Goodbye Australia and New Zealand

My final thoughts:

The flights to Australia and New Zealand are really killers, but these two countries are well worth seeing.

It took over 24 hours to get home. We left Queenstown at 10:30 am on Friday, March 10. At about 1:00 pm, we boarded Air New Zealand for the short flight to Auckland. In Auckland, we had to wait until 7:30pm to board our flight to LA. Note the photo of the airline reader board for gate assignments for LA. It’s at the bottom of the list. No gate, so it just says,”Relax.” We arrived in LA at 10:30 am on March 10. Another wait until 2:30 for our flight on Alaska Airlines home. Those countries are far, far away.

Flying economy on both Qantas and Air New Zealand is an ordeal. When I got on the flight to come home, I walked down the aisle of the Boeing 777. First came the luxury first class, and then comfortable business class. I nearly broke into tears when I saw the seats go from two to three in the aisle. Garrett, Carol, and I are all average size people with Garrett being thin. We are family and we like each other, and yet it was so hard to find room in those awful seats. I wonder if some studies need to be done to assess how these cramped conditions affect the health of passengers and crew.

If you ask me, “Which country do you like better?” I’d have to say that I don’t know . Australia is bigger, but its landscapes are as beautiful as tinier New Zealand.One thing I can say, however, is that Australia got all the nasty venomous creatures while New Zealand is much safer on that score. I understand that it has one native venomous spider, but the other two dangerous spiders have hitchhiked over from Australia.

Australia has its kangaroo, and everyone seems to enjoy eating it. New Zealand has its kiwi birds, but no one can see them.

Both countries are well organized and comfortable for travelers. I honestly did not meet one rude or unfriendly citizen of either country. Indeed, they seemed to be very proud of their countries and eager that travelers should understand what makes being “Down Under” so special.

One thing I really liked was the absence of sales tax on goods. If an item was marked $5, you handed the clerk a $5-bill. Likewise, there is no tipping. Apparently wages are high enough that tipping is unnecessary. We didn’t see any homelessness in Sydney or other areas, and the tour guide explained that their social welfare has a good system for dealing with this.

Prices seemed a little higher, but the US dollar is worth about $1.30 Australian or New Zealand. Lunch was usually around $15 to $20 Australian or New Zealand. I’m not sure what the hotels cost or many of the meals because they were included in the Rupiper package.

Food was interesting. We were all grossed out by the Vegemite which is brewer’s yeast with vegetables and spices. It’s eaten in many countries, but it takes yucky on my American tastebuds, and I’m almost a vegetarian! Eating crocodile is also difficult to contemplate. I, however, loved the pumpkin soup and all the ways they prepare sweet potatoes. They also eat beets! So yummy. In fact, they put beets in a lot of things including a hamburger order, “with the lot.” I also thoroughly enjoyed being in a commonwealth country because at breakfast I could get scrambled eggs, beans on toast, and a grilled tomato. Breakfast was my favorite meal on the trip.

Australia and New Zealand are also tea-drinking countries. I found good tea everywhere, and there was always an electric tea kettle in our rooms. So civilized.

They are also wool producing nations and had some wonderful wool clothing, yarn, roving, and felted objects. I have to tell you though that I had a little trouble adjusting to New Zealand mink, a blend of merino wool and opossum.

Lovely Ashford wool roving
Lovely Ashford wool roving

There were 41 people on the tour counting the tour guide, Brent Rupiper. Most of them were from the Midwest with just another couple from Washington and three people from Oregon. So, my husband is from South Dakota and he just has to be early to everything. It sometimes drives me crazy, but now I can see that it must be bred into Midwesterners. I remember coming down early to board the HSS Earnshaw and was among the last to get in line. One time we were waiting for the last person, Judy from Georgia, to board the bus, and she was four minutes early!

We all got along well. I made friends with Joyce the 2nd, but she is really Joyce the best. Her husband, Roger, is almost a Ritzvillite because he went to Bethel College with so many Mennonites from my high school. I loved to saunter and chat with Joyce. Carol has invited them out, and I hope that they will come. Wendy, the nurse from Wisconsin, was an angel. After Carol fell, Wendy really looked after her. We enjoyed sitting with her and her husband John, who has a great sense of humor and a lot of curiosity. Wendy has made many volunteer medical missions to Haiti sometimes accompanied by her husband John, who, as a farmer, has valuable skills in land, water, and construction.

