Down Under (almost thirty years ago), a journey into the Outback of Oz

#1 Feb 17th, 2016, 16:31
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#1
It was almost thirty years ago that I visited Australia in the spring of the Southern hemisphere, coincidentally flying Air India from Paris to Sydney, at the bargain price of six thousand French Francs for a round trip. The flight had stopovers in Munich, Mumbai, and Singapore. We had to disembark in India in the middle of the night and then continue our journey. Little did I realize back then how important Indian travel would become for me later. This was my first really long-distance travel and the journey took thirty hours.

Having dug out my photographs from the recesses of a cupboard, and some of the memories adhering to them from the far corners of my mind, here is a very brief travelogue about the Red Heart of Australia.

A photograph of the Australian Outback
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#2 Feb 17th, 2016, 19:44
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The lure of Alice Springs and Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory drew my attention to the very heart of the Australian desert. After some days spent with friends in Sydney, hanging out and going to the beach, we boarded a flight via Queensland and thence to Alice. But first, let's enjoy Sydney for a while, before the summer trippers hit the surf.

At Bondi beach the seagulls were ferociously fighting for the crumbs of our picnic.

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Australia has flora and fauna not found elsewhere. As you awake in India to the sound of crows cawing, in Sydney you are startled from your slumber by the kookaburra, whose call sounds like laughter.

On the beaches of North Sydney I tried to go swimming, but was dumped by the heavy surfing breakers and swallowed a lot of water and sand. Finally I found my niche in a swimming pool made out of the natural rocks at Narrabeen. Jogging on the beach I had to avoid the stinging insects hiding on the shore. (They were some blue coloured creatures, whose name I have thankfully forgotten.)

Downtown Sydney was - of course - a compulsory visit to the Opera House (more seagulls competing for food at the delightful harbourside cafes). Then by a short ferry hop to the luxuriant shore at Manly, to stroll around the Sydney Harbour National Park amidst the palm trees.

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#3 Feb 17th, 2016, 21:27
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#3
It is a test of memory to recall names from so long ago. Having recourse to old letters and scribbled notes, I can confidently write that I attended amazing concerts at a pub called "3 Weeds" in Sydney suburb called Rozelle, which seemingly still exists!

I also went to see the film "Ironweed", about which I remember nothing at all. (Probably catching up on jet lag...)

Other hotspots we frequented: Natalino's in Kings Cross and café Zambezi in Newtown. Also went to an Easter church service in Redfern, which was largely attended by aborigines.

A highlight was a drive to the Blue Mountains at Leura, where I had my fortune told.... the lady announced many travels and a lot of laughter....sorry I invented that. I don't recall what she said to me. Of that day I remember the plumage of radiantly colourful birds screeching,
I remember the coolness of the hills and the anticipation of the coming journey into the "Red Heart" where the temperatures would soar and where - they say - nobody lasts more than half an hour without water.
#4 Feb 18th, 2016, 02:40
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#4
Those insects are called Blue ringed octopus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-ringed_octopus
Natalino and Zambezi are no longer there.
Kings cross has become gentrified now and you go to New Town to have a late night out.
3weeds is still going strong. It has been there since 1881 but it is not the oldest pub in Sydney.
Last edited by Govindpuri; Feb 18th, 2016 at 04:21..
#5 Feb 18th, 2016, 06:45
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theyyamdancer, I look forward to your memories and photographs of the Northern Territory.

It was rather late in life that I visited our "top end" and "centre", in 2003, 2007 and 2009. In the first two visits I flew there and back from Melbourne but in 2009 I drove from Melbourne to Darwin via Alice Springs and returned through Queensland. The north-south highway is easy driving as are many of the tourist roads near Darwin and Kakadu. Similarly, the roads near Alice Springs are fine but I didn't bother with Uluru. Most of the other NT roads are suitable only for rugged SUVs.
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#6 Feb 18th, 2016, 08:14
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Govindpuri View Post Those insects are called Blue ringed octopus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-ringed_octopus
How is an octopus an insect?

I know about the blue ring as a very poisonous octopus. Never knew they were land dwellers that you had to watch out for while jogging on the beach.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#7 Feb 18th, 2016, 08:47
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#7
There are also these creatures: http://australianmuseum.net.au/bluebottle
#8 Feb 18th, 2016, 08:48
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ananda2193 View Post How is an octopus an insect?

I know about the blue ring as a very poisonous octopus. Never knew they were land dwellers that you had to watch out for while jogging on the beach.
Glad you asked. Since TD called them insects, I just carried the theme.

Their numbers are declining and I have not seen one for years. They normally hang ground in the rock pools near beaches.
#9 Feb 18th, 2016, 08:51
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Originally Posted by unclelach View Post There are also these creatures: http://australianmuseum.net.au/bluebottle
I was going to say it could possibly be a Man-O-War but wasn't sure they were in Australia. I know the Box jellyfish is notorious there.
#10 Feb 18th, 2016, 08:58
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclelach View Post There are also these creatures: http://australianmuseum.net.au/bluebottle
Quote:
Originally Posted by ananda2193 View Post I was going to say it could possibly be a Man-O-War but wasn't sure they were in Australia. I know the Box jellyfish is notorious there.
We can turn this into "Watch out for your life if you visit Australia" thread.

let us just leave this to TD to share her memories of Australia.
#11 Feb 18th, 2016, 12:25
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#11
https://scontent.fath3-2.fna.fbcdn.n...2e&oe=56C83125


Click on the above link if you want to see a blue octopus "insect" ; pic found by
Mr TD.

Well, this is giving me a great introduction to the insects of Northern Territory (wichity grubs for brekkie? ); not to mention the serpents (most inocuous looking and highly venomous)...

Thanks everyone for the positive feed-back so far, but "Don't come the raw prawn with me, mate!"
#12 Feb 18th, 2016, 12:37
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclelach View Post There are also these creatures: http://australianmuseum.net.au/bluebottle
That was it, I think, because I heard the name "bluebottle" and thought of insects.

Thank you unclelach for the identification.

#13 Feb 18th, 2016, 14:33
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#13
I am loving it :-)
#14 Feb 18th, 2016, 15:18
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#14
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Originally Posted by iamsomnath View Post I am loving it :-)

Thank you !


There will be an intermission for scanning of negatives. Waiting impatiently for the pictures to appear is like watching mozzies trapped in amber.

I had previously just used a camera to capture the prints (with very poor results).

Not only is patience needed for restoring pics, but also for identifying them, so as not to repeat the Bluebottle blunder. No worries…. I don't doubt there are folks ready to correct my poor geographical knowledge.



The red of the soil, mixed with the bleached colour of Eucalyptus and the Ghost Gum trees, and the green of the desert shrubs, is unique and instantly recognizable. I had of course seen lots of Australian films and read Aussie fiction, but nothing prepared me for the real thing.
#15 Feb 18th, 2016, 15:38
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#15
Your photos show that how we overrate "sharpness". The on your face "sharpness" as propagated and encouraged by digital technology becomes boring to look at after some time. On the other hand the "look", "feel" , in a nutshell the rendition of film, it's ahh, so indescribably touching. I have never been there but have seen such colours. Thanks for sharing these and really don't mind a slip in description here and there , at all.
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