Monday, July 6, 2009

From Sydney to Alice Springs

NGSE Australia is in Alice Springs, getting ready for an early morning departure for Uluru. Our days in Sydney were full, soaking in everything we could in our short time there. From our hotel, situated between Chinatown and Darling Harbour, we began our first full day in Australia with some excellent food, a scavenger hunt through Sydney's streets, and then a meeting with acclaimed anthropologist Kirk Huffman. Krik gave us a behind the scenes tour with the curators of two museums at the University of Sydney. In one of them, we were able to sit and handle an incredible collection of artifacts from around the world. That evening we went to a wonderful restaurant in Darling Harbour overlooking the water, followed by a presentation by National Geographic Expert Ulla Lohmann on her work from the volcanos of Vanuatu to the mummies of Papua New Guinea.

The following day we split into our On-Assignment teams and explored the Sydney Aquarium, the Taronga Zoo, and various neighborhoods, waterways and eateries around town. In the evening we attended a wonderful performance of Shakespeare's Pericles (set to taiko-drumming!) in the drama theater at the Sydney Opera House. We rounded out the day with some excellent hot chocolate very much enjoyed in the cool, wintry evening beside Sydney Harbor.

Our early morning flight to Alice Springs went well, and everyone appreciated the warmer weather and sunny blue skies of "Alice." Ulla gave us another wonderful presentation that evening, about her filmmaking adventures in Papua New Guinea.

The next day at the Desert Park, we took in the amazing raptor show, and visited with Lionel Barracot, an indigenous biologist specializing in local flora. In the evening we enjoyed the Alice Springs Show--a State Fair-type extravaganza of carnival rides, horse/car relays, and a massive fireworks show--perfect for our 4th or July far from home.

Today we settled deeper into our On-Assignment work, with Ulla visiting with each team and offering her amazing experience and insight into each of our projects. With a wild wallaby looking down at us from the ridge above, we headed off on a nice sunset hike to a site of many local "dreaming" stories.

Bye for now!
Charles, Britt, and Patrick

Ellen on Sydney Harbor

The Wildlife and Conservation team near Sydney Opera House

raptor flying


Alice Springs & MacDonald Range