I’m so glad Judy and Gary got to come. Gary always knows exactly where he is. Judy pays attention to details and points them out to me. I always learn from them. My brother, Garrett, is a researcher and organizer. I think that Rupiper needs to hire him to make all flight reservations and organize the trip. Carol is the social bee, so when I’m with her, I learn a lot about people. She is so sweet and kind that people find her easy to talk to. I, for the most part, just like to sit back, watch, take photos, and write. I don’t think we had a moment of discord on this trip.

I thank Garrett and Carol for encouraging me to come and helping me at every turn. I will always remember Garrett helping me roll up my special incline pillow every time we went to a new motel or hotel. And he was the one to figure out how we could both get our pillows into our luggage.

My greatest disappointment was not being confident enough in ocean waters to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. I snorkeled in Hawaii successfully, but the waters were very calm and a boat was nearby and I didn’t have to wear an ill fitting Lycra body suit. Yuck!

Maybe my most special memory was sitting out under the stars at Uluru. It was at that moment that started to appreciate the dots of Aboriginal design. Magic.

My beautiful aboriginal fabrics
My beautiful aboriginal fabrics

Since my WordPress blog plan would charge me for uploading videos to Mosquito Travels, I decided to make a movie and just include a lot of photos and video that you have not seen. It is long-sorry, but halfway through is the video of the kangaroo falling into the ditch. I also included didgeridoo performances, bungee jumping, sheep shearing, and dogs herding sheep. (In the first dog/sheep video you can see the lamb going away from the flock and how the dogs tried to bring it back.) Here is the link. (Just click on “link.”)

I think that I’m speaking for all of us when I say that Rupiper Tours was excellent and that  Brent Rupiper did a fine job of shepherding us Down Under. Rupiper Tours have a farm focus, and, wonderfully, farmers willing to take a bus load of hungry tourists into their homes and feed them lunch.

If you are contemplating a trip to Australia and New Zealand, I can recommend reading, In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. He’s a travel writing humorist, and this book was out loud funny at times.

Thank you dear readers for taking this extraordinary journey with me. I’m not sure where Mosquito Travels will go next, but I’ll let you know. Actually I have to say that I’m a little disappointed not to have gotten more information about mosquitoes in the Southern Hemisphere. I know they are there, but for some reason, they seemed to be hiding under bushel baskets on our trip.

Last, but not least, is a thank-you to Ken, who made sure I took this trip. He knew I would enjoy it, and he unselfishly let me go. When I arrived home on Friday, the house was clean, dinner was in the oven, and the dog was groomed. I married a special guy.

I knew I was home when Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and finally Mt. Rainier framed the jet window. I was also served tea on Alaska Airlines that tasted like coffee (hot water obtained by pouring it through a coffee maker). Home sweet home.

Success at last!

We were on the bus at 7:30 for a kangaroo hunt. The bus went through Mudgee, but not out of the little town.  We turned down a street, and there they were. Kangaroos at last.

I had to use my telephoto lens, but you should be able to see them clearly in the photos. I also took a number of little videos with one being extremely humorous as a big kangaroo hopped down the side of the hill and then fell off right into the ditch for some unknown reason. I thought I’d be able to upload that video, but I can’t until I get home. So be watching for my last blog, “Mr. Kangaroo takes a dive.”

After throroughly enjoying the kangaroos, we hopped on the bus and headed out for the Blue Mountains. On the way it started to rain and was foggy.  It never let up. We were supposed to see The Three Sisters near Katoomba at Echo Point, three pillars of stone, but they were completely shrouded in fog. I found a photo on Flickr taken by someone named Leslie Lewis of what we would have seen today. I’m so sorry we missed it.

We ate at a sweet little village called Leura. We also found a quilt shop there and bought some wonderful fabric with Aboriginal designs.  The day before the guys had their John Deere shop, and today we found ours.

On the way back to Sydney, we watched a video about kangaroos called Kangeroos-Faces in the Mob. I copied the following description, and I would recommend seeing it despite the fact that it’s sad at the end.

For two years Australian film-makers Dr Jan Aldenhoven and Glen Carruthers lived with this mob in a remote valley of magical beauty. Share their compelling account of the day to day drama of kangaroo society.

