Friday, July 24, 2009
Today we flew into Alice Springs Airport and caught a taxi to the Crown Plaza hotel. The landscape here is so incredibly vast and the soil is this martian like red everywhere! I knew right away my white tennis shoes were doomed! The inside of the hotel was sprawling with Aboriginal art work, an opal store, a very large pool and eighty five percent of the hotel energy is solar! They use and reuse everything here. As soon as you put your room key into the door, the power comes on. Remove the key and the power goes off. The opal store was impressive and we got a nice lecture on the history of the gem and I bought Kris a pair of earrings for our anniversary. They are really beautiful colors and change constantly in the light.
We set down our bags and headed immediately for Todd Mall where all of the didgeridoo shops, clothing stores, galleries, and of course, the highly anticipated Sounds Of Starlight Theatre with Andrew and Samantha Langford. We saw so many Aboriginal artists in the streets selling their paintings. I bought a great one from an artist named Jeffrey Walko from the Jungala mob. I took my new art work to dinner at the Red Ochre Grill and had some kangaroo, beets, artichoke and some kind of feta cheese with kamata olives. Kris had the Baramundi fish.
After dinner, I had what I would consider one of the best moments of the trip. We went to the Sounds of Starlight Theatre, where I chatted for some time with the owner and performer, Andrew Langford. He was nice enough to let me try most of the didgeridoos in the store and I settled on an all wood, no art, iron bark one that he gave me a great price on.http://www.soundsofstarlight.com/site/performancesOverview.htm
We sat down to watch the show and were mesmerized by the way he used multimedia, didgeridoo,drums and other percussion instruments and synthesizer to portray the history of the region in sight and sound. About fifteen minutes into this amazing show, he called me up on stage and said he had a friend here from the East Coast of the U.S. and had me do a solo. A few minutes into my solo on one of his instruments, he began to jam with me and made me sound so much better than I am. Later he got everyone in the audience, children, adults, and all who dared, to play an instrument. He instructed on how to use the drums with the children, how to use the shakers and clap sticks with the audience, and then he and I just jammed for what seemed forever on our didgeridoos! Andrew Langford's passion for the instrument, the variety of sounds and images, combined with a wild variety of multimedia tools was an entertainment experience none of us will ever forget. Every person in the audience was made to feel special and a part of the experience.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Before our flight to Uluru, we ventured out to the Olive Pink Botanic Garden founded by Olive Muriel Pink. She arrived in Australia in 1930 and spent 45 years gardening with a Warlpiri named Johnny Jampijinpa Yannarilyi. The garden has over 350 Central Australian plants with a network of trails which we traversed for hours. From the top of Annie Myers Hill you can view the entire Arrernte view of Alice Springs. According to tradition, all of the landforms around the Alice were created by Sprit Ancestors that took the form of caterpillars. The local Arrernte people consider themselves direct ancestors from these creatures.
We headed to the airport and were just amazed at the dot painting even on the carpet!