Australia 99 p4

Adelaide and Monarto

Wednesday September 15

Anne took me to Tandanya Aborigene Institute where Aborigene artists exhibit their work. What I remember best about it is a didjeridu demonstration. A "didj" is an instrument made of a simple hollow tube of varying length. To play it, you must vibrate your lips at one end so that you send the sound against the side of the tube. By varying your voice and moving the tongue, you can obtain the most extraordinary sounds I ever heard. The difficulty is in learning to breathe from the nose and blow from the mouth at the same time. I firmly resolved not to succumb to the temptation of bringing a didjeridoo home with me. Which means that I ended up doing just that. I learned to play it, but am out of practice because my family doesn't appreciate such fine music.

Tandanya is actually the name given by the Kaurna people to the Adelaide city area. It comes from Tarnda-angka: The Place of the Red Kangaroo.

"A Kaurna Dreaming story tells how a young boy, Tarnda, brought joy to the life of his childless parents and went on to become a great hunter. In old age he was trandformed into an old man kangaroo and was a great and respected teacher of all the Kaurna men. When his life was finished he threw many spears up into the sky to form a ladder, which he climbed; they can still be seen shining in the southern sky every night."

Fascinated by language as usual, I noted some Galpu Aborigene words, such as blich blich (parrot), wurrkadi (maggot), bunggul (ceremony), woolama (stick), gumingu (duck), nhatta (food).

The only Aborigenes I saw during my stay
We went on to Rundle Mall, which sports cute features such as these bronze pigs.
 Friday, September 17

It was raining on Thursday so we spent the day at home, chatting and watching TV. Friday we started by visiting a TV station where Anne had worked, and continued to the Adelaide library, Mortlock. The bane to my wallet was the Bead Hive, which I had run into by accident down town. Beads from all over the world! I pillaged the place.

We saw a Willie wagtail and Anne explained that to the Aborigenes, seeing one meant somebody was going to die. Freaky enough, someone we both knew did...
In the evening we drove up to Windy Point above the city, where all of Adelaide spreads out below one's feet like a carpet of lights. "Windy" was an understatement though. I couldntt' sleep for the cold that night. It was only the next day that I had the bright idea of putting a heater in my room.

Sunday, September 19

Monarto Zoological Park was an amusing visit, with zebras from Africa and bisons from Yellowstone among other things – all animals I had seen in the wild during previous trips. Even the emus that walked freely around the cars in the parking lot were a reminder: even though this bird is typically Australian, I had a close encounter with one in a French park years before – I was being chased by it at the time...