Behind every face is a personality. Follow the destinies of two lovable young joeys – a female called Sunshade whose mother is conscientious and successful; and Jaffa, a little male full of curiosity and courage but whose mother is casual and forgetful.

We reached Sydney about 3:00 and thanked both Lesley, the Australian tour guide, and Leigh, our bus driver. They were both wonderful. We learned so much about Australia from Leslie, and Leigh was such a skilled driver. As one of the guys on the bus said to Leigh, “Can you just drive us home?” Good idea, I thought. So much more comfortable than the cramped quarters on the plane.

At 6:00, we gathered again for dinner at the Sydney Towers, a sister tower to the Space Needle even though it is twice as tall. I had a nice vegetarian main (entree) of chickpeas although it was salty and a tasty banana parfait dessert. Carol and Judy’s fish was way underdone, so as Carol said, “This may be our most expensive meal, but not our favorite.” The setting was gorgeous, however, and it was a wonderful way to end our time in Australia.

Tomorrow we are waking up very early to catch the 8:00 flight to New Zealand. I’ll probably get up about 4:45 so that I can put my big bag outside of my door for the porter at 5:10.  Poor Garrett has to come up to help me roll up my special pillow, but I’m on the top floor, 11, and he and Carol are on the 9th floor. We have been unable to figure out why we can’t have rooms next to each other as we did in Cairns.

We also change time again tomorrow. We will be 21 hours ahead of home. The confusion continues.

“This feels like heaven.”

Today was another big farming day. Breakfast and then out the door to the bus and a ride down to Nundle from Tamworth. The man who owns the Quality Hotel that we stayed in last night also owns a cattle station. We went to see his cattle feeding operation.

The setting was beautiful. The manager of the station, Ian, and his crew had just brought up new cattle to stock a feed lot. He said that he didn’t really like feed lots because they are cruel for the animals, but that he felt it was a necessity for food production. I have to say for myself that I also wish they were not a necessity either.

The cattle in this feedlot were not yet familiar with being off the pasture and into this confined space. When the bus drove over to the feeding lot, they all came running, presumably for food. They must have been disappointed in a load of tourists instead of food. Not too long afterwards, however, the real feed rig came along, and the cattle shoved and pushed to get their feed–all at one end! The other end was open for eating. Finally the cattle figured this out and moved down.

For lunch, we headed out to a cropping farm owned by David and Gordon Brownhill in Spring Field, New South Wales. Their operation is Merrilong Pastorale Company. It took us several hours to go from Nundle to the Brownhills farm. When we turned into the farm, Dave boarded the bus and took us on in to his country house. What a lovely place! His wife and a friend had prepared a barbecued steak and sausage lunch for the group. Gary said that it was the tenderest steak he had ever eaten, so you know that the quality of the meat was high. Dave and his wife had a beautiful home with a big veranda and sweeping views of the countryside from the well-appointed house, but can you imagine inviting 41 people into your house for lunch!

The Brownhills  started with a 1,500 acre plot many years ago; today it has been expanded to 16,000 acres. They grow grain, milo (sorghum), and dry land cotton, just to name a few of the crops. I was thrilled to see some cotton and touch it. It is super soft. This is also about the time that I learned that Lesley, the tour guide, is a spinner, too. Dave explained that this crop in his paddock (field) would be sold to the Chinese.

Apparently, the Chinese  buy most of the cotton around the world in order to make fabric. They have a virtual monopoly. Judy and I were speculating about when the fabrics are dyed and how that process goes. Dave said that his cotton field, the one we were standing in, could produce about 44 million  pairs of women’s undies.

Out of this whole day-No koalas and no kangaroos. Dave Brownhill tried to find both of them for us on his farm, but he had no luck. What are we in Australia for? It maybe this. One of the farmers on the bus at the Brownhills farm said, “This is what heaven looks like.” His wife said, “Maybe to you.”

We are in Mudgee tonight and headed back for Sydney tomorrow via the Blue Mountains. We have a 7:30 am departure time because Brent is determined to find some kangaroos for us. They are out early in the morning apparently. We’ll see.

The internet is terrible at this motel, but I finally got a few uploaded.

