getting to the root cause instead of a bandaid solution we will hopefully implement change and stop the trend of young children running away from their villages to find a 'better life' on the streets of kathmandu and other urban centres in the region. We have been supplying essential school products like a uniform, books, pens and school bags to children, and one of the areas kishan has been helping is in the rasuwa district. There was a freak landslide that killed 10 people and devestated the village crop. When i reach nepal i will be helping rebuild this area, and i will keep you all posted on the progress, needs of the village as more news unfolds.
the top left photo is the village after the landslide, the right photo is Kishan delivering rice to the village, Im so proud of the work he does!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Aurora Kakadu

It's funny how I decided to just up and go all of a sudden, I was like 'yeah, lets see the world, woohoo!' And I really did think I had enough money, but just before I left some bills and this and that came in, anyway, I don't really have that much mulla. So I decided to stop in a resort in Kakadu, I'm managing a cafe with a giagantic hexagonal fish tank in the middle with barramundi swimming inside..? Anyway, its a brilliant excuse to save cause theres nothing to do, no phone reception, etc. i have like 6 kangaroos around my house all day, theyre adorable, its so cute. I'm just going to stay a month or two until I have enough money. It sounds dumb when I answer the phone though, "Hello, this is Laura at Aurora"


There’s something in the air around here (and I’m not talking about the dust or the 32 degree heat). Kakadu is listed as a World heritage site and I completely understand why. I’ve been reading a few dreamtime stories and how can I even begin to appreciate how sacred the connection between Aboriginal people and the environment is. Even being here a week, I can feel there’s something spiritual in the earth, so imagine what goes on if your ancestors had lived on the land for tens of thousands of years. This morning we went to the Yellow River on an amazing sunrise cruise. The landscape was just timeless, I really thought a dinosaur was going to come out from behind a tree. There were big crocs, baby crocs, big fish, little fish, dragonflies, butterflies, blue birds, white birds, brown birds, skinny leg birds, fat leg birds, funny sounding ducks, sweet sounding ducks… All among the backdrop of a crisp daybreak, while nomadic fog rummaged above the glassy billabong surface, its reflection crystal clear, interrupted only by native lily pads and lotus flowers afloat. Something every one must see at least once in their lives.

I also went to some Indigenous ‘art galleries’ a.k.a. rock paintings in caves around the area. I’ve never been interested in ancient history, Egyptians make me yawn and European history doesn’t even go through the first ear on its way out of the other ear. But having studied Aboriginal art and culture, I have that background understanding which stimulates an excitement and honour in being able to see these art works in the flesh and blood. They are thousands of years old, and you can just imagine a whole family hanging out under a cave, grinding up red ochres, mixing it with animal blood and proudly painting that hefty kangaroo someone just speared.

This is a dreamtime story about how the flat plains and mountains were formed:

Once upon a time the earth was flat. There was a kangaroo called Urdlu and a euro called Mandya who were good friends and travelled around country, digging for mai (tucker) like the ngarndi wari (wild pear root). Urdlu found a lot of mai and got fatter and fatter while Mandya got skinnier and skinnier. One day Mandya asked Urdlu for some mai, and asked where he found so much food. Urdlu gave him a little bit and waved his paw, saying ‘Oh, somewhere over there’.

The next day, Mandya snuck away and followed Urdlu’s walking tracks to the hole he had been digging, where he found so much food. He just kept on eating and eating. Urdlu soon discovered Mandya was missing and followed his fresh tracks to his mai hole.

‘Why are you digging in my spot?’ Asked Urdlu.
‘You were mean to let me starve so I came here to eat’ said Mandya.

This made Urdlu really angry and the two of them had a big fight. Mandya grabbed Urdlus arms and stretched them. He pulled his fingers and toes until he was very long and thrashed his chest and back until he broke in half.

Leaving him wounded, Mandya walked away to camp and tried to get some sleep, but his hip was very sore. He pulled out a little rock from his hip and blew it, and suddenly a hill came up from the plains. The more he blew, the more mountains appeared.

Meanwhile, as Urdlu lay hurt on the ground, he saw some hills coming towards him. ‘What’s that old fella up to, if he keeps that up I wont have anywhere to live!’ So Urdlu swept his tail and pushed the mountains back to where Mandya was, and made a flat plain and a lake so he could stay living there and be able to get a drink. This area was called Urdlurunha-vitana (kangaroo’s flat).

Mandya saw this and became jealous so he added salt to the water so Urdlu couldn’t drink. Then he left his body and became a spirit called Thudupinha. You can still see him sitting up there today and the earth below him is always red from the blood he left behind from his wounds. You also never see kangaroos drinking from Urdlurunha-vitana because of the salt in the lake.

up top end

Growing up on the East Coast
I’ve never seen a place
Where retired couples far outnumber Japanese
In the tourist tally.

Where X marks the spot 4 y times
With no lonely sight of a V and a B

Where olive people look tanned and damn y
Till they take a dive and emerge white ghosts
Leaving the aqua marina a muddy arena

Even the fires too lazy to work hard
Leaving a trail of charcoal trunks
Like a dog ing on her territory
While the green tops sail oblivious in the wind
A winter wonderland of nose diving ash flakes

‘Hold on, say Cheese’ CLICK CLICK CLICK
And as if on cue
The Germans, the Poms, the Nannas and Pops
All up and go as the sun sinks low,

A two dollar slap and the coin disappears
Take win.
Collect golden hue, three-sixty degree view
I’m a living rock in Kakadu.

The people dream of swimming.
The crocodiles dream of eating.
The saltlakes dream of the monsoon falling.
The emu dreams of the gecko calling.

While the ancestors just keep on dreaming, dreaming, dreaming.