Happy Farmers

On the Sydney Opera House tour, we went from a sort of cool place into an elegant warm, darker interior. Just then I heard, “It feels like a milk barn.” Yes, Rupiper Tours does attract the farming set. These guys want to know about irrigation, pipes, crops, weather, and more. So, today, the mood on the bus was happy. We were headed out of the big city, Sydney into the country.

It took us about two hours or so to drive through the suburbs of Sydney into the Hunter Valley. Lesley, our Australian tour guide, told us along the way that in order to buy a home in Sydney, a person would need $1.2 million dollars for something not even very nice. As the Aussies would remark, “If they paid that much, they wouldn’t have a brass razzu left.”

We drove through one of the five national forests around Sydney for quite some time. It was filled with Eucalyptus trees. Lesley talked about the danger of fires in this area. Apparently Australia shares Canada’s big fire-fighting helicopters because the two countries have opposite fire seasons. Then we stopped for a chew (rest stop) shortly before arriving at Mt. Pleasant Wines in the Hunter Valley for wine tasting.

Mt. Pleasant Wines at Polkobin, New South Wales was established in the 1880s, and  we saw the paddock (field) where those grapes were growing. The wines we tasted were very sophisticated and not to everyone’s taste. Judy and Gary bought  new Semillion to drink later.

We ate lunch a short distance away where we found an alpaca shop. Then we boarded the bus for another two-hour ride to the Godolphin Horsebreeding and Thoroughbred Racing Stable owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai. We learned about the intricacies of horse breeding from one of the employees, and then we met a famous horse, a Lohron. He no longer races, but he is an excellent sire. If you want to use him, it would cost $66,000. However, his true worth is in the horses that he sires; one of his offspring is valued at $44 million. Fair Dinkum! (Honestly.)

The guide at the horse stables said that the horses all have distinct personalities. For example, Lohron thinks he’s a big deal. He is unhappy if he is not the first to go into his  stable or the first to leave. When we met him, he also came right over. However, he likes to bite, so we had to be a bit cautious.

The Sheikh has never been here. Interesting. We also talked about how the horses are shipped by air on the Sheikh’s private plane  to different points in the world to race. It’s  a good thing that the Sheikh has enough money to support his very expensive passion.

At our “chew” stop near the  horse stables, we encountered a tree filled with White Corellas. Pretty messy. Later we saw the Galah Bird. It hangs upside down on fences and looks silly. So maybe you can figure out what it means when someone says to you, “Don’t be a Galah.”

We are staying in Tamworth tonight, the country music capital of Australia, but I’m in my room, writing all of you and listening to some good jazz.

Mosquito update: Lohron was wearing a blanket on this rather warm day because of flies. That seems to be the big thing around here.

This was a nice day for the farmers. Fair dinkum! Love the Aussie lingo.

Sydney-World Heritage and World Class

Yesterday I wrote about my frustrations traveling, but underneath it all, I knew that my dear Uncle Bob was probably going to pass away, and he did at 1:37 am. Both Garrett and I are feeling sad and grieving his loss. He was a well-known and well-respected businessman in North Idaho and is in Idaho’s Hall of Fame. He was also known for his generosity  with others, and he, like my Dad, had a deep and abiding love for God, his country, and his family. We are unfortunately not at home to comfort my Dad at this time or to be with our Aunt Mary and the rest of the family. For those of you reading my blog who knew Bob or want to read more about his rich life, here is the link to his obituary in the Spokesman Review.

Robin Roberts shared some words about the death of her mother that I had to remember today. “You have a choice. You can have sad sorrow or happy sorrow. I’m going to follow your advice [Mom] and choose the latter.”

I am in Sydney, Australia, today one of the truly beautiful cities in the world, and I was about to see an architectural wonder, the Sydney Opera House. I just had to choose some happy sorrow and move into the day.

The Opera House is beautiful. When Jørn Utzon’s design was chosen in an international design competition in 1957, no one exactly knew how it could be built. It took another 20 years and a lot of money to complete it. There were many critics and ultimately Utzon resigned, but it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and brings in artists across the globe. And today, Judy, Gary, Garrett, Carol, and I were among the nearly 8 million visitors that come each year.

The building is made up of precast concrete shells covered with white and cream tiles made by a Swedish company. As we learned today, these tiles are self cleaning! We saw the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the eastern group of shells and the Concert Hall in the western group. We also had the luck of hearing the Sydney Symphony Orchestra rehearsing.

When we got into the elevator to go upstairs, our guide asked us if we knew why the elevator had no roof. No one knew the answer. As it turns out, the Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This means that any improvements made to the Opera House can only be made as part of the original design. So, since the original plans for the Opera House had no ceiling on the elevator, one cannot be added now.

I included some photos of the Women’s restroom (loo in Australia) as Utzon’s design is evident even to this detail.

I lament not having thought to book an evening performance there.

After the Opera House, we had a little free time to walk around the circular quay before boarding Captain Cook’s Harbor Cruise. Brent got us a front row seat on the boat, and then we cruised the harbor while eating a delicious lunch. Sydney has one of the biggest natural harbors in the world.

Interestingly, Carol’s son Reid told his parents about his trip to Sydney as a flight engineer for Boeing some years ago. He told his mother and dad about going on the Harbor Bridge, but today, we were nearly aghast when we realized that he had paid a fair sum to actually climb to the top of the bridge. Carol hadn’t realized what a dangerous thing he had done until today.

Finally, we got to see some of the other areas of Sydney on a city tour. One fascinating detail from The Rocks area was a window painted on the wall next to a real window. In the past, windows were taxed, so owners would board up real windows to avoid taxes, and then paint a fake window where the real window used to be.

We also visited the very popular Bondi Beach and ate some gelato. We got back to the hotel about 5:30. Sydney was initially built by convicts, but now Sydney with its 5 million residents is first rate, world class.

Tomorrow we have an early wake-up again as we are heading out into the country At 7:30 am for two days. Tomorrow we will visit a horse ranch in Tamworth and the day after we will see a cattle station in Mudgee. I’m not sure about the Internet in these places, but we’ll return to Sydney on our Saturday and your Friday.

Not a Mosquito, but a Carol Update: She is doing everything with us and still taking ibuprofen and Tylenol. She has a bit of a cold though. As I say, she is a real trooper.

Garnet, Garrett, Carol, Judy, and Gary at the Sydney Opera House
Garnet, Garrett, Carol, Judy, and Gary at the Sydney Opera House
The tiles on the shells of the Sydney Opera House
The tiles on the shells of the Sydney Opera House
Amazing design.
Amazing design.
Women's bathroom. Sydney Opera House 3/1/17
Women’s bathroom. Sydney Opera House 3/1/17
The Circular Quay on the waterfront
The Circular Quay on the waterfront
The Sydney Opera House 3/1/17
The Sydney Opera House 3/1/17
The Sydney Opera House 3/1/17
The Sydney Opera House 3/1/17
The Circular Quay on the waterfront
The Circular Quay on the waterfront
The flag of Australia, the Sydney Opera House, and the Harbor Bridge
The flag of Australia, the Sydney Opera House, and the Harbor Bridge
The Harbor Bridge. My nephew, Reid, climbed this some years ago!
The Harbor Bridge. My nephew, Reid, climbed this some years ago!
Real Window and Painted Window-Sydney
Real Window and Painted Window-Sydney
Real Window and Painted Window-Sydney
Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, 1816. Garnet, Gary, Judy, Carol, and Garrett
Bondi Beach time
Bondi Beach time
The gelato is tasty.
The gelato is tasty. Bondi Beach
Sydney traffic.
Sydney traffic.
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Garnet and Uncle Bob

Frustrations

In all travel there comes a day that does not go as smoothly as other days. This day was one of those.

Because Uluru is so far away from the populated areas of Australia, we had to fly to Sydney, but the airlines do not provide convenient schedules for this remote pick up. We got to sleep in a little later, but then we had to check out of our hotel by 10:00. We also had to change our carrier to Virgin Australia which had a departure time of 12:05.

We got to the airport super early, and then we had to stand in line forever. Mind you, this is a small airport. Security was tight. I got the wand for the first time. Then we sat some more. 12:05 passed us by. Finally we started to board, but once again, it was slow going. No lunch.

The airplane was old from what I could tell. Once we got aloft, we got our snacks, and most of us were pretty hungry. Well, let’s just say, it wasn’t a well thought out snack. We had barbecued chick peas (hard to describe–little sticks) and a savory muffin. The muffin was cold and dry. (They could have at least warmed it up and given us some butter or spreadable cheese.) Just carbohydrates. No fruit or cookies or cheese or peanut butter. I spilled my tea, but the flight attendants were so busy talking in the back of the plane, I received no help. It was a sorry flight, but at least Garrett had chocolate licorice for us to nibble on.

After we landed in Sydney around 4:30 (in the Uluru time zone),  we exited the plane from the back and climbed down the stairs to the tarmac. A woman in front of me was struggling walking. Then when we got to the terminal, we had several more flights of stairs. No help for her, but, as I later learned, we should have exited the normal way from the front of the plane avoiding all the steps. What a crew!

The weather in Sydney is cooler, and it was overcast. Our bus driver got us to The Grace Hotel on narrow streets. Then Brent, the tour director, told us that he had had a sort of nasty encounter with the restaurant that he usually takes his tour groups to in Sydney. (He thinks it might be under new ownership as he has had no trouble in the past. ) So the bus took us to the wharf in Sydney, and we all got off and found our own places to eat tonight.

I was looking forward to a cup of tea, a short blog, and a little relaxation. So, to make a long story short, when I tried to connect to the internet with my iPhone and iPad, nothing happened. Hotel staff  tried to help. I ended up in the lobby in my pajamas (covered up) with the very kind manager. “Wait until tomorrow,” he said. So I went up to Garrett and Carol’s room and Garrett started trouble shooting with me. Endless tries to get it working. Carol was exhausted and  balled herself up into a sleepy mound. Finally after the last hotel staff guy came up, I realized it was time to call it quits. Garrett, just for a try, pulled out his old iPad, and it connected! Then miraculously mine did too along with the iPhone. What devil was inside of my devices for two + hours tonight!

So my relaxing evening was anything but. I’m posting a few photos. Tomorrow will be a big day. Three tours- one of the city, one of the opera house, and one of the harbor. And oh yes, our guide says, “You’ll probably have time for a half hour of shopping at the end of the day!” Oh, goodie.

Judy wanted me to post of photo of The Grace Hotel. Her little granddaughter is named Grace.

 

 

Palya Uluru

I have a few more photos to post because we went out to Uluru last night for the Sounds of Silence dinner. We dined under the stars of the Outback in perfectly warm weather with all our friends and the flies and other insects. It was a once in a lifetime kind of experience. This experience cost $195 per person, but it was included in our tour package; otherwise, it would be a shocking cost for dinner!

We watched mother Uluru redden slightly in the sunset. I took a lot of pictures, however, of child Kata Tjuta because the sun was setting behind her. Upon arrival, we were served champagne and given Aussie appetizers including kangaroo and crocodile. (Apparently Australia is the only country where people eat the national symbol.) A didgeridoo player filled the evening with Aboriginal music, and later some dancers performed a hunting dance. I took many photos of the sunset at that time. It came at 7:19 pm.

As it turns out, Gary, our solid scientific guy, has an imaginative streak. As we were watching the sunset over child Kata Tjuta, he said that the rock looked like a man lying down-head, big lips, belly, and feet. If you look at my photos of Kata Tjuta perhaps you can see this, too.

Then we walked down a lighted path to tables set with china and linens and electric candles. As the light dimmed, we watched the stars pop out as we chose food from the buffet.

Later an astronomer came, and the lights were put out. It was dark and beautiful and the stars overhead were truly the jewels of heaven. We saw the Milky Way so clearly, and the Southern Cross and Orion, and several more. I tried to capture that moment with my camera, but it didn’t work, so it will have to always be a wonderful memory. I always try to remember that Judy says we can’t capture everything, and that sometimes we just need to enjoy the moment. This was truly one of those times. Magic.

One last reflection: Aboriginal art is pointillistic, dot painting. They use the points of satay sticks to make dots of different colors to form patterns. Yesterday I made the connection of those dots to scenes in nature. I saw a painting that I could not photograph that looked like the topography of the land, and last night when I looked at the stars in the Outback, I could see where the points of light for artistic expression come for these ancient peoples-nothing less than the Milky Way casting its starry glow over the face of Mother Nature.

Palya is a word around here that means hello, thank-you, goodbye and anything else in between.

Palya sacred Uluru!